Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Publishing News: Ups and Downs Never End

One would think, after ten years or so in the publishing business, that there wouldn't be that many new snafus plaguing us. If one thinks that, one's thoughts are erroneous!

The Old Folks in the Boat  is still NOT in print. It's been over a month now that we are waiting for a new proof copy. The photos in the first proof were so poorly done, that we had to resubmit the title with our complaint. Ingram, of course, took their sweet time to examine the book to finally declare that the problem was indeed, as I told them, a result of insufficient ink.

I'm still waiting for the new proof copy and it's been over three weeks now. We may have to cancel our signing in Seattle at this rate.

The issue here is that when a book has 44 photos, it's rather important that they are clear and of a good resolution. Photos are a major part of this work. I can't even begin to describe the fits I've had trying to deal with the "customer service" people. They are certainly courteous and nice on the phone, but nothing gets accomplished. Lip service only.

It's so strange that we had none of these print problems with photos when we were able to use XP. Once XP died, we had to go with Windows 7. It's a  far inferior program, at least for us.


While The Old Folks in the Boat  is languishing, our second title of the year, A Beginner's Guide to Owning a Mule, looks as though it may cross the finish line this month! We are awaiting a proof copy (printed). The pdf proof copies don't tell the whole truth!

The final cover took a bit of time, but as always our cover designer, Vin Libassi, came through. Of course, Windows 7 has snags so we can't show both front and back cover pages.


Although Jered will be dropping by to fill any book orders this month, the rest of us are deserting the office. It has been a dreadfully stressful last two months trying to get these two books into print. Even though I still don't have hard copies of the titles, they are now in the works and should be finalized this week. At this point it looks like both new titles will be released in February at the Gold Rush Days event. I don't see our rowing book selling like pancakes here in the desert, but the mule book should do reasonably well.


It seems that Robert Walton's brilliant Civil War novel, Dawn Drums, may win this year's People's Choice Awards! Six days are left in the contest. If anyone wants to help us out, please vote for this outstanding historical novel. All you have to do is go to You'll need to scroll through the pages to about page 14 or wherever it says historical fiction. The titles are arranged alphabetically.

Meanwhile, have a wonderful holiday season. I hope you all enjoy Christmas and the New Year! From the few of us here at Moonlight Mesa Associates, we wish you a Merry Merry and a Happy Happy!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Publisher Sees Big Progress on NewTitles

Finally! After more than two years of wrangling around, Moonlight Mesa's long-awaited rowing book has been uploaded to the printer where it is currently being validated. Next will be a proof copy (if the validation goes okay). It's taking a long time, though, which is generating some concern.

Moonlight Mesa's cover designer (Vin Libassi) surprised everyone with this final cover, but everyone feels that it reflects what the book is truly about. Ultimately it's not just about's about doing things you want to do before you're a goner. That's putting it pretty simply and bluntly, but hopefully the book will be one that is inspiring as well as humorous and informative.

AND, it's official that The Old Folks in the Boat  will be released at the Seattle Boat Show at the Captain's Nautical Supply location both Friday and Saturday, February 2nd and 3rd. Coffield will be on hand both days to sign copies and talk rowing!

To top things off, The Old Folks in the Boat received a terrific review by author Robert Walton.


Moonlight Mesa's second project for 2017 is nearing completion. Only one chapter remains to be written in A Beginner's Guide to Owning a Mule. The cover design is now in the works. As always, the publisher's main designer, Vin Libassi, is doing the cover for this title. Other art work for the book is slowly coming in. At least one vendor has already pre-ordered copies! How about that!

"This year has been a bit of a stress," publisher Becky Coffield recently said. "Our 2017 books are coming out in January of 2018. We just couldn't get things together for some reason. Well, I suppose one reason is that I had to row 200 miles to finish the rowing book."

So far only one project has been selected for 2018. Coffield said it's supposed to be a "collaboration" by about 20 authors. "We'll see how many follow through," she said. Because so many are involved in the project, profits from the sale of the book will be earmarked for Moonlight Mesa's scholarship program.


Since Moonlight Mesa Associates is slowly transitioning to nonfiction, a total website make-over is planned, probably during December. A news release will announce the change locally. "I want to somehow get word to PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association), Arizona Authors Association, and other groups that we are looking for nonfiction," Coffield said. "So far we're wide open to ideas. I know nonfiction is a whole other ballgame. It's not easy, but it's what our demographic wants, especially since Jere D. James has retired from westerns."

Coffield herself plans on penning another nonfiction title, likely a boating/travel book. "Now that's research I enjoy," the publisher said. "What's not to like about being on the
tugboat for months traveling around?"

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Publishing Changes Now Underway

Good grief! Horror of horrors! Every publisher's nightmare!


I can't believe the snafu that happened on our webpage that I only discovered yesterday. What is really disappointing, is that NO ONE told me about it, or questioned it, and it's been months.  Of course, it shows we are not enamored of working on the website. Our bad. But this makes me wonder if anyone even looks at the website! Unfortunately, the website had to be renewed, so there went several hundred dollars. I'm questioning whether it's  all that helpful in selling books. Most of our books are sent out by Amazon and a few vendors who buy from Ingram.

I worked until late last night trying to straighten things out. This is a major accomplishment. I am not a techie and have no patience or interest with this kind of stuff. I know this, though: I will not continue to use They now have it so I can't upload photos that I can add a link to. I have to more or less go through the back door to get book covers onto my site. They would like me to upgrade to a more expensive platform I guess. Ain't gonna happen. Okay, time to move on.

Oh, I did delete a few pages on the site and added a New Releases page. I like that!


We finally threw in the towel after weeks and weeks of struggling with color photo issues for The Old Folks in the Boat. Against my designer's wishes, I made the photos grayscale...and they look GREAT. In fact, I think I like them better than the color! (My cover man confessed he did too.) We are now in the final proofreading stage of this publication. At this point it's nit-picking more than anything else. A word here, a word there.

The back cover remains a mystery at this time. To add blurbs or not to add blurbs, that is the question.

We have no endorsements or reviews. Crap. I do not have time to send copies out. We need this book out and NOW.  Advance copies will be sent to several outlets, however. The book will be available from Moonlight Mesa but will not be formally released until the Seattle Boat Show in January.

Marketing is woefully behind. I'm not sure what I've been doing, but apparently it's not been working. OH! I've been rowing.


It's now official. Moonlight Mesa is no longer accepting fiction submissions. Whew. That was hard to put on paper. And, of all times, we received two fantastic queries in September that normally we would have snatched up, but we are committed to changing course. Part of this stems from the decision to relocate to the San Juan Islands as soon as possible, which will likely be in late 2018 or 2019. I don't think westerns are a good fit for the area. We will, of course, keep all our westerns in print and maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised.


A Beginner's Guide to Owning a Mule will be sent to the printer late this year and officially released in January 2018. It is our final project for 2017.  After much discussion, the decision has been made to release the book in  hard copy first and maybe later as an ebook. 

This book is a wild card for us. The audience is extremely small - we know that. But we couldn't resist the temptation to try it anyway. We had tremendous success with the herpes book we published (Getting a Handle on Herpes) that we had virtually no expectation for, so we're gambling again.

We've changed the format to keep the price DOWN. That'll help.
We'll see how this goes.

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rowing Book Going to Press Oct 15?? Plus Other Publishing News

Unless a major snafu occurs, The Old Folks in the Boat  will go to press by October 15th, at the latest! Finally...more than two years after the project was started it is, by all appearances, finally complete.

Unfortunately, "we've got problems...technical ones." Despite the best brains available, the photos will simply not stay (or go) in CMYK, and the printer  (Lightning Source aka Ingram) will not take RGB. It is the single most disappointing result I could ever imagine for this book," said Becky Coffield, publisher. "The color photos ARE THE BOOK."

Coffield will hold on as long as possible before submitting the work to Ingram, but there is a limit. "We've already pre-sold over 500 copies," Coffield said, "and vendors are expecting the book for Christmas sales." The book will not be released for general circulation most likely until it is formally released at the Seattle Boat Show. "The way things are going, I'm not exactly feeling like going to the boat show." Copies will be available from Moonlight Mesa Associates directly, however.

But, it is what it is. "At least printing costs will be much, much lower," Coffield said, "which keeps the sales price lower."


Meanwhile, Beginner's Guide to Owning a Mule is coming along. One chapter remains to be written, and that will happen after the author attends a Ty Evans' Mule Clinic in late October.
Coffield is not sure yet if the book will be made available in print or only be
 available as an ebook.

The only other title that Coffield has put out as an ebook only is Getting a Handle on Herpes, by P.A. Arnold. "That book has done extremely well," Coffield said. "I was stunned by its reception. Truly. We would have put it out in hard copy, but the book is just too short. Still, it might have sold well considering that apparently one in six people has genital herpes!"


Moonlight Mesa has recently made it official that the company will be publishing only nonfiction for the foreseeable future. "Jere D. James is not writing westerns at this time," Coffield said, "so unfortunately that era is over. Although we've had some extremely nice western submissions, we have made a firm commitment to only go with nonfiction for now. It's been hard to turn people down, I will admit."

In fact, Moonlight Mesa will most likely be relocating to the San Juan Islands in the not too distant future.  Coffield feels that westerns just won't work well there. Although the move is several years out,  according to the staff Coffield is already making preparations. Vin Libassi, cover designer, will stay on board - even though he's relocating to Ecuador. Rene Witty will not be affected since she is a "computer-commuter" already. A historian editor will no longer be needed , nor will an acquisition manager.  A new "proof-reader" specialist will likely be picked up, along with a seasonal office manager. "I hope to be in Arizona in the winter as much as possible!" Coffield said.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Publisher Seeking Active Seniors!

Maybe it's the solitude...maybe it's that August is here and I know the summer heat won't last much longer, but I've made good progress around here by myself! I take that back, my cover designer in Florida, Vin Libassi, has been extremely helpful redesigning the rowing book. He also completely nixed my idea for the mule book. He's working overtime there!

Yes, it looks like we may have two titles out in 2017! Not bad considering we had none to offer in 2016. The rowing book, The Old Folks in the Boat, was supposed to have been out by then, but guess what? It wasn't. It'll be out late fall this year for prepublication sales, then formally released in January at the Seattle Boat Show.

The  author's 200-mile row is almost completed! As she said, "The rowing's's the heat that's killing me."


It looks like the book on mules will in fact be a certainty! Although it needs considerable editing and more "meat" in it, it's coming along. Whether it will be released as a trade paperback, however, is not certain. I'd planned on only releasing it as an ebook, but I may change my mind depending on the length of the book. Unless it's a bare minimum of 25,000 words I don't see it going out as a hard copy. 30,000 would be much better, but I don't want the book filled with baloney! Look for this title likely in November, maybe even December as an ebook. If we choose to go out as a trade paperback, it'll be released in January most likely.
The title is still being bandied about.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  Seeking Active Seniors!  

This 2018 pending title is gaining momentum.  No release date in sight yet, but count on it being a late release most likely.

We're looking for the following: Fisherman, Miner, Hiker, Yoga practitioner, Golfer, Rock Hound, Ocean Kayaker, Sailor, Shooter, Roper. If you're in your late, late 60s or in your 70s and want to participate in a project we hope will be not only motivational for readers, but also will result in a  fund-raiser effort for  youth, contact us. Profits from the book will be earmarked for our scholarship program. We grant a scholarship to a youth organization every year that pays for entry fees for activities for kids whose parents cannot afford to pay. You will also receive a free copy of the book and will be entitled to buy any other copies for 50% discount.

We will only be deducting our printing/shipping costs.

We prefer that you write your own chapter for the book, in your words, but if you become paralyzed if you have to write much, someone on our staff will interview you and write your article. We'll need a picture or two of you actually doing your activity, too.  This is for two good causes: motivating people to get off their duffs, and supporting youth programs.

Contact us at Moonlight Mesa Associates.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mid Summer Publisher Woes

Well, it's mid summer here in the desert, and true to their cowardly colors, half of my miniscule staff have abandoned ship. I only wish I also could leave this year. Last year we closed down for two months while everybody vacated the Arizona territory, but this year I'm here...reluctantly...but here.

It's kind of too bad that I've let people wander off. Recently I received a great proposal by an author, but alas another publisher made him an offer, and I couldn't justify holding him up on a decision until everybody returned. I'd pretty much made the decision to accept his work, but it likely would've been 2019 before we could've gotten his book out because our calendar is cluttered with half proposals and potential projects. So, I graciously let the gentleman move on. Bummer for us and probably a bad decision on my part. Nothing new there.


Becky in her restored skiff, Salvage
The Old Folks in the Boat , our premier rowing book, is coming together! A back cover photo has been selected, and the front cover has been updated with a new photo! The July chapter needs to be finished, and then the August chapter and voila! It's DONE. The very final chapter has been written for some time. Meanwhile, I've chosen a great person to write a Foreward. Clay Ward, a Postural Specialist and Physiology Expert will be writing the Foreward...once I inform him of that. :)

The book, it turns out, will be available  from Moonlight Mesa late this fall, but it will not be officially released until the Seattle Boat Show in January 2018. Honestly, we're stoked!

What Are You Waiting For?

This future project is beginning to take shape. So far four individuals have been selected for inclusion in the work. Robert Walton, mountaineer and author, has been chosen for inclusion, as has Lee Anderson (horseman/trainer), Bill Jacobson (hiking the Pacific Crest Trail) and Doug Kelch (rower). There are several other possible candidates for inclusion in the work, including Jeannine Brucha (equine drill team and dressage rider). Candidates must be at least 70-years-old old at the time of selection for the book. We're hoping there will be 12 to 15 individuals highlighted, hopefully more.


Although Jere James insisted that there'd be no more westerns, I've heard a rumor that the author has grown restless and may be thinking of penning another book. The rumor is that James will start with new characters...apparently Jake Silver has indeed been laid to rest. More on this as the rumors circulate. Nothing's certain, just rumblings.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Good News - Not so Good News

Good News:

The small staff at Moonlight Mesa Associates is truly, absolutely thrilled that Arizona Talking Books Library has elected to add all seven Jere D. James' westerns (The Jake Silver Series) to their audio collection. In addition, they also added "Some Gave All," by J.R. Sanders. This is Sanders' second book to be chosen for the AZ Talking Books Library, the first being his young reader, "The Littlest Wrangler."

For those who may not know, The Talking Books Library is an organization that produces audio books for the visually impaired, blind, and handicapped. The people who qualify for this program are given a special audio device that plays the tapes. Almost every state has an organization like this, and the books can be shared across the country.

There is absolutely no financial compensation for the authors or publisher, but both James and Sanders believed the contribution of their works to be highly worthwhile. As the publisher, Becky Coffield could not be more pleased.

Other good news - great strides have been made on "The Old Folks in the Boat," a rowing book almost, almost assured of publication this fall barring no last minute issues. "One of  the biggest problems has been  with the color photos in the layout," Coffield said. "But I think we're doing okay. That, and I'm still not thrilled with the cover even though our cover guy, Vin Libassi, has been trying a lot of different colors and approaches. We still have time to iron this out, though. Plus we do need a couple more really good photos."

Finally - For whatever reason, and no one is complaining, June has been the best June for sales that Moonlight Mesa has had in years. "That doesn't say much," Coffield said. "But we are way ahead of last year and the year before which were practically zilch. Summer is a slow time for our book sales. In fact, our best season is November through March, maybe April."

Not So Good News -

Unfortunately, the Cowboy Up Contest had to be cancelled this year. Manuscripts and checks will be returned immediately. "We just didn't have enough entries to cover the cost of judges, mailings, and cash prizes for the winners," Coffield said. "This was supposed to be a "scholarship" raising event, too. I guess the scholarship this year won't amount to much. We're hoping the new rowing publication will help that out."

Coffield blames lack of marketing and advertising for the low turnout of manuscripts. "We just lost sight of the contest because we've been so obsessed with the rowing project," she said. "It's really a shame and nobody's fault but my own."

Moonlight Mesa gives a scholarship every year to a youth organization to help defer fees for children whose parents cannot afford to pay.