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.