SFFMP 75: Genre Hopping, How to be Prolific, and Marketing Across Genres with Elle Casey

Elle Casey is not just a NYT and USA Today bestselling author–She’s also an extremely prolific writer. She averages a release rate of one book, about 85,00 words, a month. You’ll want to check out this podcast to learn how she is able to manage such a rate of releases. But it’s not just her speed that is impressive. Elle Casey has worked in many different genres under the same name. She has advice on how to use the same name and publish in a variety of genres without confusing readers.

“The more books you have the more work that goes into the promotion, the organizing of the front and back matter, responding to fan mail…” — Elle Casey

Here are some notes!

  • Elle Casey is a former attorney and teacher. Now she’s a New York Times bestseller and USA Today Bestseller.

  • She’s a prolific writer—averaging one full length a month while writing in multiple genres. Her novels are about 85,000 words each, except her science fiction series.

  • Elle was working as a teacher of legal English in France. She wasn’t sure if writing was for her—at that time. She’d thought about picking it up when she retired because of the difficulties and possible rejections of a traditional path. But after learning about self publishing she decided to get started.

  • She sold 50 books in the first month—a lot of them were bought by her mother but some strangers did buy them and leave reviews, which is what encouraged her to go on.

  • Genres that Elle has written in include: Action/adventure, urban fantasy, fantasy, sci-fi, romance.

  • Soon after beginning she was able to write full length novels quickly. The added bonus of a writing community helped steer her in the right directions as she built her business to increase her success. She was soon writing so prolifically that she was able to quit her job as a teacher and write full time.

  • With these particular struggles, Elle found it useful to hire a full time assistant last summer which has really helped her with her career. Things that her assistant does include keeping track of non-writing things and talking to fans. It helps that they live nearby so they can work together in person.

  • She admits that she can be a “lazy” person (and often would rather ride a horse!). Elle says that she can leave things off to the last minute. She works better under pressure. Her writing pressure has changed a little now that she has contractual obligations with Montlake Romance. She has found it difficult to work from series to series once she has to break away from one to work on another.

  • Elle says that the biggest difficulty in ‘genre hopping’ is that it can be difficult to brand herself. However, she also says that going from genre to genre can help her keep her writing fresh. Her covers help designate the genres of her books.

  • Despite science fiction/fantasy having a smaller number of readers compared to romance, she feels that she can only reach a small number of romance readers while she can be seen by a much higher percentage by science fiction/fantasy readers. She also sees science fiction as the “next frontier.”

  • Elle’s opinion is that KU is good for new writers who are trying to get their name out, but bad for a long term career. She feels like KU can devalue books. She hopes that one day writers could stand up against KU.

  • The only way that she can write a novel a month is by setting a goal of 85,000 words. She has been using Dragon Dictation to help her write 20,000 words in a day with Dragon. Writing this many words on a keyboard results in ice on her wrists. She had tried Dragon twice before, but after joining a Facebook group that had lots of tips she decided to give it a try. It’s been a great way for her to revolutionize her writing.

  • She finds outlining to not work very well for her, although she will try writing an outline in one-line outline. Elle has a game plan with her writing — but says it is very fluid!

  • When asked what she thinks is a common mistake with writing in various genres is that people pick up too many pen names. It’s not just the books, but dealing with all the social media, the marketing, the branding. Instead, by making things as clear as possible through the covers and the description, she hopes that it will clarify things for the readers.

  • She tries to do a BookBub advertisement once a month because of how large her catalogue is. switching genres you can be in BookBub more often. Although she used to do Facebook advertisements but they are no longer as easy.

  • Elle warned people that giving away too many books can lead to certain expectations by readers. Some readers can get demanding that they get free books or else they will go to other authors. Give away first—Then have them buy the rest.

  • She sends on email a month to her mailing list. If she does not have a new release then she sometimes promotes a friend’s book. She is careful to give appropriate headers in her mailing list regarding her genres.

  • Check out Aesta’s Book Blog and how she gets engagement on Facebook. She is a great example of how to maximize your Facebook influence.

  • Elle has found some crossover readers throughout her series. She didn’t have a lot of expectations, but she’s finding that more and more readers are trying something else for the same sort of writing (laugh-out-loud).

  • Her opinion is that finishing a series before moving on to another project can be advantageous because readers—including herself—sometimes wait till an entire series is released before picking it up.

  • Different groups of people are attracted to different types of genres. On her street team Facebook page she sees people of all ages discussing what they love about her book and it’s not just about the specific genre but also about the unique style of her writing.

  • Elle wishes that she had been more sophisticated in her branding from the beginning.

Find more about her and her books at ellecasey.com. She has links to purchase her books on a wide variety of retailers… And information on free leaders.

 

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

Like us on Facebook.

12 comments

  • Terrific interview, everyone! Although I’m floored by Elle’s incredible productivity, I’m definitely focused on learning how to write faster, and along with my writing partner (who also doubles as my hubby), I’m planning to hop among several genres in the same world. So, it’s encouraging to know that it can be done successfully! (P.S. Dan and I really enjoyed meeting you at the Smarter Artist summit, Lindsay!)

    • SFFpodcast

      Thanks for listening and for popping in, Laura! It was great meeting you guys! I’m most impressed that Elle has managed to be so productive for so long. I can do novels that quickly and often will for several books, especially if I’m kicking off a new series, but I can already feel like I might want to slow down one day. Must be getting old. 😉

  • Looks like I must be loyal listener number 11. Haven’t missed an episode since I found you.

  • Katherine

    I really enjoyed this episode. Thanks for doing the podcast, I’ve learned a lot from it. If you’re ever in need for suggestions for guests, I’d love to see an episode with Ella Summers. She started lasted year and seems to be killing it on the urban fantasy charts. I’d be really curious to hear you guys chat with her.

  • Thanks for this great interview and for the fantastic podcast.
    Just wanted to share my experience with Facebook ads and going wide:
    I’ve had somewhat good results with Facebook ads. I added a little over 1,000 subscribers to my mailing list in February (in part because of a BookBub ad for the first book in one of my series that was offered for free) and before that about 180 in January from Facebook ads alone. Then, in March, another 470 readers were added to my mailing list as well. It seems to be between 40-50 cents per subscriber.
    And I’ve also had some relative success with going wide. My Kobo income now is greater than Amazon and if we throw in BN, iTunes and GP, I’m been blessed with a monthly four-digit income.
    I write in the spy thriller genre.
    Thanks again for the great advice on your show.
    Sincerely,
    Ethan Jones

    • SFFpodcast

      Congratulations, Ethan! Are you able to tell yet if the people who came to the mailing list via Facebook ads are sticking around and buying books? So far, I’ve just sent people straight to Amazon and haven’t tried the book giveaway for a signup, but I plan to one day.

      • I don’t have the know-how or the time to learn how to use the Facebook tracking tools to determine who buys books. The rate of readers unsubscribing is about 20 or so every time I send a new campaign mail (which is about twice a month).

        In the last month, I tried to do a very BookBub-lite offer: giving my mailing list fans the opportunity to buy one or two of my books on a $2.99. I end up having between 20-30 sales during the three-day sale. So I know there are some people who buy books, albeit at a special price. If nothing else, this tactic pays for the monthly Mailchimp fee 🙂

        Have a blessed rest of your week,
        Ethan

        P.S. Just downloaded the newest episode of the show. Looking forward to listening to it later on today or tomorrow on my way to work or back home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *