Ilona Andrews's Blog, page 6

April 3, 2014

When you are trying to self-publish, you have to be aware of the associated costs.  Assuming that you are outsourcing things, there are financial costs.

 Cover. This will likely run between $100-$500.
Editing: $1,000-$2,000 for novel length.
Formatting: $50-$200

But the biggest cost comes in time and effort it takes to upload all of the files to the retailers and keeping track of the money.  It gets to be really expensive in man-hours.  That’s why there is a whole cottage industry that sprung around the self-publishing.  These firms are quick to point out that they are not publishers.  They are simply facilitators.  They take care of the cover, formatting, upload, money tracking and so one and for that they take a cut from profits.  No money upfront.

Sounds like a good deal, right?  Let’s look at that. Going by the higher cost listed above we have about $2,700 in costs for an ebook.  Let’s give ourselves a little bit of leeway and say we spent $3,000.  You likely to spend much less, but for the sake of the example let’s max it out.

Here is the quote from a solicitation I received (I get a lot of those.)

REDACTED is concentrating exclusively on novellas (around 70 to 100 pages) - quick reads that will be sold for $2.99 through the REDACTED platform. Of that $2.99, authors receive $1 for every single title sold. I recognize that’s less than what you’d receive through Amazon, but for what you’re giving up, REDACTED offers A LOT in return:

- You retain ALL of your rights except for REDACTED ability to anthologize your story in future editions, from which you will receive a percentage.
- Again, that’s ALL of your rights, including media rights. You could even take a book published with us and publish it through a traditional publisher once you’re wildly famous!
- Distribution on numerous platforms, including Consortium, Apple in the US, Canada, EU and Australia/New Zealand, Barnes & Noble, eBooks, Google Play and many others (let me know if you’d like a full list).
- REDACTED covers the cost of the book’s cover art.
- Instead of dealing directly with Amazon or Google or B&N, you deal with us, which means personal service and a check coming from only ONE place.
- Professional editing and proofreading services.
- You get to be in great company, with authors like REDACTED and REDACTED.
- This is NOT a vanity publisher. You put up absolutely no money up front.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s use only sales from Amazon as an example. Okay, so on $2.99 release I get 70% through Amazon.  That means $2.093.  They take a buck, so they are splitting the proceeds with me 50/50.  Let’s say, I only sell 100 copies in a year.  The book earns $209, we each get $104.5.  That’s a good deal for me, bad deal for them.

But suppose the book sells well.  Suppose it’s a hit, and it sells, like many e-books do, 10,000 units per year.

Total earnings: $20,930

Redacted’s cut: $10,465.

What if it sells 20,000 units per year?

Total earnings: $41,860

Redacted’s cut: $20,930.

Think about it.  You just paid almost 21K for services only worth about 3K and you will continue to pay them more and more money for the lifetime of the book, which can be available for years and years.  Do the math before you jump.

For those who are interested, we are using our agency to distribute our ebooks, because we don’t have the time to manage our backlist.  Most agencies with ebook plans in place take only 15% of the earnings, not 50%.  Our agency is our partner, they offer a great list of services, and they more than earn their money.

Explore all of your options.  :)  Try to go for the flat-fee services if you can, or for those who offer low-percentage profit sharing.  Sometimes giving up 20-30% of earnings isn’t a bad option if it means the work wouldn’t see the light of day any other way, but there is usually a cheaper option.  High-percentage profit sharing typically only works in content creator’s favor when the work commercially fails.

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Published on April 03, 2014 07:21 • 332 views

April 1, 2014

Click to enlarge

Hidden Legacy, Book 1

Release date: October 28, 2014

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Available from: Indiebound | Powell’s | B & N | Amazon | iTunes (Coming Soon)

ISBN: 978-0062289230


I feel like we’ve been building toward this idea for a really long time.

It began years ago with a short story called Of Swine and Roses.  It’s a story of girl from a world where magic is a normal, every-day thing and her disastrous date.  There was something oddly compelling about the worldbuilding we did for that short.  Magic exists in the world, magic is hereditary, and family business often revolves around the family magic.  Imagine that you a pyrokinetic, a fire mage who can create heat and flame out of nothing.  Let’s you you become a glass maker.  You’re able to precisely apply just enough of the right kind of heat to create beautiful glass pieces.  Your children are pyrokinetics too.  Perhaps they follow in your footsteps or perhaps they choose to go into metallurgy or enlist in military forces and become a combat operative.

It’s such a simple idea but it allows for so much flexibility and conflict.  It lends itself to a vibrant, fresh world.

We left the story alone and moved on to other ideas.  Then came the world of Kinsmen, two science fiction stories that combined romance and enhanced human beings.  They lived on a different planet and their families ran it, the way mafia families had once ran New York.

Now we finally come to BURN FOR ME.  It grew out of those previous stories and we can’t wait to share it with you.  It’s a story of a woman who exists in a world very much like our own, except this world revolves around Houses, magic dynasties.  They own corporations, they dominate politics, and they feud to each other.  It’s a story of over the top adventure, flashy magic, and unlikely romance between Nevada Baylor, who knows when people lie to her and Mad Rogan, the billionaire-mage who wields almost god-like power.

It’s funny and and romantic and it was so much fun to write.  We’re thrilled to work with Avon on it and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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Published on April 01, 2014 08:58 • 621 views

March 24, 2014

Sorry guys, we are trying to catch up.  Had a rough weekend.  On Friday Kid 1 reported that Tulip, one of our cats, had thrown up cat food streaked with blood.  Since Tulip is tiny, she was immediately rushed to the vet, where the diagnosis of “We don’t know what’s wrong; it could be a number of things” was announced.

Her tummy was distended, which didn’t mean anything because Tulip is a little piggy. She was negative for worms, but they gave us dewormer anyway.  Tulip doesn’t like dewormer. Also, unlike our other cats, Tulip doesn’t suffer indignities of having her temperature taken with stoic determination.  She bit the vet.  That was the last spark we saw from her.  She became really lethargic after that and we thought she might have been tired from vomiting and stress of being at the vet.

Then we brought Tulip home and we had company this weekend, Gordon’s former boss, Tracy, from Savannah. We took her out to County Line, which is one of the iconic BBQ places in Austin and is always great.   When we came home, Tulip couldn’t walk.  I went right to “She is going to die” place. I don’t even know why.  Well, I do.  We lost a shelter kitten to FIP a couple of years ago without any warning and it made me paranoid. I was convinced she would die.

Baby Tulip and her big brother Edward von Gigglestein.  Same parents, different litter.

Baby Tulip and her big brother Edward von Gigglestein. Same parents, different litter.

So me and the kids sat with her and tried to get water into her (if you dip your fingers into water, most cats will lick it off) and then we offered her some of the special canned food the vet had prescribed.   It was supposed to be gentle on her stomach. Tulip could barely stand but she ate half a can. Because she ate, we held off on going to the emergency vet.

In the morning Tulip had used the litter box but still wasn’t walking.  Normally Tulip is a tiny grey lightning. Zoom this way, zoom that way, pounce.  So I took her back to the vet as soon as they opened.  They watched her walk.  She was really uncoordinated and faceplanted a couple of times.  The vet decided it was neurological and gave us some antibiotics in case of a bacterial infection. I also asked her to give Tulip some fluids, and predictably Tulip didn’t like having fluids injected under her skin and tried to bite the vet again. I bought her a bag of atrocious smelling Science Diet kitten food in hopes that she would eat. So clearly the message is, “Bite the vet = get awesome food.”

I had to work on Sunday, because of that novella we should not have agreed to do and which I now violently hate. Tulip has been under constant surveillance for the past three days.  If Gordon or I didn’t watch her, the kids did.

So it’s Monday. Tulip is running around, pouncing,  and annoying her older brother.  We scaled the kitten deathwatch somewhat, but we’re not out of the woods. She is still a bit uncoordinated.

Now we must work on this novella. It’s like writing the last Edge book – when I think about it, I want to throw things because I don’t want to write it.  It’s like that project at work you know you have to do, but you’ve been putting it off and off and now it’s due.  But it’s Jim and Dali, so I’m sure we can make it fun at some point.

This is based on a popular decal, but I drew the stick figures myself, and paid for sign stock art. Feel free to use.

This is based on a popular decal, but I drew the stick figures myself, and paid for stock art. Feel free to use.

Oh, and here is the beginning for you.  When I was moaning about it on Twitter, people asked for the chain mail bikini, so one is enclosed.

Please refrain from pointing out typos, stylistic “mistakes,” commas, semicolons, and arguing whether or not we had chosen the correct word.  Normally I am okay with typo corrections, but as I can see from Clean Sweep, people tend to concentrate on “Let me fix your writing!” rather than the content of the posts and I would rather not deal with it right this second.  Thank you for your understanding.  :)


I looked at myself in the mirror. I wore a tomato-red satin garter belt with black-lace-up inserts. The garter belt held up black fishnet stockings. A matching bra did its best to push up my small boobs. It didn’t have much to work with. I wasn’t just skinny. When my body was made, someone had read the instructions wrong. I had tiny boobs, narrow hips, and thin chopstick legs with knobby knees.

I looked ridiculous.

The description of the bra had promised “enticing curves” and encouraged me to “flirt with your most stunning cleavage.” I leaned on the bathroom vanity and blew the air out. This sucked so much.

I stared at my reflection in the mirror. “You’re a weretiger. Confident. Aggressive. Roar.”

Still ridiculous.

It could be worse, I told myself. I could’ve gone for the chain mail bikini. The lingerie shop had one of those, too.

The sales clerk had recommended a floaty pink see-through thing with bows. Buying that was out of the question. I was already short and skinny. The see-through thing would swallow me. Besides, the color was wrong. My parents were Indonesian, of Javanese descent, and my skin had a bronze undertone. That shade of pink did not look good on me. Besides, that outfit was a baby-doll outfit. Looking cute and sweet was the last thing I wanted to do, because tonight Jim Shrapshire and I had a date.

Jim Shrapshire ran Clan Cat, one of the seven clans in the Atlanta’s Shapeshifter Pack. A werejaguar, he normally served as the Pack’s Chief of Security. Jim wasn’t just a badass. He was a badass who wrote a book for badasses on how to be a badder badass. Which is why, when Curran, the Beastlord and the ruler of the Pack, had to go on an expedition to Mediterranean, he left Jim in charge of fifteen hundred shapeshifters. Curran’s been gone for about a month and Jim was keeping the Pack together with iron claws. He was smart, scary, funny, had muscles in places I had no idea muscles existed, and for some weird reason he liked me.

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Published on March 24, 2014 08:21 • 563 views

March 22, 2014

Click to embiggen

Click to embiggen


From across the room, [Kid 2] stated she had to go to the restroom, while students were taking a test. She was told to remain quiet during the test and will have to wait until another student returns.  She then asked me, “are you bleeding from your penis?” She then demanded I send her to the AP office or ISS room while disrupting the test takers.  When she was told she may go, she stated, “No, I will just sit here and bleed.”  She never left the room.

The story according to Kid 2:

I was done taking the test in health class and I walked up to Mr. Crawson and asked him to go to the bathroom. He asked why, and I told him I had feminine issues.

He asked, “What kind of feminine issues?”

I said, “Feminine issues.” 

Then he said, “If those are the feminine issues I think you’re talking about, I know more about them than you do, and you don’t have to go right now.”

And then I said, “Really, Mr. Crawson, you know more about it?  Do you bleed out of your penis every month?”

But honestly I said penis, we were in a health class, and it’s not like it’s a bad word.

So I had lunch detention and when ladies in the office asked what for, I told them and they laughed.


As an aside, Kid 2 is not in trouble, as I completely believe her side of the story.  I do also believe that upon being told that she couldn’t go, she declared that she would just sit there and bleed.  Because she is my child and I would’ve done worse if he attempted to embarrass me by asking what kind of feminine issues I had.

 Update (because a couple of people took this in the odd direction): This is not about the teacher’s due diligence.  This is about a grown man in the position of authority telling a young girl that he knows more about menstruation and its side effects than she does. Her response is exactly the way we all feel when men try to legislate our reproductive rights.

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Published on March 22, 2014 09:34 • 784 views

March 21, 2014

Bernard, for your funniness.

On the left Bern very carefully restrained blond Arabella, by holding her by her waist above the floor.  Arabella was really strong, but Bern wrestled through high school and went to a judo club twice a week.  Now nineteen and still growing, he stood an inch of six feet tall and weighed about two hundred pounds, most of it powerful supple muscle. Holding a hundred pound Arabella wasn’t a problem.


Bern gave me a funny look. “Did you see the bus?”

“I don’t want to talk about the bus.”

“Okay,” Bern said in a soothing voice. “We don’t have to talk about the bus. We can talk about the cow instead.”


I glanced at Bern.  “Hey. You know, if you wanted to join a fraternity, you totally can.”

My cousin’s shaggy eyebrows crept up.  He reached over and carefully put his hand on my forehead. Checking for fever.  “I’m worried about you.”

I pushed his hand off.  “I’m serious.  I don’t want you to feel like you have to miss out on anything.”

He pointed at himself.  “Programmer and cybermagician.  We don’t join fraternities.  We hide in our lairs in darkness and bloom under the glow of computer screens.”

“Like mushrooms?”

“Just like that. Except that mushrooms don’t bloom.  They produce spores.”

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Published on March 21, 2014 08:45 • 299 views

March 20, 2014

There are days when deadlines get to you, so you’re trying to find humor wherever you can.

bigstock-Girl-Warrior-59798864Email exchange:

Anne Sowards: Here is cover copy for the anthology NIGHT SHIFT for you to look over.

Me: Copy looks great. One question: there are 3 UF stories and then there is a warrior princess?  I was under impression that this is a UF anthology.  Because if it’s not, we need a change of game plan. I am sure I can scrounge up a chainmail bikini heroine from somewhere… ;)

Anne: Ha! That’s Meljean’s story. It’s a paranormal romance / urban fantasy anthology, with a pretty loose theme. But please do not give Dali a chainmail bikini . . .!

There you have it.  ;)

Clean Sweep is now available for purchase in audio.  Let the hilarity ensue.

PS. You know that I am a wordpress theme junkie.  If I had time, the website would be redesigned again by now.  So I wanted to give a shot out to Jeremy Tolbert and his Clockpunk Studios.  Jeremy designs some serious awesome wordpress sites.  I really like his latest theme.

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Published on March 20, 2014 08:16 • 266 views

March 14, 2014

As you probably figured out by now, SWEEP IN PEACE, the second volume in the Innkeeper Chronicles is up on the website.  We are going to try to follow the same format as CLEAN SWEEP, with the rough draft being posted in chunks online, followed by an ebook release.  As a reminder, the audiobook of CLEAN SWEEP is currently available for preorder and will be released on March 19th.

Wicked Scribes has created a great character guide to Innkeeper Series, so if you have forgotten who some of the people are, it’s a good place to catch up.  I’m really impressed with their website overall.  They do a really good summary of the current UF and PNR.

Radiance-Grace-DravenIf you’re in the market for more free online reading, Grace Draven currently has an online story. It’s titled Radiance, it starts with a wedding, and parts 1-3 are already up.


Also Elizabeth Hunter is posting a serial novella called The Bronze Blade.  According to her it’s not a happy story, but if you are a fan of the Elemental World series and you want to know more about Tenzin, this might be right up your alley.

In other big news, Patricia Briggs’ new Mercy novel, NIGHT BROKEN, has been released this week to  stellar reviews.  Patty has posted some author comments on her site regarding this book, so if you are sucker for inside information, here is a link.


We get a lot of emails asking us to write a follow up to this story or that story.  We are very glad that you guys enjoyed a Mere Formality or Alphas Origins, but sometimes there is just no urge to return to the world. Mentally you’re just done with it.  If I think about Kate’s or Nevada’s world, the stories began to spiral up like grape vines, almost on their own.  Alphas or Kozlov universe, not as much.

But I wanted to keep you in the loop as to what’s happening:

Innkeeper 2 has been started. We are hoping to end by October and release it in time for Christmas if possible.

MAGIC BREAKS, Book 7 and Not Final (because for some reason people keep asking us if it is) has gone through the copyedit, so we should move on to the galley stage. We are still on target for July 29, 2014 release.

BURN FOR ME, Book 1 in Hidden Legacy series, has been through the first editorial pass.  We are working on implementing those suggestions now.  Our editor, Erika Tsang, is quite awesome.  If her name sounds familiar, it’s also because she edits Jeaniene Frost, so our book is in really good hands.

Once BURN FOR ME edits are finished, we are moving on to Jim and Dali novella, which will hopefully show Jim in a somewhat less serious light.  After that, we begin work on Magic #8, tentatively titled Magic Please Make Money, We Might Have A Kid in College Soon.

Well, that’s about it.  I’m off to work.

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Published on March 14, 2014 09:44 • 531 views

March 13, 2014

Thank you for participating in the title contest. If your title hasn’t been chosen for this one, it maybe chosen for the next one and if that happens, you will also be awarded some sort of awesome goodie.

Random winners of the Innkeeper 2 giveaway are:

Page 4 comment 16: =A.

Page 2 comment 6: flikchik.

Please email me at for your codes.

For the winning title of the Innkeeper Chronicles Book 2, please click here.

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Published on March 13, 2014 10:02 • 203 views

March 10, 2014

Do you want your name in Acknowledgments?  How would you like it to be included?  Please email me at the same address we used for Beta Edit.  Thank you!

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Published on March 10, 2014 11:40 • 235 views

Inn2Looking for some fun titles for the sequel to Clean Sweep.  Staying within the “broom” theme or cleaning theme or inn-related theme would be a plus.

I have some codes for complimentary download of the audiobook of Clean Sweep.  One will be awarded to the winning title and two will be awarded to two random commenters as a consolation prize.  You need to be an Audible customer (have an account or an Amazon account) to redeem the codes.

Let’s see, the theme of the book will center around peace talks involving vampire of House Krahr and a new formidable faction.  First installment should be up on Friday so let’s have the deadline for contest being around noon on Wednesday.

As always, you must comment on the blog, because if you send me an email or comment on Goodreads, we won’t see it.  :)

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Published on March 10, 2014 11:39 • 211 views