Oceans and Equines

In July we left Astoria, Oregon on an ebb and I puked my way up to West Port on the Washington Coast where we mercifully spent the night.

When it comes to Moonlight Mesa’s book sales, it seems westerns are out and oceans and equines are in!

What a shock this year was.

First off, sales were appreciably lower this year because I did no book events whatsoever but spent seven months on a boat in the San Juan Islands instead of in my office…which I sold anyway. Well, actually it took us 3 months to find a boat we could (a) afford, and (b) was clearly a solid, strong, comfy traveler. We found a gem in Portland, Oregon. A 43′ Tolly Craft…50′ overall. In July we left Astoria, Oregon on an ebb and I puked my way up to West Port on the Washington Coast where we mercifully spent the night. The following day was a piece of cake…no swells, no wind, just about perfect. Even had whale sightings.

The whole day wasn’t perfect, however. Due to covid, Neah Bay was closed to all boaters, so we had to continue down the Straits of Juan de Fuca with the wind springing to 25 knots, and small craft advisories up. The rollers became enormous, making steering extremely difficult. Finding a good anchorage took way longer than anticipated. It was exhausting.

Anyway, it was a good summer for my husband and me since we’d both had covid in February and survived – his case much, much worse than mine – like emergency room visit bad.

On to business…As for nonfiction sales, A Beginner’s Guide to Riding a Mule was amazing and led all other titles by a landslide. However, Lee Anderson’s Developing the Art of Equine Communication had, as always, steady and consistent sales. Saving Our Oceans sales were highly gratifying. Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride did well also.

Basically, all of our nonfiction titles have catapulted past fiction titles.  Although I took The Old Folks in the Boat off the market, I still sold copies to a several bookstores, one in Anacortes. Life Was a Cabaret – A Tale of Two Fools, a Boat, and a Big-A** Ocean sold there also. Indeed, every nonfiction title saw some movement.

What doesn’t sell in the Northwest are westerns. Go figure. I mean…no interest. Jere D. James, our primary western author, retired from writing but I think he’s contemplating another title. Another western? I have no idea, but I’ve a hunch it’ll be something different. Jere’s westerns literally made our business, especially Saving Tom Black…I’ll publish anything this author writes, fiction or non.

I’ve had several queries in the past few months, but right now we are not accepting any. We’ve decided to stick with nonfiction when we do resume looking at manuscripts.

The Littlest Wrangler, our best-selling young reader book has been out of print for the last 7 months due to a snafu and my absence, but it will be back in print this month. It’s an award winner as is Sam’s Desert Adventure, our other young reader book.

And, I’ve already made plans for how I will “legally” promote our titles next summer while traversing through Canada en route to Alaska. 🙂 I’ll share the details in a blog before we head north again.

When Will We Come Roaring Back – If Ever?

It has become fairly obvious that most big government legislators have never owned and operated a small business. Why else would their rules and regulations favor big box stores and not the small, backbone businesses of America? Unless they forget all this once in office.

This is the question teasing many businesses now that they have been finally allowed to “open” for business. Already, though, some are beginning to worry about possible “restrictions” again. So far, we’ve actually not heard of businesses being shuttered, however we think many may be cowering in anticipation of the next blow. Interestingly, defiance to this possible threat seems to be growing.

This applies to most small businesses, including the smaller independent publishing companies. There is no predicting what months books will fly out the door, and what months inventory doesn’t move. Indeed, last summer (usually our slow time) we had two outstanding bumper months and one month that saw all of 3 books sell. Conversely, usually winter months are our ticket to staying open, yet winter months this year were mournful. Books are, however, a “luxury” to many – not a necessity.

So what gives? We have no idea. That being said, it’s become clear to us after enduring this past year that the westerns and nonfiction have overall at least survived covid. Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride, an awarding winning biography, out of the blue had a shockingly successful month after a dismal spell. To be fare, Casey Tibbs sells every month, but every year come rodeo time this award-winning biography sees a surge in sales. This year was no exception

And we are continuously stunned when, month after the month, the small, unassuming A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule outsells all other books combined. Who knew people wanted to know about mules? Not that we’re complaining!

The latest books to jumpstart again are the Jere D. James westerns. This 7-book series waxes and wanes. Unfortunately, we withdrew two of the books from Ingram’s catalogue because of low sales and now regret doing so. Looks like we may be adding them back into Ingram’s inventory.

Book 5 in the Jake Silver Adventure Series

C.L. Lee Anderson’s newest book, The View from My Old Saddle, was released right before the big lockdown. Lee’s first book, Developing the Art of Communication, is a fairly consistent seller, but the second one has not had a chance…yet. With things now opening up, it too should take off among the equine folks. It’s dynamic, infuriating, true, and controversial. It’s great, in other words.

Lee on his horse Concho – The View from My Old Saddle

Sadly, The Littlest Wrangler, J.R. Sanders award-winning young reader book, is not currently available and the orders are stacking up. Due to a publishing snafoo it won’t be available until late, late fall. Some Gave All, Sanders’ award-winning, biographical account of Old West Lawmen Who Died with Their Boots On continues to receive wonderful reviews.

All in all, we’re not totally discouraged here…but just after things started looking up we’re concerned they may falter. Maybe when everybody returns to work we’ll have a better report.

It does seem fairly obvious, that most big government legislators have never tried to own and operate a small business. Why else would their rules and regulations favor big box stores and not the small, backbone businesses of America?

It’s not Too Late to Avoid Another “Catastrophic” Problem, But Time is Running Out

People need to know the truth about critical freshwater sources and issues.

2020 will no doubt be a year that no one will forget. Will we want to forget? YES. The pandemic has jerked people around endlessly: Masks, no masks, advice to get outside, advice to hunker down, close schools, open schools, close schools.

*The weather in 2020, particularly in hurricane country, has served up fear and excitement…rather like a horror movie might.

*Riots and protests: democracy at work or terrorism in play?

*Unemployment and evictions have abounded.

*The stock market has offered its thrills and chills.

*And, of course, the election has been a nightmare for everyone regardless of who wins. The election may last longer than the pandemic!

When the pandemic was first declared, we at Moonlight Mesa expected an onslaught of book orders. After all, we reasoned, people were being confined at home (hunkering down in place I think they called it) and would tire of daytime television in short order. Wrong. Spring book orders languished horribly. Then, come late spring and summer when we traditionally have our slower months, sales unexpectedly bloomed. Best summer sales ever.

Fall arrived, but so far sales have failed to be as robust has usual.

But overall, what’s been selling for us? Nonfiction. Nothing else: NONFICTION.

Unfortunately, while the sales of all our nonfiction books have been very respectable, sales of Saving Our Oceans have greatly disappointed us, and we feel this book is one of the most timely, important books we’ve yet published. There are several likely reasons for this poor response – one being that the vast majority of people DO NOT LIVE BY OR NEAR THE OCEAN and aren’t really engaged with the issues. This is understandable – but not excusable when one considers that the ocean provides 70 to 80% of the oxygen we breathe.  And, the other issue (no surprise) is that people who actually live in coastal states may already be aware of many of the issues that Saving Our Oceans covers.

However…there are chapters in Saving Our Oceans  that should be read by everyone no matter where they live. People need to know the truth about freshwater sources and its critical issues (which the book also covers). Because we feel this information is vitally important, future blogs will offer chapters from the book. It’s not too late to avoid another catastrophe that will put the pandemic to shame in comparison, but time is running out.

(Or, you can buy the book. It’s priced at just 12.95 to expedite sales. All proceeds are donated to the Friday Harbor Whale Museum and the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, both in Washington State.)

Photo by NRDC.ORG

Another First Place for Moonlight Mesa Author

Lee Anderson on his rescued thoroughbred Concho

Congratulations go to C.L. “Lee” Anderson whose book, The View from My Old Saddle, has been awarded first place in the 2020 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards Contest.

The View from My Old Saddle was entered in the Pets and Animals category by Becky Coffield, publisher at Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc. The cover design is by Moonlight Mesa’s long-time graphic artist, Vin Libassi.

This is Anderson’s second time competing in this contest. He was a finalist two years ago with his first book, Developing the Art of Equine Communication,” which has been an extremely popular title. Another equine book, A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule, has also been a finalist in this contest and currently is Moonlight Mesa’s top-selling book for 2020.

Originally Moonlight Mesa Associates started as a western book publisher – but after seven successful years and the retirement of the company’s highly popular author of the Jake Silver Series, Jere D. James, against all advice Coffield began making the transition to nonfiction, and it has proven to be an excellent decision. The company’s top-selling books are now all nonfiction:

Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride, by Rusty Richards

Some Gave All – Lawmen Who Died with their Boots On, by J.R. Sanders

A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule, by Becky Coffield

We managed to survive 7 years and 25,000 miles aboard a 34′ Cal 2-34

Developing the Art of Equine Communication, by C.L. Lee Anderson, paperback and ebook

Life Was A Cabaret – A Tale of Two Fools, A Boat, and a Big-A** Ocean, by Becky Coffield

Getting a Handle on Herpes, by P.A. Arnold (ebook only)

Saving Our Oceans, by R.L. Coffield

The Old Folks in the Boat, Becky Coffield (currently not available online – email publisher for copy)

“Book sales overall have not been spectacular in this Covid/Election year, but we certainly could have done worse,” Coffield said. “Our move to a new location took longer and had more setbacks than we ever imagined, so that didn’t help either.”

Publishing Slowdown

logoMMA-lg for WPIt’s past time we got back to the original business of publishing – so I’ve been advised. While my personal interests still sit with oceans, whales and the JUST ONE THING Alliance, I’ve been reminded that we have a plethora of award-winning titles that are beginning to languish due to my divided loyalties.

First off, book sales are surprisingly down. I thought sales would remain pretty strong since most people are housebound. I pictured people reading in the long quiet evenings. Not so much, it seems. Perhaps it’s the expense – few good books are free. Even Kindle charges add up quickly and there are other expenses people must take care of before indulging in their leisure habits.

That being said, although our sales are slower, they do continue. Of particular interest is Casey Tibbs, Born to Ride (Rusty Richards), Developing the Art of Equine Communication (C.L. Lee Anderson), A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule (Becky Coffield) and Some Gave All (J.R. Sanders). These titles just keep chugging along! Note that they are ALL nonfiction works.

SGA CoverJ.R. Sanders recently posted a YouTube video for Some Gave All  that is positively inspiring! What a great job. You can see for yourself at https://bit.ly/3eyPCL1. It’s totally awesome!

 

In other news…our new house caught fire, and my mule Reba launched me into outer orbit. I landed on rocks on  my head, face and left ribs. Fortunately I was wearing a helmet – something I rarely do. My mule is a big, strong girl, and I was no challenge for her in keeping my seat. Why she did this, I have NO IDEA. It wasn’t windy, too hot, or too cold. There were no bees, mosquitoes, or other scary things (like cows) around. Unfortunately, once a mule or horse gets away with this, they are inclined to do it again, so sadly Reba and I have parted ways. I found an experienced, excellent owner…AND RIDER…for her. I’m too old to be hurled onto rocks. I had to walk 1.9 miles home from this traumatizing episode and spend 6 hours in an emergency room. Enough.

 

On the bright side, I can now spend more of my free time rowing and competing in the “senior” divisions. (When did I get to be a “senior”??) Once my ribs and broken finger heal, I’ll be raring to go – wild horses can’t hold me back – so the saying goes. It’s taking all my will power not to rush off to the lake and start rowing now that the weather is good. My ribs would rebel, however – this I have learned the hard way.

 

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We’ve postponed a new publication until 2021. Hopefully Renee and Jered might be back and I’ll be ready to get very serious about publishing again. Meanwhile, one of us will continue our posts!

JUST1THING E2

Great Year for Moonlight Mesa Nonfiction Titles & Superb Response to JOT

JUST1THING E2      The response to JUST ONE THING has been nothing short of encouraging, according to publisher and JUST ONE THING organizer, Becky Coffield. Although off to a slow start due to the home and business relocation of both Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc. and the publisher, the response to date has exceeded Coffield’s expectations.

For starters, the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition has enthusiastically endorsed the JUST ONE THING alliance. “The Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition has got to be one of my favorite organizations,” Coffield recently said. “Joseph Bogaard and his staff are so responsive, supportive and positive. They were quick to endorse our informational/inspirational publication last year, Saving Our Oceans, which has generated funds that we’ve in turn donated to the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and to the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor.”

Coffield went on to add that “The Whale Museum is another organization that has been outstandingly supportive of not only our publication, Saving Our Oceans, but they also have wholeheartedly embraced the JUST ONE THING alliance. It’s a very rewarding feeling to have organizations like these support the alliance.”

Moonlight Mesa already has an alliance with the Ocean Foundation and the Plastic Pollution Coalition. “We’re hoping that we actually get a response from the Inland Ocean Coalition this time around,” Coffield said. “More than just coastal communities and organizations need to come on board for this to be really successful. What we are getting is terrific, but there’s plastic pollution everywhere…not just in coastal regions.”

In addition to organizations, so many individuals have praised the idea and let us know via email or personal encounters. “We’re very enthused and excited to get the ball rolling on this endeavor,” Coffield said. “Now that we’re mostly settled in our new location, we hope to send the message out and recruit more organizations and individuals to the cause.”

And, JUST ONE THING has its prototype t-shirt. “The funds from any shirts we sell will be donated. More than selling shirts, though, our goal is to just get the word out and encourage participation in the alliance.”

2019 PUBLICATION WRAP UP

9780977459391.MAIN. Once again nonfiction dominated Moonlight Mesa’s overall sales this past year. Although Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride and A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule  battled it out for best seller, the honor this year goes to Rusty Richards’ Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride by a small margin. “Richards’ book is going to sell forever, I think,” Coffield said. “It’s a classic in the true sense. Part of its exceptional staying-ability is that it’s available as a trade paperback and an ebook also.”

A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule came in second for sales which is very interesting rebaandbeckyconsidering the book is simply a guideline about buying and owning mules. “I’m a bit surprised at the interest in mules, I guess,” Coffield said. “They are fantastic animals, but not for everyone, that’s for sure. I have one and absolutely love her, but there are days… I’m very pleased to see the interest in mule-information.”

In third place for sales was C.L. “Lee” Anderson’s Developing the Art of Equine equine_comm2Communication. “I didn’t think Lee could possibly come up with another book as helpful and informative as this one, but he surely did,” Coffield said. “We released Lee’s second book, The View from My Old Saddle, in January this year.”

SGA Cover      Fourth place is J.R. Sanders’ riveting Some Gave All. “I know if we can get this book into ebook format without having to delete most of the artwork and photos it will really take off,” Coffield said. “This book is absolutely fabulous.”

 

Saving Our Oceans placed fifth for nonfiction. “I was more than disappointed in this result,” Coffield said, “but it’s probably to be expected considering the topic and the fact that many in Arizona seem to be a bit detached and indifferent to these issues. Our work is cut out for us.”

Desturnell Mexico.tif

Jere D. James, usually a top-selling fiction author, has seen a decline in sales. Jere stopped writing westerns and sales declined when no new titles were forthcoming. The author had a fairly large following who were always anxious to buy the next book in the series. (Cover photo of the 5th book in the Jake Silver Adventure Series.)

 

NO PUBLICATIONS IN 2020

Coffield announced there would be no new publications scheduled in 2020. “We have too much work to do with Saving Our Oceans and the JUST ONE THING alliance. We also have Lee’s new title to get established in the market place. Plus, we’re looking at a new cover for Sanders’ The Littlest Wrangler. And if time permits, we’d like to take a look at Some Gave All  and see how we can get it into an ebook. We’ll be busy.”