Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  Writing in Public

Got Sidetracked

Got Sidetracked

I had all sorts of things I was going to do tonight, including writing, and didn’t get many of them done. Got a few, but got sidetracked on setting up some forms to help with both writing organization and running organization and workshop stuff. And hours just went away. Amazing how that happens, isn’t it?


What Was I Thinking Update #2

I have a video update on my race progress as part of the series What Was I Thinking. It’s only a couple minutes.


I want to push these two bundles again!!!

I am in two great bundles at the moment and so is Kris. You really can’t go wrong with these two bundles. Amazing reading. And the fantasy bundle only has two days left.

Some of you might remember the book I wrote in ten days while aiming at seven days in late August. Star Fall: A Seeders Universe Novel. That book is now available as I promised it would be. The official publication date isn’t until November, but at the moment it is available in a fantastic bundle called The Extreme Science Fiction Bundle. 

Also notice that in this bundle there is a fantastic Retrieval Artist novel called Extremes by Kris. It also has a great novel by Kevin J. Anderson, another by Mike Resnick, and another by M.L. Buchman. That’s right, the bestselling military romance writer with a sf book of stories. How cool is that and they are great fun.

And also an amazing volume of Fiction River: Risk Takers. I edited that and it is a fantastic example of a Fiction River volume.



The second bundle is a fantastic fantasy bundle that only has a two more days on it. It’s called The Epic Fantasy Bundle. Kris has a full novel in it called Heart Readers and it also has novels by Allen Drury, Brandon Sanderson and Tracy Hickman, among others.

And it has Fiction River: Unnatural Worlds in it. Kris and I edited this one and it’s a great one.  You can get the bundle at Don’t wait on this one. It ends in three days to go away forever!



The Writing of Starburst: A Seeders Universe Novel

Day 1… 2,000…  Total so far… 2,000 words
Day 2… 1,000…  Total so far… 3,000 words
Day 3… 1,700…  Total so far… 4,700 words

Totals For Year 4, Month 2, Day 21

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,098

Over 10,000 steps streak… Day 81

Running Miles This Month… 9 miles

Total Miles This Month… 109 miles

— Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 4,700 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 800 words 

— Blog Posts: 200 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 6,800 words

— E-mail: 9 e-mails. Approx. 500 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 317 e-mails. Approx. 20,800 words

— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 0 Covers


— Year of Short Fiction Goal: 120 stories (July 1st to June 30th). Stories finished to date: 8 stories.

— Yearly Novel Goal: 12 Novels. Novels finished to date: 2 novels.


You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Thanks for your support.


  • Mike

    Dean – not sure if the forms for writing organization are WMG related or for keeping you producing new words and tracking it, but if it’s the latter is be curious to hear what that all entails.

    Always looking for ideas on how to stay motivated and keep track of the work.

    Congrats on Fiction River! Can’t wait for the workshops in the coming months!

    • dwsmith

      Mike, if I figure out that it works or has a little value, I’ll explain it. But need a month or so of testing. (grin)

  • Kate Pavelle

    You’re looking great in your video, Dean! I’m rooting for you and hope you have a great time, no matter whether you finish or not! Yeah, it’s crazy, but it’s a good kind of crazy.

  • David Haywood Young

    Hi Dean-

    This isn’t really a response to this particular post. I’ve been reading and largely agreeing with (aka “being inspired by”) your stuff for a long time–but I thought you were just wrong about pricing, especially your apparent antipathy toward free books and your suggested $2.99 price level for short stories. I’ve done some freebie-giveaways that were fun, and there was some reader engagement (meaning email & blog comments) for a while after those…but sales?

    IOW, I’ve tried giving away freebies for years now. Never did much for me–rarely even resulted in reviews. I also tried Amazon exclusivity, and the KDP Select pages-read dingus did in fact pay me money, and seemed to help the new releases…on Amazon. What would have happened if I’d published more widely? Beats me.Doesn’t really matter what would have happened, though. A new release is a new world.

    If the goal is to maximize readers, maybe free works. Kind of. “Free” doesn’t rescue a book or a story that’s not selling, though. At least not for me. For me, a new release spurs actual sales. I don’t know anything else that does, though I’m probably just promotionally ignorant. (And not Bookbub-qualified. And I don’t do Twitter or FB or whatever either.)

    Anyway. About a month ago I decided to put prices back on the freebies, and raised my prices across the board. The free downloads obviously went away…but my sales went up. And mostly (gasp) at Amazon. Also the number of books refunded went up (a bunch of short-story purchases, by which I mean one refund apiece, which may imply a small number of miscreants), but I don’t see how that’s functionally any different from the freebies I had posted before. It was just interesting, because I only recall seeing a single refund in the prior four years.

    I’m dealing with very small numbers here, and a small amount of time. And I’m sort of “between releases” right now, so not much is likely to happen. But for what it’s worth, I just sold stories this month at $2.99 that hadn’t been purchased for over a year at $.99. Not a lot of copies. But I wasn’t expecting any at all. Even my $9.99 book (nonfiction) sold a couple of copies at Amazon, and a few more elsewhere. I’m happy with that, for the moment.

    Not getting rich, or at least not quickly. But maybe I’m learning something.

    • dwsmith

      David, thanks for the information. It really is amazing how readers respond when you value your own work. And the reality of this new world is that everything is slow. Did you see the article that says a lot of traditional published books barely get into the low three figures in total sales. And those that are books that the author sold all rights to and it took years to produce. And they just sold a hundred or two hundred copies total.

      So the key is look at the trickling of sales and see how they add up, and then just keep adding in more stuff, having fun with the writing, and letting it go out to the entire world. It does add up and as long as you are having fun with the writing, the readers will respond. Slowly, but they do respond. Thanks!

    • J.M. Ney-Grimm

      @ David Haywood Young
      Thanks for sharing your experience with raising your prices across the board. You inspired me to do exactly that on Kobo. I realized that I used to sell on Kobo (when my prices were higher) and that since I lowered them, sales have decreased. I’m very curious to see how that will affect my sales over the next 12 months.

      @ Dean
      What do you think of Amazon’s price rec button on the pricing page on KDP? I checked what it recommended for my books and was surprised to see that it suggested $2.99 for all of my titles. Didn’t matter if the title was a short story, a novella, or a doorstopper novel. It thought $2.99 was the right price for all of them.

      I didn’t follow that rec. (In fact, I’m thinking about raising the prices on the 2 doorstoppers from $4.99 to $8.99.)

      But I have seen a lot of indies castigating trad pub houses for not following Amazon’s recommended range of $2.99 – $9.99 for most ebooks. Am I being foolish for disregarding the Amazon rec of $2.99?

      • dwsmith

        I wouldn’t go above the $4.99 to $6.99 ranges these days. Above that creates reader resistance.

        The price rec button is based on a ton of factors, including how many you are selling and so on. Not so much length. We tend to ignore it but it was fun to play with at times early on.

        The real key is the $2.99 to $6.99 ranges these days. Shows quality without the stupidity of making readers angry by charging too much for something they want. And, of course, we are only talking electronic. Paper pricing has other factors.