That’s National Write a Novel Month to all you laypeople out there.
I’ve been doing it for 16 days now and I have about 41,000 words written so far.
That means I need to write just 587 words a day for the rest of the month to reach my 50,000-word goal.
I have a feeling I’ll get to 50,000 words by the end of this week, however.
That’s a nice feeling – I don’t have to worry about getting up each day and getting my word count in.
Still, having that morning routine of writing a lot is a great thing to keep up.
It’s how books get written.
I know this as I’ve written 82 and this NaNo book I’m working on will be 83.
Like last year’s NaNo book, this book is about fur trapping and mountain men and Montana’s past.
We’re going 204 years back into the past with this novel, though since the book is set so far out West, things that you think of as happening in 1812 don’t really factor into it.
And what did happen in 1812 in America?
If you read my book Tribes and Trappers you’ll know quite a bit that was happening around that time.
- In 1812 America had 7.2 million people, up from the 4 million that had lived in the country in 1776.
- Farmers made up 80% of America’s workforce at that time.
- 175,000 bales of cotton were produced in 1812, up from the 10,000 that’d been produced in 1798.
- 100 textile mills were running in the country, up from the one that’d existed in Rhode Island in 1791.
- New York was the nation’s largest city, with 96,400 people. The second largest was Philadelphia, with 58,700 people (New Orleans, the fifth largest city, had a population of 17,200 at this time).
- Out in St. Louis the population had been 1,400 in 1810. By 1820 it’d rise to 4,600.
- Americans were, on average, three inches taller than their British counterparts at this time, showing how much better the American diet was.
So those are some highlights of America in 1812.
What about Montana?
Not much was happening here, mainly because the Blackfeet were so hostile to the Americans.
Manuel Lisa can be blamed for this, as he’d done a lot to trade guns to the Blackfeet’s enemies.
So Americans, besides the foray of Lewis and Clark from 1804 to 1806, and then sporadic trapping from 1806 to around 1811, would stay away from Montana until the 1820s.
That’s not to say the fur trade in America was dead, it wasn’t.
It was centered at St. Louis – as it had been for years – but upriver voyages would only go as far as today’s North Dakota…if even that.
Montana, for the better part of a decade, would be – if not forgotten – then at least abandoned.
But the fur trade went on – despite the terrible prices that the War of 1812 brought about, and then the financial doldrums that led up to the Panic of 1819 – and that’s what I talk about in my books.
They’re novels, and the main reason for that is people don’t give a hoot about this stuff if it’s in nonfiction format.
I know this – I have nonfiction books and the sales to prove it.
But my how people like reading about fur trappers in adventure novels!
Again, I have the sales to prove it:
- Colter’s Winter: 1,286 sales
- Colter’s Hell: 653
- Colter’s Run: 527
- Colter’s Friend: 478
- Colter’s Revenge: 532
- Colter’s Escape: 346
- Fortin’s Furs: 170
- Dorion’s Dilemma: 99
- Brock’s Betrayal: 51
So that’s 4,142 sales for those books.
If you throw in the sales of the box-sets of those books, plus the sales of my two $0.99 Montana westerns set in the 1860s, I have 4,259 total sales on these Montana western/historical fiction novels.
That’s made me $11,467.05 in earnings.
Not bad for making things up in your head, using just a bunch of dusty old library books for assistance.
So that’s why I keep writing books about fur trappers and mountain men and the early history of Montana.
People like to read ‘em!
The book I’m working on now will be finished soon and then I’ll do some editing on it.
Usually I read through it on the computer, make some changes, then print it out and read through it again.
I find a lot more errors when it’s a physical copy in my hands.
Alas, my printer broke a couple months ago so I’m not sure what I’ll do there. I guess I could go to the library and print it, but at 5 cents a page that gets pricey.
Still, I have to catch those errors so I’ll print it out somehow.
Now…will people buy the book?
I’m confident that few people reading this website will buy the book.
Most people that come here are only interested in Montana politics…if they’re not some author that’s just looking for free advice via my older posts.
Nope, those two groups are not my target audience for these books.
It’s why I expect this post will get perhaps 50 views.
Oh well – I don’t come here and write everyday to be popular. I do it because I like to.
I think of this site as my own personal journal, one that’s left on top of the dresser for anyone to stop by and skim through.
That doesn’t mean you should skim through it – as many find, much to their chagrin after reading some of my writing – and that’s just fine.
Much like I continue writing these fur trapping books, I’ll continue writing on this site.
I like it, and when you get right down to things in life, that’s about all that matters.
It's not how much money you have, how big your house is, or how much shit you have in it.
It's about what makes you happy.
So thanks for reading, thanks for buying my books (if you’re one of the few readers on this site that does such), and thanks for having an interest in history.
I’ll be up tomorrow morning writing another few thousand words, and in another week my book will be done.
Perhaps you’ll buy it, and maybe you’ll even read it.
But if not, it’s not a big deal.
I’ll just continue on like I’m doing now.