Boldwood Books has added another six authors to its list and reported a “strong” first quarter in 2020, with a marked increase in e-book sales during the lockdown.
Amanda Ridout, who launched the company last year, said Boldwood's revenue was up by around 25% on the firm's forecasts in the first quarter of 2020.
She said: “Obviously we're maturing as a business, we're one year old and we're publishing new books, but what pleases me is all the portfolio was performing well and in many cases better than expectations so that was really pleasing. It's certainly been strong across e-book, print on demand and audio. So it's a good start to the year certainly.”
The new author acquisitions, bringing the publisher's list to 38, include women's fiction writers Jane Lovering, whose first Boldwood title will be released in September 2020, and Giselle Green, whose The Girl You Forgot will be published in August 2020.
Australian contemporary novelist Fiona Higgins, author of The Mothers’ Group (Allen & Unwin) and Wife on the Run (Allen & Unwin), has also joined with a new novel to be released in October 2020.
Self-published authors Heather Atkinson and Mary Grand have also signed up. Atkinson's new gangland series, set on the fictional Gallowburn estate in Glasgow begins with the title Blood Brothers in December 2020. Suspense writer Grand's Isle of Wight-set The House Party is out in July 2020.
A debut women's fiction novel from TV wine expert and Daily Mail drinks writer Helen McGinn has also been acquired for a spring 2021 release.
All authors have been contracted on multi-book deals and continue the firm's policy of publishing in every format simultaneously in all English language territories.
Ridout added that there had been an increase in e-book sales in recent weeks as people reached for their Kindles while locked indoors, while Boldwood had been “future-proofed” from the start with its five staff members set-up to work from home.
“We've been very lucky in that our predominant formats e-books and audio can be transported around the world without any human contact so that's good,” she said. “At the moment we're having a pretty strong time which is pleasing for us but I know there are many people who aren't so one has to be cogniscent of that.”
Print on demand has also remained a “strong line” for the company, although plans to launch a traditional print operation, originally scheduled for April, have been pushed back until the second half of the year.
The company is focusing on social media activity, with authors are participating in a programme of Boldwood Bedtime stories, sharing their animals’ antics in a #petsofisolation campaign, and encouraging readers to #TravelBold with escapist fiction. It has also been running “gift a free e-book” offers for NHS staff and other key workers from its own website.
Ridout said: “Whilst we find ourselves in a strange and uncertain universe, we are so lucky at Boldwood to be in a business which can offer comfort and distraction to people in difficult times. It is a delight to be able to welcome more brilliant writers to our list to help us to continue to build the business successfully—by bringing their entertaining and inspiring stories to a global audience.”