Hello everyone and Happy Easter. Whether the bank holiday weekend has religious meaning for you or not, I hope you’ve had a restful one so far and haven’t over indulged on chocolate!
I’ve been self employed for about seven years now so a bank holiday doesn’t always mean a break for me but, when I was employed, I used to love the long four-day weekend, particularly when Easter fell in April meaning the May Day bank holiday weekend would follow soon after. If there were three four-day weeks in a row, that was such a special treat although this year we have one full week before the May Day weekend.
I took a few photos of my books in Easter poses (can books pose?) intending to share them across the weekend but I didn’t think to schedule them and, as we’re away at the moment, I forgot to share any until yesterday. I thought I’d therefore share a few here instead of waste them! Hope you like them.
Today – Monday 18th April – most of my books are on offer in Australia. It’s nearing the end of the day in Australia as I write this but please do spread the word if you read it and it’s still Monday in Australia!
Six of my books are on a one-day Goldbox deal at 99c: Making Wishes at Bay View, Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove, Coming Home to Seashell Cottage, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow, New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow and Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow.
The offer doesn’t end there. Another six of my books are in the Kindle Monthly Deal: All You Need is Love and the three books in the Christmas on Castle Street series – Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop, Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes, Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe – are all only $1.29. New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and The Secret to Happiness are also in the Kindle Monthly Deal although they’re $2.59 and $3.19 respectively.
And in case you wanted to almost complete the set, A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow and Snowflakes Over The Starfish Cafe are both on a $2.19 offer. So many bargains to be had!
It has been another amazing week in the world of Hedgehog Hollow.
Today, on the 4-week anniversary since the release of book 3 in the series – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – the first book is celebrating a major reviews/ratings milestone. It has now passed the 2,000 point on Amazon. Woo hoo those hedgehogs!
But book 3 has hit another amazing number. 1,300 is maybe not a number we’d call a milestone but when we say that 1,300 was achieved in only 4 weeks, my gaster is well and truly flabbered (which auto correct wanted to change to my Easter is blabbered!)
And with over 2,300 reviews, the 2nd book – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – is well on its way to a 2,500 milestone.
Meanwhile over on Apple, the hedgehogs have been enjoying more celebrations. I posted to say that Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow had been chosen as Apple’s Free Book of the Week in the UK and Ireland as well as being free Romance of the Week in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. That week is over now. Well, I say the week is over but it still is showing as FREE in some territories so, if you’re an Apple user and haven’t already grabbed it, you may still get it for free.
Giving away a book for free may seem a strange thing to do as it obviously brings in zero income for an author and we do have bills to pay. It’s a strategy that can work well when the book is the start of a series as it’s effectively giving readers a free sample. If they like what they try, they’ll hopefully go on and read the other books in the series and, as they’ll be buying those, some income is still generated.
In March last year, the first book in the ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series – Making Wishes at Bay View – was the Free Book of the Week in the UK and made it to the #1 position, with #3 for Making Wishes at Seaside Blooms, #13 for Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove and #23 for Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (#2, 3 and 5 respectively in the Romance category chart). I hoped similar things would happen for the hedgehogs.
And I’m delighted to say they have…
FINDING LOVE AT HEDGEHOG HOLLOW topped the overall chart in UK and Ireland, and the Romance category in both those territories and Australia. Top 6 everywhere else!
It was so lovely seeing it at the top of the overall free chart…
NEW ARRIVALS AT HEDGEHOG HOLLOW came so close to the top in the UK and I thought at one point that it might just nudge up there… but there was a new E L James released today. The hedgehogs are not going to topple Mr Grey!
I was absolutely delighted to chart in the USA with it being such an enormous market. Apple shows the Top 200 positions but gives no indication of chart positions outside that so it’s such a special moment spotting it visually represented.
A particular thrill was becoming a sandwich in the Apple Books UK chart with Richard Osman and Matt Haig who have two of the biggest selling books of the year. What an honour! I’d bought both paperbacks recently so couldn’t resist recreating the sandwich in my office.
And this was my #2 moment, so very close to the top. As you can see, book 3 was still working its way up the charts at this point. It’s so surreal when I see some of the HUGE names with whom I’m sharing ‘shelf-space’ and also particularly lovely to see a fellow Boldwood author, Diane Saxon in there too…
FAMILY SECRETS AT HEDGEHOG HOLLOW didn’t chart in Ireland but did well in all the other territories and potentially could still climb higher but I wanted to write this post today as it’s the 4-week anniversary since the release of Family Secrets.
It was particularly great capturing book 2 and 3 today in the Top 5 together:
At one point, books 2 and 3 were Top 5 together while book 1 was top of the free chart so they were all featuring on the home page in the UK. Don’t imagine I’ll see that again!
A huge thank you to all Apple users who’ve made this possible this week and to all the Amazon users who’ve helped achieve those amazing review/ratings numbers.
As I say, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow still appears to be free in most territories for Apple so do check yours out if you haven’t already grabbed it. It’s also still in Prime Reading on Amazon and all my books are in Kindle Unlimited so free if you subscribe to that.
I had a really busy Easter weekend, finishing editing book 13 and a couple of exciting promotions on my books.
The first promotion was a Kindle Goldbox in Australia. This is a special promotion that Amazon Kindle run on a Sunday. The author needs to have at least six titles with the same publisher and they need to have been at £2.99 or more (or the overseas equivalent) for at least two months. If accepted for a Goldbox, the price will drop to 99p for a 24-hour period and Amazon will heavily promote the deal.
I’d noticed this in the UK charts for the first time last year but didn’t know why. I spotted that all the books in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series were in the Top 50 and I wondered whether it might have been the anniversary of author Douglas Adams’s birthday or death but it wasn’t. I noticed the same happening for other authors over subsequent Sundays and discovered from my publisher about the Goldbox promotion.
On Sunday, eight of my titles went on a Goldbox promotion in Australia and I can’t thank the readers in Australia enough for responding so positively to the deal and delivering these amazing results:
#10 for The Secret to Happiness
3 x other titles in the Top 50 (New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove and New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow)
3 x more Top 100 titles (Making Wishes at Bay View, Coming Home to Seashell Cottage and Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café)
#1 Best seller Tags on all the books
And what was even more amazing was all seven of these titles were in the Kindle Top 100 at the same time!
The only title that didn’t make it into the Top 100 was Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes which wasn’t really a surprise considering it’s a long way from Christmas (even Australia’s Christmas in July celebrations). It still did me proud with a #149 position. (For some reason, I don’t seem to have a screenshot of it but I do have one of the Movers & Shakers chart showing the jump up the chart).
It was tricky keeping watch of the promo due to the time difference so I confess I got very little sleep on Saturday night/Sunday morning.
Then around mid-afternoon GMT on Sunday, it was the turn of the bears. All You Need Is Love (set partially in a specialist teddy bear shop, hence the reference to the bears) was on a BookBub promotion in the UK, Canada and Australia. This is where an email goes out to thousands of subscribers alerting them to books on offer. The bears climbed up the chart to #45 in Australia, #81 in Canada and #127 in the UK. Well done those bears!
I got very little sleep on Sunday night/Monday morning keeping my eye on that promotion too! Soooo sleepy now.
The Goldbox offer has ended but there is still a discount on All You Need Is Love so not too late to bag a 99p (or overseas equivalent) bargain. The first two Hedgehog Hollow books are also discounted just now.
A huge thanks to my amazing publisher, Boldwood Books, for making this possible and achieving yet another dream that wasn’t even a dream with 7 Top 100 books in Australia at the same time. That feels pretty special.
Hope you have an amazing second week of the Easter holidays.
Down in Australia, the Easter bunny is delivering a fabulous basket of treats for Kindle readers because a whopping eight of my ebooks … yes, EIGHT of them … are on a very special offer for ONE DAY ONLY.
The four titles in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Series, one of my Hedgehog Hollow books, and three more of my Whitsborough Bay books are all reduced to the ridiculously low price of $0.99 for SUNDAY 4th APRIL ONLY:
Making Wishes at Bay View (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 1)
New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 2)
Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 3)
Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 4)
The Secret to Happiness
Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes
Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café
New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow (Hedgehog Hollow book 2)
And All You Need Is Love and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (book 1 in the Hedgehog Hollow series) are both only $1.89 on offer at the moment too.
So you can get all ten of my Boldwood Books releases for only $11.70!!!
I’m very tired this morning. Actually, I’m tired most mornings but I was super-duper extra tired this morning because I’d been up at various points in the night checking chart positions. I assure you I’m not normally that committed – or perhaps I should say obsessed – but New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow was on a BookBub promotion in the UK, Australia and Canada yesterday/overnight which is always exciting as it can mean high positions.
What is BookBub? Avid readers can sign up to it for free in exchange for details of book promotions. You choose the genres you’re interested in reading, your favourite authors, and whether you like ebooks, audio or both. Every day at around 3pm GMT, BookBub email a newsletter to their subscribers with details of a small number of promotions based on the selections they’ve made. For an author/publisher to secure a BookBub deal, a book must be on offer – I think it has to be at least half price – or free. It’s a great way for readers to keep on top of bargains.
BookBub’s subscriber database is ginormous and having a BookBub promo usually has a significant impact on chart positions. Even though the Kindle charts are meant to be updated hourly, this isn’t always the case and there’s often a lag. There is also a time difference across the regions so the greatest chart impact can often be in the UK’s early hours, hence my nocturnal activities last night!
New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow was already close to the Kindle Top 100 in the UK before the newsletter came out so I was pretty sure it would make it inside the Top 100 but wasn’t sure how far. Those hedgehogs scampered up to #77.
All my previous BookBub promos have resulted in higher chart positions in Australia and Canada than the UK so I was particularly excited to see how high New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow would reach in those regions. Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow had made it to #40 in Canada and #20 in Australia when it was on a BookBub last October but The Secret to Happiness and Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe had made it even higher in both regions. How would the second hedgehog outing fare?
This time, the hedgehogs didn’t perform quite as well in Canada with a peak of only #263 late last night. It’s still a great chart position and something that, 18 months ago, I never dreamed I’d ever achieve but it’s significantly lower than the other four promos I’ve had (Making Wishesat Bay View was also in a BookBub last year and, although it didn’t get as high as the other three, it still made it into the Top 100). I don’t know why New Arrivals didn’t do as well as my other books and I could go into circles speculating so I’ll celebrate the Top 300 position instead and be very happy with that.
It was also a lower chart position in Australia than the previous four but the hedgehogs did still crack into the Top 100 with a peak of #67 late this morning in Australia meaning all five of my Aus BookBubs made it into the Top 100. Thank you Australia!
So a very valiant attempt by the hedgehogs and I’m very proud of their performance. But what is even better is ticking off yet another goal that wasn’t even a goal: two books in the UK Top 100 at the same time!
Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (book 1) is currently in Prime Reading and was already in the Top 100 but it was so lovely to see New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow (book 2) joining it. I managed to capture them at #58 and #77 respectively. They’ve both dropped a few places now although, at the time of writing this, they’re still both in the Top 100. They both remain on promotion in the UK at only 99p and will stay that way for a limited time, with Finding Love still being in Prime Reading for another couple of months. New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow will remain on offer in Canada and Australia for a short while too.
A huge thank you to everyone who has helped both Hedgehog Hollow books to get into the Top 100 at the same time. Yesterday, my amazing publisher Boldwood Books announced a new record for their authors with a whopping eight titles in the Top 100. New Arrivals joining them today made a new record of nine. Massive congratulations to Shari Low, Rosie Clarke, Gemma Rogers, Judy Leigh, Louise Douglas and Portia MacIntosh – writing across a variety of genres – for their Top 100 success. Go Team Boldwood!
And, to help the celebrations, it’s amazing to see six of my books with bestseller tags today in the UK, including the third book in the Hedgehog Hollow series – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – which is still only on pre-order but storming the charts. Thank you so much to everyone who has pre-ordered it.
Wishing you all the best for a great end to the week and a relaxing weekend.
I had a lovely moment a week ago when one of my Christmas books – Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café – secured a pretty fabulous chart position in Australia.
Last Thursday (5th November) it climbed to number 3! Eek! That’s number 3 in the overall kindle chart.
This is the highest chart position that any of my books have achieved anywhere in the world in overall rather than category charts, the previous highest being #9 in the Canada Kindle Chart for The Secret to Happiness last year.
Prior to that, my highest position in Australia was #11 with Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow so it was really exciting to break the Top 10 and even more exciting to get into the Top 3 down under.
I’d be lying if I said it didn’t enter my head how incredible it would be to achieve the #1 position but I knew there was no chance and that wasn’t me being negative. The latest Jack Reacher outing written by Lee Child and his brother Andrew had just been released and was #2. I was never going to outsell Jack Reacher! The top slot was held by Imogen Clark’s The Last Piece. It was certainly a proud moment to be sharing chart space with them both.
Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café is currently on a monthly Kindle deal in Australia which will have helped propel it up the chart and I’m thrilled that, a week later, it’s still in the Top 50.
The first and third books in my Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series – Making Wishes at Bay View and Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove – are also in Kindle monthly deals in Australia so are on offer there. (Making Wishes at Bay View) is also on a UK monthly deal just now. These deals are throughout November so still plenty of time to bag bargains.
Thank you to all those readers in Australia who made another writing dream come true for me. It’s certainly something I could never have imagined happening this time last year!
This week, New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms – the second book in my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series has dropped out of the UK’s Kindle Top 100 after nearly four months. Oh. My. God! FOUR MONTHS!!!
This is the first book I ever wrote and was my debut release in June 2015 under the title Searching for Steven. It shifted about 2,000 copies through my original publisher then as an indie author after they ceased trading. It wasn’t setting the world alight but I was fairly pleased. After all, when I wrote it, I had no plans to become a published author; I simply had an idea for a book and wondered if I could write one.
When Boldwood Books took on my back catalogue and we did a fresh edit on Searching for Steven and re-released it as New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, never did I imagine that I’d be able to add another zero to that sales figure or experience four months in the Top 100, peaking at #14.
I have to be honest and say that it did dip out of the Top 100 once during that four months when, on 20th August, it was only as high as #101. But that’s pretty close isn’t it? I’m allowing that.
I’m thrilled to have gathered 234 reviews/ratings on Amazon, 92% if which are positive. Of course, you can’t please all the people all of the time and I have a few scathing negative reviews including this accolade:
And this 1-star review from someone who definitely didn’t like the main character:
But so many people have loved this book and gone on to read – and love – the rest of the series. And I’m so very grateful to those who have shared their love in a positive review.
If you haven’t read it yet, you can download it here for Kindle. It’s available on Kobo, AppleBooks and in paperback and audio formats. You can borrow the audio version from your library if they have the uLibrary App or you can listen to it on Spotify. And, if you’re in Australia, it’s on a special offer on Kindle until the end of September as part of Kindle’s Monthly Deal.
I’m so proud of this book. It was a wallflower in the shadows for a long time but found its sunflower moment under Boldwood and took that moment to shine. Sometimes reader love can bloom when you least expect it!
To anyone struggling to make an impact – whether that is in writing or any other aspect of your life – hang in there because your moment to shine could be just around the corner.
One year ago today, The Secret to Happiness was published. Happy book-birthday to me! It’s an exceptionally special book-birthday because this was the first of my books released by my amazing publishers, Boldwood Books. It was the book that secured me my publishing deal.
Originally titled Wish I Could Tell You Goodbye, it tells the story of three women – Alison, Danniella and Karen – who are struggling to let go of something/someone from their past. They all meet at a beach-based bootcamp run by Karen and it explores whether the power of friendship can give the women the strength to move on and find the happiness they deserve.
It’s an emotional but uplifting story which I love and I was sure that, after several years as an indie writer, it would secure me a publishing deal. It didn’t at first. When Boldwood opened for submissions, it had been rejected by five different publishers. Five rejections is not a lot in the grand scheme of things but I took each one to heart and was crushed by them. Because I’d already released nine books, originally with a publisher and then via an independent route – all with great feedback – I started to seriously doubt myself. I wondered if I’d tried to be too clever writing about three women instead of just having one protagonist (like in all my books except Bear With Me which has two). I wondered whether I’d lost my writing mojo.
But this is a positive post and I want to focus on the amazing things that have happened since what became The Secret to Happiness found its home at Boldwood. I have pasted my rejection feedback at the end if anyone is curious. For authors, this may give the encouragement to keep going as, what one editor passes on, another may feel passionate about.
Thankfully, Boldwood thought differently to the other five publishers and offered me a 9-book deal for this book plus another three new ones, and five novels from my back catalogue! Wow!
And I couldn’t be happier. I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. I believe I was always destined to join Boldwood so I’m grateful for those rejections because they meant I could find my true home.
What has The Secret to Happiness done for me?
Over 9k paperbacks in branches of The Works around the UK
Sold nearly 500 audio copies*
Sold nearly 15k eBooks*
#122 in the UK Kindle Chart
#9 on the Canada Kindle Chart
#20 on the Australia Kindle Chart
#35 on the overall AppleBooks Chart and #10 on the Romance Chart
Secured 123 ratings/reviews on Amazon UK, 92% of which are 4 or 5-star
Secured 43 ratings on AppleBooks UK, all of which are 4 or 5-star
* Up until end June 2020
This book took a struggling indie writer and turned her into an international bestselling author! Eek! Still can’t quite believe that!
I cannot thank my amazing editor, Nia Beynon, enough for believing in this book and helping shape and polish it ready for publication. And thank you to the team at Boldwood Books and the fabulously talented authors there who’ve supported and promoted my work.
If you haven’t yet read it, now’s your chance as it has been selected for Kindle UK’s September Monthly Deal and is 99p for the whole of the month. Kobo and AppleBooks also have it for 99p.
You can find it for Kindle here or on Audible here.
If you prefer paperbacks, The Works sold out really quickly online but you may still be able to find a copy in your local branch. Alternatively paperbacks can be ordered via Amazon. Or you could win a copy!
Yes, to celebrate The Secret to Happiness’s 1st book-birthday, I’m giving away THREE signed copies. There’ll be one book given away in a competition on Facebook, one on Instagram and one on Twitter. I’ll share details from my various social media accounts but they’ll appear first on Boldwood’s social media. You can find them as:
Book & Tonic on Facebook and Instagram
@BoldwoodBooks on Twitter
So watch out for news of how to win!
In the meantime, have an amazing week/weekend and thank you once more to everyone who has discovered The Secret to Happiness or is about to discover it!
And, as promised, here’s the rejections…
“Concept intriguing and writing engaging [but] not suitable for our list.”
“Created a great ensemble cast .. setting well delineated … [but the] concept wasn’t quite ‘hooky’ enough to stand out in a very crowded market.”
“While the premise is fun and engaging and original, we just feel the bootcamp idea is not quite right for us at this time. I do think it’s very well written, however, so please don’t let this stop you – you just need a cracking idea and you’ll be on your way.”
“I absolutely loved diving into the world you’ve conjured here … [but] as the story went on I struggled to empathise with the characters as much as I wanted to. Rather than being invested in their journeys I felt they lacked the necessary depth and layers, I wanted to see more of their emotions and feelings on the page. In such a competitive book market we have to ensure we feel passionate about the book and characters and sadly I just couldn’t find myself getting lost in Alison or Karen’s story as I couldn’t connect with them. In terms of next step I recommend looking at how you can weave more depth into the characters, offering readers different layers to uncover from them all.”
“Your writing is great, and there is huge warmth and emotion in your narrative. All of the women’s stories are hugely poignant, but because there were three of them, it felt at times like there wasn’t quite enough space for each story, including the tragic events before the book begins, to be fully explored. The women’s fiction market is so tricky at the moment, and what we tend to be looking for at the moment are in-depth emotional stories with a tight scope, or high-concept stories that can be pitched in a single line. I’m afraid that Wish I Could Tell You Goodbye didn’t quite hit the mark for me.”
Today’s #MondayMotivation is a metal sign that we bought in a furniture store in York shortly before Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes was released.
The reasons for the purchase are hopefully fairly obvious but I was also thinking about this sign a year later when I wrote Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe. I describe The Chocolate Pot as having vintage metal signs all over the walls which are both beach-themed and cafe-themed and I imagine this being one of them.
This sign couldn’t be more appropriate for today because I woke up to some quite astonishing chart positions overseas for Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes.
This book was re-released on 13th August through Boldwood Books after a completely fresh edit and it quickly made its way into the Top 50 on the UK’s free Kindle chart. It has twice peaked at #17 which is very exciting.
I was very pleased with how well it was doing overseas but it surpassed all my expectations today.
In the USA, it hit #15 today which was completely amazing, especially when you think of the size of the US market! I certainly never expected to get higher in the USA chart than in the UK one!
Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes also reached #20 in Canada today and #43 in Australia.
Obviously I don’t make any money from these high chart positions with the book being free but the hope is that readers might read it, love it and be inspired to read the sequel, Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe, which has also been edited and expanded and will be out on 8th September. Fingers crossed!
Thank you to everyone who has downloaded a free copy in any territory worldwide. If you haven’t got it already, here’s the links to those four markets but you can buy it from your local Amazon site anywhere in the world as it’s free globally.
It should also be free on Kobo and AppleBooks but hasn’t appeared on either site yet. Not sure why. Hang on in there if you use either of those eReaders as it should appear free on both very soon.
So why is this my choice for #MondayMotivation? It was always there on my wall as a reminder of having written two of my books – a proud achievement in itself – but now it gives me motivation in reminding me of the time I reached #15 in the USA!
Somebody pinch me! Eeeeeeekkkkkk!!!!!
Have a fabulous week.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
It’s December on Castle Street; the fairy lights are twinkling, snow has settled and the festive season is in full swing.
For Carly, the owner of Carly’s Cupcakes, it’s the busiest time of year getting everyone’s Christmas treats ready on time. However with her clumsy sister, Bethany, as a co-worker, it’s proving a difficult task. They say you shouldn’t mix work with family. Maybe they have a point…
As Christmas approaches, Carly is also eagerly awaiting the return of her best friend to Whitborough Bay. Liam has no idea he’s been the object of her affection since their schooldays. After years of pining after him, can Carly pluck up the courage to finally tell him how she really feels by 25th December?
Could a little festive magic make all of Carly’s wishes come true this Christmas…?
A heartwarming, short festive story of friendship and family from bestseller Jessica Redland. You can find out what happens to Carly next through exploring her best friend Tara’s story in Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café.
This is a new and updated version of Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes which has been previously published.