Sunday, November 30, 2014

Publisher Announces Award-Winning Titles

Moonlight Mesa Associates, Western Book Publisher, is very happy to announce that three of its titles were recently named winners or ranked as finalists in contests.

Sweeping awards this year, Robert Walton's historical fiction Dawn Drums won first place in the Arizona Authors Literary Contest. "We were so pleased with this win," publisher Becky Coffield said. "This is an outstanding book and it deserves all the praise it receives." The historical novel is set in the last year of the Civil War. The book is so accurate and historical, it was hard for us to classify it as 'fiction'," Coffield said. The book is terrific for both adults and young adult readers. In fact, the author has free, downloadable teaching materials for the book on his website.

Dawn Drums also received the Tony Hillerman Award for fiction at the New Mexico Book Awards. In that same contest, the title was a finalist in both the Young Adult category and in Historical Fiction.

J.R. Sanders also scored a finalist position in the New Mexico Book Awards with Some Gave All, a nonfiction account of "Forgotten Old West Lawmen Who Died with their Boots On." The book contains over forty tintypes or original photos, which gives so much  life to the incredible accounts in the book. Sanders not only covers the murder of each lawman, but he also gives fascinating accounts of the criminals and the judicial proceedings. Sanders' book is still a contender in two other contests. Sanders is also the author of the two-time, award-winning The Littlest Wrangler, a young reader book for ages 7 - 9.

Finally, Sam's Desert Adventure was a finalist in the Harvest Book Awards Contest. Sam's Desert Adventure won first place in the children's category in the Arizona Authors Literary Contest last year and it too was a finalist in the New Mexico Book Awards. The story, geared for 7 to 10-year-old readers, is set in Wickenburg and features Sam, his mule Bucket, and his dog Jax.

"We have so many award-winning titles," Coffield said. "I think we have more award-winning titles per capita than almost all other publishers." Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride won honorable mention in a very difficult contest; Northern Escape scored a second place win in the Arizona Authors Literary Contest; Life Was a Cabaret has won two awards; Developing the Art of Equine Communication was also a finalist in a competition. When you add those titles to Dawn Drums, Some Gave All, The Littlest Wrangler, and Sam's Desert Adventure, that makes a lot of wins or final placements," Coffield said. "We're very proud of these publications and our authors."

As we say in the office: Books make great gifts, and we publish great books.


NOVELLA CONTEST SHELVED

For now, the proposed Western Novella Contest for 2015 has been shelved. "We have given this contest so much thought and bandied it around endlessly. There just seem to be too many issues that keep popping up,"
Coffield said. "I'm a bit tired of arguing about it, so for now I'm going to let it be. Maybe 2016 will be a better time for it. Right now I have too much on my plate."

Another issue the publisher faced for the contest was finding good, qualified judges. "We had three excellent judges lined up, but we could not interest anyone else. I insist on five judges so that an author has sufficient feedback. If you only have two or three judges, that doesn't always go over so well."


AUTHOR RIGHTS RETURNED  - Publisher opinion

We had a question submitted to our newsletter asking about author rights and why a publisher would return those rights. I was not able to answer the woman's question because I didn't have the all right information. However, there are basic reasons why an author's rights would be returned to them by the publisher. The primary reason is that the book just isn't selling as expected...or at all. Sometimes the publisher drops an author because the author is not diligently working to sell or promote the book. Time was when an author wrote a book and left the marketing and sales to the publishing house. That is pretty rare nowadays. Most publishers expect the author to  participate in selling/marketing/promoting their book. Few get to be prima-donnas anymore. Maybe if you're name is John Sandford...or Stephen King....

Possibly the publisher is going out of business, or changing the direction of the publishing house, e.g., going from fiction to nonfiction, etc.

Writers must remember that it is very costly for a publisher to keep a book in print. Even POD books are costly, particularly if the publisher is paying for inclusion in the electronic catalog, etc. Shipping and returns are very expensive, not to mention all the minutia involved in bookkeeping, etc.

If an author's rights are returned, the book can be published again by someone else. Unfortunately, most publishers do not want to re-publish a title that most likely didn't sell the first time around.

If your rights are returned, it's important to find out why. Sometimes the author is not at fault. Business is business, sorry to say.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Publishing Changes for Moonlight Mesa Associates

I don't need PENS out here!
I'm learning never to write anything in PEN on a calendar. I am now on my third calendar for the year. Some months have so many cross-outs and scribbles that the pages look like someone made a desperate attempt to write Chinese.

A box of #12 pencils, all sharpened with pointy erasures added to the ends, now fill my pen box.

For starters, we have deleted one nonfiction book from our 2015 publishing calendar. Someone (me) failed to do my homework to discover how many similar titles, all excellent too, were already in print. Fortunately, a contract had not been signed, and it turned out the authors of the book had actually already decided to abandon the project but were a bit fearful of telling me. Whew.

In its place, we have signed another nonfiction project for 2015. This new topic (rowing) is way out of our genre (like the top-selling Getting a Handle on Herpes by P.A. Arnold was), but the project just plain appealed to me. Wish I could give a solid reason for choosing it besides "appeal," but that's the one benefit of being the publisher, I suppose.

Jere D. James has finally signed a contract for another western, also. The western, the first that does not feature Jake Silver, Deputy U.S. Marshal, should be out in late fall of 2015. And don't miss out on our great "sale" on our website for the six Jake Silver books. You can receive all six of them for $10 each plus s/h. That's a savings of $36 off the cover price.

 Other than Jere's western, we are still not accepting fiction submissions.


SOME GAVE ALL

J.R. Sanders' outstanding Some Gave All is not only leading in nonfiction sales this year, but it has also qualified as a finalist in the New Mexico Book Awards. Last month I announced that Robert Walton's Dawn Drums was a finalist in two categories in that contest and that Sam's Desert Adventure was a finalist in another competition. We found out after we posted this blog that Sanders' book is also a finalist.

This nonfiction book has received many outstanding reviews. Sanders is also the author of several other books including The Littlest Wrangler,  a two-time, award-winning young reader book for ages 6 - 8 published by Moonlight Mesa Associates. There are FREE teaching materials for this book also.



EBOOKS ON SALE


Most of our western ebooks are currently reduced in price, and there are some GREAT buys. You can purchase Paula Silici's yummy western action/romance, A Way in the Wilderness, for $2.99 as well as Award-Winning Tales (this title available only on Kindle). The other westerns are priced from 3.99 to 5.95. In addition, the entire Ben Thomas Trilogy is priced at 5.95 each. These prices will be good through October and probably will be raised later in November. The books are available on ALL electronic readers (except Award-Winning Tales is available only on Kindle).

We are trying this price reduction as an experiment. Oddly enough, it looks like we have MORE sales when the prices are higher!! I suspect this is because many people associate "cheaper" prices with books that are, shall we say, not so well written.                                          


FREE NEWSLETTER

Anyone interested in receiving our FREE quarterly newsletter, let us know.





Saturday, September 27, 2014

Western Novella Contest a Possibility & Author Awards Galore

After a year...make that two...of thinking about a novella contest, we are almost on the verge of announcing the 2015 Cowboy Up Novella Contest. The Cowboy Up Short Story Contest had a good three-year run, and we read hundreds of fabulous western short stories. We even produced a terrific anthology based on the first two years' winners (Award-Winning Tales). We read so many stories that after three years they began to sound familiar. And our panel of judges got worn out.

However, we've come to the conclusion that there are a lot of creative people who need an opportunity to have their voices heard. None of us was anxious to revive the short story genre, but the more we've discussed a novella contest, the more enthused we've become. A novella would allow an author to truly develop characters and plot.

I will be making an announcement in early December on this issue. If we proceed with the contest, it would run in 2015 and an anthology containing the top three novellas would be published in 2016. We currently have three judges lined up, but I hope to have five  by the time of the contest. There are a lot of preparations and decisions we must make before we can proceed...if we proceed.



AUTHORS FARE DARN WELL IN CONTESTS

September has been a bumper month for contests! Robert Walton, author of Dawn Drums, recently received notice from the New Mexico Book Awards that his historical Civil War novel is a finalist in TWO categories: Historical Fiction and also in Young Adult. Final results will be announced in November.





Sam's Desert Adventure by Jonah Arizona is now up for its THIRD award in children's literature. The young reader for ages 8 - 10 is a finalist in the annual Harvest Book Awards. Top winners will be announced in October.


Finally, J.R. Sanders' Some Gave All is en route to the Oklahoma Western Heritage Awards. Sanders' book has become Moonlight Mesa's number one selling nonfiction title this year. Some Gave All, a nonfiction account of lawmen in the old west who died in the line of duty, has received multiple, outstanding reviews. The book has 40 original photos and tintypes, and an extensive bibliography. This is a wonderful book for western history buffs and for those who like true-life adventure. The beauty of this book is that the author tells not only about the victims, but also about the crime, the criminal, and the judicial outcomes.




SEPTEMBER BEST SALES MONTH EVER

September 2014 has been the best sales month in the brief history of Moonlight Mesa Associates. To be honest, our success this month was due in large part to one of our distributors buying 22 cases of books. Dave Strain of Dakota West Books purchased 20 cases of Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride along with 2 cases of Some Gave All.  In addition, Ingram sales were outstanding, and Kindle sales were up also.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of our sales occur September through April. Period. Summers are traditionally excruciatingly quite slow, which is why the small staff here takes off in all directions for four or five months.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Western Novel Gunslinger Justice to be Released Early Pre-Order NOW

Due to popular demand, Gunslinger Justice, the final book in the Jake Silver Adventure Series by author Jere D. James, will be released in September. Gunslinger Justice features Deputy U.S. Marshal Jake Silver, gunslinger Richard Moody, outlaw Diego Fuentes, and Apache Nantan Lupan.

We will be running a special on the books, offering the entire set of six books for $60 + s/h. That is $10 a book and is a savings of $6.00 a book, or $36 overall. We'll ship the books however people would like them shipped: media mail or USPS Priority Flat Rate. The books will each be signed by the author, also. These books make a terrific gift for people who love to read Westerns! Books must be ordered from our website, however, to get this special offer. You can use VISA etc. but you'll have to fill out the order form to do so, or call. Give us a few days to get the prices changed and to get Gunslinger Justice in stock. www.moonlightmesaassociates.com

Gunslinger Justice will also be available in a large-print edition, as are all the other Jere D. James titles. Our special for the large-print edition is $17.95 per book + s/h. That is a $2 savings per book.

And, even more, for a limited time Gunslinger Justice can be pre-ordered on Kindle and other ebooks for the low, LOW price of $3.99. Normally we start all new books off at 8.95 or better. However, since this is the LAST of the Jake Silver books we are offering this GREAT price. In fact, all of the westerns have been reduced in price as part of this promotion.

Jere D. James has very skillfully brought the six-book Jake Silver Adventure Series to a close. However, be forewarned that readers will be utterly, absolutely, and completely shocked by the ending, but Jere is firm that the ending stays as is.

The author is currently working on two books and is hoping to have another Western completed by early 2015.

SOME GAVE ALL SOARS TO THE FRONT

J.R. Sanders' outstanding historical nonfiction book, Some Gave All, ousted Moonlight Mesa's top-selling Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride in the first half of the year in Ingram sales. This is the first time the best-selling Casey Tibbs biography has been outsold in Ingram sales. Sanders' book is not yet available in e-reader format, however, so the edge in sales may still favor Casey. If I wasn't so caught up with bad-mouthing politicians on Twitter I'd have that information handy. Casey-Tibbs - Born to Ride is a perennially top-selling title and has withstood the test of time. I think Sanders' book will do likewise..

J.R. Sanders has done a number of signings and appearances since his book came out, and he is also very active on Facebook. (Wish I could say the same, but it's just not in me!)


DISCOUNT COMING TO E-BOOKS

We will be experimenting shortly here with discounted prices on e-books, particularly some of the books that have been out for a spell. If we see an improvement in the sales of these older titles, we will also look into increasing the author share of the profit. Seems only fair! We are currently evaluating which books we want to discount and have decided to start with the westerns, including Gunslinger Justice which will be released as an ebook September 30 as I said earlier.

Moonlight Mesa's ebooks are available on literally every e-reader in existence, although Kindle sales provide our biggest source of revenue.

Has it been a long, hot summer, or what?














Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Publisher Gravely Injured in Freak Accident

It's true. I suffered grave injury to three toes on my right foot when I accidentally slammed by bare foot into a metal post on the mini-trampoline that sits in the corner of my office. After I rolled around on the floor, howling like a wounded hog, I crawled off for a bag of ice and sympathy from anyone and everyone. Okay, maybe it wasn't a grave injury, but nevertheless, after two weeks, two of my toes still look like little fat, bruised sausages, and I absolutely cannot wear a shoe on that foot.

Having to wear flip-flops everywhere presents a challenge, particularly when I go out to feed the mules and tend to my chickens. The hens have a propensity to peck at my feet which causes me extreme stress even when my toes are not injured. As for the mules, I warily guard against one of them stepping on a foot, not that they ever have. (However, one of our horses that clearly had ADHD stepped on me twice and stood there both time gazing raptly into the distance, oblivious to my screaming and pounding on his side.)

Having my toes incapacitated  has stirred up some irritability. Fortunately, my husband bears the brunt of this and not too many customers, although I did lose three "friends" on Facebook. Okay, I admit I went on a rant. But what's not to rant about nowadays?

On the bright side, we may be releasing Jere D. James' final book in the Jake Silver Adventure series: Gunslinger Justice. Since I'm incapacitated and pretty much stuck in my office, I'm thinking mid-September now instead of late October. Meanwhile, Jere is working on a new project...not a western. James says he needs a break from writing six westerns in five years. He'll resume the westerns after his current project is finished which, judging by the amount of time he spends in my office on a computer, should be any day! I exaggerate only slightly.



In other Moonlight Mesa news, J.R. Sanders' Some Gave All outsold all other nonfiction books in the first half of this year. This includes Ingram sales as well as Moonlight Mesa sales. Sanders' book is not available in e-reader format at this time, so these were all hard copy sales.


Rusty Richards' Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride came in second in nonfiction sales, followed by Lee Anderson's Developing the Art of Equine Communication.

Finally, for anyone looking for a good buy, or for early  Christmas gifts, all of our westerns are featured at a 25 - 50% discount on all e-reader devices except Kindle. On our website, one can order all five of the Jake Silver books for the discounted price of $60 and receive FREE S/H. You will have the opportunity to buy the sixth and final book when it comes out at the reduced price.

Hopefully, I'll be back in the saddle soon. Until then, wear shoes and keep your feet safe.

Western Book Publisher,

Becky




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Moonlight Mesa Associates Publisher Needs "Relationships"

It's hot here in Arizona right now. Some people say they don't mind the heat, but I know they're really just saying that so they seem tough. I don't mind admitting that the heat is horrible. I get up at 4:30 a.m., okay - the truth is it's 5:30  - and start my day. I usually saddle up at 6:30 and leave on my ride by 7:00. But you can bet I'm back by 9:00. I even bought a "cool vest" to help me tolerate the heat. It works tolerably well, too. (See the picture here of me on my little Bouquet who died this past winter. I am wearing my "warm vest" in this photo because it was COLD.)

I envy Renee off in Montana with her cowboy boyfriend - I don't envy the boyfriend part, just to clarify - but I do envy the Montana part. Besides, Renee refuses to do the blogs anymore, so here I am.

Then there's our acquisitions editor who disappears every summer.

Our historical editor, who also covers shipping,  is still around. See, you have to be able to multitask to work here.

However, Facebutt, I mean Facebook,  is keeping me wildly entertained on these long, hot afternoons. I even took a class in using social media. Wow. Was I ignorant before taking that one hour class. I now know all about FB, Twitter, Pin It, Instagram, and so much more that I didn't know about before that I'm surprised I was able to function in this world at all.

I learned FB is not for selling things. Well, deep down  you hope you do, but if you push sales then people will "unfriend" you. That would smart, wouldn't it? FB is all about "relationships." So, now I'm busily asking people to please "like" me even though I have no idea if people are mass murderers, psychopaths,  government spies, or members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Not very many people respond, however. Maybe they suspect my true motive.

However, for those of you who want to help further my cause to sneakily sell you a book using a feigned "friendship," please "LIKE" me on Facebook. Or better yet, just like Moonlight Mesa Associates. Everyone who works here is really, really nice and worthy of being liked. Not me, particularly, but everyone else is. And here's what else I learned: if I "LIKE" you, then you're supposed to "LIKE" me, and we're one happy family.

As Marshall McLuhan once said, "The Medium is the Message." Social Media is the new Medium.

As far as the publishing business goes, who has time when there's all this fun stuff to do!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Publisher Resolves to "DO NO HARM"

Oh dear. Time for another post for this blog. Last month I managed to raise the ire of a few British writers - and Montana Renee -  who has informed me she doesn't want to do the blogs anymore. Can't say as I blame her.

Even though Renee's name was appended to the blog, the fact is I basically told her what to say, so I took the heat for it -  as I should.

Before I go off on another tangent I want to make it clear that, believe it or not, I do not try to upset people. In fact, every year I make the same two New Years Resolutions. One is to DO NO HARM. This applies to myself as well as to others, the environment, etc. The second resolution is to do ONE ACT OF RANDOM KINDESS A WEEK. Honestly, sometimes I get woefully behind in this one. But, the bottom line is, last month's blog definitely caused some people to react a bit strongly. Now, you have to understand that I am a person who is ultimately a peacemaker. It's a fault, I know, but it's who I am - most of the time, anyway. I don't like to see people upset or angry. I often go out of my way to try and make people happier...even total strangers...like I said, it's a fault.

So, back to business....I have yet another awful confession, but the TRUTH WILL OUT. I gave up. I finally hired someone to start a Facebook page for Moonlight Mesa Associates. I'm not sure why I hired them because I don't like their posts and have taken to deleting them and doing my own. I know I know. Two months or so ago I cast aspersions on using social media as a marketing tool, or whatever I said. I cannot possibly remember what I said two months ago. Anyway, my staff (small in number but hardy in spirit) finally talked me into at least trying to use social media. Of course, no one among them wanted to take the project on - I think they were fearful lest the attempt end in failure. So I hired it out, which so far has been a  waste of $$. I'll let you know how things go, however. Summer is usually quite slow for sales for us, so if we have an uptick at all, I may be inclined to credit Facebook even though I really don't want to do so.

Oh, yes, by the way, please "LIKE" us on Facebook. (It kills me to say that.) Somewhere I have to get that button that you can just click. Hmm. Wonder where that is.

NO PEACE ON TWITTER

I may like to think of myself as a peacemaker, but honestly, I get on Twitter and just start beating up on Barry Obama. (I like the name his mother gave him much better than the odious Barack tag.) I don't know what it is about Twitter, but I'm darn good at bashing this guy. Now, if you're a B.O. supporter, don't get all riled up. I'm not ruthless. At least the guy has kept us out of more senseless wars. But, you know, it's hard to be nice when someone lies and acts like he's royalty - well, never mind. No need to go there. They're ALL CORRUPT anyway. I just added this so people don't think I'm some sort of goody-two-shoes.


GUNSLINGER JUSTICE

For those who are anxiously awaiting the next, and last, Jake Silver Adventure, the final book  (Gunslinger Justice) will be out right around October 1. In addition, Jere D. James has signed a contract for another three books (westerns). It'll be interesting to see what happens if Jake is no longer getting shot and racing madly around Arizona and Mexico.


NO FICTION - NO SHORT STORY CONTEST

We are still not accepting fiction manuscripts - only nonfiction. And, we have decided we will not be running a short story contest in 2015. Maybe 2016.


BOYD RANCH MULE RIDE

Anyone interested in receiving the Boyd Ranch Mule Ride newsletter, let me know. Send your email address. It's FREE and it's quarterly.