Nonfiction Books

You can get information about all my nonfiction books and how to order them, plus books in bundles and other deals at:

Here is a sample of some of my nonfiction books:
— Writing a Novel in Seven Days
— Heinlein’s Rules
— How to Write Fiction Sales Copy
— Stages of a Fiction Writer
— Writing into the Dark
— Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing
— Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing
— How to Write a Novel in Ten Days
— Think Like a Publisher
— The First Tee Panic


  • Philip S.

    I’m a fiend for fiction craft books. I’ve been reading any one I can get my hands on since I was 11 and that was over 25 years ago. WRITING INTO THE DARK is the DEFINITIVE book on writing for pantsers. Plotting and revising to death have always been a drag for me and blockade to getting anything done. Reading this book changed my writing life. It’s a must-read.

  • Keivan Z

    I am very interested in the book “Writing into the Dark”. Seems like a good idea for an obsessive man like me. BUT, I am living in Iran (well I’m Iranian, so…) and cause of those sanction and stuff I can’t order it or download it from those stores you’ve mentioned. Well not without paying a good amount of more money. So, what can I do? Is there any way for me to read it?

    • dwsmith

      Keivan, I honestly don’t know what to tell you. Let me see what I can do. Write me directly.

      Some of the nonfiction books I wrote here as posts, but can’t seem to spot Writing into the Dark back in the older posts. So e-mail me if you can.

  • Clayton Donoghue

    Interesting stuff. Glad I came across your site. Only because I have an extremely limited budget I have accidently found myself following many of your principles. My 3 books are all modestly selling n a consistent bases. The subjects are historical so I know there is select audience. Seeing there is a regular pattern now, I know my achievements will only grow as I continue to write. Word is getting out and I am having more people and publishers come to me rather than me go to them. It seems my story is a simple case of strait business progression. You keep at it it will naturally grow on its own.

    Hope this helps.

  • Raymond Arotin

    Is Magic Bakery ever going to be released as a stand alone paperback book to buy? I loved reading it online, but would like a paperback. I have your other books – Sacred Cows, Think Like Publisher, Writing Into Dark, Heinlein’s Rules. Good stuff.

  • Patrick Dorn

    Thank you for your ongoing commitment to encouraging writers. I have read Writing Into the Dark twice now and am going through it a third time. M.L. Ronn (Author Level Up) recommended your video series. Can you tell me how the content of the Teachable video series differs from the information in your book? Are there suggested exercises, etc.? Would I benefit significantly from having access to both sources? Again, thank you for sharing your expertise. P.S. Any chance of an audio version of WITD coming out in the near future?

    • dwsmith

      The Writing into the Dark has two incarnations on Teachable. It is first a lecture that is similar to the book. The second is a six week workshop that has five assignments in it and is far, far, more extensive than the book. We offer the workshop every two months. One just started now for November, the next will be in January. It is far, far more extensive and covers all the problems writers face while trying to write into the dark.

      Any questions, feel free to write me directly at

  • Helge Mahrt

    I just read Writing into the Dark and it resonated greatly with me. My first book – and the only I managed to finish so far – was written into the dark, and it was the most fun I had writing ever.
    I was wondering what’s your recommendation on writing into the dark when there’s a lot of world building (i.e. in fantasy/sci-fi). My guess is that you do your world building without regards to the characters and then write into the dark with characters based in/on the world you created. Is that about right? 🙂

  • Gregory Zobel


    Just purchased and read Writing into the Dark and Heinlein’s Rules last night. Great stuff; helpful, easy to read, and easy to follow. Got up this morning, wrote a 1,000 word flash fiction piece, and sent it off. Followed your & Heinlein’s steps. It was so much fun. So much! Have another piece started as well.

    Wanted to thank for you for these two pieces.

    Been searching for a good piece by you or Rusch on writing mysteries. I’ll keep looking, but suggestions are appreciated.


    • dwsmith

      Not sure if we ever put them up on ACX or not. I’ll have to check with Allyson. I have no plans of doing it, but it might have gotten done. (grin)


  • Peggy

    Hi, Dean,

    I was just re-reading some of your older challenges posts, and I came across the 30 stories in 30 days while moving entries from back iin 2018.

    Have you ever completed that book, a la the Stories from July book? I couldn’t find it on Amazon, thus the question.

    If not, any plans to?


    • dwsmith

      Nope, no book from that one. Just a challenge for me, in which I learned I could write four short stories in a day. Fun challenge and all the stories have been published in Smith’s Monthly along the way. Thanks for asking.

  • Saja

    I’m reading writing into the dark for the second time, firt time it really set me free of bullsh*t I couldn’t get over myself – so thanks alot!
    Wordwise i wrote a novel since then, after 7 years of not getting 2k straight.. but I have one specific problem and I wondered if you could help me out? Im not sure if I’m fixing my problems, or trying to rewrite.

    I got to 30k and didn’t really find the story its self, I had a lot of fun building the world but I felt like the main theme I wanted to have (dragons) was like not there enough. So i went back to start fixing that. But now I’m writing new chapters, copy veeeery little of 7 old chapters and the more I write, the more I feel like I couldn’t even use what I wrote before? And I’m struggling to get words written cuz it feels like i have to throw away almost everything.

    Have a nice day!
    – sorry if my english is weird not a native

    • dwsmith

      You let yourself get bogged down in critical voice. When a story doesn’t go as you thought (critical voice), just keep writing and trust the creative voice. Cycling is not going back and rewriting. Cycling is going over in creative voice what you have written last. Not going back and changing plot. So you got trapped in critical voice, which job is to stop you writing and seems like it is winning.

      Either go back to your first run-through, before you started second guessing yourself and finish that. Or put the entire thing away and start something new, staying in the creative voice and cycling only short. What the front part of your brain thinks something should be is not really what your creative voice will produce.

      Point of interest, early stage writers who think all that matters is the words, would never put this aside and start. Professional writers do this all the time when things go sideways or critical voice forces its way in. We don’t care about the words only the story.


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