She calls it “fiction in several flavors”: action-adventure, contemporary urban fantasy, romance, romantic thriller, paranormal, paranormal romance, science fiction, and post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction. Elle Casey has embraced them all with great success as an indie writer. And while women form the majority of her readers, men too read her work. In fact, this summer, Casey plans on releasing a “science fiction space opera” to cater to the male demographic. Casey has enjoyed so much success through indie publishing that she quit her job as a lawyer and teacher to focus on writing full time. A couple of Casey’s books have been picked up by Montlake Romance, which has also signed her up to work on a three-book romance series called Bourbon Street Boys. She and her husband moved to the south of France with their kids in 2010. Owners of a vineyard, 2014 saw their first harvest—the family now has about 300 bottles of wine that will be ready to drink next April. The move to France fits in with Casey’s personal philosophy: make it happen.
Why did you decide to also self-publish instead of just publishing traditionally?
Mostly because I lack the patience to go the traditional publishing route. When I read about Darcie Chan and Amanda Hocking and how they were publishing directly to readers without the middlemen, and how they did it almost immediately after they were done writing and editing their books, I decided this was something I'd like to try.
What’s been the most pleasing or revelatory aspect of self-publishing for you?
The reader response to my work. I suspect that had I sent out query letters to agents, I would have run into a lot of closed doors. I never had to deal with that as an indie writer. I love being able to speak directly with my readers about my work and to share in their enthusiasm over it.
What has been the most difficult aspect of self-publishing?
The amount of time it takes to run the business properly. The writing part for me is easy, and the business part is easy, but doing all of it together is very difficult because there just aren't enough hours in the day.
What is your advice to other writers considering self-publishing?
Absolutely jump in there and do it. Nobody's going to come knocking on your door asking you to write a book, but there are plenty of people out there who want to read what you have to write, I promise. And they’ll pay you for it! Also I wouldn't bother with the traditional publishing process because it takes so long, and the market is flooded with people doing that. Besides, you really don't need a gatekeeper between yourself and your readers.
What steps have you taken to market your books? Tell us more about the YouTube channel.
On my YouTube channel you'll find interviews of me and several how-to videos I've made regarding a writing software I use that has a very steep learning curve. But the majority of my book marketing happens on social media, especially Facebook. I also have a newsletter and sometimes will run contests for free or reduced-price books. I will also do cross-promotions with other authors where we share each other's work with our readers to help spread the word. My marketing tip would be to just be yourself. I have not created a public persona that is different from my real persona.
Poornima Apte is a Boston-based freelance writer and editor with a passion for everything books. Learn more at wordcumulus.wordpress.com.