Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Lost Five Challenge Writers

Five Short-Story-Per-Week Writers…

They didn’t make it through the holiday season. And actually, that is fewer than I would have expected to lose.

Middle of the winter, flu and cold season, holiday, travel, and who knows what else. A ton of reasons to not complete a story in a week, or even think about writing for a few weeks.

And this year, with the holidays smack in the middle of the week so none of us had a clue if it was Monday, Tuesday, Friday, or what? Sunday deadline just seemed alien to many, me included.

And what was amazing is that all five writers that dropped out over the holiday season had made it over 26 weeks, which means that not only did they have 26 or more stories than when they started, but they got the extra workshop credit of $900 instead of the $600 credit.

I understand, they didn’t make the lifetime carrot at the end, but still more than 26 short stories done is a major win. And $900 in workshop credit ain’t bad either.

That’s why we set up these three challenges the way we did. We wanted them to be win/win all the way.


That new challenge has been stirring up some interesting learning for many of us, again me included. Since I put myself on it and will be talking about my publishing adventures in videos on the challenge every week or so, I got suddenly focused on the timing of the publications I am doing.

That is something that others who have decided to try the challenge have said as well. The timing of the first one is critical. You have one month from when you start (you can set your start date…) to publish the first book electronically. (You also need to get it into paper as soon as you can, but no time limit on that.)

And the problem is that with most of us, there are other people involved, such as a copyeditor to find typos. So I got my first large collection in to my copyeditor before the first of year. It is back, and the book will be published around the 20th or so. Luckily I picked something that needed very little on that front.

I have two other large collections into the copyeditor now.

I said I would do 36 books in twelve months, but I have to follow the minimum of one per month as well as everyone in the challenge. So when two others in the challenge said they were learning by looking at publishing timing, I realized that was a side benefit of the challenge.

Learning how schedule and be a publisher. That is something so many writers never get a handle on. So fun.

So you want to jump into any or all three of the challenges (no one has tried that yet), check them out on Teachable.


  • Jim Turnbo III


    I’m excited about writig again. These challenges are perfect! Working on which one (or two) would push me the hardest. Went through my “inventory” New Years Eve night – my new resolution process – and came up with 9 unfinished novels and 52 stories somewhere between finished and nothing but a title. (I totally stole your idea for a title generator by using a short story public domain website and started my own list of half-titles.)

    Don’t know much about D2D. Do they publish abroad? And, do they take a percetage of my roylaties (on top of Amazon’s cut) when using their services? Looking to get the biggest bang for my buck.

    Never liked having all my eggs in…

    I hope you stay around as a indie/production leader in the story world for a while longer. I’m beginning to model what you’re doing from a productivity standpoint. To the point where I deleted social media off my phone. Now when I feel the addiction tickling the back of my brainpan, I pick up my phone only to dictate a few hundred words or open Word to move another project forward.

    Thanks again!

    • dwsmith

      D2D (Draft to Digital) is a major distributor. What I would suggest is publish straight to Amazon, straight to Kobo, and to D2D to get the rest of the planet like B&N and iBooks and some aggregators in other parts of the world. There are more places you can go to, of course, later on, but those three will get you the lions share of the English speaking planet.

      I do 5 minutes only on Facebook. Sometimes twice a day, but I am gone in 5 minutes. Total time sink otherwise.

  • allynh

    In your posts about “PUBLISHING A BOOK A MONTH CHALLENGE” it started to shake loose some ideas that I would like to try.

    I have an odd question:

    When you publish an original novel in Smith’s Monthly, then publish it again as a separate book, do you always mention in the copyright notice that it was originally published in Smith’s Monthly.

    For example:

    – I’m looking at the copyright page for both the magazine and the book that was separately published.

    In Smith’s Monthly Issue #1 you published Dust and Kisses, with a full copyright notice for the novel.

    In the copyright page of the novel it says:

    – Published in a different form in Smith’s Monthly #1, October 2013

    Looking at the two copyright pages, I think I’m beginning to see the answer, I just wanted to check with you to make sure.


    • dwsmith

      Sure, just for readers, nothing else. There is no requirement to even list copyright since 1987, but we all do it to help readers keep things straight. No right answer, just do what you want and feel comfortable with.

      • allynh

        Sounds good.

        I’m looking at the copyright page for The Life and Times of Buffalo Jimmy Headed West, and it says:

        – First published in Smith’s Monthly(WMG Publishing) as a serialized novel, beginning in October 2013

        This is like the classic stories where they would first be serialized then assembled into a novel. The Foundation Trilogy comes to mind.

        This opens up a number possible stories for me. Why not write many small pieces, then assemble a “Fix-up” novel, pointing back to the original stories from the magazine.

        You have convinced me to do a magazine, then reprint to books. A “quarterly” would be nice.


        BTW, In looking at your “disclaimer” I remember some fun versions:

        “Similarities are neither intentional, nor accidental, but rather unavoidable”

        – from a german novel

        All persons, living and dead, are purely coincidental, and should not be construed.

        – Kurt Vonnegut – Breakfast of Champions

        Any resemblance between the characters in this picture and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle.

        – The Three Stooges – You Nazty Spy