2/5/2011 8:54:51 PM
Section 18: Outdoor Writing
Subject: Writing For A Living Msg# 769181
I mentioned Erwin Bauer and his career during the period I view as the apex of the outdoor writing profession. Here's a portion of what his son Parker wrote about the man for the Outdoor Writers Association of America:
"When my father died at age 84 I came across the loose-leaf notebook, covered with vanishing canvas, that he kept more than 50 years. In it, he recorded his published magazine pieces - beginning with 'Outdoor Ohio' in the December 1949 issue of Sports Afield and numbering finally some 2,250 feature articles. The roster of magazines reflects his wide range and appeal: True, Argosy, Sports Illustrated, the long-lost American Sportsman, National Wildlife, Audubon, Natural History. But mostly he wrote for Sports Afield, Outdoor Life and Field & Stream, the 'big three' outdoor magazines of the day. Few readers ever knew that many of his stories appeared under a dozen different pseudonyms, including Charles Nansen, Barney Peters, Nat Franklin and Ken S. Bourbon. (On the playground I delighted in informing my pals that Ken S., according to my father, stood for 'Kentucky straight.') The notebook shows that the October 1963 Sports Afield carried six feature articles by my father - only two under his own name."
Think about it --six features in a single issue of Sports Afield in 1963. Bauer quite possibly was paid more per feature then than most outdoor magazines are paying today. His "roster of magazines" were among the top paying.
Parker also wrote, "After 1980 he wrote fewer articles and more books, mostly about his favorite wild places and their endangered fauna. He had divorced my mother - not his finest hour - and with his second wife, Peggy, he traveled just about everywhere and collected on film the most comprehensive array of wildlife since the Ark, more than 250,000 slides, which still are being published today. His final book, other than an unpublished manuscript on Africa, is The Last Big Cats (Voyageur Press, 2003)."
A past editor of American Hunter told me they had cabinets full of Erwin Bauer slides and prints on file and used them regularly. I suspect the same was true in most major outdoor magazine editorial offices at the time.... and maybe even today.
Bauer's friends called him "Joe." Dick Jennings, former PR guy for Cortland Line Company and a gentleman's gentleman, always called Bauer "Joe the Pro."
Reply | ReplyNewSubject
For reference, the above message is a reply to a message where:|
I've been away from the profession of selling my words and photos for a fair time now, and I'm wondering if the opportunity still exists, except perhaps for a few exceptions, to make a reasonable living selling stories to outdoor magazines. My general observation over the years is the apex of outdoor writing occured when Erwin Bauer was at his peak.
How has the business world of a professional outdoor writer changed over the last five or 10 years? What about the impact of the internet?