Thinking of the book industry during a tough year

A memory came up on my Facebook feed from a year ago: an announcement from The Bookseller about Boldwood Books launching their traditional print programme with The Works. This was so exciting as it was an opportunity to see our paperbacks out in the world and every author who’d signed with Boldwood at the time was guaranteed at least one book going into this programme. Woo hoo!

But at the time of that announcement, as I celebrated the great news and looked forward to visiting my first book in The Works, none of us had no idea what was about to hit us. None of us had any idea how much our world was about to change.

The Secret to Happiness – my Boldwood debut book – was scheduled to go into The Works around Easter which would coincide with the start of the tourist season in Scarborough. I had visions of my local store quickly selling out of the book before I’d even seen it as locals and tourists recognised the Scarborough scene on the front cover. But my book didn’t go into The Works at Easter because we went into a national lockdown. Stores closed and we retreated indoors. The programme was on hold.

The Secret to Happiness went into The Works in June instead when restrictions were lifted and I was both delighted and surprised when they took another two of mine – Making Wishes at Bay View and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – before stores closed once more in late 2020.

I felt a mix of emotions as that announcement from a year ago popped up on my feed today. So many amazing things have happened for me as an author during the past twelve months yet so many tragic, shocking and heartbreaking things have happened around the world, changing life as we know it both now and for the future.

Today I’m thinking of all book sellers in the UK and around the world whose doors are currently closed or who have been closed at points during 2020 and 2021. Some of them for good.

I’m thinking of all book sellers whether high street chains, small independents, market stalls or those for whom books are part of a bigger product offering. I’m thinking of how they lost their valuable Christmas season and how 2020 barely existed and 2021 hasn’t even started.

I’m thinking of the indies who don’t have an online presence or a way of operating a click and collect process so no way of making sales.

I’m thinking of all the owners of these businesses, particularly indies, and the staff they employ. 

I’m thinking of all the businesses connected with book retailing like printers and distributors who may have been furloughed/lost jobs/ceased trading. And perhaps less obvious connections like the arts. My husband is a freelance typesetter and everything he was working on was put on hold during the first lockdown. One of his clients produces plays. With theatres closed, there were no plays to typeset.

I’m thinking therefore of all the freelancers in the business whose work may have slowed down or dried up: typesetters, editors, cover designers and so on. There will be exceptions and some may have been busier than ever but not in our household.

I’m praying the industry is able to ride the storm and, despite the hardest year ever to face retailers, I’m hoping they’re back when some sort of normality returns. I’m hoping they all remain part of our ‘new normal’.

It’s been tough for authors too. At the ever-innovative Boldwood Books where all our books are available in a stack of formats with a big emphasis on the digital offering (ebook, audio or streamed), we’ve still been able to reach our readers. Authors with the bigger traditional publishers derive much (most?) of their income from the sales of hardbacks and paperbacks and have had to rely on sales through online retailers. With Amazon needing to prioritise warehouse space for ‘essentials’ like medical supplies, even that route became a challenge.

Last year, launches were pushed back with one crazy day in September where hundreds of new titles were released. Debut authors who might have waited years for this to happen may have been lost in the masses. Even successful authors might have experienced limited impact. Book signings, launches, festivals, fairs and conferences would normally generate income and provide an invaluable opportunity to meet and engage with existing readers and find new ones. And, of course, the organisers of these events and the venues where they’d have been held have also missed out.

Some of my fellow Boldwood authors didn’t get their opportunity to go into The Works, perhaps because they’d written a Christmas book and the shifting schedule would have made it out of season or simply because the moving schedule didn’t have the space to fit them in. And some authors had their books instore but couldn’t visit them because that would involve unnecessary travel. I was very fortunate that my local branch stocked all three of my books and I was able to visit them all. I also tried to get photos of other Boldwood Books like this fabulous romance collection in the Beverley branch of The Works last September when travel was permitted.

And finally my thoughts are with our amazing libraries and the passionate, book-loving knowledgeable staff who work for them, whether employed or as a volunteer. Such a valuable resource, libraries have struggled for many years for funding and support and this past year has provided new and unexpected challenges but it’s been amazing seeing how libraries around the country have worked hard to engage with users and bring them new content, even when the library doors have had to close.

Of course, the book industry isn’t the only industry to have had a tough year. Hospitality, travel and tourism, leisure, retailing as a whole, the creative arts … I could go on and on as I doubt there are many (if any) industries not touched by the pandemic and that’s before we even think about healthcare. But this is a post prompted by Boldwood’s The Works Programme announcement so the focus of the post is purely on the book industry.

Spring is approaching as is the one-year anniversary of the UK lockdown. Let’s hope year two is kinder.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where I was Top 3 in Australia

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!

Big hugs

Jessica xx

The one where Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is available from The Works

I absolutely love my Kindle and read most books as ebooks but there’s a special feeling that comes with holding (and stroking) a paperback I’ve written that I don’t quite get from seeing it on my Kindle. And the one thing that beats that is seeing a book I’ve written in a book shop.

I’ve been so grateful and honoured this year to have had two of my books go into The Works. The Secret to Happiness appeared in June shortly after we came out of the first lockdown and Making Wishes at Bay View appeared in September. I thought that would be it until 2021 so I was both surprised and delighted to get an email from Boldwood’s lovely CEO, Amanda, advising me that The Works had taken delivery of Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow last month, making it three books in The Works in the space of five months. Eek!

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow appeared on The Works’ website about a week ago. For the other two books, it took about a fortnight from appearing online to the books appearing in stores. With the announcement at the weekend that England would be entering a 4-week lockdown from Thursday, I suspected I wouldn’t see the hedgehogs in my local branch of The Works until we were the other side of lockdown but I’m delighted to say I was wrong!

I met my daughter off the school bus in town yesterday so she could get a copy of the book she’s studying in English – A Christmas Carol – and pick up a few other bits and bobs. We took a trip to The Works.

I didn’t actually spot the hedgehogs at first because there was a fresh batch of Making Wishes at Bay View on the shelves smiling at me. They’d sold out of them very quickly – perhaps helped by them being signed – so it was lovely to see them re-stocked. Then the munchkin pointed out that Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow was on the shelves too, right next to Making Wishes... How could I have missed it?

So out came the pen and I signed them all. Several copies of Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow had obviously sold already as there were only six left out of the ten that they’d been sent. That was quick! The munchkin had been in with her grandparents at the weekend and the hedgehogs hadn’t arrived then and I know from asking before that book deliveries come on Tuesdays! So those hedgehogs definitely proved popular on their first day on the shelves.

Both books are available on the website which you can access here but The Secret to Happiness sold out online a few months ago. There may still be some copies loitering in some stores.

There are lots of amazing books available from Boldwood authors (and lots of other authors too, of course) so why not treat yourself to some lockdown reading and perhaps some Christmas shopping (so you don’t have any postage to pay)? They’re £2 each or 3 for £5.

If you do see a copy of any of my books out in the wild, I’d love to see a photo shared on any of my social media – a shelfie – telling me which store you found it in. Equally, photos of books bought online are fabulous to see.

It’s still a bit surreal imagining that there are people out there reading or listening to my stories, making friends with my characters, snarling at a couple of them, and immersing themselves in Whitsborough Bay or the Yorkshire Wolds.

Thank you to Boldwood Books for making this possible and to the lovely staff in The Works for being so welcoming each time I pop in.

And a final thank you to everyone who has shared their love for the hedgehogs so far. At the time of writing, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is still in the Top 300 on Amazon and has a whopping 595 reviews/ratings, 93% of which are 5-star or 4-star. Seriously delighted author here!

Big hugs

Jessica xx

The one where ‘Making Wishes at Bay View’ is in The Works

I adore my Kindle (other eReaders are available!) but I’m sure most people who love reading will admit to getting a little thrill from browsing a bookshop or even simply pausing in a section of a store where books are displayed. A happy place.

As an author, that thrill is multiplied several-fold when the shelves contain one of my own books. I don’t think that feeling will ever get tired!

At the weekend, I was delighted to visit my local The Works store in Scarborough and not only see Making Wishes at Bay View on the shelves but to sign them! The manager in there is lovely and recognised me from when I’d been in to visit The Secret to Happiness at the start of summer just after restrictions were lifted and shops opened again.

Making Wishes at Bay View in the Scarborough branch of The Works with the special home-made ‘signed by author’ sticker

I’d never thought to ask if I could sign copies of Secret but I’d seen photos of other authors signing their books in their local stores and the manager was delighted for me to do so with Making Wishes at Bay View.

What a surreal moment perching on the till and signing the seven remaining copies. They didn’t have any ‘signed by author’ stickers – probably don’t get as many local authors as a large city store might – but she created her own version which was lovely.

Despite the mask, you can probably tell there’s a huge grin on my face!

Today I went into Beverley, East Yorkshire (about 75 mins drive away from me) for a socially-distanced catch-up with my fabulous friend and fellow-author, Sharon Booth. It was the first time since mid-February that we’ve seen each other and we suspect it will be next year before it happens again.

I took the opportunity to nip into town as the branch of The Works in Beverley is about twice the size of the Scarborough one and therefore with much more space dedicated to fiction. Making Wishes at Bay View was in there. I was going to see about signing them too but there was a queue at the till and only one member of staff serving so I thought I’d best not pester anyone!

Making Wishes at Bay View in Beverley’s The Works

It makes me so proud to be on the shelves with other Boldwood authors, a few of whom I met in person at the back end of last year. I’ve taken a few shelfies in Scarborough but, with a bigger selection in Beverley, how lovely it was to see so many Boldwood authors together (okay, so a little re-arrangement was needed to get them all together but I did put them back where they came from!) This is the selection of feel-good books – a mixture of romcoms and contemporaries. That’s twelve amazing titles and, on the 3 for £5 offer, you could therefore get them all for only £20. Bargain!!!

This is the thrillers/crime/other selection looking fabulous too:

You can buy Making Wishes at Bay View from The Works for £2 (or 3 for £5) or online from The Works here. I’ve included the blurb below.

Alternatively, you can download it for Kindle, Kobo and AppleBooks, order a paperback from Amazon or any other good bookstore (it will be a different price as they are printed differently) or on various audio formats including Spotify.

Wishing you a fabulous week.

Big hugs

Jessica xx

Making Wishes at Bay View (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Book 1)

Never give up on a wish for a happy ever after…


Callie Derbyshire has it all: her dream job as a carer at Bay View, finally she has found the love of her life. Everything is perfect.

Well, almost.

Ex-partners are insistent on stirring up trouble, and Callie’s favourite resident, Ruby, hasn’t been her usual self. 

But after discovering the truth about Ruby’s lost love, Callie is determined to give Ruby’s romantic story the happy ending it deserves. After all, it’s never too late to let love in again. Or is it?

The one where Making Wishes at Bay View has been nominated for the Not The Booker Prize and needs your votes

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I’ve been nominated for the Not The Booker Prize. Eek!!!!!!

What is it?

You’ve probably heard of The Booker Prize but were you aware of the existence of the Not The Booker Prize?

It was launched by The Guardian in 2009 so this year is its twelfth year. Whereas The Booker Prize is judged by a panel of experts, the Not The Booker Prize invites public participation and the aim is therefore to have a wider commercial appeal.

The longlist is derived purely from public nominations. Launched on 20th July, the public had until 1st August to nominate a book which met certain eligibility criteria (e.g. had to be written in English and published between certain dates). You can read about this stage here.

Making Wishes at Bay ViewWhich book was nominated?

Yesterday, the longlist was announced (you can read the article here) and I am thrilled to say that one of my books was included. An enormous thank you to the person or persons who nominated Making Wishes at Bay View.

There are a whopping 211 books on the longlist representing a vast array of genres and publishers and there are some HUGE names on there such as David Mitchell, Phillip Pullman, Dorothy Koomson, Marian Keyes and Hilary Mantel. Wow! Just to be in company like that is thrilling … and super-duper overwhelming!

What happens next?

The next stage is to whittle down the longlist to a much more manageable shortlist of three. Yes, three out of 211! The public are needed again here as they’ll be the ones to help whittle it down.

And this is where I need you…

Have you read and loved Making Wishes at Bay View? Would you be willing to write at least 100 words on why you loved it?

Voting is via the comments section on the longlist article so your starting point is to access the article here and scroll down to the bottom of the page where it says ‘comments’ (see bottom left of screen shot). This is below the longlist itself, below the bit about subscribing, and below all the adverts. You do need to register but there’s no cost.

Screenshot 2020-08-04 at 10.09.07

Some rules:

  1. You can only vote once but you need to vote for two books. These MUST be by 2 x different publishers but I’m the only Boldwood Books author on the list so this won’t be an issue
  2. You need to put the word ‘vote’ in your comments box
  3. You need to name the book, author, publisher for each book
  4. You need to write 100 words + for at least one of the books you’ve chosen, showing your passion and love for this book/why you care about it. This means you do not have to write reviews for both the books

So, in your comments box, it would look something like this:

Vote 1: Making Wishes at Bay View by Jessica Redland (Boldwood Books)

Reasons: [insert 100+ words e.g. brief outline of story (use the blurb for help – pasted at the bottom of this blog post) but the main focus would be what you loved about it which could draw on the style of writing, the plot, the setting, the main characters and their relationships, the secondary characters, sensitivity of how difficult subjects are handled, humour v emotions, how it made you feel and so on]

Vote 2: [Name of book] by [Author] [Publisher]

Reasons: These do not have to be provided for the 2nd vote but can be

Please do follow these rules carefully as a scroll through the comments boxes so far reveals so many that are not going to count because they have only given one vote and/or there’s not a proper review of at least 100 words. It would be such a shame to go to the effort then have the vote disqualified for not meeting the criteria.

Not The Booker Prize Jessica Redland

What’s the deadline?

Voting is already coming in thick and fast. At the time of writing this on the morning after the shortlist was released, there are already 201 comments (although not 201 votes as there are some comments among them and some double-comments where the voter has forgotten to add in their second vote – oops).

The deadline is end of the day on 16th August 2020 with the shortlist announced the following day. Why not act now while it’s in your mind?

Why do I need you?

The romance genre is often over-looked and dismissed as ‘fluff’ yet is one of the most widely read genres, more so recently when escapism from the worldwide pandemic is needed by so many. Ironically, very few books I’ve read don’t contain romances – romantic relationships are, after all, a huge part of our lives – but they simply aren’t packaged as romances. It would be amazing for our genre to have a book that has provided pure escapism during such a challenging time to be represented in the shortlist. Of course, I would be personally thrilled but I feel there’s a bigger picture here.

And, of course, looking at those HUGE names on the list, I’m a tadpole in an enormous lake so any support would be so very much appreciated. So far, a quick scan has suggested I don’t have any votes… yet. But I’m hoping that will change! Or I might cry. A lot!

Thank you in advance. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this. If you haven’t already read Making Wishes at Bay View, it’s available on eBook on AppleBooks, Kindle and Kobo and there’s time to squeeze it in. The blurb is below.

Big hugs

Jessica xx

Bay View Review Twitter 8

Never give up on a wish for a happy ever after…

Callie Derbyshire has it all: her dream job as a carer at Bay View, finally she has found the love of her life. Everything is perfect.

Well, almost.

Ex-partners are insistent on stirring up trouble, and Callie’s favourite resident, Ruby, hasn’t been her usual self.

But after discovering the truth about Ruby’s lost love, Callie is determined to give Ruby’s romantic story the happy ending it deserves. After all, it’s never too late to let love in again. Or is it?

A heartwarming and uplifting novel of finding love and friendship in the least expected places from top 10 bestselling author, Jessica Redland.

This book was previously published as two novellas – Raving About Rhys and Callie’s Christmas Wish.

What readers are saying about Making Wishes at Bay View:

‘I really enjoyed this book and the characters and most of all I am happy that it will be a series’

‘This book did not disappoint in the slightest’

‘It is written really beautifully’

‘Absolutely adored the charming storyline’

‘This book exceeded my expectations’

‘From start to finish, I was hooked’

‘It is totally heart-warming’

‘What a sweet, charming, and enjoyable read about finding love and discovering who you are yourself’

 

 

 

The one where I remember the Top 40 singles chart

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

When I was young, Sunday was ‘visiting day’; the day where we had our Sunday lunch then bundled into the car and visited my mum and/or dad’s family who lived about 35 miles away. It wasn’t every week but it was regular.

IMG_6892We’d stay for tea at my grandma and granda’s house or occasionally dine with or visit other relatives. Tea was always afternoon tea-style food with sandwiches and scones and cakes. Lovely. Ooh, I could just fancy a bit of cake right now. Nom nom.

On the way home in the car, we’d catch part of the UK Top 40 Singles Chart on BBC Radio 1. We’re talking the late 1970s and most of the 1980s here and this was way before the days of digital downloads. In fact, most of that time was before CDs, with the charts compiled purely on the sale of vinyl records. Showing my age here!

In those days, singles would typically enter the charts and gradually climb up week on week, sometimes only one or two chart positions at a time. It would be exciting listening out for whether our favourite records would have gone up that week and, if so, how far and it would be so disappointing if they’d dropped, especially as that would typically mean the song wasn’t played.

What was even more exciting was predicting who’d be in the Top 3. One of the DJs – can’t remember which one now – used to get listeners to phone in with their predictions.

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Image by Martin Ludlam from Pixabay

Many amazing records didn’t make it to number 1 but still sold in significant quantities and the ones that did make it to that coveted position often stuck around at the top slot for weeks. Anyone remember Bryan Adams being at number 1 for eight years with ‘(Everything I do) I do it for you’? from the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves? Okay, so it was 16 consecutive weeks really but it felt like eight years although I never fell out of love with that song despite it being played constantly. This was 1991 and Bryan Adams still holds the record (literally) these days for having the longest number of consecutive weeks at number 1 in the UK.

You might be wondering where I’m going with this on a blog predominantly about writing and I promise there’s a link!

Over the past month or so, the four books in my Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series have been steadily climbing up the Kindle charts and, over Easter, I blogged about how excited I was that they’d all received a best seller tag for at least one of their categories and that they’d all broken into the Top 1000 with Book 2, New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, storming ahead at #352 on the morning of 10th April. You can read that blog post here.

Screenshot 2020-04-09 at 22.46.10

Breaking the Top 1000 was so exciting for me. All the books had previously been released under different titles across 2015-2016 and, after my publisher ceased trading, I re-released them as an indie author. They had never got anywhere near this type of chart position so this was an absolute dream come true. But it kept getting better. By late April, they’d all cracked the Top 500 and, a week into May, they’d all cracked the Top 400 with the trailblazer, Seaside Blooms, making it into the Top 100 at #91 on 5th May. Wow!

Screenshot 2020-05-05 at 23.14.38It didn’t end there and this is where the chart connection comes in. Once a book makes it into the Top 100 on Amazon in any chart – including category charts – then you can see all the books in that Top 100 displayed beautifully in a chart showing the covers rather than just a number at the bottom of the book details.

It’s a lovely visual representation of how your book is performing and which authors have the books out either side of yours.

Screenshot 2020-05-10 at 20.08.24New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms made it to #51 in the overall Kindle chart a couple of days later on 7th May and suddenly a new milestone of Top 50 seemed realistic. The next day, it got to #42. Was the Top 40 possible? Yes, the following day, it reached #32. But that meant another potential milestone of Top 30. Could it? Would it? The day after – Sunday 10th May, it did. And, not only that, it also reached the Top 25 on the same day. Eek!!!!!

I will admit that, by this point, chart-position-watching had become a bit of an obsession. I think all ‘firsts’ are for writers. I remember staying up until midnight on the day of my first release to watch it arrive on my Kindle. I don’t do that now.

The charts are meant to get refreshed hourly but my experience is they don’t seem to – more like bi-hourly or even every three hours. I couldn’t sleep at night, waking up every couple of hours, wondering if I’d have made it even higher. I am still shattered from several days of doing this. I have, thankfully, got it out of my system now. I wasn’t setting an alarm or anything like that – I’m not that desperate – but it was like my body clock would go, “Right, you, a couple of hours have passed so it’s time to get up and check the charts”. So up I got and padded into my office across the landing to see where I was.

In the very early hours of the Monday morning, I hit #20. Top 20!!! Yay!!!!

But, of course, I wanted more. That’s the problem with achieving a goal; you instantly make a new one! Could I actually get inside the Top 20 into the teens?

It didn’t look like it. On Monday 11th May, Seaside Blooms began to drop to the mid-twenties. Boo. But 20 was absolutely amazing and when it first dipped inside the Top 1000, I’d never have dreamed of reaching that sort of number.

Like the UK singles chart where records go up and down, Seaside Blooms did the same. A good friend of mine tagged me on Facebook on Wednesday 13th May with a screenshot to show #19. I’d done it! I’d made it inside the Top 20 and figured that surely it would end there, especially when it began dropping again.

Up and down, up and down, it gradually moved towards the Top 10 with the highest position to date – #14 – being secured on Sunday 17th May. At some point over the past few weeks, it has held every single position from 14 to 30!

My mum and husband were convinced I’d make it into the Top 10 still but, with a few days having now passed since hitting #14, I think Seaside Blooms has definitely peaked. Although I thought that at #20 and, a few days later, it hit #19 so you never know.

Meanwhile the other three books are all doing me proud:

  • Making Wishes at Bay View (Book 1 in the series) is currently at a personal best of #157. Top 150 next?
  • Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (Book 3) has a PB of #182 from Monday but has mainly hovered around #200 since then. I’m hoping it will follow Book 1 and 2 nearer the top of the charts as readers steadily work through the series
  • Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (Book 4) achieved a PB of #214 earlier today so I’m hoping it will break the Top 200 soon. It would be so amazing to have the entire series in the Top 200 together. Even better if they were in the Top 100 together! I achieved that on AppleBooks UK back in March with all of them being in the Top 75 at the same time which was another really thrilling moment.

I am absolutely delighted and so very grateful to my amazing publishers, Boldwood Books, for giving me this opportunity and to all the readers who have helped the series rise. I will admit, though, that it doesn’t feel real. When I was at #14, it didn’t feel possible that only 13 books in the UK out of the millions of eBooks on Amazon were higher in the charts than mine. As I’m typing this, it feels like something that must be happening to someone else; not to me.

Without wishing to sound pessimistic, I don’t think this is something that will happen to me again unless one of my books is on something like a BookBub promotion. I think a combination of factors have all come together at the same time to lead to the current positions enjoyed by Seaside Blooms:

  • Lockdown Time – people have the time to read a lot more and sales of eBooks have rocketed
  • Lockdown Comfort – readers want escapism and they want books that will uplift and hug them, which is what I write
  • Whole Series – because these are re-issues, the whole series are out at the same time, creating an appetite for binge-reading and more so during lockdown
  • Prime Deal – Seaside Blooms is currently on a Prime deal so lots of Prime members are downloading it too

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I don’t have another whole series in my back catalogue to re-issue and I hope we are never, ever in a scenario of lockdown ever, ever again so the above set of circumstances won’t happen again. Or at least I hope the lockdown scenario doesn’t happen again.

Going forwards, I will never forget the moment I broke every goal I dreamed of and those I hadn’t even dared to imagine.

I’ll never forget that unreal moment at 4am, lying back down in bed thinking, ‘I’m at number 14 in the charts!’ and having to fight the urge to wake up hubby to tell him.

I’ll never forget watching my books steadily moving up the charts, just like when I listened to my favourite songs moving up the charts on ‘visiting day’ as a child.

And I’ll never forget those who I’ve been unable to visit for many years. RIP, Granda Wiseman, Grandma and Granda Williams, Uncle Stan, Uncle George and Auntie Olive. Sending love and I hope I’ve done you proud.

Jessica xx

The one where I’ve nearly topped the AppleBooks chart

Apple BOTW Making WishesHave you ever achieved something that wasn’t even a goal of yours because it seemed so out of reach that having it as a goal would have been too unachievable? I’ve done that this month and it’s been the gift that keeps on giving.

Making Wishes - Apple Promo BannerFor week commencing 9th March, book 1 in my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series, Making Wishes at Bay View, was the AppleBooks Free Book of the Week. This meant that it appeared on a scrolling banner on the AppleBooks home page and immediately topped the free book chart. Exciting!

What was more exciting was the impact this had on the rest of the series. Books 2 and 3, New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove were placed on a 99p promotion on AppleBooks and, on the Thursday of that week, the final instalment, Coming Home to Seashell Cottage, was released for £1.99. So a reader could buy the entire 4-book series for less than £4. Super duper bargain!

Jessica Redland Series Pricing

All books on Amazon show the chart position for the whole chart and the specific category charts. On AppleBooks, you can only see your chart position when you enter the top 200. I eagerly watched the chart, hoping the rest of the series might break the top 200 and was so excited when they did. But across the course of the week, they gradually crept up that chart and did things I never dreamed they’d do.

I was beside myself with excitement when New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms made it inside the Top 10 in the Romance Chart and reached number 37 in the overall chart by the Friday of that first week. But it didn’t stop there…

Last week saw books 2-4 all reach the Top 10 on the Romance chart … and then the Top 5! Wow! New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms peaked at #2, Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove reached #3 and Coming Home to Seashell Cottage made it to #5.

Books 2-4 - No 2, 3 & 5 in Paid Romance Chart

But they weren’t finished there. I couldn’t believe it when my editor emailed to say that New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms had made it to #6 on the overall chart i.e. all categories joined together. Then it crept up to #5. Then #4. At the time of writing, it’s still at #4 although that does change from day to day. Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove made it as high as #13 just today and Coming Home to Seashell Cottage made it to its highest overall chart position of #24.

You can click onto ‘Top Authors’ in the AppleBookstore and I actually appear on there. But look who I appear alongside! Oh. My. God!!!! Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this.

Top Authors Visual - Showing all R Authors

Screenshot 2020-03-27 at 19.40.29Apple don’t hold anywhere near the share of the marked that Amazon have with Kindle but it’s a growing market and I am beyond thrilled that my series is right at the top of the charts just behind or ahead of huge household names like James Patterson, Dean Koontz and Hilary Mantel, including some of my absolute favourite authors – Paige Toon and Lisa Jewell. Feels like some sort of surreal dream to see one of my books right next to Lisa’s when I’ve been a huge fan of her writing for years.

Making Wishes - No 131 in Paid Apple ChartAnd it doesn’t even end there. Despite thousands of readers downloading Making Wishes at Bay View, it has still charted, making it to #131 at the highest so far in the whole chart. And my first Boldwood release, The Secret to Happiness, has also charted again with #160 in the overall chart and as high as #30 in the Romance chart. Eek!

So, in the last few weeks, dreams that weren’t even dreams for me have been achieved and, in these strange and troubled times, I’m so grateful to my amazing publishers, Boldwood Books, who gave me this opportunity to stand out. This gift that keeps on giving has been such an amazing tonic, making me smile instead of cry, and I hope that these books have brought some comfort to those needing and welcoming an escape.

Will they ever make it to the #1 slot. I don’t think they will. You’d probably hear me screaming if they did! Thank you everyone who has made this possible.

Sending much love to you and your families to stay safe.

Jessica xxx

Screenshot 2020-03-27 at 13.32.41

 

 

The one where it’s a double publication day

Jessica Redland FB CoverI’m very excited today because it’s not just publication day, it’s DOUBLE PUBLICATION DAY!!! Woo hoo!!!!!

The second and third books in my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series are both released today following on from book 1’s January release: Making Wishes at Bay View.

This is NOT a new series but, instead, a refresh/re-edit/re-package of an existing series. As I explained with Making Wishes at Bay View, this could mean:

  • Some superfluous detail has been removed to tighten a scene
  • Some additional detail has been added to extend a scene
  • Tweaks to the flow of a conversation
  • Slight adjustments to the way a character reacts to something
  • A couple of removed scenes
  • A couple of new scenes

But let me look at this in relation to each book.

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, book 2 in the series, replaces Searching for Steven. New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms CoverOut of the four books, this one has been given the biggest refresh. The story is still exactly the same, as are the characters, but this was the very first book I wrote and my writing has developed since then. I wrote it between 2003 and 2013 and it was first published in 2015 but, when I came to read it again, I could tell it was my debut by the way some of my sentences were structured, for example, so those parts have been tweaked.

The main adjustments are:

Updating of technology – It’s amazing how much can change in a short space of time, quickly dating technology in a book. References to internet dating have changed to online dating and talking about Apps. Conversations on email have become conversations via Messenger or WhatsApp and I had to massively re-think a couple of issues caused by my main character, Sarah, using an old mobile phone and why. Curses on you, rapidly-advancing technology, for ruining perfectly good plot points!

Sarah’s relationship with her mum – It’s clear that Sarah has an amazing relationship with her Auntie Kay yet her mum (with whom she also has a brilliant relationship) was barely mentioned near the start but became quite important later on in the story. There are therefore a couple more scenes involving Sarah and her mum which give clarity to that relationship

Andy – I don’t want to say too much about this and give spoilers away but for anyone familiar with the original version, I’ve cut down the detail about when Sarah and Andy first met as it wasn’t moving the story forward. There’s also a plot point regarding an old university friend, Matt, which has been dropped completely as the reason it was in there was already covered by something else and my editor and I agreed that I didn’t need that double-emphasis. Cryptic or what?

There are loads of subtle tweaks and changes throughout the whole book but these are the changes of substance.

Finding Hope at Lighthouse CoverFinding Hope at Lighthouse Cove, book 3, replaces Getting Over Gary. This was my easiest edit of the four books as very little has changed. I can’t pinpoint anything in particular that has been added in or has been removed. The main focus was more insight into how my main character, Elise, feels in certain situations and tightening up a few scenes here and there.

 

So what does this mean for the reader?

As with Making Wishes at Bay View, it’s completely up to you whether you read these new versions. If you’ve read and loved the series and would love to immerse yourself in the lives of Sarah, Elise and Clare and play ‘spot the difference’, be my guest. The characters and stories are the same, though.

If you’re partway through the series, your understanding won’t be affected at all by switching to the new versions.

And if you’re new, why not start at the beginning and hopefully fall in love with the setting and all the characters?

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove are out on eBook on all platforms now, on paperback, and on audio format from your library if they subscribe to the uLibrary system.

They will be released as audio versions on 17th March when book 4, Coming Home to Seashell Cottage will also be released on that day in all formats.

Thank you so much to the brilliant Boldwood Books for my gorgeous covers and all the editing guidance and support in bringing these two books to re-publication.

Jessica xx

Jessica 4 Covers

Want to know more?

Here’s the buying links and I’ve pasted the blurbs to the whole series below them:

Making Wishes at Bay View

Kindle

Kobo

Audible

Paperback

Also on Apple

 

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms

Kindle

Kobo

Paperback

Also on Apple

 

Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove

Kindle

Kobo

Paperback

Also on Apple

 

Coming Home to Seashell Cottage

Kindle

Kobo

Also on Apple

 

Making Wishes at Bay View (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Book 1)

Never give up on a wish for a happy ever after…

Callie Derbyshire has it all: her dream job as a carer at Bay View, finally she has found the love of her life. Everything is perfect.

Well, almost.

Ex-partners are insistent on stirring up trouble, and Callie’s favourite resident, Ruby, hasn’t been her usual self.

But after discovering the truth about Ruby’s lost love, Callie is determined to give Ruby’s romantic story the happy ending it deserves. After all, it’s never too late to let love in again. Or is it?

 

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Book 2)

Sometimes love can bloom where you least expect it…

For Sarah Peterson, it’s time for change. Coming out of a dead end relationship and having had enough of city life, she just needs to escape and have a fresh start – a new job, a new home and a new lifestyle.

So when her Auntie Kay unexpectedly offers her the opportunity to take over her flower shop, Seaside Blooms, the timing could not be more perfect. She could escape to the beautiful seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, start a new chapter in her life – and learn how to run a business!

But, as she packs up her life in London, she isn’t prepared for the discovery of a clairvoyant reading that’s been missing for twelve years. All of the predictions have come true, except one: she’s about to meet the man of her dreams. Oh, and his name is Steven…

As she prepares for the biggest move of her life, Sarah can’t help but wonder if Seaside Blooms could a new beginning for love too?

A warm, uplifting novel of love, friendship and destiny from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms is a new, revised and updated edition of a novel previously published as Searching For Steven.

 

Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Book 3)

When it feels like everything is against you, sometimes you just need a little bit of hope…

Married to her childhood sweetheart for over twelve years, Elise feels like starting a family is the next natural step. However her husband, Gary, has other ideas…

Suddenly single, Elise is completely heartbroken and struggling to start over on her own. But when she’s enlisted to be bridesmaid to her best friend, Sarah, she has to put on a brave face, put her own feelings aside and find a way to get over Gary. Fast.

So when she meets handsome, recently-divorced, Daniel, she thinks he could be just what she needs. But why can’t she shake the feeling that he must be too good to be true?

Will she ever be able to take that leap and trust again?

An uplifting read of love, loss and finding yourself from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.

This book was previously published as Getting Over Gary

What readers are saying about Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove:

‘This book is a thoroughly entertaining rollercoaster ride full of emotion. One moment I would be laughing, the next reading through eyes blurred with tears, this story really has it all!’

‘For anyone who has or is facing difficulties in life, reading this may give you a strength you never knew you had and that little thing called hope. A truly captivating, highly enjoyable read’

‘Jessica Redland clearly has a knack for writing and is able to successfully hook readers into her story’ Elle’s Book Blog

 

Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Book 4)

For Clare O’Connell, home is where the heart aches…

Since the age of sixteen, Clare O’Connell has lived her life by four strict rules:
1. Don’t talk about Ireland
2. Don’t think about Ireland
3. Don’t go to Ireland
4. Don’t let anyone in

And so far, it’s worked well. She’s got a great career, amazing friends, and she’s really happy. The future is all that counts, isn’t it?

However Clare is about to realise that you can run from the past, but you can’t always hide from it…

When her boss insists she travels to Ireland for work, Clare finds herself drawn back to the village of Ballykielty – the home of her family, and the home of her secrets. The one place where vowed never to return to again…

With the door to her past now wide open, the first three rules have gone out of the window. Will Clare stick to rule number four?

Can she be brave and face up to her family and the demons of her past? 

An emotional novel of family, friendship and dealing with your past from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.

 

 

The one where it’s Boldwood’s 1st birthday

Screenshot 2020-02-02 at 19.29.23

Yesterday – 1st February – was my publishers’s first birthday. Happy birthday Boldwood Books!

I submitted to Boldwood on their very first day of accepting submissions. I’d never felt quite so excited about a submission before. The information on Boldwood’s website talked about ‘publishing reimagined’ and about working in ‘true partnership’ with their authors. It sounded like everything I could ever have hoped for. I’d also never felt so positive about a submission either. I had this feeling it might be a good outcome.

And it was!

Six weeks later, my fabulous editor, Nia, sent me an email asking if I’d be free for a conversation the following week and, a few days later, I joined the Boldwood team.

Everything Boldwood promised, they have delivered in spades and a whole lot more too. I’ve felt so supported, so involved, and feel so lucky to be part of their growing team of authors.

My first year with Boldwood has been amazing and very busy:

  • Publication of The Secret to Happiness, a brand new novel, available on all eBook platforms, paperback and audio formats globally
  • Publication of Making Wishes at Bay View, the re-edited re-issue of the first part of my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series
  • Editing the remaining three parts of the series
  • Writing another brand new novel which will be out in July
  • Achieving the number 20 position in the overall Kindle chart in Australia and number 9 in Canada for The Secret to Happiness. Officially an international bestseller. Eek!!!!

Boldwood have lots of exciting plans for Year 2 and I will personally see a whopping seven books released during that time – five from my back catalogue and two brand new ones.

I cannot thank Boldwood enough for believing in my manuscript and saying yes. It’s been a joy and privilege to work with such a friendly and supportive team of professionals.

Here’s to the next twelve months.

Jessica xx

 

The one where Making Wishes at Bay View is published

Making Wishes Twitter 1It’s publication day today for Making Wishes at Bay ViewThis is my second release from Boldwood Books and the first re-release from my back-catalogue.

The first book in the four-book ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series, Making Wishes at Bay View combines two previously published books –  the novella Raving About Rhys and the short sequel novel, Callie’s Christmas Wish.

The remaining three books in the series are going to be released over the next two months. On February 20th, books 2 and 3 will be out:

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms (was Searching for Steven)

Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (was Getting Over Gary)

On 17th March, the final part of the series will be released:

Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (was Dreaming About Daran)

Making Wishes tea

Books 2-3 are currently still available for Kindle download only as their old titles but will be taken down from sale as soon as the brand new covers are available and will be replaced by pre-order links for the new versions.

All new titles will be available on all eBook formats, globally, audio, paperback and large print. The audio version of Making Wishes at Bay View is out now but the other three will all be released together on 17th March.

If you are a library user, they’ll all be available on the uLIBRARY App from Ulverscroft through libraries that support that App. Making Wishes… is available on uLIBRARY right now.

Clearly there are new titles across the series and there are also brand new covers. What else has changed?

The plot and characters remain the same as before. In theory, a reader could read a mix of the versions to get through the series and they won’t be confused. The new versions simply have a fresh edit. This could mean:

  • Some superfluous detail has been removed to tighten a scene
  • Some additional detail has been added to extend a scene
  • Tweaks to the flow of a conversation
  • Slight adjustments to the way a character reacts to something
  • A couple of removed scenes
  • A couple of new scenes

The changes very much vary from book to book.

Making Wishes - stars

So what has specifically changed in Making Wishes at Bay View and do you need to read it again if you’ve already read Rhys and Callie?

It’s entirely up to you. If you loved the stories first time round and fancy meeting the characters again and seeing if you can spot the changes, then delve right in!

The plot is still the same as before and so is the cast of characters. No characters have disappeared and no new ones have been added in. Callie is still exactly the same although she’s now 25 instead of 21. Octogenarian, Ruby – my most favourite character ever – hasn’t changed at all. Iris is still in there and there’s a bit more banter between her and Ruby which I loved adding in. I wish those two existed in real life. I’d love to spend time with them!

The main change is Callie’s best friend and work colleague, Maria. I don’t want to give any spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read either version, but there’s a bit more detail about Maria and Callie’s friendship in Making Wishes at Bay View. Also, a couple of plot points involving Maria play out a little differently. I hope you like the changes.

IMG_7863How did I spend publication day?

I wish I could say that I had a lovely relaxing day celebrating but it was day job as normal for me. I marked 12 assignments and dealt with 15 student enquiries, slopped my lunch down my top, got crumbs all over my keyboard, and jumped every time the dog barked at someone passing. Standard day! What was lovely was occasionally breaking to share news on social media, thank others for sharing it, and eat a gorgeous box of biscuits that my publisher sent me with the book cover on!

I was a guest on my fabulous friend Sharon Booth’s blog, talking about how the combination of the books came about and why friendship is important in my stories. You can read the post here. And I was on the Boldwood Books blog talking about the inspiration behind my Whitsborough Bay setting. You can find that post here.

Making Wishes Blog Tour

My blog tour started with a lovely review from Joanne at Portobello Books Blog – read it here – who said: “Making Wishes at Bay View is a lovely read, one which I whizzed through as I was so taken with the characters, particularly Callie. It was lovely to return to fictional Whitsborough Bay again. Making Wishes at Bay View is a book which is sure to leave you with a warm feeling inside, a proper feel-good piece of writing.” Aw! Thanks Joanne.

I also had a lovely surprise from new ‘fan’ Little Miss Book Lover 87’s blog which made my day too. You can read that here. She said, “I knew that this was a fab book from very early on. This is another new author for me and I am already eagerly adding more books to my TBR. This is a book I devoured in hours and found it completely impossible to put down. I cannot say anything negative about this book, it is absolutely fantastic. Redland is able to pull the reader in and make it extremely hard for them not to fall in love with the story. This is a delightful read which I highly recommend to anyone who loves women’s fiction. I am definitely a huge fan after reading this book.” Actually, you probably don’t need to click into this one as that’s the full review! Lovely, isn’t it?

Thank you to everyone who has supported me up to and on publication day, the advance readers/bloggers who have left a lovely review on NetGalley, and anyone scheduled for the rest of the blog tour.

Have an amazing week.

Jessica xx

Making Wishes FB 2