Me again with two posts in one day! Aren’t you lucky?!
Just a quickie to say a huge thank you to everyone who has left me a review or rating on Amazon because the six Hedgehog Hollow books combined have today just passed 20,000 reviews/ratings (20,023 at the time of taking the screen shots below). Oh my gosh! Go hedgehogs go!
I can’t quite believe this figure. Back during my five-year struggle, I longed for my eight books to get 200 reviews between them so to have six books getting 20,000 in the space of a little over two years is beyond my wildest dreams.
There are reviews elsewhere, including a large number on Audible, so thank anyone who has left a review anywhere, but it is particularly this whopper of a milestone on Amazon that I wanted to celebrate today. Eek!
The final book in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow– was released on 6th September and I’ve been stunned at the speed it has gathered reviews on Amazon because a book set partly at Christmas, with the word ‘Christmas’ in the title and a cover featuring a hedgehog in a Santa hat is something I know that many readers won’t buy/read this far from Christmas.
When book 2, New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow, was released in January 2021, I recorded on a blog post my astonishment at it receiving 100 reviews in a week, 400 reviews by day 19 and 1,000 within 2 months. Book 3, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, eclipsed this. At a fortnight it had 300 reviews but it reached a whopping 1,000 on it’s 3-week anniversary. They just kept coming – 700 reviews in the space of one week! I wondered whether any of the other books in the series would top this or had that been the pinnacle?
Christmas Miracles hit 400 reviews on day 12 so it was looking surprisingly good to steal the crown from book 3 but, by day 20, it was at 600 and there was no way another 400 would come in within the space of one day to match the 1,000 at three weeks. And they didn’t. It was another 50, though, which is still phenomenal and something I still can’t believe I’m writing when it used to take months to gather a handful of reviews pre-Boldwood.
So the award for getting to 1,000 reviews in the most unbelievably quick time remains with Family Secrets but I suspect Christmas Miracles is going to get there sooner than New Arrivals did, perhaps in 5 or 6 weeks rather than 2 months.
The quality of reviews has been phenomenal too. As at the three-week anniversary yesterday, a whopping 88% of my reviews were at 5-star and only 3% were 3-star or below. I’m so grateful to everyone who has shown so much love for the hedgehogs. Of course, now that I’ve said that, I’ll get a stack of negative reviews to redress the balance!!!
I’ve had gorgeous messages on my reader Facebook group – Redland’s Readers – and lots of DMs with lovely feedback for this book and the series as a whole which have been so touching.
I had such an enjoyable chat with my editor, Nia Beynon, on Monday in a Facebook Live. We talked all about the series and I did a reading from Christmas Miracles. If you missed it, you can catch up on it here. I couldn’t resist wearing my autumnal hedgehog dress from Popsy Clothing. I also had a hedgehog necklace on and hedgehog earrings (and socks!) but you probably can’t see them on the video. Got to be done!
Please keep that hedgehog love coming. The hedgehogs and I are so very grateful for all your kind words and recommendations. Quick reminder that Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow(book 1) and Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow(book 5) are on a 99p eBook offer in the UK and one or both are on an equivalent discount in other territories so please spread the word. Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is also FREE in Prime Reading globally and the audio version is FREE to Audible subscribers as part of the Audible Plus programme. And, finally, ALL my books are FREE on Kindle Unlimited or to borrow via most libraries.
In October last year, I hit a sales milestone I never ever dreamed I’d achieve – half a million sales. This was for sales achieved through Boldwood Books only and not any sales achieved through my previous publisher or as an indie author. Having said that, there’d have been little impact if I added them in. To celebrate the half a million milestone, I did some number crunching and discovered that I’d sold less than 10,000 copies of my books during the 4 year 2 month period pre-Boldwood and across the transition period of a year during which some of my books were still available as indie titles before they had an edit and re-release through Boldwood.
I wrote a blog post at the time all about my journey, the struggle to make sales, and how exceptionally grateful I was to everyone who’d supported me on my journey. I don’t want to repeat everything on this post so, if you’re not familiar with my five-year struggle, you might like to check out that post here. If you’re an aspiring/struggling writer reading this, it may give you some encouragement that it can still happen. I’m living, breathing proof of that!
Eight months later, I am stunned to have achieved another milestone. For sales up until the end of May this year, my Boldwood releases have hit three quarters of a million. Woo hoo!
The latest Hedgehog Hollow book – Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow – wasn’t released until late June so it isn’t included in this graphic.
Next stop: One million! Eek! At this rate, hopefully I’ll be celebrating that milestone in early(ish) 2023.
I’m so incredibly grateful to my amazing editor, Nia Beynon, the team and authors at Boldwood Books, and anyone who has bought, borrowed, downloaded any of my books in any format, and those who have reviewed and recommended them. You continue to help make my dreams come true and inspire me to keep those books coming.
On a different note, I have a couple of audio offers on at the moment. If you’re an Audible UK subscriber, Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove and Spring Tides at The Starfish Café are in the 2 for 1 credit sale so why not use your credits to get them both. Lighthouse Cove is the third book in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series but the first two are actually FREE to subscribers as part of Audible Plus so you can listen to almost the whole series for such a bargain. Spring Tides is the sequel to Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café which was on an offer recently.
This morning, it was a special moment to see Spring Tides in the Audible Top 50. THANK YOU! (It says ‘books’ below but this means ‘audiobooks’ on the behind the scenes information.)
It’s just over a week since Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow was released and two astonishing things have happened.
The first is that, in the week up to Saturday 2nd July, despite only being out for five days, the eBook has hit the #4 slot in the Bookstat eBook chart shared by The Bookseller based on UK pre-orders and eBook sales during those first five days. I’m absolutely delighted with this.
A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow in January and Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow in May last year both made it into this chart at #6 and Spring Tides at The Starfish Café was #3 on release in April this year.
What was extra lovely is that fellow Boldwood buddy and good friend Jo Bartlett’s latest release – A Leap of Faith for the Cornish Midwife – was also in the Top 10.
I’m so delighted that there is a chart specialising in eBooks as most of the others are all about print formats and therefore authors with smaller independent presses who lead with digital formats usually aren’t represented.
The second amazing thing was this morning when I was completely flabbergasted to see the audio version of Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow at #7 in the Audible chart. Wowsers! It had got up to #23 the day after release and had stuck around in the Top 50 ever since but had looked to be slowly dropping, being at #48 last night. To see it at #7 all morning and still in the Top 10 this evening (#9 at the time of writing this) is something I never ever expected.
It also topped the Romance chart. Woo hoo!
I’m so very grateful to all the readers who’ve made both of these things possible and, for the audio version, thank you to my amazing narrators Emma Swan and Gloria Sanders for this particular book.
What will the hedgehogs do next? I’m excited to find out!
What a busy day it has been! Not only has it been the publication day of Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow but we’ve also had a cover reveal for the final book in the series: Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow. I absolutely love the cover – I mean, what’s not to love about hedgehogs wearing Christmas hats?
Book 6 will be out on 6th September so not long to wait and can be pre-ordered on Kindle UK here. It will go up for pre-order on Audible and other eBook sites nearer the time. A little heads up on the audio version is that, while we aim for all formats to be available on publication day, there will be a slight delay with the audio and it will be available a week to ten days later so please bear with us on that.
I’ve been out for most of the day and have had no WiFi connectivity which has been a bit frustrating so I was able to respond to messages first thing but not since. I hope to catch up tomorrow. Thank you everyone who has wished me publication best wishes and said kind things about the story. I’m so very grateful.
I’m still reeling at the current chart positions too. Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow is currently #27 in the overall Kindle chart and #42 in the Audible chart. I can’t quite believe it! The only eBook of mine that has reached a higher chart position on Kindle UK is New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms which happened when it went on a Prime deal. This is purely on pre-orders and purchases today and I’m so overwhelmed. Keep having to pinch myself!
So let’s talk about book 6 going up for pre-order and the series ending…
Since book three, I’ve been transparent about the series coming to an end and, after the release if book 4 – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – in January, I’ve been very clear that there would be two more books, both out this year.
It’s so flattering that readers and listeners love Samantha, Josh and all the other characters so much – human and spiky – and want the series to keep going and I’m so grateful for that love and support. There’ve been expressions of disappointment, requests for me to keep writing the series indefinitely and a joke among some lovely fans of the series about staging a protest in my front garden (during which I must feed them biscuits) which has been great fun, making me laugh. What hasn’t been quite so fun are a couple of reviews stating that I’ve let readers down by ending the series. A particular advanced review said very little about the book and was instead a rant about how annoyed they were with me for this being the penultimate book. Eek! That’s a bit harsh! It’s not like I’ve abandoned it mid-series with a gazillion unfinished plot points.
The Hedgehog Hollow series has been exceptionally successful. What started out one book – a blending of an exercise I did on my Masters in Creative Writing with the desire to set something in a hedgehog rescue centre, inspired by my auntie’s work as a hedgehog rescuer – grew into something I don’t think any of us ever imagined. There’s a lot of love out there for hedgehogs. And quite rightly so!
Readers/listeners might therefore think I’m a little bonkers to end a series which is so popular so I thought I’d explain several reasons behind this decision:
Reason 1 –Not staying too long at the party
Anyone who read the acknowledgements at the back of book 3, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, will know that a couple of early reviews of book 2, New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow completely put me off my stride. Those reviews said I should have stopped at the one book because nothing happened in book 2 and it was all padding. Ouch! That hurt so much that I couldn’t write for several days and had a huge panic about agreeing with my publishers to extend the series.
Thankfully more lovely reviews came in and the pre-orders, sales figures and quality of reviews have shown that, while there will always be some readers who decide they’ve had enough and dip out of a series, the vast majority of my readers have loved all the books and can’t get enough of Hedgehog Hollow.
But there’s always that fear at the back of my mind that, if I keep going on indefinitely, I will hit the point where those ‘should have stopped earlier’ comments are valid criticism and even I agree with them.
For me, for my amazing cast of characters and for those wonderful hedgehogs, I want the series to end on a high.
Reason 2 – Having enough stories to tell
There’s a large and fascinating cast of characters connected with Hedgehog Hollow and they all have stories to tell but some are more interesting than others so, in creating this series, I’ve needed to think about who has something interesting to say, ensuring the main storyline remains fresh and very different from book to book while keeping some of the series threads and themes going.
Many of the characters are so closely connected to each other that in telling one character’s story, I’ve revealed much of another’s story too, meaning there’s insufficient left to explore in a separate book.
If we take Samantha’s parents, for example – Jonathan and Debs – their lives are so tied in with Samantha’s storyline and much of their backstory has already come out within Samantha’s narration. I did toy with a book where Jonathan was the narrator (then changed my mind) but I was always adamant that Debs wouldn’t narrate one. This is because the relationship between Samantha and Debs is a key thread across the whole series and giving Debs a book would lessen the impact of following that thread through Samantha’s eyes. We’ve already discovered why Debs is the way she is through information shared across the series and we know the relationship history between Debs and Jonathan through other books so, if I told her story (or Jonathan’s) I’d have been regurgitating known information which would take away the excitement of a backstory reveal.
It’s the same with Josh’s parents, Connie and Paul. Enough of their backstory has already been revealed through Josh in New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow and we’ve kept a track of how they’re doing with their new partners throughout the series. They don’t need books of their own. I could write them but the ‘staying too long at the party’ criticism would be deserved if I did.
Reason 3 – Giving Samantha her happy ever after
This is actually the biggest reason for stopping at six books. The way I set up this series was to have Samantha as the narrator all the way through. This makes sense. After all, Samantha is Hedgehog Hollow. She’s the person who set it up, she’s the person who runs it, she’s the connection to all the other characters.
From book 2 onwards, a guest narrator whose life is connected to Samantha’s has told their interlinked story. While the ‘big’ story is usually the one belonging to the guest narrator, Samantha does need to have key things happening in her life to keep her story interesting and not just padding.
SPOILER ALERT – Skip over these next 2 paragraphs if you’ve just started the series
In New Arrivals, we found Samantha struggling to balance the needs of the rescue centre alongside her full-time role as a tutor, resulting in her collapsing at work and accepting she couldn’t do both jobs. In Family Secrets, she started experiencing PTSD episodes as a result of the vendetta from the Grimes family and, in A Wedding, she was planning her wedding while dealing with the theft of the rescue centre’s money and the subsequent arrival of Phoebe and Darcie.
There have also been three key relationship threads developing across the series – with Josh, her mum and Chloe – where something has changed in each book to move those relationships forward. With Josh, this has been the stages in their relationship, with Debs it has been the gradual thawing of hostilities, and with Chloe this is about Samantha standing up to her during her selfish moments, developing Samantha’s confidence and resilience.
NO SPOILERS FROM NOW…
So there’s always been a conflict/challenge facing Samantha in each book running alongside the ongoing relationship threads.
I sometimes get messages from readers, see comments on social media, and read remarks in reviews telling me to lay off Samantha and asking when I’m going to let her have her happy ever after. I love that readers adore Samantha and want her to be happy but my response is always that, if I give Samantha her HEA, the series ends. Without conflict, there’s no story to tell.
Much as I understand this desire for Samantha to settle down with Josh, have babies, have a calm and quiet life rescuing hedgehogs, no more family conflicts and no more trouble with the Grimes family, do readers really want to read about a ‘normal’ happy life? Of course not! They want to be excited, moved, drawn into a story. And a HEA doesn’t do that.
Which is why the series must end.
My amazing editor, Nia, had also questioned the sense in ending the series when it’s doing so well but, when she read my first draft of Chasing Dreams, the reasons clicked into place for her. She could see what I was saying about how increasingly difficult it would be to have a story for Samantha to tell. I had conflict planned for her in books 5 and 6 but where else would I go beyond that?
There’s conflict I could bring in to keep the series going. I could mess things up for her and Josh. I could introduce a number of scenarios leading to arguments or even a split … but why would I do that? For a start, they are such a well-suited couple. They don’t argue. They’re a partnership, supporting each other through everything so this wouldn’t sit with the relationship I’ve built. I doubt the readers would appreciate it either. Why invest in a couple only for the author to then split them up? And Samantha and Josh certainly wouldn’t thank me for it. One of the things that was really important to me was that, when they got together, it would work for life and I know from reviews that readers have loved how solid they are.
What to expect from the final book
There is one more story I want to tell which is Fizz’s. I loved her from the moment she turned up unexpectedly on the page. With her pink hair and sparkly unicorn T-shirt, she made a strong first impression and I just knew she was going to become a key character.
Running alongside Fizz’s story, Samantha will have one more challenge to overcome before I finally give her a happy ever after.
The final book – Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow – is available for pre-order on Kindle now and will have conclusions for many of the supporting characters. It will go up for pre-order on Audible and other eBook formats nearer the time and be available as a paperback from publication day. I’ve shared the blurb at the end of this post.
Is that it for Hedgehog Hollow?
The great news is that, although this is the end of the series, it’s not the end of Hedgehog Hollow. I still plan to write a prequel book telling Thomas and Gwendoline’s story which I’m excited to write. This is currently penned in for release in July 2024 on the 4-year anniversary of the release of the first book in the series – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – but no definite promises on this just yet. Things can and do change in publishing.
I’m also planning some spin-off books which will tell the stories of people who become connected in some way with Hedgehog Hollow, whether as volunteers or for some other reason. I can’t give too much away as that would give spoilers for what’s coming up in Chasing Dreams and Christmas Miracles but readers will get to catch up with what’s going on at the rescue centre without Samantha being the narrator (and without me having to mess up Samantha’s life!)
I’m really looking forward to writing the first one of these – which I can confirm will be out in January 2023 – and I think readers will be happy with the glimpses into life at Hedgehog Hollow through the eyes of new characters.
So that’s why the series is ending! Would I ever write another Hedgehog Hollow book (other than the prequel)? Never say never but I’m not planning to do so for the moment.
Thank you to everyone who has fallen in love with the series and with hedgehogs. Your support and kind words have meant the world to me. For those who are disappointed, please don’t be sad – feel happy instead that you travelled to Hedgehog Hollow and made new friends and know that there’s more to come from the Yorkshire Wolds, Whitsborough Bay and my new setting in 2023 of the stunning Lake District.
Big hedge-hugs Jessica xx
It’s the countdown to Christmas at Hedgehog Hollow Wildlife Rescue Centre, and everyone is gearing up for a festive season to remember…
It should be the most wonderful time of the year for Samantha and Josh as they prepare for the arrival of their first baby. But life at Hedgehog Hollow rarely goes to plan and the pair are faced with adversaries, old and new, and unexpected challenges to overcome.
Fizz’s job at the heart of the rescue centre is a dream come true but her personal life is more like a nightmare. With her love life a disaster and her past about to dramatically catch up with her, she needs the love and support of her Hedgehog Hollow family more than ever.
As the snow falls over Hedgehog Hollow, will Samantha and Fizz find the Christmas miracle they need to overcome their heartache and find happiness?
Top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland welcomes you back to Hedgehog Hollow this Christmas for the final time in this series for a heartfelt story of love, family, friendship – and hedgehogs of course!
Yesterday (Wednesday 27th April), two special things happened that I wanted to share with you that made me feel very proud.
The first thing was a personal success. Spring Tides at The Starfish Caféhit a whopping milestone of 1,000 reviews/ratings on Amazon after just three weeks. Actually, it was the three weeks and one day anniversary to be specific.
Thank you so much to everyone who has left a review or rating, making this milestone possible. Thank you to all those who’ve done this on Apple, Kobo, Audible and anywhere else as I appreciate all reviews, wherever they’re left. I only tend to shout about the Amazon ones because they’re the larger source.
When we released the first book in the series, Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café,we were a little nervous about it. It was the most emotional story I’d ever written, it was set in winter and included Christmas but wasn’t a Christmas book, and it was a new location, albeit within Whitsborough Bay. What if readers didn’t like it? What if they didn’t take to the new setting? What if they thought it was too sad? What if they wanted all the Christmas feels and didn’t like that a warm and fuzzy Christmas glow wasn’t what the book was all about and it centred on characters who struggled at that time of year? As it turns out, we needn’t have worried at all. It’s my most reviewed book to date (4,363 reviews/ratings on Amazon alone at the time of writing this) and possibly my fastest-selling so far!
You’d think that, with that success, I wouldn’t have been nervous about the release of the sequel, Spring Tides at The Starfish Café, but I was. Readers/listeners had actually loved how emotional Snowflakes was but the heartstrings are pulled when Hollie and Jake’s tragic pasts are revealed. In Spring Tides we already know about their pasts and they’re moving forward into the next stage of their lives so this story isn’t as emotional. Would readers reject it for that reason? Thankfully no as the reviews show.
Is this book the quickest to get to the 1,000 milestone? Not quite but almost. That record is held for me by the third book in the Hedgehog Hollow series, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow. Released in early May 2021, HH3 hit 1,000 on the three-week anniversary exactly so Spring Tides is just one day behind! Book 4 in that series, A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow,reached 1,000 on its four-week anniversary so Spring Tides ‘beat’ that one although I am inclined to think that reviews came in at a slightly slower rate as some readers were still on the Christmas reads at that point and/or waiting until they’d settled into the return to school/work routine after the New Year before reading it.
I’m so proud of those hedgehogs as they keep gathering fans and hedge-hugs with well over 12.5k reviews/ratings between them on Amazon now, each well past the milestone listed below:
The second win yesterday was actually a double win for my amazing publisher, Boldwood Books. They only opened for submissions in February 2019 with their first four titles released in August that year so haven’t even hit their third publication anniversary yet but have already taken the publishing world by storm. Some seriously impressive stats include 77 authors, over 200 titles published, 6 million books sold, 60 top 10 bestsellers, 2 USA Today bestsellers and over 250,000 Amazon 5-star reviews. That’s absolutely amazing! They’ve won several awards during this short time and have been shortlisted for others.
Yesterday at the IPG (Independent Publishers Guild) Independent Publishing Awards 2022, they scooped the win for Trade Publisher of the Year and for Independent Publisher of the Year. Woo hoo! Absolutely amazing and I’m so proud to be part of such an impressive, innovative and friendly team. Photo credit: Boldwood Books, shamelessly nicked from Twitter!
So yesterday was a very happy day for celebrations. And in other happy news this week, I’ve had the title confirmed for the sixth Hedgehog Hollow book and have seen the cover. I love both and can’t wait to share them with you … but that’s for another day.
Two of my audiobooks have been on Audible UK daily deals. All You Need Is Love was on offer on 19th March and New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow was on offer yesterday (1st April).
I’ve had a few of my audiobooks make it into the Top 100 on a 2 for 1 credit or BOGOF deal but these were my first daily deals and I’ve been so thrilled with the results.
All You Need Is Love cracked the Top 20 at #17 but New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow climbed even higher to #13.
Both audiobooks made it into the #1 slots in two categories with All You Need is Love a best seller in Contemporary Romance and Friendship Fiction and New Arrivals a best seller in Romance and Women’s Fiction
Hurrah for the bears and hedgehogs!
At one point yesterday, the hedgehogs were in a Harry Potter sandwich which made me smile. They were also #1 in the Movers and Shakers’ chart for such a massive move up to #13. I don’t think I’ve ever been at the top of that chart before.
Thank you so much to everyone who bought either or both of these titles making another writing goal come true. I’m so grateful to you all xx
A couple of days ago on 2nd February, I was delighted to see the fourth book in the Hedgehog Hollow series – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – pass the 1,000 reviews/ratings milestone on Amazon. This was on the four-week anniversary of release, less than a month after publication (it came out on 6th January).
It hasn’t gathered reviews quite as quickly as book 3 – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – which hit this milestone on its three-week anniversary but four weeks is still amazing! Go hedgehogs!
The other three books all hit special milestones this year and, added together, they have exceeded 10,000. I know I’ve said it before but this is so astonishing because I spent five years dreaming of just one of my books reaching 100 reviews and it shows how much has changed since Boldwood Books took a chance on me.
The hedgehogs and I are so very grateful to Boldwood, to my amazing editor Nia who works her magic during the editing process, and to everyone who has left a rating or review. THANK YOU!
The 10,000 is just on Amazon. I’ve had a quick look on Audible where the series so far has gathered well over 2,000 reviews and Apple Books where there are 667. Lots of love around for those hedgehogs.
I hope you’ve had a lovely day so far. Mine has been a very ordinary Saturday – doing a stack of washing, the dog has been for a groom, and I’m doing some prep work for something I’m involved in online throughout January. But, actually, I like that it’s been back to normality. I really struggle with the feeling after Christmas Day that I’m on holiday but not actually away on holiday.
Writing-wise, two of my books have hit amazing reviews milestones today.
Reviews for Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café came in slowly and steadily at first which we expected as it was released in late August and we knew a lot of readers would save it until they picked up their wintery/Christmas reads.
I noticed reviews coming in much quicker during December with 1,500 reached mid-month. With that sort of momentum, I hoped that it might hit the whopping 2,000 milestone on Kindle before the end of the year.
It actually hit it this morning and, across the day, an astonishing 50 reviews/ratings have been added taking it way past that and 92% are positive. If you’d like to see why readers are loving it so much, it’s still on a 99p deal and you can buy it on Kindle UK here.
In the meantime, I’ve been willing the hedgehogs along. Book 2, New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow, hit a 3,000 milestone a few months back and book 3, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, has been edging closer but not quite making it. Until today. 3,000 reviews/ratings! Woo hoo! And 94% of them are positive!
On Kindle, the series has attracted a whopping 9,068 reviews/ratings so far. Add in a further 636 on Apple Books and an amazing 1,712 on Audible, and there’s definitely a lot of love around for those hedgehogs.
Which is just as well as book 4 will be out on Thursday (6th January). Eek! It can be pre-ordered for Kindle UK here and Audible UK here.
Happy New Year to you and thank you so much to everyone who has left reviews/ratings for any of my books but especially these two milestone-achievers.
Last year, I wrote a really detailed blog post looking back over 2020, broken down into the highs and lows of each quarter in what was a very strange year for us all. It was really interesting reading it earlier so I decided to replicate something similar for 2021.
I’ve just spent three hours working on it, pulling together everything that happened across the year, and I’ve lost the will to continue. Not because there aren’t amazing highs to share or that it isn’t interesting to look back but simply because I think it’s more interesting for me than my readers. So I’ve ditched it.
Instead, I’m going to write a much shorter thank you post to those who have made 2021 another special year for me professionally.
Thank you in no particular order to:
Everyone who has supported me and my books this year. To my readers and listeners, thank you so much for buying, borrowing, streaming, reviewing, promoting, and recommending some or all of my books
Anyone who has participated in a blog tour (especially those who’ve joined them all) and to the amazing Rachel Gilbey for organising these
Readers/reviewers who have named one or more of my books as their favourites of the year. What an absolute honour!
Bloggers/reviewers who’ve kindly featured me on their blogs/websites as a guest this year
Readers who’ve sent me messages or emails telling me what my stories have meant to them
The amazing members of my Facebook community, Redland’s Readers, who share their love of the worlds I’ve created and gorgeous pictures of hedgehogs, lighthouses, the sea and so on
The Boldwood readers community who voted for Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café as the first #BoldBookClub readalong and shared their thoughts, and to the fabulous Claire Fenby for creating this
Sharon Booth, super talented author, for friendship and encouragement
The Write Romantics, my original writing family, for friendship and support through the highs and lows of our journeys – Jo Bartlett, Sharon Booth, Jackie Ladbury, Deirdre Palmer (also writes as Zara Thorne), Lynne Pardoe, Helen Phifer, Helen Rolfe, Rachel Thomas, Alys West
All the fabulous authors at Team Boldwood, most of whom I’ve only met virtually, for being so friendly and supportive
New friends I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this year including the lovely Eliza J Scott
A wonderful community of authors who’ve been shared posts and been amazing in the author community. Too many to name but I specifically want to shout out to Sandy Barker, Kim Nash (aka Kim the Bookworm) and Ian Wilfred who have done so much for me and other authors this year
My mum for being my biggest fan who shows unwavering interest in everything that’s happening with my books
My brilliant husband Mark for being the most supportive and understanding husband ever, and our gorgeous daughter Ashleigh for never moaning about how much time I spend drifting off in my fictional worlds
Everyone involved in the process of getting my books to the market – Cecily my copy editor, Sue my proofreader, Debbie my cover designer and Megan at Boldwood preparing all the books for digital upload and distribution
The amazing team of narrators and distributors at ISIS Audio and Ulverscroft
The amazing library staff who’ve stocked and promoted my books/audiobooks, especially Middlesbrough Libraries who had me as their author of the month during December
The Works for taking another two of my books this year and specifically to the manager Jamie and her fabulous team at The Works Scarborough for being so welcoming and promoting my books to their customers
The RNA (Romantic Novelists’ Association) for championing romantic fiction and challenging the appalling snobbery this genre receives
The best editor in the world ever, Nia Beynon, for editing excellence, empathy, and encouragement. Fifteen books down, nine to go… and hopefully many more after that!
And last, but by no means least, the whole team at Boldwood Books for another amazing year. Five more books released, three of them brand new, and sales of half a million earlier this year have been phenomenal. Amanda our CEO continues to drive an innovative, inspirational publisher where the author is at the centre of everything they do. I can’t wait to see what new ideas 2022 brings
I hope 2021 has brought you kindness and happiness, despite the continued strangeness and I send you best wishes for 2022. Hope the year starts well and brings dreams and wishes fulfilled.
Big New Year hugs Jessica xx
I’ll finish with a gallery of some of this years writing-related highs including five new releases, two books into The Works, an Italian translation, an amazing competition in conjunction with Lucy Pittaway artist, and so much more …