Western Books

I have often read that Owen Wister's publishing of The Virginian, 115 years ago this week, on May 28, 1902, was the start of Westerns in America.  Nice that the setting was Wyoming, which was still pretty new and still a bit wild at that time. But that was not the first western, not even close. Long before the beginning of the 1900s were the Dime Novel Westerns, sometimes shortened to Dime Westerns.

Elk Mountain as seen from the town of Medicine Bow
the setting for the start of Wister's, The Virginian

The Dime Westerns became popular shortly after the Civil War spanning a time period of nearly 40 years before the publication of, The Virginian. The books were short, almost always less than 100 pages, and priced at a dime or 15 cents. These books centered on fictional escapades of real people, many of the settings were, Wyoming, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Montana.  Mountain Men, Indians, Soldiers and Bad Guys of all kind made up the many characters of these books. Later, a smaller format, adopted for magazines became popular, these were all set to the standard length of 32 pages.

Today westerns make up less than one percent of the overall book market – so what happened? Maybe, not much. If a reader looks, it is easy to find westerns today, just not the old tired, fake Wild West type of story. 
This is my modern day, set in WyomingYoung Adult or Adult Western Mystery

Suspense-Thrillers and Mystery-Detective along with books classified as Young Adult dominate today's best seller lists. I write books I classify as western-mysteries, some set before 1900 and some in modern time. I still read westerns today, some are thrillers, some mysteries, and some suspense, but all are set in the west.

Guess the Western is not dead, it just lost its singular classification, maybe the old time shoot-um-ups died in the street with their boots on, but today great western stories can be found in just about any popular genre.

Here is a link to my books on Amazon – four of these books could fall into the western category. Click on any of the books and read a free sample.

The second of my Blade Holmes Westen Mysteries
Cover photo from Fort Laramie - each book has Fort Laramie settings.

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