The one where Coming Home to Seashell Cottage is on an Audible UK Daily Deal

Hello again! Just stopping by very quickly to let you know that Coming Home to Seashell Cottage – narrated by the fabulous Lucy Brownhill – is currently available on Audible UK for the phenomenal bargain price of £1.99. Woo hoo!

This is the daily deal so it’s available at this price TODAY ONLY (Thursday 29th September 2022) right up till 11.59pm and you can find it here

Coming Home to Seashell Cottage is book 4 in a 4-book series so is best read after the others but the extra great news is that books 1 and 2 (Making Wishes at Bay View and New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms) are both FREE in Audible Plus so there’s only book 3 – Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove – needed to complete the series and some listeners might have already bagged that on a recent deal.

Having said that, it is a complete story and there’s enough backstory given that you could read it on its own if you really wanted … but why not go for the full series and really get to know the characters and the gradual build-up until you discover what Clare has been hiding in this series finale? The blurb’s below.

This is my very first Audible daily deal so I’m really excited to see where this audiobook ends up in the charts. We’re only at lunchtime and it’s already in the Top 100 at #67 and likely to climb higher as the chart position impact of deals like this usually hits at the end of the day or even the following day. Eek!

Please do spread the word if you know any Audible listeners. Thank you xx

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Coming Home to Seashell Cottage

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

Since the age of 16, 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 she 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 best seller Jessica Redland.

The one where I thank everyone for the amazing Spring Tides Blog Tour

Spring Tides at The Starfish Café – the second book in The Starfish Café series – was released on 5th April and has been on a blog tour. Officially the tour ended on Tuesday but there were a couple of bloggers unable to post on time so I wanted to watch out for those before I posted my thank you. And I was away on holiday and it’s so much easier being on my bigger screen at home.

I was a little apprehensive about how the blog tour of Spring Tides might go as the first book in the series – Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café – had been so well-received. Many of the positive comments were about how emotional the book was, really drawing readers in.

The second book isn’t anywhere near as emotional because readers already know Hollie’s and Jake’s sad stories and this is about them moving forward. Thankfully, the verdict was really positive.

I’ve included some quotes from across the tour. I loved reading every single review so if I you were a blogger on the tour and I haven’t included a quote from you, please be assured it wasn’t that I didn’t like what you had to say. These are all randomly selected from the ones I’ve been given (and I don’t have visuals from all the posts).

Thank you to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour on behalf of my fabulous publisher Boldwood Books and to all the amazing bloggers/reviewers who took part and shared their lovely comments about the story and my writing. It’s appreciated so much.

Thank you also to several fabulous bloggers/reviewers who kindly posted reviews during the first fortnight outside of the official blog tour and to all the readers who have posted reviews and ratings. At the time of writing this post, there are over 800 of these on Amazon which is so amazing.

I’ve been blown away by how well this book has done. Pre-orders in the first week put me into the Top 3 on the Bookstat E-Book chart shared by The Bookseller. This chart is made up of sales of eBooks, print books and audio titles online. Most charts record physical book sales only so it’s wonderful that this chart exists and an honour to be so high. The last two Hedgehog Hollow books made it into this chart but I think they were both #6 or #7. Having said that, the sales volumes were very similar – possibly higher – so where a title appears in this chart is very much around what else is out at the time.

Two and a half weeks since release, the eBook is still in the Kindle Top 100 and the Audible Top 100 which is such a thrill. These amazing reviews and recommendations will have helped it stay there.

Book three – Summer Nights at The Starfish Café – will be out on 3rd April 2023 and is available for pre-order on Kindle here now. It will be available in other formats nearer the time.

Thank you again for all the book love for Spring Tides at The Starfish Café. It’s made for a very happy month.

Big grateful hugs
Jessica xx

The one with all the birthdays

We’re celebrating three birthdays in our house today – 11th March 2022 – and another one tomorrow. Today it’s my husband’s birthday, our dog’s, and I have a book birthday today and tomorrow.

A huge happy birthday to my amazing husband, Mark, who is impossible to buy for so has chosen his own gift today. He is such an amazing supporter of my writing and I’m so exceptionally grateful and lucky to have him.

Happy 6th birthday to our sprocker spaniel, Ella, who may now be 42 in human years but still believes she’s a puppy.

And happy 1st book birthday to All You Need Is Love.

Many of my books have two birthdays – like the Queen! That’s because they were originally released by me as an indie writer or through my original publishing deal but, as they barely made any impact pre-Boldwood, I count their re-release through the amazing Boldwood Books as their official birthday.

All You Need Is Love is one of my personal favourites. I absolutely love Jemma and Sam’s emotional story intertwined with the challenges Jemma’s mum is facing and the backdrop of a specialist teddy bear shop on Whitsborough Bay’s Castle Street. A few lovely achievements during its first year include:

  • 40,000 copies sold across all formats
  • Over 1,600 reviews/ratings on Amazon
  • Over 300 reviews/ratings on Audible
  • Kindle UK Top 100 (highest position #81)
  • Kindle Australia Top 50
  • Audible UK Top 50
  • Several #1 Best Seller category tags

I have another book birthday to celebrate tomorrow so I’m including that here too rather than doing a separate blog post. Coming Home to Seashell Cottage is two tomorrow (12th March).

This is another personal favourite of mine. It’s the fourth (and final) book in the first series I penned – ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ – and it’s the book where I found my voice and the type of book I really wanted to write. Full of twists and turns and packing an emotional punch, it was a game-changer for me and I’ll always be immensely proud of it. Across two years, it has also had some lovely achievements:

  • 43,000 copies sold across all formats
  • Over 1,800 reviews/ratings on Amazon
  • Nearly 325 reviews/ratings on Audible
  • Kindle UK Top 200 (highest position #165)
  • Kindle Australia Top 100
  • Audible UK Top 50
  • Apple UK Top 25 (and #5 in the Romance category)
  • Several #1 Best Seller category tags

Coming Home to Seashell Cottage is currently on a 2 for 1 Audible Credit Deal which ENDS TOMORROW at 11.59pm (Saturday 12th March) so it’s the final chance to get this on a deal.

I’m so thrilled to see it in the overall Audible Top 50 as I write this! THANK YOU xxx

So a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my man, my dog and two of the books in my life!

It’s funny looking at the sales figures for the two because All You Need is Love got off to a bit of a slow start and it looked like it was going to be my least-sold book but that has changed and it is only just behind Coming Home to Seashell Cottage in sales figures but in half the time. Which then makes me feel sorry for Coming Home to Seashell Cottage. I wonder if it’s because All You Need is Love can be read as a standalone book so new readers are more likely to pick that up than a four-book series. Hmm.

I can tie yourself into knots wondering why some books sell better than others so it’s best not to think about it too much and just focus on how incredibly grateful I am that they sell at all!

If you’re celebrating a birthday today, tomorrow or any time this month, I wish you all the best. Thank you as always to everyone who has bought/borrowed/downloaded these two books (or any others) in any format, and/or has spread the word. It’s so much appreciated.

Big birthday hugs
Jessica xx

The one where Coming Home to Seashell Cottage is in a 2 for 1 Credit Sale on Audible UK

Hello there and a very warm welcome to March. Isn’t it lovely to feel the promise of spring with the crocuses open, the daffodils pushing through and those blue skies? Except today. Very grey and damp in Scarborough but I need to get my head down into edits of Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow so perhaps that’s a good thing.

Just dropping by with news that the fourth (and final) book in my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series has been picked up by Audible UK as part of their 2 for 1 credit sale today. This is a one-week offer ending on Saturday 12th March just before midnight.

On Audible’s 2 for 1 landing page – which you can find here – there’s a helpful countdown for when the offer ends.

The first two books in the series – Making Wishes at Bay View and New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms are free to Audible subscribers via Audible Plus so, if you haven’t read this series, it’s a great opportunity to grab those two for free, get book 4 on this offer, and use your normal credits for book 3 – Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove, which has previously been on offer.

It’s my personal favourite of the four books although I very much recommend reading the series in order to get the build around main character Clare who is initially a bit spiky and aloof. This book shows us why and, as you can see from the Audible quote above, there are lots of twists and turns in it.

Please do share this offer with anyone you know who’s an Audible UK listener. And if you’re not on Audible but enjoy listening, don’t forget all my books are available in audio format via Spotify and other streaming services.

The blurb’s below my signature.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

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 with the Whitsborough Bay tour round Scarborough’s North Bay

We made a decision to aim for one family day out each weekend but couldn’t go very far this weekend just gone. The munchkin was on a Duke of Edinburgh practise walk from one end to the other of Scarborough’s sea front (about 4 miles) on Saturday afternoon and we were expecting a plumber to quote for some work on Sunday.

As we needed to pick the munchkin up at the end of her walk, we decided to go early and have a wander round North Bay. It was a very cold and windy day – preparing for Storm Malik – and I took quite a few pics to show different parts of North Bay from my books.

STANLEY MOFFATT

Freddie Gilroy is an oversized statue of a former soldier who sits on his giant bench overlooking the sea at South Bay. You can read more about who he is and the story of the statue on this Wiki page.

He’s so iconic that he had to feature in my Whitsborough Bay stories but, as Whitsborough Bay is fictional, I needed to change his identity.

In my stories, he’s Stanley Moffatt, a fisherman who was saved by the RNLI. He’s first mentioned in The Secret to Happiness and features in Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café and the forthcoming Spring Tides at The Starfish Café.

As you can see, Freddie’s (or Stanley’s) bench looks a bit wet. It hadn’t been raining. This was from the earlier overtopping caused by the high tide and the wind so I took these photos very quickly while keeping an eye on the sea just in case.

You see the buildings on the top of the cliff? That’s where Danniella rents her flat from Aidan in The Secret to Happiness, although her flat would be a smidge further round off camera.

THE SEA

The dangers of dodging waves is one of the themes I explore in The Starfish Café series. In Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café, I talk about bollards being put up on the slipway after several tragedies. Although the details have been changed slightly on one of these, it is based on a true story from 2005 which resulted in the slipway near Freddie being permanently closed. Signs remind the public of the dangers of the sea yet people still take chances.

When we were down on the seafront on Saturday, it was a couple of hours after high tide. There were a few high waves and some spray but we stayed well back because we’re not daft.

The photo above shows the slipway that is permanently closed. Without giving spoilers, this is where an incident in Jake’s childhood occurs in Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café.

THE BEACH HUTS

Scarborough’s North Bay beach huts are gorgeous. Painted lime green, sky blue, red, orange and yellow, I decided not to change any aspect of them and they appear in my books exactly as they appear on North Bay.

They feature in loads of my books. In The Secret to Happiness, Karen’s bootcamp often takes place on the promenade in front of the huts which was inspired by my own experiences of doing two different bootcamps at 6am three mornings a week for a few years. Couldn’t do that now!

Clare walks along here on a visit to Whitsborough Bay in Coming Home to Seashell Cottage and they feature a few times in All You Need Is Love. And I’m sure you can see why.

SEA RESCUE SANCTUARY

Although I haven’t set a story there (yet), I do mention the Sea Rescue Sanctuary in several books, especially The Starfish Café series. In Scarborough, it’s really the Sealife Centre and it’s the pyramid shaped building in the background here (which I’ve changed to domes in my books).

HEARNSHAW PARK

Near Scarborough’s North Bay is the fabulous Peasholm Park, re-named as Hearnshaw Park in my books. Again, it features in several stories, perhaps most notably in Making Wishes at Bay View when Callie walks round the lake with Ruby and discovers the secrets from Ruby’s past.

Dusk was approaching so the pics aren’t the best as it wasn’t quite bright enough to pick out the colour but not quite dark enough to pick out the illuminations. But here you go…

Hope you enjoyed your little tour round Whitsborough Bay.

It’s February tomorrow – how did that happen?! Wishing you an amazing second month of the year.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where Making Wishes at Bay View makes a 2nd birthday wish

I’m celebrating a book birthday today! Making Wishes at Bay View – book 1 in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series – is celebrating its second book birthday today. Woo hoo!

14th January 2020 was the start of a quick-release schedule for the four books in the series aimed to create an appetite for my writing and build my readership. Book 2 and 3 – New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove were released in mid-February with the final book, Coming Home to Seashell Cottage out in mid-March.

It’s so strange to think that two years ago today, we were merrily going about our business, aware of the news of some flu-like bug that had taken hold in China, but with absolutely no idea of what was about to hit the world. A few days after book 4 was released, the UK went under restrictions around travel and working from home. Lockdown.

But we’re not here to talk about that! We’re here to celebrate!

Making Wishes at Bay View was the second title of mine to go into The Works and the first one I signed there which was a fabulous moment. In fact, so lovely that I got to do it twice as they had a second batch in when I went in to sign Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow stocked a little later (which is why I have 2 different masks on in the pics below).

I’ve seen it in two of my local garden centres too – Irton Garden Centre (British Garden Centres) and Dean’s Garden Centre – although I was too chicken to alert staff to me being the author and ask if they’d like me to sign them. Actually, that’s not true. When I first spotted it in one of the garden centres (won’t say which), I mentioned in a nervous garble that I’d written it and the sales assistant couldn’t have been less interested. I walked out mortified and really wished I hadn’t been brave and spoken up.

Looking back, it’s very possible she didn’t actually pick up what I’d said as we were all getting used to the world of mask-wearing and how muffled it makes the voice. Yes, that definitely could have been it. I’ll go with that!

I had the exciting news this week that the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series hit the New Year with more than 185k sales. Each individual book has sold over 40k copies with Making Wishes at Bay View out int he front with 53k copies. My wish is for the other books to make it over that 50k hurdle and to reach the 200k mark for the series. What a special moment that will be.

It was interesting looking at my sales figures as my best selling individual book is Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow. I’d never totted up sales figures across each series but I always imagined that the Hedgehog Hollow series had sold the most because it seems to be the one most readers talk about. I was therefore surprised to see that the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series was significantly further ahead. Granted, all the books in the W2WB series have been out longer and book 4 in the Hedgehog Hollow series has only just been released so it’s not quite a level playing field but, as I say, it was a surprise. A pleasant one. I sometimes feel sorry for these books because the hedgehogs get so much love and I’m so proud of them and love the stories. Great to see that they’re holding their own!

So happy birthday to Making Wishes at Bay View and thank you to anyone who has bought/borrowed one or more book in this series. As ever, I’m so very grateful.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The one where Whitsborough Bay Harbour looks so pretty

On Monday night we took our dog, Ella, for a walk along Scarborough’s South Bay. The less commercial of the two bays – North Bay – is actually my favourite but South Bay has the pull of the harbour and the lighthouse and both of these look so pretty lit up at Christmas.

So I won’t witter. I’ll just show you some photos of Scarborough aka Whitsborough Bay looking all Christmassy and gorgeous. They’re not the best photos in the world – still haven’t mastered taking them on my phone despite having had the same phone for years – but it should give you a feel anyway…

Big hugs
Jessica xx

For the Whitsborough Bay fans, you see the shops/cafes/pubs all lit up? Behind that is the Old Town which is mentioned in several of my books. Seashell Cottage which appears in the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series is in the Old Town and Jake from Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café lives in Lighthouse View there.

The large building above left is The Grand which is The Ramparts Hotel in my books (and very much a 5-star hotel which The Grand hasn’t been for a long time). The arcade next to it with the red lights is The Olympia which appears in my second Starfish Café book, Spring Tides at The Starfish Café (out 5th April) renamed as the Golden Galleon.

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

Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café is 99p right NOW!

A quick blog post to alert you to a brilliant offer on Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café 

Right now, the eBook is 99p (or overseas equivalent) and this is on all platforms so, if you haven’t already taken a trip to The Starfish Café, this is the perfect opportunity.

Set in Whitsborough Bay, this is the start of a brand new series, but this book is a complete story with no cliff hangers. The second book will be out on 5th April 2022.

Warning: Although like all my books, it’s uplifting and heartwarming with a happy ending guaranteed, it’s an emotional one so you may need tissues!

If you know anyone who you think would like this book, please do spread the word.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

‘Heartbreakingly moving and yet beautifully uplifting, I cried for all the right reasons!’ Jo Bartlett

‘I fell in love with this story from page one’ Helen J Rolfe

‘Achingly poignant, yet full of hope – You will fall in love with this beautiful Christmas story’ Sandy Barker

Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible…

Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a magical winter at the seaside, where love blossoms and lifelong friendships are made.

Celebrating a super sales milestone

Last week, I had a Zoom meeting with my publisher where they shared the most amazing news about a milestone that my book sales have achieved. I wanted to write a blog post about it, but I was chasing a deadline and could only manage a quick share on the socials. Thank you so much for all the amazing and supportive comments I received. I appreciated them so much.

The milestone was a whopping 500k – or half a million (sounds more somehow!) – sales of my books through Boldwood Books. This is across all formats and all titles released through Boldwood from my first one – The Secret to Happiness – which was released in September 2019 right up to the end of September 2021, therefore covering a two-year period and thirteen titles, although two of those had only just been released in August so haven’t had a chance to gather many sales yet.

If you’ve followed my blog or my journey for a while, you’ll understand how much this milestone means to me and what a big deal it is after such a shaky start as an author.

When I secured a 3-book publishing deal with my debut novel back in 2014 – following 23 rejections – I thought I’d made it. You would, wouldn’t you? I actually had two offers come through round about the same time so had a very happy decision on my hands. My first full-length novel through my chosen publisher was released in June 2015 but we released a novella just before it which acted as a great introduction to the series. The remaining books came out in March 2016 and August 2016 respectively. My publishers were lovely and enthusiastic but they were a new entrant to the market and had overestimated their ability to make an impact. Having achieved fewer than 1,500 sales across the four titles in the space of 18 months, the publisher ceased trading and my rights were returned in autumn 2017. It was a crushing blow.

My husband hurriedly designed some new covers and, in November 2016, we released all 4 Kindle books as an independent author under the imprint ‘Little Bear Books’, Little Bear being my nickname. They tanked. That first November, I sold no eBooks. In December, I sold 7. In January, I sold 6. I’m sure you can imagine how soul-destroying that was!

I’d been working on another new novel which was called Bear With Me (since re-edited and rereleased through Boldwood as All You Need Is Love) and I thought that a new book on the market would make a huge difference. It made little impact.

A couple of Christmas releases in October finally gathered some momentum but, on the whole, I massively struggled as an indie author. I had days where I sold no books at all and, as the number of books I’d written steadily rose, that was increasingly disheartening. The frustrating thing was that those who read my books seemed to love them, but readers weren’t finding them. I did several free promotions in the hope that reading one book would generate sales of other books. It didn’t seem to. I knew I needed to spend time and money investing in advertising but where do you find time when you’re already working 7 days a week with the day job and where do you find money when writing isn’t making you any? It’s a Catch-22 situation where you need to invest to earn but you need to earn to be able to invest.

I decided to go on another round of submissions in late 2018 but, after being burnt first time around, was very selective about where I submitted. I received another 8 rejections, although some were from the same publisher for different books after giving me positive feedback and an open invitation to keep submitting. Each rejection made me crumble a little more and seriously question whether I was kidding myself that I had any talent. But writing is who I am. I couldn’t imagine not creating stories so I kept going even though it was looking like writing full-time was a dream I’d never achieve and that making it financially viable alongside a demanding full-time day job wasn’t looking good either.

And then Boldwood Books started up and I submitted on their very first day. I’d decided that this was my final attempt and, if it was a no too, I’d remain an indie author and keep hoping … or finally admit defeat. Thank goodness they said yes!

I’ve just done some number crunching. During my indie years – November 2016 to August 2019 – I sold 4,789 eBooks and gave away a frightening 3,558 eBooks for free, meaning ‘sales’ totalled 8,347 in just shy of 3 years. Add in my original publisher’s sales and we’re talking 9,814 copies shifted (only 6,256 of which generated any income) across 9 books in the space of 4 years and 2 months. Eek! This figure doesn’t include pages read on Kindle Unlimited as there isn’t an easy way for me to work out the equivalent of that in books sold.

So to have half a million sales in two years – an increase of about 5000% – makes for on extremely excitable, astonished and happy author. As a very rough calculation (if I’ve done my maths correctly), that’s an average 6 books a day (including the free ones) pre-Boldwood and 657 a day post-Boldwood. A tad different!

I have so many people to thank, without whom this wouldn’t have been possible:

  • My readers and listeners – whether you’ve supported me since the start or I’ve been recent discovery for you, I can’t thank you enough for falling in love with Whitsborough Bay and Hedgehog Hollow

    All the amazing bloggers and reviewers who have spread the word through your blogs and/or the socials, and recommended my books to your friends and followers. This is one of the most amazing things you can do for an author you love as recommendations make such a massive difference

    The amazing Facebook writing communities such as the wonderful The Friendly Book Community, Heidi Swain and Friends – A Facebook Book Club, and Jenny Colgan and More Great Books for your unwavering support and recommendations

    The wonderfully lovely members of my own Facebook group, Redland’s Readers, who make me smile every day with their hedgehog pictures and gorgeous feedback

    Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources who organises my blog tours for Boldwood but who also arranged several for me as an indie author. Thank you for such fabulous tours and for being a champion of my stories from the very start. I’m so grateful
  • My original writing family, The Write Romantics, for being there through the highs and lows of this bumpy journey, particularly Sharon Booth and Jo Bartlett who have helped raise me up or helped me unravel troublesome plot points. You are all absolute stars
  • My more recently adopted family, Boldwood Books. Not only have I achieved so many writing dreams since joining Boldwood, but I’ve joined the most fabulous group of people. Thank you to Amanda and Nia for believing in me and taking me on in the first place, to Claire and Megan behind the scenes, to those involved in all other aspects of the book’s journey – cover design, copy editing, proofreading – and all the wonderful authors who are so friendly and supportive
  • A second mention to my phenomenal editor, Nia Beynon, whose brilliant advice and editorial guidance is what shapes my words into the final version the readers and listeners experience and I could never have achieved this without her. Nia, I can’t thank you enough for being such a dream to work with
  • My amazing audiobook narrators – Lucy Brownhill, Emma Swan, James Dryden and Gareth Bennett-Ryan – for bringing the books to life and the team at ISIS Audio and Ulverscroft for the distribution
  • My mum, daughter and husband for being so amazingly supportive

I’m the first Boldwood author to have reached this milestone, although that’s mainly because I’m also the author with the most books released so far due to Boldwood taking on my entire backlist. My next target is to have an individual title join the 100k club. The first one to get there will be Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow, the first book in the Hedgehog Hollow series although, with sales so far just below 77k, it’s still got a little way to go. Several of my Boldwood buddies have already achieved this, some with more than one book, which is absolutely phenomenal!

Thank you again, everyone. Here’s to the next half a million!

Big enormous happy hugs
Jessica xx

PS Apologies for the missing bullet points. I swear I’ve added them in but WordPress is refusing to play ball!