We often hear it said that there is no money in farming. On the other
hand, there are few occupations in which there is so much money, if the
work is carried on in the right way. The trouble is that people often
think it takes little intellect to be a farmer. The truth is just the
reverse. To get returns out of the soil there must be brains in the
skull. We know a farmer on Long Island with less than sixty acres of
land who has acquired a fortune in fifteen years of close application to
the problems of the farm. He has found the secret of knowing how to make
Nature give down her milk. Every foot of land is under cultivation, and
although he employs often as many as two score of men, he gives every
part of the work his personal inspection. Further than this, his three
secrets of success, he tells us, are, What, When and Where–What to
plant, When to plant, and Where to market.
Do you know it is a fact that $500,000,000 more was received from the
sale of crops this year than last? What do you think of that, you
Klondikers who suffer hardships in the Alaskan mountains for the sake of
a little gold which, after all, you will probably never get? If the gold
output of the newly discovered regions of the far North reaches this
year $10,000,000–a most liberal estimate, and probably two or three
times the actual yield–remember that the soil right here at home, with
one-half the labor and none of the risk of life, has yielded fifty times
that amount. And this is not the actual yield, but only the surplus over
and above what the fields gave the year before. Five hundred millions of
gold more than last year dug out of the soil–think of it! In the
following examples we only give the byways of farming–that is, what can
be done, by the cultivation of a single product, and not what may be
accomplished in the regular way. Of course, much more can be made by the
raising of several staples, and by a systematic rotation of crops.
711. SUBSTITUTE FOR SILK.–Send to the Department of Agriculture for
jute seed. Jute will take dye as a sponge takes water, and it has a
gloss which makes it capable of being used in combination with silk so
as to defy detection. Remember that when a thing can be made to look
like some other thing at one-twentieth the cost, it opens the way for
mines of wealth. A word to the wise is sufficient. Jute needs a warm
climate, and you must go to the Southern States.
712. WASHINGTON PIPPINS.–They are known as Newtown Pippins, but let us
give you a secret. The soil of the State of Washington is so adapted to
this apple that you can raise from one-fourth to one-half greater crops
than in any other State. Apple raisers, remember this.
713. DORSETS AND DOWNS.–Fancy breeds of sheep! Two hundred million
dollars worth of wool from these breeds were imported last year. That
was what we paid for a name, and for our ignorance in not knowing that
we can raise just as good sheep here. Reader, if you want a share of
this $200,000,000, study a good book about sheep farming, purchase a few
of these two famous breeds, and put the wool on the market as the
genuine Dorset; for so it is. The place counts for not one atom–only
714. AMERICAN CHEESE.–Here again we are foolishly playing into the
hands of foreigners, paying $1,500,000 every year for that which can be
produced equally as good and cheap at home. Everybody should know that
there is no better spot on the globe for the kind of pasture that makes
delicious cheese than Delaware County in the State of New York. We pay
these millions to foreigners because we do not produce enough at home;
but here, within two or three hours freightage of the metropolis of the
Western World, we have the best cheese-producing country on earth.
715. BUSINESS APPLES.–We call them Business Apples because they will
mean a good business for you if you are wise enough to undertake their
culture. Go to Missouri and try the Ben Davis variety. The soil of that
State is the best for that kind of apple. A man there set out two
hundred trees, and last year sold $450 worth of Ben Davis apples. At the
same rate, one thousand trees, covering about five acres, should bring
716. FORTUNES IN POPPIES.–Here is another new idea. France has caught
upon it; why may not the farmer of this country? Five hundred thousand
pounds of opium are sold every year in our drug stores, but it has been
thought that the drug could only be raised in the East. This is a
mistake. The French farmers sold 5,000,000 francs worth last year. It
yields a net profit of $25 an acre and requires little culture. It may
yet become a rival of King Cotton in our Southern States, but those who
are wide-awake enough to be the first in the field will reap the lion’s
share of this new bidder for our enterprise.
717. THE CAPON FARM.–One hundred per cent. capons! This is the actual
experience of a raiser. He operated on forty, sent them to market and
realized $39.24. He estimates the cost of keeping at less than fifty
cents each. There are few investments in which the gross proceeds are
double the cost. In addition, the raising of capons may be carried on
with the ordinary poultry farm.
718. BARRELS OF BALDWINS.–The home of this market favorite is Northern
New York and Northern New England. It is a hardy tree. Apple trees
commonly bear only every second year, and often cease to bear
altogether. The secret of success is to stir the soil and add a little
fertilizer. Good Baldwins, commanding from $2.50 to $3.50 per barrel,
may be raised every year with the certainty of clockwork, if the owner
only exercises proper diligence and care.
719. RARE RODENTS.–Money in rats and mice! In killing them? No, in
raising them. At the pet-stock department and appendage of the poultry
show in New York recently, rats and mice, white or finely marked,
brought all the way from $1 to $12, according to the fineness of the
colors. It will be a revelation to most farmers that there is money in
creatures which they have hitherto regarded as pests to be put out of
720. MORTGAGE-LIFTER OATS.–So-called because a man developed a
particular variety, and with the sales, advertised as fancy seed and
bringing more than double the ordinary kind, lifted a crushing mortgage
from his farm. You can develop a variety as well as he. Give it a taking
name, and advertise freely.
721. RECORD-BREAKING DATES.–A date plantation of five hundred or six
hundred acres, and capable of holding thirty thousand trees, can be
bought for $500. The fifth year after planting the trees should bear
sixty thousand pounds of dates, worth at least $6,000. Pretty good
return for $500! Dates are raised chiefly in South America.
722. DOLLAR WHEAT.–Western farmers have contended that if they could
command $1 a bushel for wheat they could get rich. This year their hopes
have been realized. If it is, as many believe, the beginning of better
times for the wheat-raiser, and the cereal can be kept at that price,
you have but to follow the advice of Horace Greeley, and “Go West” to
become a rich man. The government will give you the land, and industry
and economy will do the rest.
723. LEAF TOBACCO.–Where tobacco can be raised, farmers have abandoned
nearly every other crop. It needs a rich, warm soil, and some experience
in order to insure success; but if you “once learn the trade,” you will
hardly try to raise anything else. North of Virginia, it must be raised
it the “bottom-lands” of the rivers. Price, $8 to $10 per one hundred
724. TREE NURSERY.–The expense of a tree nursery is almost nothing
beyond the first investment. Small trees before transplanting may be set
one foot apart, and hence an acre will hold about forty-four thousand.
At nine cents apiece–the average price–this means $3,960. Deduct for
labor and expressage. The success of the tree merchant depends almost
solely on his finding a market.
725. ROUND NUMBER ONIONS.–The round number of one thousand bushels to
the acre has been done, and can be done under favorable circumstances.
In a certain district in Fairfield County, Conn., nearly all the men are
well-to-do farmers. Ask them the secret of their success and the one
reply will be “onions.” Here, surely, even in rocky Connecticut, farming
pays. They get from seventy-five cents to $1.25 per bushel. The crop is
not always a safe one, dependent upon weather conditions; but, taken one
year with another, the farmers do well, and steadily add to their bank
726. POTATO PROFITS.–Let us see what can be done with potatoes. In a
prize contest recently the average per acre was 465 bushels. The highest
was 975 bushels. The price per bushel was from sixty to sixty-six cents.
The next profit was on the average $260 per acre and in case of the
highest was about $500. Of course this is vastly above what is
accomplished by the ordinary farmer, but it shows what can be done with
good soil, liberal dressing, prolific variety, and thorough tillage.
727. GOLDEN GEESE.–Here is one man’s experience: “I bought a gander and
three geese. From the geese I received yearly forty eggs each in two
litters, or a total of 120. I find that from this number of eggs I can
safely count on seventy-five per cent of matured chicks, or ninety
goslings. The weight when fatted is 855 pounds, and at twenty cents a
pound I receive $171. Cost of keeping is $46. Profits, $125. Of course,
the sum varies one year from another, but this is my average for five
years.” At the same rate the goslings from 100 geese would pay a net
profit of $4,125, but if they paid only one-quarter that sum it would
still be a profitable investment.
728. CALIFORNIA PRUNES.–This great state has now 85,000 acres planted
with prunes, and produced last year 65,000,000 pounds. The crop has
grown from nothing to this enormous amount in the last few years. People
do not rush into an enterprise in this way unless they are pretty sure
it is a good thing. The “good thing” in this case is that prunes costing
one and one half cents per pound to raise sell for six and seven cents,
and the prune raisers are all getting rich.
729. A BEE FARM.–Here is another California bonanza. Says a man in the
southern part of the State: “Last year I marketed ten tons of extracted
honey, and three tons of comb honey, all from 154 colonies. I received
on an average ten cents per pound, or a total of $3,600. The space
employed was 1,386 feet, or somewhat less than an acre.”
730. THE APPLE ACRE.–A man in New England said that after forty years
experience, raising all kinds of crops, he found that his apple orchard
averaged $55 per acre, which was better than any crop on his other 200
acres of land.
731. THE SUGAR BEET.–Purchase a farm within a few miles of a sugar beet
factory. With proper cultivation you can grow nine tons to the acre, and
the factory price should be $4.50 per ton. The thriftiness of the beet
makes little trouble with weeds, and hence the expense of raising is not
one-fourth that of onions.
732. GILT-EDGED BREEDS.–The sum of $5,100 was recently paid for a
Poland-China boar. A litter of pigs of this breed brought $3,500. These
sums seem almost incredible, but when people have both the mania and the
money they will pay any amount to gratify their taste. There are persons
who take as much pride in pigs as others do in horses. The best way to
succeed with new breeds is to cultivate a strain for yourself. It
requires time, patience and experience, and some outlay in risk, but in
the end it pays, especially if one has the gift of knowing how to
trumpet his stock.
733. DECEMBER LAYERS.–With a trifling expense you can have eggs at
Christmas as well as at Easter. The price is often more than double at
the former season. Connect with hot water-pipes and keep your hens warm.
A cold hen never lays an egg. A poultry expert says if a flock is well
cared for the whole year round, it should pay annually for each hen $1
net. At the same rate a flock of four hundred would bring a net income
734. FLORIDA CELERY.–In Florida the first growers made from $500 to
$1,500 per acre. Competition has reduced the price, but at present rates
men with six acres are getting a comfortable support, and those who have
the means to cultivate a large farm of this popular vegetable are
rapidly growing rich.
735. ONEIDA HOPS.–It takes a good many hops to weigh a pound, but
growers in Oneida County, New York, have raised 1,400 pounds per acre,
receiving therefor $112. Probably this is somewhat better than the
average, but profits in even low-price years are better in that section
of the country than for any other crop. Hops are a safe and easy crop.
736. BOSTON BEANS.–They are not raised in Boston–only baked there.
They are a hardy crop, and will grow on any properly cultivated soil.
One year with another they bring $2.50 per bushel. Beans are the surest
of all crops, and if the price were only as certain, you could figure
out your income in advance almost as accurately as if employed on a
737. CHRISTMAS TREES.–Buy for a few hundred dollars an abandoned farm
too poor for culture, and pack it with small evergreens. Christmas trees
command from fifty cents to $5, and you can grow a thousand of them on a
single acre. There are fortunes in what is called worthless land if you
know how to improve it.
738. THE GUARANTEED EGG.–A great business can be done with a guaranteed
egg. Success depends upon the absolute perfection of your egg. Have a
stamp made, and stamp every egg with the name of your farm, and offer to
replace any one found faulty. Also stamp the date on which they are
taken from the nest. In this way you will absolutely protect your
product from the frauds of dealers, your eggs will attain a wide
reputation, will have an unlimited demand, and you will grow rich. There
is a mine of gold in this suggestion.
739. DOUBLE VEGETABLE CULTURE.–Here is an idea of a New Jersey farmer.
He has conceived the notion of grafting tomatoes on potatoes vines, or
an air crop on a root crop, and thus raising vegetables at both ends.
There is nothing impracticable in the notion, and it is doubtless
entirely feasible, if only he is liberal enough with his fertilizers.
This is an idea for growers who have only a limited space, and where
land is high.
740. ENGLISH SHIRES.–Colts from Lord Rothschild’s stud farm last year
averaged $875. It costs little more to keep a good horse than a poor
one. There are great possibilities in the raising of fine-blooded
horses. The colt that won the great Futurity race this year could have
been easily bought for $700 before the race. Now $20,000 will not
purchase him. “Plunger” Walton made $350,000 in two years on the turf.
At the Elmendorf stud farm near Lexington, Ky., a short time ago
thirty-three yearling colts were sold at prices ranging from $150 to
$5,100, the average price being $1,460.87 per head; at the same time
twenty yearling fillies brought an average of $676.50 per head, the
forty-three yearling colts and fillies being the product of one breeding
farm and selling in one day for $47,130 or an average of $1,095.80 per
741. FORTUNES IN NUT SHELLS.–Land too poor for meadow or even for
pasture may be utilized for nut-growing. The trees require little
attention, but will produce bushels of nuts if the soil is properly
stirred and fertilized every year. One man in Connecticut raises each
year 100 bushels of hickory nuts from ten trees, and sells them at $2 a
bushel. The rocky, waste lands of New England can grow millions of these
trees. Chestnuts can be grown cheaper than wheat. The standard price is
$4 to $8 per bushel, but large chestnuts, early in the season, that is,
in September and October, bring from $10 to $15 per bushel. Judge Salt,
of Burlington, N. J., says he has a chestnut tree in the middle of a
wheat field that pays more than the wheat. The average is about $19 per
tree, and twenty trees have ample room in an acre. This makes $300 per
acre with but little cost for cultivation. Here is something of
importance about the pecan. The chief pomologist at Washington, D. C.,
says: “The cultivation of nuts will soon be one of the greatest and most
profitable industries in the United States, and there is no use in
denying the fact that the Texas soft shell pecan is the favorite nut of
the world.” The average yield of these nuts in North Carolina is $300 to
$500 per acre. Some pecan trees in New Jersey are producing annually
five to six bushels of delicious, thin-shelled nuts.
Literature requires the least capital of any enterprise with the
possibilities of rich reward and wide renown. A pen, a bottle of ink, a
ream of paper, and–_brains_. These are all. There is no occupation so
discouraging to the one who lacks the last-named quality and few so
alluring to those who possess it. Authors are supposed to write for
fame, but fame and fortune are twin sisters which are seldom separated.
Hack writers are indeed hard worked and poorly paid, but in the higher
walks of literature rewards are generous. In London, the rates to
first-class writers are $100 per 1,000 words. In one case $135 was paid,
and in another $175 demanded. Amelia Barr, the famous novelist, receives
$20,000 a year from the sale of her books. There is a great deal of
subterranean literature unknown to the critics and the magazine writers,
but which, nevertheless, pays handsomely. One Richebourg, of Paris, has
4,000,000 readers, and often receives $12,000 for the serial rights
alone, yet he is unknown to the magazine public. In this country the
“Albatross Novels,” by Albert Ross, sold to the extent of a million
copies, and the author acquired such a fortune that he was able to
engage in charity on a magnificent scale, yet the author is unknown to
Among the instances of the pecuniary rewards for single works are “Les
Miserables,” by Victor Hugo, which brought $80,000 and “Trilby,” which
netted the author the princely sum of $400,000. “Quo Vadis,” by
Sienkiewicz, sells all over the world, but its author had already made
half a million dollars with his pen before he wrote that popular book.
It is not our purpose in this chapter to treat of books requiring
transcendent genius to create, but rather to suggest titles of works
which may be composed by less gifted authors, books, which if written
with fair ability cannot fail to be of interest and profit.
742. THE POPULAR NOVEL.–This is the best paying form of literature. The
pen that can touch the popular heart may not be a gold one, but it will
bring gold into the pockets of him who wields it. Amelie Rives received
$6,000 for “According to St. John.” Lord Lytton received $7,500 for some
of his novels. Of the “Heavenly Twins,” 50,000 copies were sold in 1894;
of the “Bonny Brier Bush,” 30,000 in five months; and of the “Manxman”
50,000 in four months. Of Mrs. Henry Wood’s “East Lynne,” 400,000 have
been sold, and her thirty-four books have reached altogether over
1,000,000 copies. In France, there are sold every year of Feuilleton’s
works, 50,000; of Daudet’s, 80,000, and of Zola’s, 90,000. Hall Caine
received outright a check for $50,000 for “The Christian.” He had struck
the popular chord with the “Deemster.” There was almost a pilgrimage of
publishers to the Isle of Man to make engagements for the pen of the new
writer when that book was launched upon the market.
743. THE SHORT STORY.–The short story is very popular in this country,
and has attained a perfection reached nowhere else in the world. The
rules of success in this department are briefly these: First, to be
strikingly original; second, to write simply and naturally; and third,
to condense into the smallest compass. Be brief. This is the age of
electricity. Many a story of 10,000 words has been rejected when if it
had contained half that number it would have been accepted. Publishers
pay liberal rates for short, good stories. The New York _Herald_
recently paid Mollie E. Seawell $3,000 for a short story. Within a very
short time a magazine has offered a price of $1,000 for the best short
story; another has made the same offer; and a third one of $500. Among
the publications that pay the authors the highest rates are _Harper’s
Magazine_, the _Century_, _McClure’s_, the _Youth’s Companion_, and the
_Ladies’ Home Journal_. There are several others that pay nearly as
744. THE VILLAGE REPORTER.–Write up some event that occurs in your
neighborhood. Any leading newspaper will pay for it if well written. It
must be spicy, but not ornate. Put in strong, nervous adjectives; color
well. Take care not to make it libelous. If you succeed you can try
again, and if you show aptness at the work you will doubtless secure a
position as a reporter.
745. THE TRUTH CONDENSER.–Facts for the million! Do you know that a
cyclopedia of the most useful information can be written in a single
volume? The “Britannica” has twenty-five volumes. The “International”
fifteen. Here is needed the faculty of condensation. Use facts only, and
you will be surprised to find how many articles consist only of words.
Make use of the great cyclopedias, the newspaper almanacs, government
reports, and all books in which knowledge is condensed. Pack the book
full of the things the millions want to know.
746. TOWN HISTORY.–Write a short history of your native town or of some
other town. Publish the portraits, and residences or places of business,
of the leading townsmen. Mention in the book everybody in the town whom
you can. Even for the most humble can be found a place in a work of
genealogy. The wealthy will give you large sums for the illustrations,
and the vanity of the poor will cause them to buy a book in which their
name appears. Cost of issue of book, $1,000. One thousand subscribers at
$2 apiece, $2,000. One hundred of the wealthier class who will pay you
$10 apiece for their portraits, $1,000. Profits, $2,000. If you are
satisfied with the result, go on to the next town, and so on _ad
747. THE SHOPPERS’ GUIDE.–A small book could be issued in paper covers
for twenty-five cents, giving an explanation of every kind of goods, the
difference, and the best kinds and brands. Not one person in twenty is
posted on these things, and must take the clerk’s word. It should show
what firms make a specialty in any line or department, and on what days
they make a discount. Merchants would no doubt pay you at advertising
rates for such a notice of their places of business. The book should
include dry-goods and fancy stores as well as grocers and meat markets.
Such a book should sell by the million.
748. A BIRTHDAY BOOK.–We have the “Shakespeare Birthday Book,” the
“Tennyson Birthday Book,” the “Emerson Birthday Book,” and many others.
Add one more, the “Richter.” The writings of Jean Paul abound in
felicitous and eloquent passages, just suited for such a work.
749. A CHURCH-WORKERS’ BOOK.–A man had a half-written book on
church-work, dividing it into twenty branches with one thousand working
plans to be given by the most successful ministers and other Christian
workers in the land; but owing to a pressure of other duties he was
unable to complete it. This lead is still unworked.
750. HOUSEHOLD ECONOMICS.–A book can be written by one who understands
the subject which it would pay every housekeeper to buy. The kitchen
alone should supply at least one hundred examples of waste. The care of
servants would employ another important part of the book. Every room
would afford a chapter. Such a book, telling the inexperienced
housekeeper what to buy and how to economize would save money for many a
751. THE PLAIN MAN’S MEAL.–A book with this title should have a ready
sale. All cook books are for persons who can keep a butler, or at least
one or two servants. The recipes are expensive. Write one by means of
which an economical housewife can get a meal for four at an expense of
fifty cents. A regular _menu_ for each meal for every day of the year
would be appreciated. Plain food and simple cooking at cheap cost. The
book should not be over 300 pages, and should not sell for more than one
752. PRESENT CENTURY CELEBRITIES.–Nothing in history is harder to find
out than the lives of persons in the last generation. History tells us
the remote past, contemporary literature tells us about the present, but
there is no book that tells us about the recent past. The men who were
prominent in statesmanship, commerce and literature, two or three
decades ago are not heard of now. A new generation has come upon the
stage and knows them not. This is a want felt by every one who takes the
slightest interest in times and men. Get out a book with a short chapter
devoted to each of the prominent men who have lived in the last half of
the nineteenth century. If this work seems too voluminous, then let it
comprise only the leading men in our country since the Civil War. If
well written it should command a great sale.
753. READERS’ GUIDE BOOK.–A guide book for good reading which can be
sold for $1 is a desideratum. Enumerate a few of the best books of all
the great departments of literature with a short critique upon each. The
list of the books as well as the critiques can be condensed from any of
the ponderous reference lists in our great libraries.
754. AMERICAN ELOQUENCE.–There should be a book published which would
preserve the different types of American eloquence. If it could be made
a kind of text-book on oratory, it would have an immense sale. Tens of
thousands of young men are fitting themselves to be lawyers, preachers,
elocutionists, and public speakers in various capacities. They want a
book which will give them the rules and models of effective speech. A
book written with so much care as to make it a kind of standard of
eloquence and oratory would pay well for the painstaking task. Our
standard schoolbooks have proved mints of money to their authors.
755. RACERS’ RECORD BOOK.–A book which should be a reliable record of
the fastest times made in horse races, bicycle meets, and sporting
matches, ought to have a ready sale. It should consist of condensed
tables of all the records of all the great races, interspaced with blank
leaves for the jotting down of new records. There are at least a million
men interested in racing, and at a very moderate estimate one-quarter
(250,000) ought to buy your book, which, we will say, sells for
756. YOUR OWN PHYSICIAN.–We want a book on health, written from the
latest point of view of hygiene and physiology. Get a symposium of
physicians to write on such topics as dress, diet, exercise, sleep,
medicine, baths, etc. Most physicians would regard the advertising
benefits of these articles as sufficient remuneration, while at the same
time their names would help to sell the work, but if necessary pay them
for their services. Entitle the work, “Your Own Physician,” and sell it
on subscription, the canvasser showing how much cheaper it is to keep
well at $2–the price of the book–than to get well at $200–the charge
of a physician for services in a long spell of illness.
757. THE BOY’S ASTRONOMY.–A small book about the sun, moon and stars,
made attractive for beginners. It should teem with illustrations, and
the youthful reader should be fascinated as he follows the sun and moon
in their courses, learns how eclipses occur, and understands about
meteors, comets, and nebulæ. There should also be directions for
finding the principal stars on any night of the year. Such a book should
command a ready sale, for he who writes for boys and girls has the
758. RECREATIONS IN CHEMISTRY.–A bishop of the Methodist Episcopal
Church once wrote a book entitled “Recreations in Astronomy,” which has
had a very large sale. But there is just as much room for “Recreations
in Chemistry,” if written with as much imagination and skill. It should
contain such fascinating chapters as “Chemistry of a Candle,” “The
Dynamics of a Dewdrop,” “The Evolution of an Oak.” The chief points in
the authorship should be accuracy and a charming style.
759. THE CURIOSITY BOOK.–A book packed with the curious things in every
department of human research. People like to read about the rare and the
curious. A hundred chapters, short, spicy, and containing each a few
wonderful things in a special field of learning, would be very popular
with both young and old. As a gift book it would be unexcelled. There is
money in it.
760. THE CHILD’S BIBLE.–A Bible which shall contain the numerous
stories so connected in narrative form as to make a continuous history
from beginning to end. It should be very simple, and in no way do
violence to the sacred record. If properly written, this book could be
sold by canvassers in almost every home, and should bring much gain to
761. GUIDE TO TRADES.–A complete guide to all the important
professions, occupations, callings and trades. This work should show
the opportunities in each trade, the comparative chances of success, the
remuneration, and a few simple rules for guidance. It should bristle
with facts, and should also give one or two examples in the form of
stories–short autobiographies still better–of men who have been
successful in each department of work. The advantage of this book is
that it has no competitor, covering an entirely new field in authorship.
762. THE PLEASURE BOOK.–Here is a unique idea for a book. Let there be
three hundred or more sections, one for every week day in the year, and
let each section contain a different form of amusement. Books on games,
riddles, sports, etc., can be drawn upon for supplies. As you must
provide enjoyment for all kinds of weather, it will be well to have a
short alternative for rainy days in each section. The amusement should
be of the greatest possible variety, from the fox-hunt in the fields to
the thimble-hunt in the parlor. As a large number of people have leisure
only at night, perhaps a work entitled, “Three Hundred Happy Evenings”
would be better than the suggestion above, though it would necessarily
have to leave out most outdoor sports. Holidays should have a more
763. THE SOLDIER’S BOOK.–There are 750,000 survivors of our Civil War.
It would be too much to publish in one book even the briefest account of
each. The work should be published in several parts, a volume to a
State. In a State like New York, three lines only could be given to the
record of a private, but even for the briefest mention of himself and
his comrades nearly all the old soldiers would buy the book. In smaller
States more space could be given to each man’s record. Considerable
capital would be required in the collecting of facts and records, but
the publication of such a work would certainly pay, if accurately
written and thoroughly canvassed. We have estimated the cost of
collecting the information at twenty-five cents for each soldier. It
would be much less in great cities where a large number of men could be
seen in one day. Cost for 100,000 soldiers, $25,000. Such is the vanity
caused by seeing one’s name in print that the book would sell at least
to every second soldier. Fifty thousand copies at $2.50, $125,000.
Deduct one-fourth for cost and getting out the book, $31,250. Discount
for canvassers at one-third the price of the book, $41,666. Total cost,
$72,916. Profits, $51,084 for 50,000 copies.
764. BOOK OF STYLE.–A man well versed in books could write a small
volume on literary style which could be sold to advantage for $1 per
copy. The number of literary men is constantly increasing. More than
10,000 young men and women are graduated every year from our colleges.
At a very low estimate, 25,000 would want a work of this kind.
765. SCIENCE OF COMMON THINGS.–A book of great interest to everybody
could be compiled from the vast body of matter contained in the last
quarter of a century in such periodicals as the _Popular Science
Monthly_, the _Scientific American_, etc. It should contain a number of
chapters about the heating and ventilating of dwellings, about clothing
and food, about road making and house building, and many other things,
and be written in such a fascinating style as to make the work
attractive, even to persons who ordinarily take no interest in such
discussions. The success of such a book depends entirely upon its style.
It is possible to write one containing a fortune for the author.
766. POPULAR SONGS.–If you are a musical composer there is another rich
field which invites you. Many a man in the making of bars and clefs has
braided strands of gold. Daniel Emmett wrote “Dixie,” and it ran like
wild fire all over the country. Stephen Foster made a fortune with “Old
Folks at Home,” Charles K. Harris wrote “After the Ball.” Its sales were
over a million copies, and it made him an independently rich man. H. W.
Petrie wrote “I Don’t Want to Play in Your Yard.” Its success was
phenomenal, and is likely to prove a bonanza to the author; 50,000
copies were sold before they were fairly dry from the press. Edward B.
Marks, a young writer of New York, wrote “The Little Lost Child,” which
netted him $15,000. Sir Arthur Sullivan received $50,000 for his famous
song, “The Lost Chord.” Mr. Balfe got $40,000 for “I Dreamt that I Dwelt
in Marble Halls.”
767. FOREIGN TRANSLATIONS.–Another very wide field is that of the
translation of foreign works. There are vast numbers of foreign works
upon which there are no copyrights in this country, and others upon
which the copyrights have expired. This is a profitable field and
comparatively unworked. Even of such transcendant works as those of
George Sand and Balzac only a few have been translated. Publishers pay
for translations about the same as royalties on original works. Dryden
received $6,000 for his translation of Virgil, and Pope received $40,000
for his rendering of the “Iliad.”
768. CHILDREN’S STORIES.–There are bags of money in children’s stories.
Every child at a certain age wants to read or be read to, and there are
seven million of this age in the United States. The stories should be
short, bright, simple and original, and the book should contain a number
of illustrations. Whoever pleases the children pleases the world. “Alice
in Wonderland” brought a fortune to its author, and every year Christmas
stories for the children bring much money into the pockets of the
769. CONDENSED STORIES.–All the popular and standard fiction of the
world could be condensed into a dozen volumes by a master hand. It has
never yet been attempted. Some omnivorous reader and ambitious writer
may yet try it. He must get the heart of the story–the plot–without
regard to side issues, by-plays, or ornamentation. See in how few words
you can tell one of the Waverley novels without omitting any of the main
features. Then publish the entire series in one volume. It is a new
idea, and ought to take.
770. THE MANNER BOOK.–How to Act, How to Behave, How to Eat, How to
Talk, How to Write Letters, How to Propose–in short, the correct way to
get on in life. A book consisting of pert, witty chapters upon good
manners ought to make a fast-selling work. Many have been written, but
none as yet quite meet the demand.
771. THE GEORGE REPUBLIC.–Something entirely new. Do you know that in
the village of Freeville, Tompkins County, New York, there is a republic
composed of many hundred persons ruled entirely by boys, and these the
worst of boys, taken mostly from the slums of our cities, a class which
could not be governed in the ordinary way? It is hardly too much to say
that it is the most suggestive experiment in self-government in all
history, and it awaits the pen of a practiced writer. The movement is
doubtless to be permanent and popular, and the first one to pen it in
graphic style will doubtless gather a good harvest.
772. ONE THOUSAND TIMES ACROSS THE ATLANTIC.–Here is a capital idea!
Many sea captains have crossed the ocean as many times as that. Get an
Atlantic veteran to tell you some of the most thrilling stories of his
forty years’ sailing. He may not be much of a writer, but you can put
the matter into attractive form. For a small compensation, or perhaps
for the love of the thing, he would tell you many exciting tales of the
sea. The title is taking.
773. THE MAN HUNTER.–Few writings are more fascinating than detective
stories, and no one has more interesting matter to relate than one of
the sleuths of the law. Think of “Sherlock Holmes,” whom Conan Doyle
created, and who has made piles of money for his author.
774. STORY OF A RAGPICKER.–It is a new idea. Did a ragpicker ever write
before? But he must have had many interesting experiences. Transfer the
stories from his tongue to your pen. Paste these uncouth patches into a
literary crazy-quilt as an experienced writer knows how to do, and you
will have a book whose title will advertise it, and whose unique
contents will make it sell.
775. STORY OF A DIVER.–Under the ocean! Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand
Leagues Under the Sea” actualized! No one can have more thrilling
experiences than a diver. Catch the homely words from his lips, gild
them with a lively imagination, color them with an expert pen, and you
have a book whose sales will astonish you.
776. STORY OF A CONVICT.–Here is another new idea. The under side of
life is seldom if ever told. Who knows what the convict thinks, feels,
and suffers? Let a narrative be written from a convict’s point of view.
Let him tell how he committed the crime, how he was induced to do it,
how he felt when he was doing it, his motives and hopes, the account of
his arrest, what his lawyer said to him, his trial, condemnation, and
sentence. Then his long imprisonment. A convict who is a good talker
could easily give you material which you could skillfully work up into
an attractive book, as novel as it would be interesting. Much of the
success of “Les Miserables” was due to the vivid portrayal of the
sufferings of Jean Valjean.
777. THE STOWAWAY.–Another unique idea! Stowaways are constantly
crossing the ocean. Get his story. Tell pathetically his motives for
crossing the water, and the account of his privations on shipboard. Here
is matter for another Robinson Crusoe.
778. WHEEL AND WORLD.–“Across the Continent on a Bicycle!” “Around the
World on a Wheel!” These are attractive titles. All wheelmen–there are
300,000 in New York alone–would read it. If you have not made the
journey yourself, get some one who has, for a small sum, to tell you the
779. STORY OF A FIREMAN.–A fireman dwells in the midst of alarms. A
veteran fireman has been to thousands of fires. Let him tell you twenty
or thirty of them in his own way, the thrilling adventures, the
hairbreadth escapes, the heroic rescues, and the magnificent and
appalling scenes. Every fireman would buy the book, and, if well
written, all the fireman’s friends, which means about everybody.
780. IN A BALLOON.–Here is a most attractive field which has never been
occupied. Edgar Poe’s “Journey to the Moon” is celebrated, but it is
only a phantasy, while we may have an equally interesting reality–not
indeed of a journey to the moon, but through the clouds. If the
narrative could be combined with a romance, this might be made the book
of the day, which, of course, means many thousands of dollars in the
pockets of the author.
781. STORY OF AN ENGINEER.–Another man whose life is worth relating is
that of an old engineer. Fill the book with an account of his wonderful
runs and his thrilling adventures on frontier roads. Of course, there
must be horrible accidents, daring “hold-ups,” bold train robberies,
stalling in snowbanks, fleeing from prairie fires, and racing with
engines of rival roads.
782. STORY OF A MURDERER.–Let the criminal give his version of the
affair. Not every murderer has a story, or is willing to tell it; but
out of hundreds of convicts you should be able to weave a tale as lurid
as Blackbeard among the pirates or Bluebeard among the fairies. If it be
a recent and celebrated case which has cut a large figure in the
newspapers, so much the better.
783. STORY OF A TRAMP.–New interest is being taken in this erratic and
omnipresent individual. And the time is ripe for a facile pen to
portray his vagaries and his wanderings. The “Story of a Tramp” affords
an almost unparalleled scope for an author, and there is no phase of
civilization which may not be drawn upon to make the story interesting.
784. STORY OF A LUNATIC.–A very thrilling story, somewhat perhaps after
the manner of C. Brockden Brown’s “Weiland,” could be worked up from the
ravings of a lunatic. There are a vast number of persons who have wild,
harrowing tales. In fact, the audience for such stories is larger than
the number of readers of the finer quality of literature. A writer in a
recent newspaper says: “The masses do not read the magazines, but they
do read sensational literature in the form of dime novels and weekly
story papers, and this flashy fiction earns far more money for its
writers than is made by more ambitious authors and more pretentious
785. STORY OF A CRIMINAL LAWYER.–A retired criminal lawyer might make
money by the narrative of his most extraordinary cases. If he does not
care to write the narrative himself he might in odd moments give it to
you. With the pen of a Doyle you might reap that author’s immense
786. STORY OF THE KLONDIKE.–Many stories of adventure and hardship will
doubtless be written about the new land of gold, but the harvest will be
reaped by the keen pen of him first in the field. If Alaska has been
unkind to you, you may revenge yourself by digging gold from her bowels
with the pen.
787. THE EXPOSITION OF FRAUDS.–A very interesting book might be
written with this title. Take a few national scandals, like the “Panama
Fiasco,” “The South Sea Bubble,” “The Grant-Ward Swindle,” “The
Tichborne Claimant.” These subjects when handled with a skillful pen are
very interesting to business men.
788. SERMONS OF MODERN PREACHERS.–We have volumes of collected and
selected sermons, but no volume which contains various specimens of the
preaching of the present day. Have one sermon each from the very newest
of pulpit celebrities, such as S. Parkes Cadman, Hugh Price Hughes,
Wilbur Chapman, together with one each from such well-known preachers as
Phillips Brooks, T. DeWitt Talmage, and Sam Jones. There are over
100,000 ordained clergymen in the United States, and at least one-half
of them would want this book.
789. THE WONDER BOOK.–A book describing briefly and graphically a few
of the great wonders of the world, such as London the greatest city,
Niagara the greatest cataract, Monte Carlo the greatest gambling place,
while other chapters would be headed, “The Greatest Picture Gallery,”
“The Longest Railroad,” “The Tallest Pyramid,” “The Deepest Well,” etc.
The book would have a vast sale among young people, and would be popular
among all classes.
790. HEALTH RESORTS.–Their number is legion. Select a few of the
principal in all parts of the country, and write charmingly of their
peculiar merits. Especially impress upon your public the specific
diseases for which they are beneficial. The 500,000 invalids of the
country would want the book.
791. THE ALL-CURE BOOK.–A book which treats thoroughly the newest
systems of cure, such as the Magnetic, Water Cure, Massage, Barefoot,
Christian Science, etc., giving a history of the same, and an account of
the alleged cures.
792. SUCCESS.–A book for young men. Get twenty business men in
different lines to tell you each in a few pages how he was successful.
It would be very popular if you could secure as authors such men as John
Wanamaker, George Gould (for his deceased father, Jay Gould), James
Gordon Bennett, Murat Halstead, etc.
793. HOW TO SEE NEW YORK.–Not a guide book, but one far more beneficial
to strangers who want to see the great metropolis. It should contain at
least three sets of directions for persons preparing to visit the city
for the first time. These methods and order of sightseeing should be
radically different, giving the intending visitor the choice of the
three. The million or more people who come every year to New York for
the first time would want the book, and half of them would doubtless buy
it if freely advertised and sold for not more than fifty cents.
794. MAP MAKING.–There is money in the making of town, county and state
maps. For this you need the services of a good surveyor. Go to a map
publisher and get his estimates of cost; he can inform you where to get
a surveyor, and give you much other valuable advice. As a rule, maps
sell in proportion to the smallness of the territory portrayed, people
being chiefly interested in their immediate neighborhood. It is with
towns as with boarders–there is not much money in one or two, but he
who has the capital to work twenty towns at a time will do well. Jay
Gould got his first start in this way.
795. STORY OF THE POLE.–A score or more of great captains have tried to
reach the pole, and many of them have told their story in captivating
books, but we want a book in which each man’s story shall be condensed
into a single chapter of fifty pages each. The thousands of people who
like comparisons and admire hardy adventures would like a book of this
796. THE MAKING OF A MIGHTY BUSINESS.–We have spoken of the men who
made the business, but this book deals with the business itself. What a
great book could be made of a few chapters each, one devoted to such
themes as “A Great Railroad,” “A Great Sugar House,” “A Great Banking
House,” “A Great Steamship Company,” “The New York Post Office,” “The
United States Patent Office.” This book would appeal for interest to all
classes, and ought to be very profitable to the author.
797. HEROES OF LABOR.–Now let the laboring man tell his story. A book
to consist of chapters written by such labor leaders as T. V. Powderly,
Samuel Gompers, Mr. Sovereign, and other Knights of Labor, relating the
story of their struggles with capital. Technical matters, such as
interviews with directors and tables of wages should be made as brief as
possible, while strikes, scenes of violence and suffering, should form
the chief matter of the book. Here is a chance for a gifted writer to
make a second “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” a book whose sale in this country has
eclipsed that of any other thing ever published.
798. THE ELITE DIRECTORY.–Some cities like New York have such a book,
but other cities have not. Here is a field for the talent of the
reportorial variety. It will be a delicate matter to decide who shall be
included in the gilded circle and who shall be excluded, but if you are
discreet and discriminating, careful to make your book contain the names
of only the recognized people of society, these will in nearly all cases
buy your book, and will not be afraid of a good round price.
799. POPULAR DRAMAS.–These have made the fortunes of their authors. A
playwright often receives $100 per night while the play runs. More
frequently the manager pays a sum outright for the rights of the play.
The sum of $10,000 was paid recently for the right to dramatize a
popular work of fiction, the author having already received a fortune
from its sale as a novel. Eugene Scribe, the French dramatist, left at
his death the sum of $800,000, mainly his earnings as a playwright.
800. FURNISHING A HOME.–A book on home furnishing, treating the subject
from an artistic point of view, would doubtless find a market. Each room
should have a separate chapter. The furnishing should be considered from
the standpoint of expense, comfort, color and harmony. A book entitled
“Inside a Hundred Homes” had a large sale.
801. PRETTY WEDDINGS.–Here is a field entirely unoccupied. Select
twenty of the most stylish weddings of modern times, and give a full
account of them. They should be, of course, weddings among the bon ton.
The book would be a kind of fashionable wedding guide, and would be
eagerly bought by every lady who expects to be a bride. The book also
might contain hints and rules for weddings among all grades of social
802. QUOTATION BOOK.–One not classified in the old way, according to
subjects, but in relation to occasion. Quotations for the business mart,
the theatre, the church, the political arena, the dinner party, etc. If
made to be sold very cheap it would have a good sale; or it might be
combined at a higher price with a book on manners. See No. 770.