Challenge,  Fun Stuff,  publishing

Fun Challenge

October Until The End of the Year Challenge…

Actually, only part of it. A really fun publishing challenge.

Shortly I will be putting up on Teachable all the Collection Classes for 2023. 18 different ones.

Six from the first year we did them in 2021 (and if you bought the full year, yes, you can take them in 2023.)

Six from the second year.

And six new ones for 2023.

I will have all of these posted in about a week or so.

Each collection class is 9 weeks long and you write five stories during that time, as well as learn how to put a collection together, do the cover and sales copy, and publish it on the 9th week. And if you hit all nine assignments, you get credit for a Pop-Up of your choice.

Each class is based around a theme that you write your stories toward in some way or another.

The first year collection classes offered again in 2023 are: Portals, Heroes/Heroines, Holiday, Fantasy, Private Eyes, and Relationships.

This year’s collection classes offered again in 2023 are: Pets, Spies, Space Opera, Thieves, Dynasty, and Time Travel.

The six new collection classes offered for the first time in 2023 are Creatures, School Stories, Villains, Money, Cities, and Murders.

18 different collection classes. Stay tuned, you can sign up for any of the collection classes in 2023 in the next week or so.

So my challenge….?

I am going to do 18 different short story collections between now and the first of the year, all focused with the 18 different topics from the collection classes. The collections won’t be published by the end of the year, but all will be done and turned into WMG Publishing for a nifty publishing schedule idea next year.

That’s right, 18 different books and I will have six stories per book. Plus a collection introduction. And a cover for each story in each book. 108 stories total.

Tonight I already found the art for seven of the book covers. Getting a slight jump before October 1st.

I’ll talk about the writing half of my challenge and why in a few days. But I am really excited about these collections.


  • Kate Pavelle

    Hi Dean! Ooooh, nice sequey from the 100-stories idea into a framework we can all relate to and, if desired, join for a short (or longer ride-along.) This concept sings to me, because I still have at leat six collections of shorts I haven’t yet published, and ideas for many more.
    What I am most interested is this: You started looking for cover art first. You found seven already. I always struggle with that. I took two Covers courses, I researched covers as part of the Media Kit course (great content, BTW, thank you,) but my task-flow organization skills still hiccup along the way.
    Do you always look for cover art first? (I struggle with it too close to release date, and it’s stressful and I don’t like the results. This is not something I am going to continue doing.)
    When the best-sellers you look at don’t represent 1. your genre the way you think they would because you write cross-genre, or 2. are obviously commisioned and way above your resource commitment level, what do you look for in genre-tagged art? (I’ve been spending days of writing time making one book covers, which is not WIBBOW at all. And I can’t drop five hundred on a cover right now, that’s crazy talk.)

    The idea of finding one (ONE!!!) piece of art to license, and using only that for my cover, still eludes me. You are really good at it. I must be looking for the wrong elements aside from just size, mood, and space for typography.

    So, cover art. I would love to hear more about it, and see both what you licensed, and what you rejected, if you’re willing to go there. Thank you!
    (And I am sorry I’m such a slow study on this. This must be horribly frustrating to you, just like it is to me. I thank you for your patience here.)

    • dwsmith

      I go for feel of genre with cover art. Nothing to do with anything in any story. Just feel of genre. So I just looked at a collection with a theme like “Portals” and then typed in “Fantasy Portals” in the search area of an art site and spotted one that would make a great and attractive cover and downloaded it. Cost me exactly $1 because we have a subscription to the site.

      And I rejected all 1 million other pieces of art on that site.???

      You are way, way overthinking this and your critical voice is finding ways to use art to slow down your writing. Royalty free sites, spend five bucks to find something that will make a good cover (meaning right shape and not white) and is in the genre of your story and run with it.

      • Kate Pavelle

        Oh, OH! Well dang. You’re right, my critical voice is totally T-boning me on the covers. Because they are important, right? (Big grin!) So I’ll just try to do what you do. In fact, it’s bread-baking day, and I’m in the kitchen, keeping an eye on the oven. My “idle” time slots are ideal for this kind of a thing.
        I still have about 200 prepaid images on one of the sites, so it’s not a resource issue. It’s strictly an approach issue.
        I can do this.
        Thank you!
        (P.S. bread baking isn’t an excuse not to write. I do that only every few weeks, make 4-5 loaves of whole grain organic non-brominated sourdough, and freeze most of it for later.)

  • Connor Whiteley

    Hi Dean.

    This sounds like amazing fun, looking forward to reading these.

    If my writing and publishing schedules were maxed out for the year, I would probably join you!

  • Emilia

    Ecstatic for the creatures collection class, I like writing about creatures. Currently reading Year of the Cat stories which should also help.

  • Heather

    I do not think D.W. Smith has ever maxed out his writing or publishing schedule… the more he pushes, the more his output expands. (or the more fun he has).
    They say, ‘If you want something done, give it to a busy man’.
    I expect Dean believes, too, that there is more production capability in his blog readers than we think we can muster.

    • dwsmith

      Doing seventy books in my 70th year didn’t hurt me, but it sure stressed out the wonderful folks at WMG Publishing. They had to launch them all, along with everything else we are doing. Yup, I was fine.

    • dwsmith

      And Heather, yes, I think everyone who is reading my blog can do what I do. If they set their mind to it and got out of their own way.

  • Keith West

    Hi, Dean.

    I’ll be tackling at least one or two of these next year, although I’ll have to do them around what will be some major life changes.

    I thought in the comments to a post a few weeks ago you said Ghost Stories would be one of the collection themes. Do you plan to do that one in the future?