Romantic Novelists' Association

#IndieApril Author Spotlight: Karen Louise Hollis

3 April 2024

Books by Karen Louise Hollis

We are delighted that you could join us to talk about your indie author journey. Could you tell us a little more about it? Why did you decide to go the self-published route? I have been traditionally published twice in non-fiction, but didn’t like the way I was treated or how things were decided with limited input from me. I first self-published in 2003 and I enjoy having total control over the finished product. However, my dream is for my fiction to be traditionally published.

What is the best part of being an indie author? It’s that control again. Being able to write to my own timetable, for example. I can write four books a year or a book every two years. I don’t have the pressure and deadlines, only self-imposed ones.

What is the hardest part of being an indie author? The marketing and publicity. I find it much easier to say how brilliant someone else’s books are, than saying people should buy my books. It’s also demoralising to do so much work, then hardly make any sales or any money.

What does a typical day look like for you? Well, I’m a full-time carer to my elderly, disabled mother and a single mum to my twelve-year-old son, plus we have a cat, so I look after all of those and then write when I can. I’m currently writing my fourth novel and trying to write every day. I’m also a blogger so I read and review books too and also read every day.

Please tell us about your books. I have written three books about Doctor Who, some poetry collections, short stories, a book on motherhood (Thoughts of a New Old Mum) and many gymnastics books. But my novels are Welcome to Whitlock Close (set in a street in a Lincolnshire village in the 1980s), Starting Again in Silver Sands Bay (a summer romance set on the Lincolnshire coast featuring a divorced single dad aged 48 and a widowed single mum aged 50) and Over The Garden Fence (about two neighbours in their 70s who become friends during lockdown and how their friendship encourages them to try new things and change their lives). I write uplifting fiction with a wide range of ages of characters and lots of cats and dogs.

How has being in the RNA helped you with your indie journey? The courses have been especially helpful, particularly the ones done by Jessica Redland. One of her courses inspired my second novel. I also love the camaraderie between the authors and how friendly and helpful everybody is, retweeting each other’s posts on Twitter and being there for each other.

What advice would you give to somebody who wanted to go the indie route? I have actually written a book where I put my twenty years of experience into it and it’s called How to Self-Publish Your Book for Under £10. My main advice would be just try it and see how you go. I recommend Lulu and Amazon. Be active on social media too and make real friendships, because if people like you, they will want to support you by buying your books or helping you publicise them.

Can you tell us what you are working on now? I’m writing my fourth novel, the sequel to my first. It is called The Whitlock Close Weddings and is again set in the 1980s. Luckily I have all my diaries of the time to refer to, to make sure I get the cultural references right.

Let’s share the love! Can you recommend one other Indie book that you’ve read and tell us what you enjoyed about it? I would recommend Abigail Yardimci’s books. Her most recent is My Little Ramadan, but I’ve loved all her books. She has a real warmth and authenticity in her writing.

Woman with long reddish hair and fringe, smiling

About the Author

Karen Louise Hollis was born in Lincoln, England in 1969. She loved writing from an early age, being the daughter of two journalists. She is a mum to five children and has three grandchildren. She has had over twenty-five books published and has written about a variety of topics including motherhood, poetry, Doctor Who and gymnastics. Her first novel came out in 2022 and she is now working on her fourth.

Links to books

Over the Garden Fence

Starting Again in Silver Sands Bay

Welcome to Whitlock Close