This month, I’m celebrating two book birthdays.
Today – 12th March – is three years since the final book in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series came out, freshly edited and re-released by Boldwood Books. As all the books in this series were released in quick succession over a two-month period, it’s really a celebration for all of them.
This rapid release was a game-changer for me as it helped build a readership with a thirst for the next part which was quickly satisfied. Making Wishes at Bay View was released on 14th January 2020 with both New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove out on 20th February, concluding with Coming Home to Seashell Cottage on 12th March.
Less than two weeks later, the UK went into the first Covid lockdown. I don’t know about you, but it still feels like some strange dream looking back at that time. I find myself thinking, “Did that really happen?” Such peculiar times.
I’m convinced that going into lockdown massively helped the sale of this series because readers were seeking escapism and non-readers were turning to books for the same reason. New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms went into Prime reading in the May and shot up the Kindle chart, peaking at #14 and staying in the Top 100 for roughly four months. To this day, this remains my highest position in the UK chart across all my books. Still hoping one day for a UK Top 10. Pretty please!
Three years on, the four books continue to sell steadily. All of them have exceeded 50k of sales with the bestseller, as you’d probably expect, being the first in the series although there are only 5,000 sales separating book 1 and book 4 which makes me so happy as it means that readers have typically gone on to read all four books rather than reading one and not going any further.
I have to pinch myself that the books I’ve written have managed to hit sales levels like this, especially after such a tricky start. I was originally with a publisher who struggled to make an impact and ceased trading after book 4 was released. The sales figures I had with them were:
- Book 1 – 379 in 18 months (was a novella at the time but is now a full-length novel)
- Book 2 – 1,316 in 18 months
- Book 3 – 699 in 6 months
- Book 4 – 72 in 3 months
Bit different, eh? I then released them as an indie author and sold very few so I still do a double take and count my blessings big time every time I get my sales figures. I’m eternally grateful to my amazing publisher, Boldwood Books, for completely turning things around for me.
The reviews/ratings never cease to amaze me and I am so thankful for readers who take the time to share the book love, whether that’s in review format or just a rating. It makes a massive difference to authors in making a book more visible, and the written reviews can be such a boost of encouragement when self-doubt sets in … which it frequently does for all authors I know!
Across Amazon and Audible, reviews/ratings have passed 21,000 (16.5k on Amazon and approaching 5k on Audible).
New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms will always be a very special book to me because it’s the first book I wrote. It was inspired by something that happened in my personal life which I thought would make a great premise for a story and got me writing. The main character, Sarah, needed two friends and as soon as they started to develop, I realised they had stories of their own to tell and a trilogy was born. Then my original publisher asked me to write a short story to give away for free before we released the first book. I’m not good at writing ‘short’ so a prequel novella came out. When I was an indie author, I felt there was more story to tell and wrote a sequel. The two were then combined to make one full-length novel.
Although Seaside Blooms is really special to me, my favourite book in the series is Coming Home to Seashell Cottage. It’s full of twists and turns and is also more emotional than the others in the series. While writing that book, I felt as though I’d truly found my voice and the type of author I wanted to be. I’m very proud of that book.
And, of course, the setting of Whitsborough Bay opened a flood of ideas and my twelfth book set in this fictional coastal town is out next month with plenty more still to come.
The first book after the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series celebrated a birthday yesterday too but I actually forgot about it because it was also my husband’s and dog’s birthdays so it had slipped my mind that there was also a book birthday. And, as I’ve mentioned the dog, here she is yesterday with one of her birthday gifts.
All You Need is Love was my first brand new indie release and, after a fresh edit through Boldwood, came out on 11th March 2021 so happy 2nd birthday to that story.
Although these books (using different titles) are officially older than this, I made a decision to use the Boldwood re-release dates for book birthday celebrations rather than the original release dates because those are the ones that had the impact. All the books floundered before Boldwood came along.
This is also a really special book to me and remains one of my favourites of all the books I’ve written. It was the first time I wrote a dual perspective story and I really loved the challenge of that. I’ve written another eight dual perspective stories since then and even one with three points of view – The Secret to Happiness.
If you’ve read any of these books, I hope you’ve enjoyed them. Do you have a personal favourite?
Thank you and enormous grateful hugs to Boldwood and all the amazing readers and listeners who have supported these books.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.