My first book Become the Best You was self-published on Amazon in November 2014. Several months later I was offered a deal with an independent publisher, but it didn’t work out. For many reasons, we made the mutual decision to terminate my contract earlier this year. I’ve thought long and hard about what to do next, and have decided to sell the book directly here on the blog.

You can now buy the e-book version of Become the Best You for just £1.99 (£1 cheaper than it was on Amazon)  




The print version of Become the Best You is just £4.99 including UK postage* (£2 cheaper than it was on Amazon)




What’s the book about?

For those not in the know, Become the Best You details how I broke free from a dysfunctional past to ensure that my children have a dramatically different upbringing to the one I had.

I began writing it in the January (2014) when I went on maternity leave just before Freddy was born. Most of the first draft was written on my tablet while my little man feasted on boobies in the early hours of the morning. The book started to properly take shape over the summer, and after blood, sweat, tears, anguish, more tears and undergoing two professional edits, it was published at the end of the November.

With so many self-help books out there telling you what to do by qualified professionals, why should you listen to a word I have to say? I don’t have letters after my name or a rags to riches story, so why should you bother reading this book?

become the best youCan you identify with this list of demons that I had to conquer?
– Raised by parents who had dysfunctional childhoods and subsequently had one myself
– Moved house lots and went to many schools
– Suffered bullying in several schools
– Suffered sexual abuse as a child
– Left home at a very young age after not finishing school
– Struggled with depression
– Got into a lot of debt
– Had very little self-respect
– Used to sleep around
– Abused drugs and alcohol
– Put myself into unnecessary, dangerous situations

What do I hope you will achieve by reading the book?
– The ability to make peace with your past
– The ability to look in the mirror and like what you see
– The ability to find your inner strength and start respecting yourself
– The courage to re-define the rules of relationships that have become toxic
– The courage to cut ties with people who make you miserable
– The courage to break the cycle, keep it broken and become the best you

What the book doesn’t do
– Use overly complicated words or examples that are difficult to understand
– Go into minute detail telling you exactly what to do
– Patronise you and assume that you aren’t capable of turning your life around

Here’s what a Top 500 Amazon reviewer had to say about the book

“I received this book for free from the publisher in return for a review. The following is my honest opinion on this book:

Many people have a happy, well-adjusted upbringing. But plenty of us have had a dysfunctional childhood, a past that haunts us and causes us to create a repeating pattern of negative behaviour. If you feel like you’ve been stuck in this pattern of self-destructive behaviour, feel you are repeating the mistakes of your parents or just want to be able to let go of the past then this book is for you.

This book is an easy read and at 104 pages it won’t take long but the advice given will inspire anyone to motivate themselves to change. I’ve picked up many self-help books in the past and a lot of what I’ve read in this book I have already read in others, but what makes Renee Davis’ book unique is that she herself has had a dysfunctional past. The whole book isn’t written from the perspective of a therapist or trained professional who knows what to advise but hasn’t experienced it, no, Renee Davis is just a normal person who has gone through the process of breaking from her dysfunctional past and now she advises us how to do it too.

Renee is very open about her past and her own dysfunctional and destructive young adulthood. It is because of this openness that the book is really readable and relatable. While you may not have gone through the exact same things as Renee you really feel as if a friend is helping you deal with everything rather than a tone of being told what to do, which many other self-help books can be like.

Each chapter of the book starts with an inspiring quote to get you motivated.”

To learn more about the book, check out this podcast interview I did with Tim from Slouching Towards Thatcham

If you still aren’t convinced, check out these blog reviews

Leigh from Headspace Perspective 

Zena from Zena’s Suitcase

*Get in touch for a postage quote if you are outside the UK. 

what rock bottom feels like and three steps to get you back on trackTen years ago, pretty much to the day, I woke up in a Reykjavik hotel bed, drenched in a cold sweat.

I had been there on an all expenses paid work jolly up, and had as per usual got myself into a very messy mess. I had the familiar heart sinking feeling that shit had gone down the night before, but couldn’t recall the details.

It took me some time to gather the momentum to get myself out of bed. I needed the loo but didn’t make it, and instead ended up on the bathroom floor retching. I’ve often wondered if my inability to vomit is a blessing or a curse, and have concluded that it’s both, but that’s a whole other story.

Whilst lying on the bathroom floor trying futilely to eject the poison that I’d been voluntarily feeding myself for the previous forty eight hours, I noticed an empty bottle of wine from the minibar. On the shelf in the shower.

Who in their right mind drinks wine in the shower, straight from the bottle?

That was when I realised I had crossed the line

untitled-design-5Once the retching had passed, I sat with my head in my hands and bawled my eyes out. Snippets of the weekend came back to me in flashes. I remembered arguing with my boss, and making a complete idiot out of myself in front of my work colleagues. 

If that wasn’t bad enough, I’d put myself in unnecessary danger (again) by taking a taxi from one end of town to the other, alone. In the state I had been in, anything could have happened. 

I felt deeply ashamed of myself.

I knew that I could no longer just laugh it all off as I had done so many times before back then. If I was to have a chance of making it through 2007, I couldn’t carry on like that. In the four years between my first mental breakdown and that morning in Iceland, I had many incidents that could (and should) have propelled me to rock bottom.

But they hadn’t. Why not? 

I wasn’t ready to face my demons before that morning, and rock bottom only comes after pushing the boundaries to the absolute max

rock bottom and how to get out of it
I remember being in that hotel room like it was yesterday. After my pity party in the bathroom I had a shower, got myself dressed, and took a long hard look in the mirror. I was a broken mess. I had survived a shitty childhood and in many respects had got through my first decade as an adult by the skin of my teeth.

Yet, amid the chaos of my life, I had met some truly amazing people who I am privileged to call my friends. Without even finishing high school, I had managed to forge a decent and fairly paid career. I had also found my wonderful husband, who I was in serious danger of losing at that moment in time.

Ultimately, I knew there and then that I was deeply flawed as a human being, but I was capable of great things too. I hadn’t come this far to give up, and I would be damned if I allowed my relationship with the bottle destroy everything I’d worked so hard to achieve.

I was overwhelmed with a sense of clarity, and the fighter in me who had given up in favour of getting smashed took over.

rock bottom and how to get out of it Just like that, everything suddenly made sense

I was a weekend bender away from losing absolutely everything and everyone that mattered to me. I knew, sitting there in that hotel room, that things had to change. I also realised, perhaps for the first time, that nothing would change unless I did, and that I needed to change a lot.

My attitude.

My behaviour.

My eating habits.

My outlook on life.

Everything.

So that’s when the hard work began.

Step One: Awareness

rock bottom and how to get out of it It’s so much easier to just ignore our problems and hope they will miraculously disappear, but they never do. What actually happens is they become harder to deal with the longer you leave facing them.

To start helping yourself, you have to acknowledge what your problems are in the first place. Self-reflection can be a bitter pill to swallow, but you absolutely must be willing to do it. 

It became obvious to me that I was in the mess I was in because of the crappy things that had happened to me. However, I came to realise that holding on to the hurt of the past was destroying my chances of future happiness. I had all but written myself off as ‘tragically messed up’, but I wasn’t. I just needed to make peace with my past, so I could move on from it.    

Step Two: Determination 

I truly believe that most self-destructive behaviour stems from being engrossed in the cycle of dysfunction. By getting obliterated we are burying our heads in the sand, and not facing up to our problems. We think at the time that we’re having fun, but actually we’re doing even more damage to our broken selves. In order to start healing we need to surround ourselves with the the very best people.

rock bottom and how to get out of it A supportive partner, real friends or loving family will want to help you thrive and succeed in life. They absolutely, categorically, will not try to sabotage your efforts.

People who genuinely love you would only ever want to encourage your success. If you’re at rock bottom, chances are you have toxic people in your life that are holding you back. You’ll need to identify who they are and either redefine the rules of your relationship, or sever ties with them altogether.  

Step Three: Courage

You will have to get to know yourself, and always be true to who you really are. This means not getting swept up with the crowd, and never living your life according to anyone else’s timetable. You’ll need to become a ‘what you see is what you get’ type of person, not someone who changes their personality based on who they happen to be with at that moment. 

It’s time to identify the steps you need to take, that will get you onto the path to the life you deserve. If you need a little help with doing this, you might find my book Become the Best You useful. Click on the image below for more info.    

I wish you the very best of luck!

rock bottom and how to get out of it

what-i-learnt-from-my-recent-book-promotionLast week my self-help book/memoir Become the Best You was on offer on the Kindle store for 99p. I was hoping the promotion would revive it a little, and I’m pleased to report that it did just that. I also learnt a thing or two along the way, which is always a bonus. 

You can’t force or hurry success

I was thrilled at how well the book initially did when I first self-published at the end of 2014. I took annual leave from work, and approached the launch like it was my job (while all of my children were at school or nursery). It was impossible for me to keep that momentum going though, and pretty quickly I was in the territory of not having any time to promote the book at all. Without promoting the book, sales rapidly dropped.

I can imagine that every author, especially self-published ones, hope they’ll have a viral success on their hands, and that word of mouth will sell their book. Unfortunately having a great product that people rave about simply isn’t enough. Competition is fierce in the book business, and there’s a ton of hard work and truck load of luck that is needed along the way. A little help from our friends doesn’t go amiss either.

Special thanks to fellow bloggers Vicki and Tim for featuring me on their super successful blogs during the promotion. You can read my guest post on Honest Mum here, and interview on the Meet the Parents Podcast here

You need a seriously thick skin to survive as an author

There’s only so much self-promotion I’m comfortable doing, yet I still feel like I’m in danger of boring everyone by banging on about my book. If you haven’t snagged a fabulous agent or huge publisher who will champion you and treat you like part of their family, then you’ll need a massive audience into the hundreds of thousands to guarantee sales.

john-irving-thick-skin-quoteCards on the table, my book selling mission mostly feels like pushing jelly up a hill. The effort it takes to sell one book can be immense, because people don’t like parting with their cash unless they know they are going to like what they get. Even then it can still be tricky. The upside of being one of the little guys though, is that the lucky breaks are unbelievably awesome when they come, however small time they might be.

I’m proud of this book

Shortly after I published the book, one of the school mums asked if I felt that I was on display now, and whether I felt uncomfortable about people having access to all this knowledge about me. I honestly hadn’t even considered I would feel like that until she asked, but I suppose I do in some respects. I guess I’m giving anyone and everyone the opportunity to pick at my old wounds, and reopen them, if they wish to do so.

Mostly people have been supportive, but I have been trolled. I was told in no uncertain terms that walking away from family is the biggest sin you can possibly commit. That I should be ashamed of myself for taking drugs and sleeping around when I was younger, and that I deserved everything that came to me.  

Do I wish I had never written the book? Absolutely not. Am I proud of this book? Hell yeah.

Small consistent progress is the best kind of progress

“You need to remember why you wrote the book in the first place.” My husband said recently, while I dried my tears of frustration. When I was writing the book, all I could think about was getting it finished. I thought that publishing it and holding it in my hands would be enough, but who honestly goes to all that trouble (and cost) of writing and publishing a book, to have no-one read it?

I’ve come to the conclusion that success for me is making a genuine difference in real people’s lives. On that note, I’d like to leave you with an email that I received from a reader.

“Reneé, I really enjoyed your book and getting to know you a little better by reading it. 

Firstly, I thought that the beginning of the book was very easy to identify with. I would have liked to have found it when I was a lot younger, when I first started to analyse my life and patterns of behaviour. Great to introduce you into thinking in different ways and questioning the repeat offenders in your life, including yourself.

When I got to the middle of the book, I found it pricked my conscience on a number of issues I had brushed to the side conveniently and ‘not dealt with’. Once I stopped mentally squirming uncomfortably (thanks for that!) I decided to lay to rest a couple of issues which really needed to be confronted and I have to say, it wasn’t easy.

After a bit of further support from a very old friend, I kind of did though! I’m not sure I would have started the task of cutting a tie, let alone completed the task if i hadn’t read your book and spoken to my mate, but the combination worked well. It may take a repeat though as some ties are bloody stubborn but I know it can no longer be ignored.

Some relationship patterns are so ingrained in you it’s really, really hard to break it along with other associated enforcers. I’d like to know how to keep them at bay…………any tips? I seem to need to repeat them every few years or so with the same person.

The end of the book, is also very easy to follow. It gives you practical, black and white advice for many situations you can find yourself in and a perfect ending to a book that gives you a wake up call in the beginning.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t do the exercise because firstly I feel I’ve already been doing that for the last ten years at least. Your book was a really good reminder of how I used to be and pushed my refresh button.

Thanks for sharing it with us.”

Sharing this post for What I’m Writing


why-its-so-important-to-leave-a-book-review-on-amazonAfter first sharing the link to my book Become the Best You on my personal Facebook page, I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of support I received. 

Friends from far and wide, some I’ve not spoken to in years, were sharing the link and helping me spread the word. Within days people were getting in touch to tell me that they’d read the book, sometimes in one sitting, and that they’d been deeply moved by it.

Two years later, and most of them still haven’t written an Amazon review. I don’t take it personally, as I understand that life gets in the way.

Why Amazon reviews are important

But here’s the thing. There are almost two million books listed on Kindle, with around 100,000 new books being uploaded every single month. That’s a rather large haystack to find my needle of a book in, unless you are specifically looking for it. Lots of good reviews make all the difference.  

how-to-write-an-amazon-reviewThe way I see it, is the more reviews you have (assuming they are mostly four and five stars of course), the more it convinces would-be readers who are sitting on the fence to take the plunge and buy the book.

I know from personal experience that reviews have massively influenced my own decision making when it comes to Amazon purchases across the board, not just books.

If you have left a review for my book, I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you have read it, but haven’t had the time to review it yet, please follow the simple four step guide to your left to do so. Good vibes are coming your way 🙂  

What the newest Amazon reviews say about Become the Best You 

5.0 out of 5 stars ‘A fantastic and very worthwhile read’ by Amazon customer on 13 October 2016 (Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase)

“What a fantastic read! The honesty of the author makes it very relatable and gives it more depth than a 2 dimensional self help book. I really enjoyed the way that renee takes the reader through what she feels were the cause of many of the issues she faced and still faces and provides some great advice for getting through these. It’s great to be able to go on the journey with her and apply some of her tips!”

5.0 out of 5 stars ‘Practical suggestions offered in a useful and non preachy way’ By Francesca on 12 October 2016 (Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase)

“This book offers the reader not only a candid description of real life experiences, but also a useful approach on how to transform your present and future.
Told it in very simple terms, and written in a more realistic way than any other preaching self help books, ‘Become the best of you’ makes suggestions to overcome life hurdles which the reader can practically relate to and apply in real life. Thoroughly recommend this read.”

5.0 out of 5 stars ‘High recommended’ by Amazon customer on 12 October 2016 (Format: Paperback)
“Great read. Very inspirational. 5 stars. Highly recommended.”

btby-offer-for-99pI’m delighted to let you know that my book, Become the Best You is currently on offer for just 99p on the Kindle store. The promotion ends on Sunday, so get downloading!

Here is a Facebook Live I recorded, which tells you more about what to expect from the book. Hope you enjoy it 🙂