Sunday, November 13, 2011
Western Publisher Swears Off Western Events
Moonlight Mesa publisher Becky Coffield vows that she has finally learned her lesson in trying to attend Western shows to sell books. "We have lost money at all events except one, and on that one we barely broke even," Coffield said.
Unfortunately, the latest show, Dr. Cural's Medicine Show and All West Extravaganza in Yuma, Arizona, was the biggest disappointment of them all. "The show was wonderfully organized," said Coffield. "They had charming, entertaining performers, and lots of variety in the acts! Truly the show was exceptionally well put together. In addition to all the professional performers, they had mariachi bands, Indian dances and entertainment, re-enactors, Buffalo Soldiers on site, etc. BUT NO ONE CAME despite the huge amount of advertising the promoters did. It was horribly disappointing to the promoters and to the few vendors who attended. There were never more than 25 people in attendance at any given time, and that's being extremely generous in my estimate."
The Wild West Event in Cave Creek the week before was only marginally better, according to Coffield. "We just lost our asses in both shows. There's no other way to put it. I'd like to paint a rosier picture, but it's impossible to do so."
As a result of the last highly disappointing and financially devastating two shows, Coffield will be cancelling Moonlight Mesa's appearance at the Arizona National Livestock Event in December. "I'll attend it first, and see if it's at all appropriate for our products. I refuse to spend my time, money, diesel, and energy attending shows where we can't turn a profit. Even a modest profit is appreciated!"
The publisher is still planning on Gold Rush Days in Wickenburg and Mule Days in Bishop, California. She says she may throw in a Wickenburg gun show, where books have sold fairly well in the past. And, if she's available in September, she may again do Pinetop. "Those three shows are the ONLY ones we made any money at this past year," Coffield said. "Every other show was a big loss. Bummer for us...and for our authors."
Moonlight Mesa will be closed from November 19 to December 1 while the publisher and her spouse go to Mexico. "I need this vacation more than ever," Coffield said. "I really need time to think about where we are and where we're going...and how to get there!"