In the days before paperback books took over,
magazines were the dominant market for fiction.
There were three
The “literary” magazines, often published by small presses or by collages or
stories of relatively refined quality but paid poorly if at all.
The “pulps,” which were mass market and cheaply produced but they had huge circulation and contained
many slots for stories, better still, the pay was decent and sent out quickly.
And then there were the “slicks,” printed on glossy paper much like most of
today’s magazines, they paid
the best of all but there were relatively few pieces
published each month and the publishers decision to buy a story,
the pay, was often a long time coming.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, under pressure from changing tastes, economy, paperback books sales and
television, the pulp magazine business began to shrink and change. Many magazines disappeared in this period and
many writers lost the publishers that they had counted on for their income for decades. These men and a few women
turned to the diminishing number of fiction magazines left on the market, some of which were the slicks. Hundreds,
perhaps thousands, of writers were all competing for a handful of slots in these and a few other magazines …
needless to say the quality of material published in these times was quite high and, as new skills were learned,
other disciplines benefited as well. Television flourished and paperbacks, a format that had been on the edge of
success for a decade or so, proved out. One of the writers who found work in all of these mediums was Louis
We've collected many of the covers of the magazines
which carried Louis' stories HERE.
All of Louis’s Ponga Jim Mayo, Turk Madden, and Steve Cowan stories, plus many others were sold to the pulps.
Stories like “The Admiral” and “Old Doc Yak” were sold to literary magazines. And late in his magazine writing
career Louis began to sell to the slicks, magazines like Collier’s and The Saturday Evening Post. The height of
this part of Louis’s life was when his novel “The Burning Hills” sold to the Saturday Evening Post for $15,000,
an amount of money that Louis had never seen before and would not see again (all in one check) for quite a few
Though all of the following adventure stories were written for the slick market only one of them, Crash Landing,
was ever published … and it didn’t sell to a slick magazine. That said, these were some of Louis’s best pieces of
short fiction and some of his most unique.