New fiction magazine rides out of the west

February 11, 1994|By Martin F. Kohn | Martin F. Kohn,Knight-Ridder News Service

What does western writer Louis L'Amour have in common with Alfred Hitchcock, Isaac Asimov and Ellery Queen -- besides the fact that they're all dead?

Answer: They all have magazines named for them. The first issue of Louis L'Amour Western Magazine -- 300,000 copies -- went on sale last week at $2.95. Its publisher, Dell, proclaims it's America's only periodical publishing new western fiction.

If "new" and "western" seem to be mutually exclusive terms, you haven't been keeping up.

"The kind of people who read westerns 10 or 20 years ago will probably be surprised at the difference," says LLWM editor Elana Lore. Yes, that's her real name. Nomen est omen, she says, quoting a Latin motto that more or less means "Your name is your destiny."

You will not, in the first issue of LLWM, find any yarns about the ol' pot wrangler rustling up grub at the chuck wagon. You will find a story whose narrator is a Shoshone and a Vietnam war veteran. You'll also find several tales set in the more traditional Old West. LLWM may not be ol' pot wranglers, but it's not the New Yorker either. "It isn't meant to be," said Ms. Lore, who previously worked on Dell's Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.

Why bring out a western fiction magazine in 1994? "We thought doing the magazine was a good idea," Ms. Lore says. "It seems to have kind of an emotional appeal."

To whom? Well, based on surveys of who reads western books and Dell's own market studies, Ms. Lore has an idea of who her magazine's readers are. They're likely to be men (70 percent), between the ages of 35 and 64, with a household income of more than $35,000, living in non-urban areas predominantly in the South and West.

L But everyone is welcome to read the magazine, Ms. Lore says.

(Note: Ellery Queen was the pen name of two collaborators. Both are deceased. Save your postage.)

One-year subscriptions are $14.97. Call (800) 888-0408, 8 midnight weekdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends.

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