Sunday, December 9, 2012

Publishing News from Moonlight Mesa

Good grief! Where has the last month gone?


Moonlight Mesa's newest title, Dawn Drums by Robert Walton, is moving along well. Pre-publication copies should be available in late January for reviewers and early sales. The official publication date, however, has been moved to April, 2013, a fitting date since the Civil War started in April of 1861. The book will not be available for distribution by Ingram, or for sale on Amazon, until then.

Currently the book is being line edited, always a tedious task, but necessary. Advertising materials will be ordered soon, and the book will be added to Books in Print next week. Once Dawn Drums receives its pre-assigned control number from the Library of Congress in January, the book will be uploaded for printing!


Finally, at long last, Moonlight Mesa had a decent event at the Blue Grass Festival. "I wouldn't call our sales GREAT, but they were most definitely GOOD, if not even VERY GOOD. Despite the freezing, absolutely freezing weather, the people who showed up all seemed to be readers," said publisher Becky Coffield. The top-selling titles belonged to Jere D. James.

2012 SALES LAG 2011

Unfortunately, Moonlight Mesa's sales for 2012 look to be about 1/3 down from 2011. "I suspected this might be the case," Coffield said. "I think part of it stems from the fact that our top-selling author, Rusty Richards, was so sick this past year, he's lucky to even be alive. Then, add to that the fact that we did far fewer book events, which usually generate a nice income. A few of our events this year were great, but the cost of the events really hurt the profit margin," Coffield explained.

"People ask me how we're doing here at Moonlight Mesa, and I tell them that we're still in business, which is more than Borders can say. Folks laugh, but truly, the publishing industry as a whole has had its problems. Partly these problems stem from the economy in general, and partly they stem from the growing competition of ebooks. I will say, however, that even our ebook sales were down substantially," Coffield said. "I could lament, but I do think our future looks bright. Rusty is on the mend, and Lee Anderson's book is a hot-seller. In fact, we just today added that title to Kindle and Nook libraries."

Rather than doing events in 2013, Coffield is going to try, once again, to use the power of advertising. "I learned a lot, the hard way, the last few times we invested in advertising," Coffield said. "But I have some new ideas and plans. The cost of the advertising will not be as outrageous as before, and I have a better way of monitoring the return on the advertising investment. We will do Gold Rush Days, and we'll take the Northwest book tour with Cabaret, Northern Escape, and Northern Conspiracy, but that's about it for book events." More on this later.


Because of the "iffy" sales projections, Coffield plans on publishing only two books in 2013: Dawn Drums and Jere D. James' Back from the Dead. Is it possible there might be one more? It's possible, but not likely, according to the publisher. "If Jerry Tindell comes through with a mule book  I would consider a third title, or if something NONFICTION that's terrific arrives, I'd consider that, too."

Coffield projects there will be two books forthcoming in 2014 also: an as yet unnamed sailing book, and another Western by Jere D. James, but NOT a Jake Silver least, mostly likely not! There could, as one may suspect, always be a third publication, however.

"I no longer have staff members to help, so I'm slowing down. I still have Vin for my cover designs and Paula for our editing. I'll take on the line editing. Tom will continue with historical editing where appropriate or needed," Coffield said. "Two books isn't very many, but I truly want to dedicate some time to advertising and marketing, both of which are very time-consuming, but profitable if done right!"

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