Episode # 16 – The Effectiveness of Perma-free with Elle Casey

In Communities, Perma-free, Pricing, Rapid writing by Simon Whistler8 Comments

perma-free with Elle Casey

In this weeks interview I talk to bestselling author Elle Casey about how effective perma-free (making the first book in a series free) has been for her books. We talk about how she gets such incredibly high read through rates from one book to the next as well as how she manages to write a new book each month!

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The Effectiveness of Perma-free with Elle Casey


War of the Fae (Book 1) – The perma-free book in her series.

Amazon Profile

Elle’s Website

Facebook page


Amanda Hocking

Amanda’s article about book bloggers

Elle’s post on KBoards about her perma-free read through rates – have a look at the percentages!


iTunes (and how much it sucks)

Post about Hugh Howey

Show notes:

TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE! (Click to view, right click to save)

Fast Writing

She was inspired by Amanda Hocking and how fast she wrote books. Elle was inspired by this and just decided to write her first book – she completed it in 6 weeks. She had never written fiction before in the book format, but had been writing in other areas for a long time (non-fiction, letters etc).

Elle currently writes a book a month and has done for the last two years. Being able to produce books at such a rate means that you can experiment with different marketing techniques like perma-free without sacrificing too much of your revenue.

Getting the Start

Despite reading Amanda Hocking’s article about approaching book bloggers, but had very little luck, they simply didn’t want to read an unknown author. A few later came around to help her when a few finally got to her book. Heard about the effectiveness of KDP from KBoards and connected with other authors. Credits KDP with launching her career, but now has come back around to book bloggers as now she has success they are reading her work.

Elle says that the reason she got her start was a combination of many things KDP, bloggers, Facebook marketing, covers…

Support from those around her

At the start she was working a full time job as well as having a prolific writing career. She says her family were vital in making this possible, by supporting her and helping her make the time to write.


Elle has had an enourmous amount of success by making the first book in her War of the Fae series. She has written other series though and she doesn’t pursue the perma-free model with them. This is simply because the sales are doing fine without it. War of the Fae went through a KDP free run and it totally failed – after that she decided to try perma-free.

Why does she get such a great read through rate?

Cliffhangers – Elle doesn’t believe she is using cliffhangers, but her readers seem to disagree.

Small books, small prices?

Elle says that it can be effective to break a longer book up into short segments and sell them individually – it is more expensive for readers but it is their prerogative. You can combine all the segments and sell it for less at the end, but still segments can be profitable.

Writing in Multiple Genres

Always writes one book at a time – stays in one world as it makes the writing process faster.
Elle’s books are very character driven so when she switches to writing a new book she just imagines the characters and sees what they are up to. She finds it very easy to just switch to writing a new book.

She sees some crossover with readers, especially true between her YA books. In other areas she sees no crossover at all – for example between romance and fantasy. This is one of the many things that allows Elle to write so much and experiment with perma-free and other strategies.


Leave a comment below or get in touch with Simon by email at simon@rockingselfpublishing.com

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Simon WhistlerEpisode # 16 – The Effectiveness of Perma-free with Elle Casey
  • R.M. Prioleau

    This was such an awesome interview. Thank you so much, Elle for sharing your experience in your self-publishing journey! Like you, Amanda Hocking has definitely been an inspiration for me to start self-publishing. Thank you, Simon, for having her on the show!

    • SimonRSP

      My pleasure! Glad you enjoyed the show RM!

  • Pingback: Episode # 25 - Genre Hopping and Screenwriting with Michaelbrent Collings | Rocking Self Publishing()

  • An excellent interview. A book a month is insane (in a good way)! My goal once I have my writing feet under me is to push out a new novel every 6-8 weeks. I’m tempted to see how much I can condense that time scale if/when I start writing full time. A month would be awesome.

    Also, this interview eased my mind a bit. I was reading some advice out there that seems to suggest genre hopping was a bad thing. I doubt I’ll ever stick to one genre in my writing. I was hoping that by being upfront and honest with any potential readers about what the novel was about and whether or not it was different from my past stuff would keep my readers happy.

    Do you get the sense Simon that there are disadvantages to genre hopping or do you not really see it as an issue?

    • SimonRSP

      Hi Erik. Maybe this will get slammed as I know some people come down pretty hard on one side of the genre hopping issue or the other. But I feel that if you can’t remain passionate writing in just one genre, that’ll come across in your writing and that just can’t be good. If writing something completely different is going to restore your creative energy and get you back into a state of flow in your primary genre then go for it. Sure, maybe it’ll confuse readers, maybe no one will buy your book in the other genre [list of all reasons not to].

      But it’s pros and cons you know. I don’t think it’s a clear cut issue. It works for some, it doesn’t for others, and if it is something you need to do, then that’s all there is to it.

      I think if you choose to write it under the same name though, you should make it totally clear to your readers what’s going on. The worst thing would be to have readers expect one thing, and get something entirely different, I imagine there would be quite the backlash. Don’t expect your true fans to even read the description though, so I’d make it clear that it is something different from the title and cover alone.

      Just my $0.02. 🙂

  • iron_mountain

    Elle’s hilarious. Great interview. I think, with every passing self publishing podcast I listen to, my brain is becoming more and more immune to the terminology – now all I’m hearing is wah wah wah wah, like the teacher in Peanuts! I jest of course. These podcasts are really helpful and I’m building up a good foundation here. So thanks for all the great interviews. Since I’ve been listening to all these podcasts, I’ve heard a number of mentions of different books about how to get your first book out there. This may be an unfair question, but what would your personal recommendation be for that now Simon? If youre not able to answer though, I get it and don’t worry.
    Thank you very much – keep up the good work.

    • SimonRSP

      Hey David, thanks! And wow, that is a big question. It’s certainly one of the most asked questions by authors, and that’s why I try to bring it up in the podcast so often, trying to work out what caused an authors book to initially take off. There are a ton of factors at play, and different things work for different people, but I commonly see the following:

      – Awareness of Amazon’s algorithm and how it promotes books and authors (the 30, 60, and 90 day cliffs). Authors who are prolific, keep themselves in Amazons awareness.
      – Keywords (get found), amazing cover (get clicked), title (hook), reviews (the social proof), description (close the deal).
      – Pricing!
      – Promotions – develop a sensible strategy for off Amazon promotion (BookBub and the like).
      – Mailing list – CTAs in the front and back. Give something away. Start early, it will be a hugely powerful tool down the line.

      • iron_mountain

        Oh wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question so thoroughly Simon. I really appreciate that. You’re a star 🙂