Sunday, May 12, 2013

May Publishing News from Moonlight Mesa Associates


Since its release in April, Robert Walton's Dawn Drums has taken off like few indie books do. Most of the credit for the book's successful launch goes to Walton himself, an avid Civil War historian and re-enactor. At Walton's first signing, which took place at a Civil War event in his hometown of King City, California, Walton signed and sold 38 books in approximately 2 hours. "I think this is a record," said publisher Becky Coffield. "This is absolutely phenomenal."

On top of that, the book led in sales via Ingram and Kindle in April. Sales for the book are strong this month also. "I think Walton's sales will stay very strong through the coming year because of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. After that, I think we'll see very steady sales, with hopefully lots of sales to schools and libraries," the publisher said.

There will be one more upload of the book, and that will more than likely be when the reviews have come in - probably by July of this year. The book is now available in a large-print edition also.


Both J.R. Sanders and Jere D. James, two of Moonlight Mesa's authors, will have their manuscripts in to Moonlight Mesa by June 1.

"In fact, Jere D. James' manuscript, Back from the Dead, came in a week or so ago...actually ahead of schedule!" said Coffield. James' book, his fifth, will be in print later this year. Sanders maintains his work will be in shortly.

James' next novel (his sixth) and Sanders' work will most likely be the only two books Moonlight Mesa will  publish in 2014. "I say 'most likely' because every time I say something is absolutely for sure positive, things change," Coffield said. "So let me put it this way - at this time we're only planning on two books in 2014. There is a very, very remote, outside chance that there could be a third book. How's that?"

Coffield plans on re-issuing an earlier publication as an ebook. That will probably be done this summer. "I don't count that as a new publication, though!"


The publisher's summer schedule has become a mangled mess. "I write everything on the calendar in pencil nowadays," Coffield commented. The dates for the northwest book tour have been changed several times, and still nothing is set in stone, but it's looking like the mid to last part of June and into early July is when the tour will take place. "I'm not real keen on the tour being that early in the season, but that's the way it's working out right now," Coffield said.

"The office will be closed for about a month from mid-June to mid-July....unless other changes arise. At least that's the way things are looking," the publisher said. "That means we have to cancel the Pinetop event in early June, which is very disappointing. But we'll probably get there for the August event. Maybe. Hopefully."


In addition to Walton's Dawn Drums, the Jere D. James large-print novels have been selling extremely well. "I am delighted with the success of the large-print editions," Coffield said. "We published them originally as a trial - now I do almost every book in large-print if the work isn't too long."

In addition to those titles, Getting a Handle on Herpes, by P.A. Arnold, had a phenomenal first quarter with Smashwords.

"We are finding, and there's no denying it, that the niche books just do well for us. All of our top titles are really niche books: Life Was a Cabaret is a sailing book; Casey Tibbs-Born to Ride is a rodeo/sports biography;  Developing the Art of Equine Communication is a horse/nature type book; Dawn Drums is a Civil War book, and Getting a Handle on Herpes are all pretty much 'niche' topics,'" Coffield said. "The other titles that have done exceptionally well are the Jere D. James' books, and those are Westerns which is pretty much a niche market also. I think we need to really look at the niche books in general, and not be so stuck on the books having to be Western in nature."

"Our young reader books don't sell well through our distributor, but we sell lots of them when we do events. Cowboy poetry just doesn't sell for us - unless the poet himself is there. And sadly, our suspense novels do not do well despite the fact that they are award-winning," Coffield admitted. "Suspense writers are a nickle a dozen, unfortunately. Everybody has a suspense novel in them. We don't have the marketing power to successfully market the suspense titles."

"I will definitely be looking at niche books...all kinds...from here on out," Coffield said. "Our data on sales can't be ignored. It's pretty convincing!"

The publisher will be removing at least half a dozen titles from the Ingram electronic catalogue. "They don't sell, so I can't justify paying good money every year to keep them in the catalogue," the publisher said. The books will still be listed in Bowker Books in Print, on Moonlight Mesa's website, and they will be available on Amazon and in all electronic ebook formats.

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