Monthly archives for June, 2010

Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: There is Only One Way

“This is how you do it.” How often do writers in this business hear that silly phrase? Some writer or editor or agent telling the young writer to do something as if that something was set in stone. Nope. The truth is that nothing in this business is set in stone.

Nothing.

For example, a wonderful new professional writer in one of the workshops here e-mailed a well-written query with ten sample pages and a synopsis of the novel off to an editor in New York from the workshop. The next morning she came out of her room smiling. The editor had asked to see the entire book. So being am imp, I went to that publisher’s website and printed off the guidelines, which said in huge letters “No electronic submissions and absolutely no unagented submissions.” Lucky for her she hadn’t bothered to look at the guidelines or listen to all the people who said she needed an agent and believe there was only one way to get her book read at that company.

Nothing in this business is set in stone. Nothing.

Of course, that little story about not looking at guidelines will cause massive anger to come at me I’m sure. So before you go tossing bricks at my house because you need a rule to follow, let me back up and try to explain what I am saying here. Then you can toss the brick.

ALL WRITERS ARE DIFFERENT

How many hundreds of times have I repeated that statement in these chapters and in the comments following them? Perfectly good advice for one writer will be flat wrong for the writer standing beside him. Some writers need agents, other writers a current agent rewriter would kill their work. Some writers know business, other writers need help figuring out how to balance a checkbook and wouldn’t understand cash flow in a flood of money.

So how do writers learn? And how can those of us who have walked this publishing road help out the newer professionals coming in? Carefully is my answer. But now let me try to expand on that.

How do writers learn?

1) Take every statement by any WRITER, including me, with your bull detector turned on. If it doesn’t sound right for some reason, ignore it. It may be right for the writer speaking and wrong for you. And for heaven’s sake, be extra, extra careful when you listen to any writer who is not a long distance down the publishing road ahead of you. Some of the stupidest advice I have ever heard has come from writers with three or four short story sales talking like they understand the publishing business and think that everything they say is a rule.

2) Take any statement by any EDITOR through a filter. Ask yourself why they are saying what they are saying, what corporate purpose does it fill, and can you use it to help you. Remember, editors are not writers. And they only know what they need in their one publishing house. Editors have the best of intentions to help writers. Honest, they do. But they often do not understand how writers make money, and most think that most writers can’t make a living, since all they see are the small advances to writers they are paying. Just nod nicely when they start into that kind of stuff and move on. And remember, they always have a corporate agenda. It’s the nature of their job.

3) Take any statement from an AGENT with a giant salt shaker full of salt. Agents are not writers, agents can’t help you rewrite, and they only know about ten editors and thus not the big market. If any agent is flat telling you that you must do something, and it sounds completely wrong to you, my suggestion to you is RUN! Remember, agents have an agenda. It is not your agenda. It is their agenda. Read the previous agent chapters in this book and the comments following them.

So how do writers learn? By going to lots and lots of conferences and listening to hundreds of writers and editors and taking only the information that seems right to you. Read lots and lots of books by writers and only take what seems right for you. Learn business, basic business, and apply that to writing as well. Writing is a business, a very big business.

And keep writing and practicing and mailing.

How Can Professional Writers Help Newer Writers?

1) Keep firmly in mind that your way, the way you broke in might be wrong for just about everyone else in the room listening to you. Especially today, when the world of publishing is shifting so fast it’s hard for anyone to keep up. A story about your first sale in 1992 as a way to do it just won’t be relevant in any real way to a new writer in 2010. Be clear that you understand that.

2) Keep abreast of what the newer writers are facing. I get angry at times because newer writers keep accusing me of having some advantage. I don’t, really. I have years more of practice, sure, and I have a better cover letter, and I know how to write a pitch and query and cover blurb that will sell. A new writer can learn all that as well with practice.

I still have to mail my work to editors just like everyone else. There is no secret road to selling just because you have done it before. I wish like hell there was, but alas, if it exists, I haven’t found the entrance ramp yet. So to help myself, I keep abreast of what newer writers are facing, I help teach them how to get through the blocks, so I also know how to do it with my work. Duh. I learn from them as I teach them.

3) Stay informed as to the changes in publishing and don’t be afraid of the new technology. Bragging that you belong to the Church of Luddite or that you won’t touch any Apple product or that you hate smart phones sure won’t install a lot of confidence in the newer writers who live with this modern publishing world and use the new technology. And wishing things would go back to the way they were just doesn’t help either. And for heaven’s sake, understand sampling.

Newer Writers Need Set Rules.

Writers, especially newer writers are hungry for set rules. This business is fluid and crazy most of the time, and the need for security screams out in most of us. So in the early years we search for “rules” to follow, shortcuts that will cut down the time involved, secret handshakes that will get us through doors. It is only after a lot of time that professional writers come to realize that the only rules are the ones we put on ourselves.

Writers are people who sit alone in a room and make stuff up. The problem we have is that when we get insecure without rules, we make stuff up as well. When we don’t understand something, we make something up to explain it. Then when someone comes along with a “this is how you do it” stated like a rule, you jump to the rule like a drowning man reaching for a rope. And when someone else says “Let go of the rope to make it to safety,” you get angry and won’t let go of that first safety line.

In all these chapters that’s what I’ve been telling you to do: Let go of the rope and trust your own talents and knowledge. And trust me, behind the scenes it has caused some very “interesting” letters from writers mad at me for challenging their lifeline rules.

That desire for safety and rules is one of the reasons that so many myths have grown up in this business. Rules/myths like you must rewrite everything, you must have an agent, you must do self-promotion, you don’t dare write fast or it will be bad. Rule upon rule upon rule, all imposed from the outside. Most are just bad advice believed by the person giving the advice at the time.

The key is to let go of the rope, swim on your own, and find out what works for you. If you believe you must rewrite, write a story or two and mail them without rewrites to see what happens. If you are having no luck having an agent read your work, send it to editors instead. If you think you can’t write more than 500 words a day, push a few days to double or triple that and see what happens. Push and experiment and find out what is right for you. Will it scare you? Yes. But I sure don’t remember anyone telling me this profession was easy or not scary. Those two things are not myths just yet.

Okay, all that said, here are a few major areas where following rules blindly can be dangerous to writers. I have talked about a lot of these already but want to hit on these special ones again.

1) “You must rewrite.”

This is just silly, since writing comes out of the creative side of our brains and rewriting comes from the critical learned side. Creative side is always better. But again, this is different for every writer no matter what level. Some writers never rewrite other than to fix a few typos, others do a dozen drafts, and both sell. Those professionals have figured out what is best for them. But if a younger writer listens to someone who says you MUST rewrite everything, it could kill that writer’s voice. This rule is just flat destructive. Keep your guard up on this one. Experiment on both sides and then do what works for you.

2) “You must have an agent.”

This is such bad advice for such a large share of writers these days, it’s scary. I’ve talked about this myth in a bunch of chapters. These days there are many ways of not needing an agent. Using an intellectual copyright attorney is one way. Cheap and you don’t have to pay them 15% of everything. Doing it yourself is fine as well. Or hiring an agent just for one project at a time is fine as well. Read all my chapters on this one and then decide what you feel right about. And remember the old saying that the agent you can get as an unsold writer is not the agent you will want when you start selling. You don’t need an agent to sell a book. But again, every writer is different. Just don’t take the agent myth as a truth. Figure out what works for you.

3) “Editors don’t like (blank) so you shouldn’t write that way.”

I can’t begin to tell you how many thousand times I have answered questions like “Can I write in first person? Editor’s don’t like that.” No rules, just write your own story with passion and then send it to editors. If they don’t like it, they will send you a rejection. No big deal. Stop worrying about what editors or agents want and write what you want. Be an artist, not some sick puppy licking the boots of editors and agents looking for the secret. Think for yourself, be yourself, write your own stuff. No rules.

4) “It’s a tight market so you need to do (blank).”

You want a secret? It’s always been a tight market. Things are always changing in publishing. Right now there are more books being published every year than ever before, more markets, more ways for writers to make money. This silly “tight market” statement always sounds so full of authority coming from some young agent. And it will drive a new writer into doing a dozen rewrites on a novel for someone who really doesn’t know what they are talking about. Caution when you hear those words. It should be a huge RED FLAG. I know, I heard them in the 1970s and 1980s and 1990s and every year lately. Just silly. It is nothing more than a statement to discourage writers. Don’t listen to it. Publishing is always looking for good books and new writers. And it has always been tight in one way or another.

A Brand New World

Right now publishing is going through some changes, all rotating around distribution for the most part. Writers have been so shut out with the system in New York that they are turning more and more to taking control of various aspects of their own work. POD and electronic publishing is allowing authors to become both writer and publisher and electronic distribution is allowing readers to find more work from their favorite writers, often either new work, dangerous work, or work long out of print..

This new area of publishing is quickly becoming full of “rules” and future myths. For the longest time publishing your own work was looked down on by “the ruling class” (whoever they are). Now, except for a few holdouts in the basements of the Church of Luddite, writers are taking the new technologies and running with them. Before you run that way because selling to major markets is too hard, be cautious. There are no rules, but there are some things that are common sense.

Common sense #1: It takes a lot of practice to become a professional-level storyteller. You may think your first story or novel is brilliant because you rewrote it ten times and your workshop loved it, but alas, it might not be yet. In this new market, just as in the old one, the readers will judge. You might want to hold off putting up that first work until you have a few more hundreds of thousands of words through your fingers. You want readers coming to your work because they heard it was good, not to laugh at it.

Common sense #2: New York publishers can get your book into the hands of thousands and thousands of readers and help your online sales of your other works. So why not spend a year or so trying to sell to New York first before self-publishing. What can it hurt? My wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, did a wonderful post on her Freelancers Survival Guide about giving up on your own work. Might want to read it right here and come back.

Common sense #3: This area of electronic publishing is so new that no one really knows how this is going to shape out. I have my opinions and Kris has her opinions and we are both taking published stories from our past and getting them up in electronic form for readers to find. But we may be wrong, and any other “expert” may be wrong. In this new side of publishing, keep your mind wide open and follow all news and make no rules.

Again, in this area, there is no right way. Just do what feels right for your writing and ignore anyone trying to give you a rule.

NOW I’M TAKING THE ROPE AWAY.

As I said above, writers tend to have this fantastic need for rules. We all want to make some sort of order out of this huge business. And actually, there is order if you know where to look and how to look. So instead of giving you rules, let me help you find order without myths and rules.

1) Publishing is a business. A large business run by large corporations. If you remember that, learn basic business, understand corporation politics and thinking, most everything that happens will make some sort of sense. Don’t take anything personally. It’s just business and that is the truth.

2) All writers write differently. And that includes you. My way of producing words won’t be correct for anyone but me. So instead of listening to others looking for the secret, just go home, sit down at your writing computer, and experiment with every different form and method until you find the way that produces selling fiction. Find your own way to produce words that sell.

3) Learning and continuing to learn is critical. This business keeps changing and the only way to stay abreast of the changes is to go out and keep learning and talk with other writers and find advice that makes sense to you and your way. Go to workshops, conferences, conventions and anything else you can find to get bits of learning. Read everything you can find about the business. My goal on this is learn one thing new every week at least. I’ve been doing that since my early days and it has worked for me, and kept me focused on learning. Find what works for you.

I know those three things don’t seem to give you any secrets, don’t really show you the path to selling. But actually, they do. And if you just keep them in mind and don’t allow yourself to get caught in strange rules and myths, you will move faster toward your goal, whatever that goal in writing may be.

It’s your writing, it’s your art. Stop looking for the secrets and stand up for your work. Trust your own voice, your own methods of working. Get your work to editors who will buy it. And if your methods are not producing selling work, try something new.

Keep learning. Keep practicing your art.

The only right way in this business is your way.

————————————————

Copyright 2010 Dean Wesley Smith
————————————————–
Because of the new world and technology, my magic bakery got a lot more valuable lately. This is now part of my inventory in my bakery. (Confused on that, read the Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing post about making money with writing.) I’m giving you this small slice as a sample. I’m giving you a taste, but not selling any of the pie.

If you feel this helped you in any way, toss a tip into the tip jar on the way out of the Magic Bakery.

And I would like to thank all the fine folks who have donated. Once this book is done, I will send you a copy. The donations and the comments both after the posts and privately are really keeping me going on this. Thanks!

If you can’t afford to donate, please feel free to pass this chapter along to others who might get some help from it. Every week or so I will be adding a new chapter on the myths and sacred cows of publishing. Stay tuned. Upcoming are chapters on bestsellers, losing control of your writing, having it made, speed equals making money, more on agents, and so much more. This business has a lot of myths. An entire book full.

Thanks, Dean


Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Agents and Contracts

These last two weeks I have been watching a friend struggle with all the agent myths AFTER getting an offer from a major New York publisher for a multi-book deal that he marketed and sold himself. And watching this, I came to realize that there is still another agent myth that I haven’t covered in a chapter. This is a brand new myth because of the change in the industry and agents.

The myth is that you must have an agent or an attorney to negotiate a book contract. A myth that I have taught and believed up until things changed in the last few years.

Truth: Today, sometimes, under certain circumstances, you might be better served to not use an agent or an attorney to work on a contract with a New York publishing house. With a little learning on publishing contracts, you can know as much or more about contracts as a new agent in New York. (Remember, they have no training or license and often come from the editing side.)

But there are a BUNCH of factors with this, so read carefully ahead before flying off on your own with a major New York publisher.

And I am calling this a myth because it is something I have taught as a fact for years and just came to the conclusion over the last year that I have been teaching a myth. I have said, “Sell the book, get an agent to help you.” I taught that as almost a requirement. Sigh, in this new world, with this new breed of clueless agents who have a belief system damaging to their clients, I am now taking those words back. Heck, more than likely I’ll have to go back through some early chapters and comments and take those words out as well before I do the final version of this book. That’s how fast things are changing.

So, let me be clear. Right now, here in June of 2010, I am saying this:

1…Sell your own book.

2…Maybe find a top agent to help you with the negotiations and contract.

3…Maybe hire an attorney to help you with the negotiations and contract.

4…Maybe just do the negotiations and contract yourself with an attorney behind the scenes to answer your questions.

5…Maybe just do the negotiations and contract yourself.

I hope I am now clear on this. Sorry, former students. Sigh, things just keep on changing and this new world of agents has moved my belief system to this point now. Maybe, under some circumstances, you are just better served to negotiate and do the contract yourself.

Okay, stop screaming for a second about how you know nothing about contracts and just listen.

I want to take the five points one at a time.

1) Sell your own book. In other words, be responsible for your own career. If you are having an agent try to market your book, make sure you and your agent have talked about where the agent is sending the book and why. Know what is happening with your work at all times. If your agent gives up after a few rejections, you mail the book out to editors yourself. If you don’t have an agent, mail the book to editors yourself, not to agents. I did a very long chapter on this topic for this book under Agents Sell Books myth. Might want to read that now if you are having trouble with this concept

2…Maybe find a top agent to help you with the negotiations and contract.

Note I said “top agent” above. Top agents don’t believe in rewriting their clients. Top agents most of you have never heard of because they don’t blog. They just work for their clients, they don’t read slush, they understand their job. Top agents have been around a while and know contracts, mostly work at major agencies who have boilerplate already negotiated, and so on. If your choice is lower level agents who blog, you are going to run into problems.

3…Maybe hire an attorney to help you with the negotiations and contract.

In all the agent posts comments, Laura Resnick and I have talked about this and I am of the opinion right now that going to a publishing attorney is a top option and getting more logical by the day as all the younger agents kill their own careers. But note: A local attorney in your small town won’t help you, and might hurt you. Laura listed some vetted IP lawyers in one comment under an agent chapter and most writer’s organizations have lists. Not hard to find.

Going with an attorney has upsides and downsides. Downside is you must pay them up front. Upside is that they don’t take 15% of your book’s income for the rest of its life. I will talk about that 15% part in a moment.

4…Maybe just do the negotiations and contract yourself with an attorney behind the scenes to answer your questions.

Remember, an attorney only charges by the hour, so if you are fine talking with the editor about the contract, hire an attorney for an hour or two to look over the contract and answer your questions. Then you talk to the editor instead of having the attorney talk to the editor in the negotiations. Very simple. Again, make sure you have hired a good IP attorney and don’t be afraid to tell the editor you are working with that attorney. The editors often know the good attorneys because they have worked with them.

5…Maybe just do the negotiations and contract yourself.

Okay, now to the fun one.

An aside here: Next year Kris and I are talking about having a workshop titled “How to be your own literary agent.” Now understand, if we did that class and you took it, you would then have more formal training than any new agent in New York. Remember, they have none besides trial and error on you and other writers.

To explain why sometimes this option is logical for some writers, I’m going to need to do a little explaining about book contracts from a writer’s perspective, about the skill of negotiating, and also do some math. And put out a warning as to who is the right type of person to do this.

CONTRACTS

Contracts in publishing are your only connection point between your book and your publisher. It lays out what your publisher will do and what you will do. For writers, contracts have the following critically important areas.

1) What rights are you licensing to them? And not licensing to them? And for how much?

2) When and under what circumstances can you get those rights back? (reversion clause)

3) What control over your future writing are you giving this publisher? (option clause)

Just about everything in the contract has something to do with those three areas. There are also warranty clauses which are boilerplate and used to define lawsuits and such with third parties. They can’t be changed and only come into play when something goes very, very bad with you stealing someone else’s work or someone thinking you have. There is a worthless bankruptcy clause that all publishers insist must be in there but that no bankruptcy court has or would ever follow. And some basic clauses about your schedules, rewrites, and what they will do if you don’t turn your book in on time.

All basic. Written by lawyers. In general, not rocket science.

General rules of thumb: License as little as possible for as much money as possible, make sure that when the sales of the book fall under a certain number per month, you can get the rights back, and make sure they only have rights to look at the next book in the same series and genre with the same characters. Basic. Tricky in the language at times, but basic. And if you start working on learning contracts early on, you will be stunned at how much you pick up and how fast.

And remember, if you negotiate it, or if an agent does it, or if an attorney does it, you still have to understand and sign it. So no matter what, you have to understand the contract you are signing. You can pay an agent 15% for the life of the book for help in understanding (if they are a top agent, not a lower level one), you can hire an IP attorney for the help, but either way, you have to learn it yourself. That is really what it boils down to.

Let me say that once more clearly. You MUST understand what you are signing, so get the agent to help or the lawyer to help. No matter what, you must learn it yourself.

Will you make mistakes and sign bad contracts? Yes. Writers with young agents have done it all the time. I’ve seen some book contracts over the last five years from some of my students that are fantastic, and others done by agents that are so bad, I wanted to fly to New York and slap the agent for pretending to know what they were doing and hurting a student of mine. Writers who are desperate sign bad contracts all the time. I’ve signed some pretty horrid ones, to be honest, a couple times knowing they were horrid. But I knew what I was signing.

A year or so ago I saw a contract that an agent had actually made worse for the writer. 100% worse. I couldn’t say a word to the writer because he thought his agent was the best, even though the guy worked for a scam agent and was brand new in the business. This myth is deep and hard to break.

If you believe your book is your baby, and your masterpiece, and the only thing of value you will ever write, the fear in this contract area will be off the charts. But if it’s just another book in a long line of books you are going to write in your career, you can be a little more open-minded about how to go about this contract stuff.

NEGOTIATIONS

This is the area that scares most writers to death. If you are the type of person who flat has trouble asking for a deal from a salesman, or flat doesn’t believe in your own work and think it’s a fluke the editor even wants to buy it, you will need help with negotiations. Maybe. (See the math section below. And to get a clear understanding of negotiations from a freelancer point of view, read Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Freelancers Guide sections on negotiations.)

Hiring an attorney or an agent to help might be the best choice. But if you have gained some basic knowledge of publishing, are the type that doesn’t mind talking with your editor on the phone, then you might be all right in negotiations.

I am not going to pretend to give a class here on how to negotiate a contract. But again, it ain’t rocket science so let me lay out the basics that will apply in all cases.

1) Ask for more money. Be reasonable, maybe 20% more.

2) Ask for slightly better royalty rates. (Expect to not get them, but you can still ask)

3) Try to hold back all rights you don’t think they need. You won’t be able to hold back electronic, but lots of smaller rights you can hold back. And get as much as you can for your split on the rights that you give them. Also make sure that if a right isn’t used in a two year period, it automatically reverts to you. (Might not get that, but try. And never sell all rights unless you are working media or work-for-hire.)

4) Make sure the number of books sold per month or period in the reversion clause is high enough to trigger when you can ask for your rights back. This is the definition of “out of print” and is critical.

5) Make sure your option clause for your next book is very limited to only the genre and the characters in the book you are selling, not all of your work in all genres.

Then, when you get your contract, maybe have a couple of writer friends who have sold a number of books read it to make sure nothing is hidden. Or hire an attorney for two hours to read it for any hidden clauses you want removed. And to help you understand the boilerplate.

But, again, if you can’t speak reasonably on the phone, have intense fear for one reason or another, don’t try this. Hire an agent or an attorney to do the negotiations.

MATH

Okay, to some simple math that I am convinced will get people screaming at me saying I am being too simple, but until this simple math is looked at, most writers don’t really understand what is at stake.

Book Offer Details: $10,000 Advance. World English Rights. 10&12% Hard, 8&10% Trade, 6&8% Mass Market. Books is planned as a trade. Reversion and option clauses are fine, acceptable.

OPTION #1: Get a Top Agent:

Agent gets advance to $12,000, fixes some boilerplate to agency standards, saves audio and another minor right, gets you ten more free copies that what was offered. Amount to author $10,200 after agency fees and ten more copies of the book. But agent gets 15% of all further earnings from the book.

OPTION #2: Get a Top IP Lawyer:

Lawyer gets advance to $12,000, fixes some boilerplate to standards, saves audio and another minor right, gets you ten more free copies that what was offered. Amount to author $12,000 but $1,500 to lawyer in one time payment. Author gets all money from book forever. No more fees.

OPTION #3: Do negotiations yourself with lawyer checking contract:

You get the advance to $12,000, fix some boilerplate to agency standards after lawyer suggests as a final touch, you save audio and another minor right, get yourself ten more free copies that what was offered. Amount to author $12,000, but pay lawyer one time fee of $500. Author gets all money into the future.

OPTION #4: Do it completely yourself:

You get the advance to $12,000, save audio and another minor right, live with company boilerplate, get yourself ten more free copies that what was offered. Amount to author $12,000. And all money into the future.

Now, to finish the math, let’s say the book earns out and makes another $20,000 more over rights sales and great sales over the next five years. For a $32,000 earning for the book.

OPTION #1: Author earns $27,200 after agent fees of $4,800.

OPTION #2: Author earns $30,500 after one time lawyer costs of $1,500.

OPTION #3: Author earns $31,500 after one time lawyer costs of $500.

OPTION #4: Author earns $32,000.

Did the agent do anything extra to earn the huge amount extra? Nope. In fact, agent got to hold your checks for a while and earn interest on the money before passing it through.

Now, to be clear here, many authors need agents “to take care of them.” If you are of this type of writer, and want nothing to do with learning about the contracts you are signing, instead just trusting your agent, please don’t come to me complaining about something your publisher did. Chances are you signed a contract allowing them to do it and don’t even know it because you trusted your agent.

As I said at the start of all this, I taught this myth myself up until just recently. But publishing is changing so fast at the moment, that the writers who see the changes and stay on top of the wave will be the ones that survive. And one big area of change is agents. Do I think agents will be important in the future? No. Do I think some agents will survive this change? Yes.

Publishers are starting to jump on change as well. At this moment in time, it’s still a tight market, but new writers all over are selling first novels on their own all the time. Sometimes an agent can earn their 15%. But sometimes all you might need is an attorney. Or you might be able to do it yourself.

Every writer is different. Each of us know where we are strong and where we are weak. But remember the days of “marrying” an agent for your writing life are long gone. They don’t help you with careers, they can’t help you stay ahead of markets, and they can’t write so don’t let them touch your work in rewrite. But sometimes they can help you get a lot more money and better terms. Sometimes.

But not always. Start learning contracts, start believing in your own work.

And then on a case-by-case, book-by-book, offer-by-offer basis, decide which way is best to go for you and who you are and the offer being made. Kill the myth that you always need an agent or a lawyer for every book deal.

You might.

But you might not.

————————————————

Copyright 2010 Dean Wesley Smith
————————————————–
Yup, I’m going to go running to an agent to try to sell this book when I am finished. Not! But no matter what happens to this book when finished, this is now part of my inventory in my bakery. (Confused on that, read the Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing post about making money with writing.) I’m giving you this small slice as a sample. I’m giving you a taste, but not selling any of the pie.

If you feel this helped you in any way, toss a tip into the tip jar on the way out of the Magic Bakery.

And I would like to thank all the fine folks who have donated. Once this book is done, I will send you a copy. The donations and the comments both after the posts and privately are really keeping me going on this. Thanks!

If you can’t afford to donate, please feel free to pass this chapter along to others who might get some help from it. Every week or so I will be adding a new chapter on the myths and sacred cows of publishing. Stay tuned. Upcoming are chapters on bestsellers, losing control of your writing, having it made, speed equals making money, more on agents, and so much more. This business has a lot of myths. An entire book full.

Thanks, Dean


Free Short Story of the Week

For this Week's Free Short Story, Click The Cover

Shortcuts to Posts

Smith’s Monthly Subscriptions

Smith's Monthly, an original fiction magazine featuring every month a full novel, short fiction, serial adventures, and nonfiction now available for subscriptions.

And twenty of them now exist... Amazing, huh? And hard to hold. Here I am holding the first five...

$6.99 electronic and $12.99 trade paper editions are available at your local bookseller. All paper subscription copies are signed. For more information, just click on the cover.

ISSUES IN ORDER

Online Workshop Schedule

These are the starting dates of upcoming online workshops. Limited to twelve writers. All have openings unless I say closed below. For sign-up and more information about each workshop, click the Online Workshop tab at the top of the page.

Class #21… Sept 7th … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #22… Sept 7th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #23… Sept 7th … How to Write Science Fiction
Class #24… Sept 7th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #25… Sept 8th … Character Development
Class #26… Sept 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #27… Sept 8th … Making a Career
Class #28… Sept 9th … Cliffhangers
Class #29… Sept 9th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #30… Sept 9th … Advanced Depth

Class #31… Oct 5th … Advanced Depth
Class #32… Oct 5th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #33… Oct 5th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #34… Oct 5th … Ideas into Stories
Class #35… Oct 6th … Character Development
Class #36… Oct 6th … Depth in Writing
Class #37… Oct 6th … Making a Career
Class #38… Oct 7th … Designing Covers
Class #39… Oct 7th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #40… Oct 7th … How to Write Science Fiction

Class #41… Nov 2nd … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #42… Nov 2nd … How to Write Thrillers
Class #43… Nov 2nd … How to Write Science Fiction
Class #44… Nov 2nd … Character Voice/Setting
Class #45… Nov 3rd … Character Development
Class #46… Nov 3rd … Depth in Writing
Class #47… Nov 3rd … Making a Career
Class #48… Nov 4th … Cliffhangers
Class #49… Nov 4th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #50… Nov 4th … Advanced Depth

Class #51… Dec 7th … Advanced Depth
Class #52… Dec 7th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #53… Dec 7th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #54… Dec 7th … Ideas into Stories
Class #55… Dec 8th … Character Development
Class #56… Dec 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #57… Dec 8th … Making a Career
Class #58… Dec 9th … Designing Covers
Class #59… Dec 9th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #60… Dec 9th … How to Write Science Fiction
Sign-up and more information under Online Workshops tab at the top of the page.

Classic Workshops

You can sign up for these and start at any point. They are the regular workshops, only you don't send in the homework and you can take them as fast or as slow as you would like.

They are half the price of a regular six week workshop.

Classic Workshops offered.

Making a Living... Classic
Productivity... Classic
Discoverability... Classic
Writing in Series... Classic
Genre Structure... Classic

Lecture Series

More information on these lectures under the Lecture Series Tab above.

#1... Heinlein's Rules... Dean Wesley Smith 15 videos... $75.00

#2... Read Like a Writer... Kristine Kathryn Rusch... 8 videos... $50.00

#3... How to Write a Short Story: The Basics... Kristine Kathryn Rusch.... 7 videos... $50.00

#4... Writer's Block and Procrastination... Dean Wesley Smith... 8 videos... $50.00

#5... Carving Time Out for Your Writing... Dean Wesley Smith.... 8 videos... $50.00

#6... How to Research for Fiction Writers... Kristine Kathryn Rusch.... 14 videos... $75.00

#7... Pen Names: Help With the Decision... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#8... Motivation: Starting Easier and Writing More... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#9... Practice: The Attitude and Methods of Practice in Fiction... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#10... Master Plot Formula: How and Why It Works Today... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#11... Prolific Lecture: How to Become a Prolific Fiction Writer... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#12... The Stages of a Fiction Writer: How to Know Where You Are In Learning and How To Move Upward... Dean Wesley Smith.... 11 videos... $50.00

#13... Starting Writing. Or Restarting Your Writing... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#14... Endings: How to Write Them and Understand What Makes a Good Ending... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#15... Audio Narration Lecture... Jane Kennedy.... 9 audio lectures... $50.00

#16... Your Writing as an Investment Lecture... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#17... How to Get Your Books into Bookstores Lecture... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#18... How to Think Like a Science Fiction Writer Lecture... Kristine Kathryn Rusch....11 videos... $50.00

#19... Why Some Books Sell More Than Other Books... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#20... How to Write a Page Turning Novel or Story: Basics and Tricks ... Dean Wesley Smith.... 8 videos... $50.00

#21... The Basics of Designing Science Fiction Covers ... Allyson Longueira .... 8 videos... $50.00

#22... The Basics of Designing Mystery, Cozy, or Thriller Covers ... Allyson Longueira .... 8 videos... $50.00

#23... Paying the Price: A Working Writer's Mindset ... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#24... Writing into the Dark: The Tricks and Methods of Writing Without an Outline... Dean Wesley Smith... 12 videos... $50.00

#25... Reviews: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly... Dean Wesley Smith... 10 videos... $50.00

#26... Organization... Allyson Longueira... 8 videos... $50.00

#27... Confidence... Dean Wesley Smith... 10 videos... $50.00

#28... Stories to Novels... Dean Wesley Smith... 9 videos... $50.00

My Publisher

WMG Publishing Inc. is now my major publisher of all my coming novels, collections, and short stories.

Support This Blog On Patreon

I now have a Patreon page with some nifty rewards for your monthly support.

Just click on the image to go to my new Patreon page.