Saturday, June 4, 2011



Finally, after a series of dreadful events, Moonlight Mesa publisher Becky Coffield enjoyed a very successful outing at the Mule Days Celebration in Bishop, California.
“What we found was that business was slow BUT STEADY. We didn’t have any outstanding days, but overall the numbers were very good,” Coffield said.

“Many of the contestants didn’t show up because of the EHV 1 that was scaring the peewad out of people, and as a result, lots of spectators also stayed home. I can’t imagine how fabulous it would have been if the numbers were like they normally are,” said the publisher.

Besides good book sales, a lot of other merchandise also sold. “Our little cotton purses were a big hit,” said Coffield, and also we sold some Western artwork. All in all, it was very very good.”

The publisher also attended many clinics on mules, taught by Jerry Tindell. “He was fabulous. Now I know how little I know about my mule. I can see she needs some work in her ground manners. She’s very well-behaved under saddle, but she has some attitudes otherwise, mostly about being caught.”

Coffield and her husband also attended the big mule events in the main arena. “They were hysterical,” said Tom Coffield. “Absolutely hysterical. Very entertaining!”

Coffield definitely will return to the Mule Days show at least one more time. “I’d like to go there when it’s a normal year. Next year I might even take my mule!”

Big sellers at the event were the Casey Tibbs biography and the Western short story anthology, Award-Winning Tales. Saving Tom Black and Apache also sold well, as did the cookbooks, which Coffield had on a close-out for only $5.00.


Last month Moonlight Mesa announced Barb Miller as the winner of the slogan contest for the mule mascot and books slogan. Barb won a free copy of any book of her choice. (She chose Northern Conspiracy.)

There’s another winner this month, however. The new motto for Moonlight Mesa’s Mule Mascot is “Only Asses Don’t Read.” This motto was submitted by none other than Tom Coffield. He receives a free “Only Asses Don’t Read” t-shirt.

The t-shirts will be a limited edition, but some will be sold in Moonlight Mesa’s booth at a few events. If you wish to purchase a t-shirt, reserve yours now so we can make sure we order enough when we get around to doing so.

The shirt design will be done by Vin Libassi, Moonlight Mesa’s cover designer. It’s going to be crazy good, so make your reservation now for your “Only Asses Don’t Read” t-shirt.


Moonlight Mesa will be issuing its first LARGE PRINT BOOK later this year. The title chosen for the first book is Saving Tom Black.

“We chose Saving Tom Black instead of a couple of the others because of the length,” Coffield said. “Saving Tom Black is a great story, and it’s also a length that’s affordable to do in large print.”

“I doubt we will make any money at all on this venture, but it will be a good-guy thing to do. It will cost us so much just to print the book that I suspect there will be virtually no profit in it. The author is fine with the plan, even though it means he probably won’t get much of a royalty, if any at all,” Coffield said. “But this isn’t about money. It’s about doing something nice...and helpful. We can all stand to do a bit of that now and then.”

If the book sales warrant it, the publisher will most likely do Apache and Canyon of Death. This is largely possible only because Jere D. James doesn’t give two hoots about receiving a royalty for these books.

“We’ll just have to see how this goes,” Coffield said. “But I’m thinking an audio book absolutely must be next. And yes, we’ll start with Saving Tom Black.” The length of the book just makes it more affordable.


Although Moonlight Mesa will not be publishing any more NEW books this year, the publisher is still actively looking for good Western nonfiction.

“We are planning on the large print book, and we also are preparing to re-issue Life Was A Cabaret later this year, but we won’t be doing any more new titles in 2011. However, we are really looking for nonfiction for 2012 and 2013,” Coffield said. “I had no idea that Western nonfiction was so hard to come by! Honestly, it’s a rare commodity.”

The publisher does NOT want anything written about Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, or the standard outlaws of old, “We want something new and fresh,” Coffield said.

“I even approached one gentleman at Mule Days and asked if he’d be willing to write a book. He could do a terrific book, and it’d sell like pancakes for him. So, we don’t necessarily need a biography—we will look at how-to books, historic accounts, or anything of that sort that’s Western oriented,” the publisher said.

“We can be very competitive with the big houses with nonfiction. It’s easier to find vendors for these books also. We aren’t competitive with fiction because we don’t have our books printed mass market,” the publisher explained.
Of course, fiction books sell very well on Kindle, but many people still don’t have a Kindle or Nook.

“It’s insane out here in the publishing world. It’s gone nuts. Everybody’s publishing everything since people have stumbled onto self-publishing and ebooks. There’s so much crap out right now. We just want good Western nonfiction. It’ll sell, no doubt about it. Nonfiction is huge. Ultimately, we may have to consider books other than Westerns if things don’t come along. I really don’t want to do that.”

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