The one with the milestone, the book deal, and the bargain

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you may have already spotted my news today but, in case you don’t, it has been a BIG NEWS day so let me tell you more…


I’m thrilled to announce that, as of the end of March 2023, I reached a milestone of ONE MILLION copies sold through Boldwood Books. Eek!

This is worldwide sales across all formats – digital, print and audio – for my first eighteen books. My first Boldwood release, The Secret to Happiness, came out in early September 2019 and my eighteenth was Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn which came out in late January this year. Summer Nights at The Starfish Café was released in April so is not included in this milestone, but is already helping me work towards the next one.

For any aspiring writers or struggling authors reading this and thinking, “A million? That could never happen to me,” stop right there because it could! I’ve been looking back over my sales from my pre-Boldwood days. If you don’t know my journey already, a quick recap is that I secured a publishing contract in 2014 and my publisher released three books and a novella between May 2015 and August 2016… then ceased trading. With my rights back as an indie author, I found it almost impossible to make any impact and that was my life for several years, hoping the next book would be the one to make the difference, despairing at the lack of sales.

During my time with my original publisher, I sold 2,467 copies. In my indie years from November 2016 – August 2019, I sold 4,079 copies so that’s 6,546 in 4 years and 4 months across 9 titles. My Christmas releases did reasonably well, but I had days on end where I’d sell no copies at all. Here’s an example of my sales dashboard from July 2019 – the month before my first Boldwood release. This was a common sight for me.

For full disclosure, I did have an additional income stream from books borrowed as part of the Kindle Unlimited programme but the reporting on that is by pages read so it’s not so easy to equate into book sales. I did far better on KU than I did with eBook sales but wasn’t setting the world alight with those either. I’m sure you can imagine how disheartening it was looking at 23 sales over 9 titles, 4+ years into my publishing journey.

When I joined Boldwood, they gradually acquired, edited and re-released my backlist and, as they started to find me a readership, my indie sales did increase, as you can see on the right of that graph where the bar chart is rising.

Going back to the sales struggles as an indie, it’s hard to keep going when you know you’re barely drawing any income and hardly anybody is reading your stories. What’s the point? Why keep going? Why spend every spare moment creating when nobody will get to enjoy the story? I know the answer to this! It’s because it doesn’t have to always be like that. Things can change. It takes a considerable amount of courage to hang on and keep going, but wonderful things can happen if you do. Like they did to me.

When I saw an advert on social media to say that Boldwood Books were forming and would be open for submissions from the start of February 2019, I was reeling from a small round of rejections and so close to giving up. “Just one more submission,” I told myself. If that was unsuccessful, I had some very serious thinking to do.

But it was successful. The Secret to Happiness was a slow-burner at first but things really kicked off in spring 2020 when my Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series was rapid-released across a two-month period. Making Wishes at Bay View was picked up for Apple’s Free Book of the Month and New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms went into Amazon’s Prime Reading and shot up the charts to my highest UK position to date – #14. I’d made it!

And a few years later, I’m celebrating a million sales. It doesn’t feel real! It’s as though it’s happening to someone else and I think that’s because hitting a million sales was never on my bucket list. It was the thing that other incredibly successful authors did and way out of reach. Someone pinch me! Although not too hard because I bruise like a peach.

Boldwood invited for afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason to celebrate this milestone and my second piece of news. We’d hoped we might hit the million by the end of February but were a little short, but it was the best timing for celebrating anyway as I was away over the Easter fortnight and Boldwood were at London Book Fair last week so April wasn’t an option.

I’ve never been to Fortnum and Mason before so that was a very special treat and how amazing was afternoon tea? Mmm. I could eat it all again right now! I was joined by Amanda (Founder and CEO), Claire (Head of Marketing) and Nia (Publishing / Sales & Marketing Director but also my editor) for celebrations and a strategy discussion for the years ahead.

I was given my own special celebration cake and also a beautiful commemorative glass plaque which now has pride of place on my desk. Because I hadn’t quite hit the million, it has been sitting in boxes in my office for over a month so it has been wonderful to get it out and displayed. Isn’t it lovely?

Boldwood run something called the 100k Club. When a book sells 100k copies, the author is sent a card welcoming them to the club and a celebratory gift, which is so nice. I’ve been celebrating several of my Boldwood colleagues joining the club, some with two or even three books, and I thought I was going to join them a couple of years back when sales of Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow were doing brilliantly, but then it really slowed down. I can’t believe I’ve hit a million sales first – that was never on the radar.

I’m really hoping the hedgehogs will make it into the 100k Club by the end of the year as it’s still my bestselling book. And how close is it at 95,000!!!!

Here’s my top three bestsellers, which is actually four books because two are tied. It’s a battle between Whitsborough Bay and Hedgehog Hollow!

If you’d like to listen to my video announcement earlier today, you can catch it on Book and Tonic’s Facebook page here.


One million sales wasn’t the only thing we were celebrating during our afternoon tea. We were also celebrating the signing of my third contract with Boldwood Books – for SIXTEEN NEW BOOKS!


Yes, that’s pretty much the reaction I had when I was offered it!

I joined Boldwood in March 2019 with a nine-book publishing deal made up of five backlist titles and four new books but this had a couple of addendums to it to cover my entire backlist, making it a twelve-book deal. The backlist titles were released fairly quickly so it wasn’t long before I approached the end of that first contract and signed a second twelve-book deal in October 2020.

I’m still working through that deal. The Start of Something Wonderful – the first book in the Escape to the Lakes series – will be book 20, and my Christmas release (which I’m writing now) will be book 21 so I have another three books outstanding after that, taking me to my summer 2024 release. It’s therefore quite early for us to have had discussions about another contract but it was triggered by my Escape to the Lakes series. We anticipate this being a long series – maybe 10, 12, 15 books (assuming there’s reader love for it) – but I could only fit in two of them into my current contract and it felt a little strange to be writing a series with longevity without a contract to cover it. So we had a discussion about it earlier this year.

My husband was convinced I’d be offered another twelve-book deal but I didn’t think I would, having already had two of those. I was thinking maybe six or eight although, secretly, I’d have been a little disappointed. When my amazing editor Nia offered sixteen, I nearly fell off the chair! I got really emotional on the phone that Boldwood believed in me so much to offer such a big contract. Sixteen might sound scary to some but, as I write four books a year, it’s only a four-year contract which doesn’t sound quite so daunting as it would if I wrote one or two books a year.

You can catch my video announcement about this on Book and Tonic’s Facebook page here.

What can you expect from the rest of this contract? Things can change, but this is the current plan:

  • The Start of Something Wonderful – Escape to the Lakes book 1 – July 2023
  • A return to Castle Street at Christmas time – September 2023
  • Escape to the Lakes book 2 – January 2024
  • Bumblebee Barn sequel 2 – April 2024
  • Long awaited (and overdue!) sequel to Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café

What can you expect from the next contract?

  • Plenty more from the Escape to the Lakes series
  • Another Bumblebee Barn sequel
  • More books set on Castle Street
  • More books in Whitsborough Bay
  • The start of a cosy crime series (anticipated for spring 2025 (and not 2015 as I say in the video!)) but, if it’s a disaster, this might not happen! I’m hoping all will come together, though

I’ve got a couple of part-started books which I’m excited to return to and really look forward to bringing you more from the Yorkshire Coast, the Yorkshire Wolds and the Lake District.


And, finally, there’s a limited time offer on Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn. If you’re a Prime reader (globally), you can read it for FREE and, like all my books, it’s in Kindle Unlimited, but for eBook users, it’s 99p right now and equivalent in some other territories so do check your eBook provider if you’re overseas as you might be able to bag yourself a bargain.

I love this book and readers seem to love the setting and characters, which is why we have sequels planned when this was meant to be a standalone!

While I’m on the subject of deals, just a heads up if you’re an Audible UK subscriber, you can pick up four of my audiobooks for £2.99 each right now, but do act fast as the deal ends just before midnight tonight (Saturday 22nd April). They ones on offer are:

  • A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow
  • Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow
  • Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café
  • Coming Home to Seashell Cottage

Happy listening!

Wow! Big blog post! To finish, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has supported my writing. None of the news I’m sharing today would be possible without you, the readers, who have bought/borrowed/downloaded/streamed my books in whatever format. I’m so appreciative to you for helping keep me as a full-time author, able to share all the stories and characters with you who are buzzing round my mind.

And, of course, thank you to the amazing team at Boldwood Books for saying ‘yes’ to that submission and completely changing my life.

Big squishy extremely grateful hugs
Jessica xx

The one where most of my books are 99p on Kindle UK TODAY ONLY

Hello and welcome to Boxing Day. How was Christmas Day? If you were celebrating, I hope you had a fabulous time.

I’m really excited today as seven of my books are on a very special offer on Kindle UK. It’s known as a ‘gold box’ and is only available on a Sunday for eBooks. To be eligible for a gold box offer, an author must have at least six books with the same publisher and they need to have been retailing at £2.99 for at least two months before the 99p gold box deal is secured so that readers are genuinely getting a good offer.

You can usually spot which author has a gold box deal because, late on Sunday afternoon and into Monday morning, those books are usually doing very well near the top of the Kindle charts. This is because they’re featured in the Kindle newsletter and on the daily deals pages and heavily marketed by Amazon themselves.

Yesterday, there was a special Christmas day gold box on the Cadfael series of books by Ellis Peters. At one point yesterday evening, I spotted a whopping 19 of the 21 books in the Top 50. Wow! That’s serious chart domination! They’re still riding high this morning as I’m writing this although they’re back up to the £3.99 price now so they’ll drop position later. There’s always a lag in the sales figures having an impact on the chart.

Unusually, today’s gold box is a joint Boldwood Books one with Jennifer Bohnet who has four of her titles in the deal alongside my seven and it looks like another Boldwood author, Rosie Clarke, has a daily deal with Stormy Days on Mulberry Lane.

My gold box books are:

  • Making Wishes at Bay View (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 1)
  • Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 3)
  • Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book 4)
  • Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café
  • Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (Hedgehog Hollow book 1)
  • New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow (Hedgehog Hollow book 2)
  • Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow (Hedgehog Hollow book 3)

We’re not really sure why book 2 in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay book – New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms – wasn’t selected alongside the rest of the books in the series but it’s less than £6 for the full four-book series, even paying full price for that title, which is still a great deal.

With book 4 in the Hedgehog Hollow series – A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – out on 6th January, this is the perfect time to catch up with the three books in the series so far but only pay the price at which one book usually retails. Even though each book in this series is a complete story, it’s a far richer reading experience starting from the beginning and watching the characters develop across the series.

All my Christmas/seasonal books are on a 99p offer at the moment too, although not part of the gold box deal. These will probably stay at 99p until at least the end of December but the gold box is ONE DAY ONLY. There is a slight possibility that Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café may stay at 99p a little longer as Amazon had been price-matching that to an Apple Books offer but I wouldn’t take that chance:

  • Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café
  • Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop
  • Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes

So you can pick up a whopping TEN of my books on Kindle UK for only 99p each today – £9.90 total.

For another £7.77, you could add in the three books that aren’t on offer just now – New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, All You Need is Love and The Secret to Happiness meaning you’d have the entire Whitsborough Bay collection and Hedgehog Hollow series released so far – 13 books – for £17.67, averaging £1.35 each. SUPER BARGAIN!

You can get to my Amazon UK author page here where you’ll be able to find all my books.

I’ve seen so many of these gold box deals secure astonishing chart positions, albeit for a brief window of time, and I’m trying not to get too excited about the idea of seven books in the Top 50 together or even Top 20 success. My absolute dream would be a book in the Top 10 in the UK. I’ve managed that in Canada and Australia but #14 is the highest I’ve had in the UK Kindle charts with Seaside Blooms when it was on a Prime Deal last year. None of the other books in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series have been in the Top 100 so it would be amazing if they got there.

I’d be ever so grateful if you could share the news if you’re UK-based or have friends/family in the UK who might like to take advantage of this offer. Wishing Rosie Clarke all the best with her daily deal and Jennifer Bohnet every success with her four gold box books. Go Boldwood!

Big gold hugs
Jessica xx

I’ve started to feel like a real author!


A frequent discussion amongst writers is at what point you call yourself a writer or an author and it would seem there are mixed views on this. Some would say you can only call yourself a writer when you start earning money from it, some would say you’re a writer if you write non-fiction and an author if you write fiction, some would say you’re only an author when you become published, and others would say you can call yourself a writer whenever the hell you like. If you write, you’re a writer regardless of having a publishing deal or making any money from it. I’m inclined to agree with the latter; you’re a writer if you write. However, I also think of ‘author’ as being the title you almost graduate to when you become published, whether this is by the traditional route or the indie route. This is just my opinion, though, and I’m sure others feel differently.

P1050667I found it quite uncomfortable to refer to myself as a ‘writer’ for a long time. Like so many writing friends, I’d almost whisper it in apologetic terms and dismiss it as a bit of a hobby that wouldn’t go anywhere. Yet I never saw it as a hobby. It was – and is – my passion. When I started writing much more regularly (about five or six years ago), I began to properly think of myself as a writer. Yet I would always still answer the ‘What do you do?’ question with: ‘I’m a recruitment manager’ or ‘I work in Learning & Development’ depending on what the day job at the time was. I would never, EVER, say ‘I’m a writer, and I also work in HR’! Strange.

When I got my publishing deal with So Vain Books last September, I felt like I was a real writer (‘Look, Gepetto, I’m a REAL boy!’) and I had an exciting moment basking in the proud congratulations of friends and family on Facebook. But I was away in a hotel with the day job when it happened, fighting with a crap wifi connection, and it all seemed very unreal. And also very far away!

PhotoFunia-6aa56c2The months have whizzed by, though, and we’re less than a month away from the launch of my debut novel ‘Searching for Steven’. Two weeks ago today, I had my first real author moment. So Vain Books did my cover reveal. I knew it was coming. I’d seen ideas for the design last year and had been party to changes and tweaks since, but this was the first time my friends and family would see it. I woke up to a lovely email from my Publishing Director, Steph, to remind me that it was cover reveal day … and to ask me if I’d like to have the book placed up for pre-order too. Eek! I felt so excited at that moment that I could have burst.

I then had to go to work so it was down to earth with a bump. Intermittently, I checked Facebook, but there was no sign of the reveal. I wondered if there’d been a technical hitch on Amazon to launch the Kindle pre-order (the book will be available for pre-order later). Then, at the very end of the working day, I thought to look on Twitter and it turns out it had been revealed there eight hours earlier! Can’t believe I never thought to look. I couldn’t wait to get to my Mac and do my own reveal with links to the pre-order. My hands were actually shaking as I started to receive congratulations messages, promises to buy it, promises to buy the paperback … and then those little notifications from Amazon announcing ‘I bought Searching for Steven by Jessica Redland’. Oh my goodness! People were actually buying my book! (And you can pre-order if here if you like!) It was such an incredible feeling. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face all evening.

Jessica Redland - Searching for Steven - Front Cover LOW RESMy younger brother shared the link on his Facebook page and two of his friends ‘liked’ my writer page and another five pre-ordered the book. How amazing is that? These people don’t know me, but they made the purchase!

I’ve checked out my chart position on Amazon and it was really exciting to see it reach 5,244 on the overall paid Kindle chart on day 3 of the release. That may not sound much but there are hundreds of thousands of books in that chart so I’m beside myself with excitement on that. I can’t see my sales in terms of actual numbers, but my publisher can and they advised me on Monday morning (after just a weekend on sale) that I’d already sold 17. There certainly weren’t 17 friends and family members who’d downloaded it by that point (as I know many want signed paperbacks) so some of those people must have been strangers. That’s quite an overwhelming thought. I’m determined not to get hung up on sales figures and chart positions. I know it takes a heck of a lot for a debut writer to get high sales and chart positions. They’re important and, of course I’d love to get the top 100, but I just want to enjoy the experience. This is my dream and it’s come true! If I become obsessed with clicking on Amazon constantly, I’ll suck the joy out of this amazing thing that’s happening to me.

If you’ve bought already, can I say a massive big fat THANK YOU to you for your support. I really hope you enjoy the read xxxx


A Tale of Two Contracts – Act 1

P1050690Have you ever got something you really, really wanted? Something you’ve longed for years and years? How did it feel?

On my wish list for the past eleven years or so has been “to become a published writer”. My husband and I have often joked about this making us millions and us moving to a huge grand “author’s house” in the countryside but that’s not why I wanted to become a published writer. Don’t get me wrong, it would be very lovely thank you, but the real reason is the one I’d expect many other writers to cite: I have stories to tell and I want people to read them.

On September 1st, I took a step closer to my dream. I awoke on a dark Monday morning and checked my phone like I always do. Typically this results in cleansing my inbox of Groupon deals, Nectar points info and some freegle messages. But September 1st was not a typical Monday. Because sitting there in my inbox was an email from a US-based publishing house. And they wanted to publish my book.

I’d dreamed of this moment for a long time but this wasn’t quite what I expected. I’d imagined “the call” being exactly that; a phone call coming through on a dreary day and lighting my life. I hadn’t really imagined an email and especially not one with a “but” in it. You see, they wanted my book but they felt it was a bit long (it was 100k words) and wanted to know if I’d be prepared to cut it. I wandered round in a bit of a daze as I got ready for work. I didn’t feel excitement; I just felt a bit numb. Was it because I couldn’t believe I’d finally got the call? Was it because the call was an email? Or was it because there was a “but”? I’m not really sure.

P1050689I emailed them back saying of course I’d consider a reduction in words but how much and what sort of guidance would they give? Plus, would they be interested in the other two books in the series? The wordcount cut concerned me as I’d already cut my novel by 32k words and felt that it couldn’t lose much more without starting to lose the story. Cue anxious several hours (damn time delay!) before a reply came back saying that my editor loved series and would be delighted to offer me a 3-book deal and not to worry too much about the word cut as she loved it all so much that she was struggling to see where to cut words. Phew! Finally, excitement set in. Telling my immediate family was thrilling; especially telling my parents because my mum was beside herself. It was lovely to hear how proud they were of me for working so hard at my dream and never giving up. I also made an announcement on Facebook. I was away in a hotel with work and it was a joy to sit back and watch the likes and the congratulations messages flowing in.

A template contract was sent to me, I sought some advice on it, and several emails were exchanged about the content and size of books 2 and 3.

Then Black Friday hit.

I picked up an email from my editor to double check that all the books were about 100k and to tell me she wanted them to be 80k instead. A 20k reduction? One fifth? Twenty per cent? Look at it whichever way you like, that was a hefty reduction and I’d thought the word count didn’t matter. Especially as the offer was for eBook only where surely the size doesn’t matter quite as it does with paperbacks (and the costs incurred).

It got worse.

P1050686There are two threads in my stories; romance (obviously, given that romance is my genre) but there’s a secondary theme of friendship and it’s really important to me that the stories I tell contain both. My editor wanted to check there definitely was a romance in book 3 as it hadn’t come out strongly in my summary and she also said that the friendship had to be a background story with the focus being on the romance. I panicked. Big time. You see, before I’d had the offer, I’d made the decision to go indie. Part of the reason was that I couldn’t bear the waiting times to hear news from some publishers and part of it was so that I could get the control; tell the stories I wanted to tell, with the covers I wanted on my books, the pricing and timescales I wanted and so on. I knew I’d not be able to resist a publishing deal if one knocked on my door as a foot on the ladder to getting my name known but I also wanted to be sure the deal was right. And there were some alarm bells ringing that this one may not be quite right after all.

I emailed back and expressed my surprise at the significant wordcount reduction. I also outlined where the romance came into book 3 and asked it if it was ok. An email came back the next evening saying the romance was fine and not to worry about the wordcount. Again. But we’d been there before. My contract would be with me by Friday 19th September.

But on Wednesday 17th September, another email arrived. It would seem that publishing deals are like buses because this email contained another offer from a completely different publisher. This was a publisher who could offer me a deal for a print version of my book as well as an eBook but who presented a risk because they were new.

So what did I do? Come back later in the week and I’ll let you know!