Author 2020 Blog Series: Holly Bargo

This Author 2020 blog series is for fiction and nonfiction indie authors who have either already published, or are due to publish, a book in 2020!

As well as showcasing their amazing writing achievement, every featured author answered ten questions to give aspiring fiction and nonfiction indie authors a behind-the-scenes insight into the self publishing process.

This blog post features romance author Holly Bargo sharing her experience of writing and publishing her latest book: FOCUS.

1. Tell me about your book in 25 words or less!

Someone wants to hurt photographer Dana Secret. She and bodyguard Sam Galdicar scramble to learn why and stop a killer—not fall in love.

2. How long did your book take to write?

This story took me about three months to draft and another three weeks for editing and revision. My editor was integral to this process.

3. How long did the whole process take – from initial idea to publication?

The whole process took nearly four months. While my editor was working on the first round of editing for Hogtied, I began drafting FOCUS. The idea simmered in the back of my mind for a long time and it finally felt right to bring it to life.

Author 2020 blog series

4. What have you learnt about the process of writing a book that other indie authors might benefit from knowing?

Over the past several years, I’ve learned that my process for writing books differs greatly from most other authors. I’m not disciplined. I don’t set a specific time or aim for a specific word count. I don’t even write every day. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to affect my productivity much. In the division between plotters and pantsers, I’m a pantser all the way.

The realization that my “process” (which isn’t a process) only works for a small percentage of writers was reinforced last fall at the 2019 Imadjinn Book Fair & Expo held at the Imaginarium in Louisville, KY. I was asked to participate in a panel discussing the pros and cons of plotters versus pantsers. The panel was cancelled, because organizers couldn’t find enough participants to fill the pantser side of the panel.

5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently, or would do differently with your next book?

I’ve already begun drafting the next book, which will be a sequel to Hogtied. Authors tend to echo themselves in books, so the “doing differently” part will be an effort to make my protagonists distinct from past protagonists. I can’t deviate too much from the expectations of romance readers. I’ve done that a handful of times and received some nasty feedback as a result.

6. How much did it cost to get your book to market?

I spend between $500 and $1,000 per book on focused services for that title. That includes editing, cover design, and marketing.

I also spend several thousand dollars every year on general marketing, publicity, and book promotions. This includes event registrations, virtual book tours, sustained social media marketing, and the like. As an author, I operate in the red, which is why I freelance as a ghostwriter and editor.

When speaking with prospective clients, I caution them that publishing a book does not guarantee of wealth or fame. It’s certainly not a quick path to riches.

7. Do you have any plans to write another/any more books in the future? If so, would you like to share any details about it/them?

I’ve already begun a sequel to Hogtied, a motorcycle club (MC) romance. This story focuses on the MC’s new president of Black Ice Revolution and will cross over into the second-chance romance sub-genre. In this book, the heroine is already married and caring for a daughter with Down Syndrome. The hero and heroine were childhood sweethearts. Old trauma and misunderstandings pose additional obstacles to the requisite HEA. I have no title for it yet.

Hogtied by Holly Bargo

8. Do you want to give a public shout out to anyone who helped you produce your book?

My editor, Cindy Draughon, is amazing. She’s always candid and offers great insights when editing my manuscripts. She also likes my stories, which makes me happy, too.

9. Please share an excerpt of your book below.

Sam leaned back and took a swallow of coffee. The mug didn’t hide his grin. Setting the mug down, he replied, “You’re easy to rile. It’s fun.”

I sighed. “I suppose you have a dossier on me and know pretty much everything about me.”

“Of course,” he replied. “I’m extremely good at what I do.”

“And so am I,” I retorted. For an insane second, I wished I had my camera so I could capture him: The Arrogant Male at Breakfast. With that square jaw, those twinkling eyes, and that proud expression, he would have made a fortune gracing the covers of romance novels. I could see him doing particularly well garbed in period costume.

“Do you have any tattoos?” I asked.

His eyebrows went up, a sign that my question had surprised him. I wanted to preen at the accomplishment. Then his small smile broadened and his gaze turned sultry.

“Wanna see them?”

I kept my cool demeanor and met his gaze without melting. “There’s a studio in the city that specializes in custom cover art for a couple of the big publishers. If you’re looking for a side gig, you’d do well as a cover model.”

“You think I’m handsome?”

I huffed. “You know you’re pretty.”

“Pretty?” he echoed, looking offended.

“Pretty,” I said with a curt nod, pleased to have disconcerted him. He wasn’t the only one who could needle someone. I’d die before admitting that he made Henry Cavill look like a troll.

​“I don’t need a ‘side gig’,” he muttered under his breath.

FOCUS by Holly Bargo

10. Where can readers buy your book (and any other books you have written)?

All my novels can be purchased from Amazon in print or electronic format. All are enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program. My author page is here:

Thank you for participating in this Author 2020 blog series Holly!

Holly enjoys hearing from readers and other authors and may be contacted via the Hen House Publishing website:


This Author 2020 blog series is for all fiction and nonfiction indie authors. To be featured in a future post, please contact me!

If you have enjoyed the posts in the Author 2020 blog series so far, check out the previous posts featuring these talented fiction and nonfiction indie authors:

Wendy Fry

Andrée Roby

Tobey Alexander

Richard James Rogers

Gauri Shanbhag Wagle

Ritu Bhathal

Jen Parker

A-Z of Storytelling Techniques for Authors

A-Z of Storytelling Techniques for Authors is available to buy or borrow now! Get it here.

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