Saturday, May 7, 2016

No Western for Moonlight Mesa in 2017

For the first time in seven years, Moonlight Mesa Associates, primarily a western book publisher, will NOT be publishing a western in 2016.

Even though publisher Becky Coffield had planned on gravitating toward other genres, she was surprised when Jere D. James, Moonlight Mesa's best-selling western author, announced there would be no book in 2016. "I can understand if Jere needs a break," Coffield said. "The author has produced seven books in seven years. Jere does not have another writer helping out like so many of the multi-book authors."

Nevertheless, Coffield was disappointed when the decision was made. She'd already cancelled a forthcoming mule book, and the rowing book Coffield had planned on completing is behind schedule, although she insists it will be ready by the end of the year.

"Right now I'm not sure where we're headed," Coffield said recently. "I think there will be another western in 2017, but no guarantees. I'm concerned that Jere's following may fall by the wayside if another book isn't forthcoming soon. I suppose we can pick up another western writer but I'm not overly enthused about that. I guess we'll see in due time."

Meanwhile, pre-publication orders for The Old Folks in the Boat  keep coming in. "We've had slow but steady orders on this title," Coffield said. "Offhand, I think we've taken orders for just under 200 copies."

The boat, a tandem wherry, was built  by rower Tom Coffield. A wherry is slightly wider than a rowing shell, so it's much more stable. The wherry isn't as fast as a shell, but it's roomier and very distinctive. "We're trying to teach our dog, a Chespeake Bay Retriever, to sit calmly in the boat and not leap overboard in pursuit of ducks, sticks, or other enticing items. It's quite a challenge," Coffield said.

The cover is being designed by Vin Libassi of The cover photo will be taken by Meredith Comfort of Two Comforts Photography. The book will OFFICIALLY be released at the Seattle Boat Show in January, 2017. It will be available a bit earlier, however.

This is Moonlight Mesa Associates' second boating book. The first, Life Was A Cabaret: A Tale of Two Fools, A Boat, and a Big-A** Ocean, published in 2005, is still available in trade paperback and ebook, although the ebook format does not have photos. Coffield reissued the book with photos after the first publisher would not do so.

"Maybe we'll have to become a boating-book publisher," Coffield mused. "There's not a big audience for boating books in Arizona, but we sell a lot of them in the northwest. I kind of like this idea!"

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Publisher Contract Cancellations

The long-awaited mule book that we've been promising for 2016 will indeed be in never. Although I was looking forward to having two nonfiction titles out in 2016, we have cancelled the mule book. The author was not meeting our deadlines, and although the book was well written, it was not what we expected. This is a very good reason why everyone needs a "get out of contract clause" in their contract. In point of fact, the author asked to be let out of the contract. We were quite happy to oblige. No harm. No foul.

So how often has this contract cancellation business happened? With Moonlight Mesa Associates, this is a first as far as I can recall. However, with every author we sign, we would willingly let someone out of a contract unless we had already committed a lot of time and money to the project, in which case we would need to be reimbursed. I can't think of anything worse than publishing a book from an unwilling author. Doesn't make much sense, especially because we depend on our authors to help sell and promote their work. However, if we had time and money in the project, I doubt I'd be so easy-going about the idea.

I suspect the idea of "getting out of a contract" is fairly rare. Most authors seem to be thrilled to have a publisher, and usually publishers just drop authors whose books don't sell. When we cancel a book because of lack of sales, which we have done, all rights revert to the author. We have cancelled only two books that I can recall. We have, however, removed books from the Ingram electronic catalog, which effectively makes a title unavailable to vendors, but even then we usually keep the removed titles in print and sell them ourselves. There is a $12 yearly fee to keep a book listed in the Ingram electronic catalog. If the book doesn't sell online for two years running, we simply drop it from the catalog. Most publishers don't wait anywhere near as long as we do. We keep a poor-performing book available in the catalog only if the author is actively engaged in promoting and selling it.

So, why would an author not work at promoting or selling his/her book? The problem lies in temperament. Most authors make terrible salespeople. I don't know if this is because writing is a"solitary" activity which attracts people who aren't gregarious or extroverts or what. This may not be the case at all, but it is a rare author who sells with as much gusto as they write.

Several of our authors do superb jobs at both writing and selling. A prime example is Lee Anderson, author of Developing the Art of Equine Communication. Lee is an outgoing, extroverted guy if there ever was one. Rusty Richards, author of Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride, is another natural at selling. What both of these people have in common is that they are both showmen: Lee appears at numerous western shows and events in Arizona; Rusty is a western singer and performer. 

Robert Walton, Dawn Drums, is another author who is successful at selling his work. Again, Robert is an active, outgoing personality and very much a showman. J.R. Sanders, author of Some Gave All and The Littlest Wrangler, is a more sedate, quiet person, but he has been quite successful at promoting his books because he knows his audience! And finally, Jere D. James, author of the seven-book Jake Silver Series, is a salesperson.

Our other authors either run out of steam, get distracted, or find the work of selling books too difficult and often depressing. Nothing is worse than having an event and selling only one or two books. It smarts, but it happens to everyone one time or another. The truly committed don't throw in the towel. My opinion for what it's worth!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Great Buys on Ebooks with COUPONS!

Currently Moonlight Mesa is offering five titles available as ebooks at a greatly reduced price. The offer has been on for some time, but somehow I didn't realize I had to actually INFORM people about this. I guess I figured people would find out by osmosis or whatever.

So, if you have an e-reader, currently there are discounts on five of our titles. These titles are available via Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo, and literally a host of other e-reader providers. The Kindle discounts are coming soon.

For P.A. Arnold's Getting a Handle on Herpes,  the coupon code is TL29P

Award-winning suspense 
Robert Walton's Dawn Drums has a code of EC94S

Steamy western romance
Paula Silici's A Way in the Wilderness (western romance), has a code of LQ99G

For Northern Escape, R.L. Coffield's novel,  the code is HF46X

And the wildly popular Saving Tom Black  by Jere D. James has a code of GP78V

Some of these coupons expire April 1; others expire April 30.


Happily the annual mule ride sponsored by us went off extremely well. Shingles and all. So, moving on....


Gold Rush and the Mule Ride behind us, once I finish getting tax crapola ready for the CPA, work will resume on our forthcoming publications. Serious work. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Publisher Woes...and Success

Good grief. All my carefully made plans have fallen to the wayside. It seems, folks, that I should have gotten the shingles shot! I regret to say that events I've been carefully planning have been put on hold, or are being  cancelled altogether, due to my having an outbreak of shingles. Had the outbreak occurred anywhere but my face, I might have been able to forge on,  Unfortunately it is on my face. Nothing more appetizing than a face covered in creepy blisters, right?

I'll be laying low for a few weeks; however, maybe I'll get some work done on the two books that are supposed to be out this fall! Oh yes, and taxes! Maybe I won't have to ask for an extension this year.


At least I can report that the annual Gold Rush Festival which Moonlight Mesa has participated in for 9 years now, was a success. We actually sold out of a few copies of our books, and came perilously close to selling out on several others. Jere D. James, with seven books to the author's name, was our best selling author. Lee Anderson, author of Developing the Art of Equine Communication showed up to sign books with his horse Concho after the parade and sold some too. And happily, the four-time award-winning Dawn Drums, by Robert Walton, sold very well. Our short story anthology, Award-Winning Tales sold out largely because I didn't order enough copies. Grrrr.


Unfortunately, I will likely be forced to cancel the annual Boyd Ranch Mule Ride. This is a ride Moonlight Mesa has sponsored for the last four years. Because Moonlight Mesa is largely a committee of one, cancellation may be in order. I feel particularly bad about this, as we have riders coming from across the West. Not to mention we've spent a LOT of money just getting ready for the ride. I'll decide for sure by March 4th, but it's not looking good. I'll have to see how things are going. I need to notify people who are coming from a distance, though, if I decide to cancel.

Anyway, if you're in the right age group, PLEASE get the shingles shot. I didn't think it was needed because after all, only 1 in 3 people get shingles, so I figured the odds were in my favor. Also, no one, no one at all, in my family has ever had shingles. And, I know people who have received the shot who still got shingles, so it seemed like an unnecessary medical intervention. The bottom line, though, is that shingles is brought on by stress or compromised immune systems (plus if you've ever had chicken pox). This time of year, what with Gold Rush, Taxes, Mule Ride, and other events, I am on the stressed side, and I've been neglecting my vitamin C. Bummer for me.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Horse Book and Herpes Book are Top International Ebook Titles for Moonlight Mesa Associates

After going through all the 2015 data regarding sales, I was stunned at the number of international sales several Moonlight Mesa titles had.

Lee Anderson's Developing the Art of Equine Communication experienced very good sales in foreign countries in 2015. The book enjoyed sales in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Australia and a few other countries, not to mention many sales in the United States.

The beauty of Lee's book is the friendly, warm tone in which it is written. The other outstanding quality of his work is the clear explanations for why horses do what they do. I can honestly say that when I read Lee's manuscript, I learned more about why my horse did certain unsettling things than I'd learned from riding him for 20+ years. The book is filled with many "Aha!" moments. "So that's why he does that!" And to make matters even better, Lee tells the reader how to handle the situations too.

The book should be required reading for beginners, but even experienced horsemen will find the book helpful and informative.

Pictured with Lee on the cover of his book is Concho, Lee's rescued racetrack horse who is the star of the show when the two do their presentations.

Lee's book is available in trade paperback either from Amazon, Lee, or Moonlight Mesa. The ebook version, which comes in all formats, does not have any of the illustrations or photos. And as soon as I get around to it, we'll be changing the website to reflect a discounted price on this title.

Our other top-selling international ebook for the third year in a row was P.A. Arnold's Getting a Handle on Herpes. Arnold, a woman well into her 70s, wrote this book after contracting herpes while at a resort. The book is only available as an ebook, but comes in all formats.

Arnold's information is jaw-dropping, but the best thing about the book is that she puts things in perspective for those who have contracted this virus. The book is highly informative, upbeat and often humorous despite the sensitivity of the topic. Arnold does an excellent job discussing a difficult issue and offering hope for the one in four women and one in seven men (maybe one in five now) who have herpes.

Rusty Richards' western biography, Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride, continued to be Moonlight Mesa's  top-selling nonfiction book during 2015. It's likely the documentary on Casey Tibbs that was released in 2015 contributed somewhat to the book's continued popularity.

Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride was released in 2010 in all formats (hard cover, trade paperback, and ebook) and has led the nonfiction books in sales.

So, what's trending for 2016? Nonfiction, that's what. It seems that Jere D. James may be taking a year off from writing westerns, so don't look for another James' novel, although with that author one can never be certain.

Instead, we will be publishing two nonfiction books. One is a guide for the beginner mule rider, and the second is a book on rowing (The Old Folks in the Boat). Both books should be available by fall.
I have yet to receive a completed manuscript of either book for editing, etc. however, so this fall looks to be hectic - what's new about that? Since there will be many photos in both books, don't look for these titles to be available in ebook formats.

Until next month then,


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Publishing News: Scholarship, Mules, Events, and Publisher Commentary


As mentioned in an earlier blog, Moonlight Mesa Associates will be awarding its first scholarship this year. "We'll be doing this in December and have selected Sisters Park and Recreation (formerly Sisters Organization for Activities and Recreation) to be our first recipient," said publisher Becky Coffield. "This organization, located in Sisters, Oregon,  largely operates a youth program. We really don't have a large enough sum to make the scholarship of value to a college-bound or trade-school bound student, but the amount we can offer can help pay user fees for young children who otherwise would not be able to participate. The exact amount we will be donating is being figured out now. Since the scholarship will be given in mid-December so we can take a donation tax deduction, it won't have December sales on it," the publisher said.

"We'll also be sending some free copies of our multi-award-winning young reader books, Sam's Desert Adventure and The Littlest Wrangler to the organization. Everyone on staff is very excited about this program," Coffield said. "So remember, when you buy our books (either from us or on Amazon) you are helping to support this scholarship program."


Becky and her mule Reba Peru
Once again Moonlight Mesa will be a sponsor for the annual Boyd Ranch Mule Ride. The event, scheduled for March 10 - 13 at the Boyd Ranch in sunny Wickenburg, Arizona, is allowing only 50 participants this year.

For information go to and click on the Mule Ride button or contact Becky via this blog. 

Since Becky is  the organizer and director of the ride, she'll be more than tied up with all the details starting in January. Staff will be back from their month-long Christmas break, however, so business will carry on! 


"The 2015 Blue Grass Festival was probably the best one for us yet," according to Coffield, "but considering that we practically gave away the Jere D. James titles that should come as no surprise." Coffield sold the set of seven books for $56 - that's half off the regular price. "We sold out of the Jere D. James books," Coffield said. "I had one of each copy left by the end of the show. I wouldn't have had those but because it started raining I put books away early. Unfortunately, because of the expense of the Gold Rush Event in February, we won't be able to offer the books at that price."

One staff member will accompany Coffield to the Lake Havasu Festival the weekend after Gold Rush. "I want to do a 'check-it-out thing' to see if the Havasu event will work for us next year," Becky said. "We're looking for new events, and this one has great potential! I'm seriously tempted to sign up for it this year, but I think a trip to Lake Havasu is worth the time. I've been hideously disappointed a few times when I didn't take the time to 'check-it-out'."



After basically taking the past year off, I'm prepared to "jump back, feet first" into the business. I think I just wore myself out after ten years of working so very hard and making so very little $$. It's tough to keep promoting authors' books when the authors seem to quickly tire of promoting themselves. We are such a small company that we simply must have author participation in promoting their works. Sometimes I ask myself why I am busting my hind-end trying to sell people's books when they don't seem to put any effort out. As a result, I just wore out. Not that all the authors are this way. I have a few that are gems and work consistently at selling their books and doing events. Still, they are a minority.

However, that being said, I am endeavoring to move Moonlight Mesa in a new direction. As I mentioned in the last blog, we are seriously attempting to go more into nonfiction works. We have two nonfiction titles scheduled for 2016, in fact. No fiction. No westerns. And Jere D. James has confirmed that there will not be a new title in 2016 unless some sort of fever attacks.

It seems like I go through these spells from time to time. I get very discouraged, yet we have so many terrific, award-winning books that we are so proud of. Even the books that have not won awards are special! Sometimes I think awards are over-rated anyway.

So, this next year should see two nonfiction titles out - late in the year - but they should be ready by November at the latest. We might even have an ebook hard copy...just ebook. We'll see how things go.

Thanks to my very small staff for their hard work and moral support: Tom, Ben, Jered, and Renee. Many thanks to our cover man, Vin Libassi. Vin has been with us from the get-go, and working with him has always been a pleasure...well, almost always. :)  

Meanwhile, on behalf of everyone here at Moonlight Mesa, we wish you a very, very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and happy NEW YEAR!!!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It's Finally Final: Publisher Declares Nonfiction Titles and Horseshoe Art Are Scheduled for 2016

It's now official: Moonlight Mesa Associates will be publishing two nonfiction titles in 2016. No westerns are on the horizon at this time.

"If Jere James comes up with a new book, I'm sure we'll want to publish it," Coffield said, "but regardless of that, Moonlight Mesa has scheduled two nonfiction works for 2016."

The Old Folks in the Boat  will likely be out in late 2016, as will A Beginner's Guide to Owning a  Mule. "The title of the mule book is still  not certain," Coffield said, "but basically it looks to be a good guide for those wanting to buy and ride a mule who've never before owned one." Coffield also plans on publishing an ebook-only, but has not yet chosen the book. "We've had several submissions," Coffield said, "and they're all good, but we'll only do one in 2016 - if we even get to it. It's low on my priority list right now."

Saving Tom Black was Jere D. James
 first runaway top-selling western
Currently Moonlight Mesa has five nonfiction titles in its library: Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride by Rusty Richards; Some Gave All  by J.R. Sanders; Developing the Art of Equine Communication,  by Lee Anderson; Getting a Handle on Herpes, by P.A. Arnold; and Life Was a Cabaret: A Tale of Two Fools, a Boat, and a Big-A** Ocean, by Coffield. "Our nonfiction titles sell extremely well," Coffield said.

The question Coffield is continuously asked, however, is when will the next Jere D. James western be out. "Jere has a dedicated following," Coffield said, "I'll give the author that. As far as the next western, I have no idea, and I don't think Jere does either, at least not at this time. James has written seven top-notch westerns in seven years and may need a break."


The Moonlight Mesa webmaster will slowly be revamping the company's webpage. "I'd like to take it down entirely and start over, but this is not a good time of year to do a remodel," Coffield said, "especially with our holiday specials." Several pages from the site have been deleted, according to Coffield, but new material will be added.  "We will be adding  'horseshoe art' to the site shortly. Every piece shown is individually made. No Chinese imports. Genuine used horseshoes," Coffield said. "The poop is scraped off and the nails pulled before welding."


Don't forget the holiday special now on Moonlight Mesa's Book Order Page. You can buy all SEVEN Jere D. James westerns for $56 + s/h. "That is a give-away," Coffield said. "The books are $8.00 each, that's 1/2  off the normal retail price. Shipping cost via Priority Flat-Rate is $11.35; media mail is about $7.00. "We don't like shipping books media mail, especially during the holidays. It might take weeks for a person to receive their order. If we add insurance, then you might as well just pay for the flat rate price and get the books in two days," Coffield said, "not two weeks."

"We can take your VISA/MASTER CARD over the phone and the books can go out that same day," Coffield said, "or you can send a check."

"We do have a limited supply of books at this price, so best to order as soon as the idea strikes you," Coffield advised.