Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Not Many Writers Want To Make Money

On Their Writing…

I just put up four more videos on the Learn Along with Dean in the preparation section. And you get an entire Classic Workshop to learn from as well. (Magic Bakery code is there.) And it isn’t even as expensive as a regular workshop, even though there will be a workshop’s amount of information if not more. Practical information.

But very few have signed up.

And to be honest, I was surprised at how few have signed up. For me, making money with my writing is such a no-brainer, I want to soak up and learn as many ways as possible how to do it.

And I figured that many would want to learn with me, and let me make sense of this crazy expanse of information for them.

But I think that is the problem. To so many writers, this is just a frightening place to go explore. And besides (most writers think) “My work isn’t worth anything.”

Right? You know, fear and critical voice.

I’m betting that’s why so few have signed up.

I mean, even if you are busy,  there is no homework on this, just videos you can do at your own pace and a vast amount of information you might be able to use to make money down the road.

So guess I should not have been surprised that so few have signed up. But even just the few of you who have signed up, I’m still going to have a blast doing this. Hang on for the ride.

And as I said, four new videos up just tonight. And it is just getting started.

Let me give you all the information again, just in case you want to come along with the learning.

(Original published last week)

Learn Along with Dean in the 2019 Licensing Expo…

This is a one-of-a-kind thing. Not a workshop, not a lecture, not a study along.

Here is the introduction video and then below the explanation of this crazy idea.

For almost two months before the 2019 Licensing Expo, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and I have been preparing to attend. Kris walked part of the floor last year with a friend and realized at once that we (and WMG Publishing) needed to attend in full learning mode this year.

So we have been getting ready. (You can’t believe how much we have done in the last month or so.) In fact, just today, as I type this, I delivered a number of things to a printer to be ready for the Expo.

(All preparations explained and detailed out in this Learn Along.)

What is licensing? That is what you do with your intellectual property to make money from it. For example, when you put a book on Kindle, you are licensing a certain right to them. All movies, television, publishers, games, toys, distributors, and everything else deals in licenses. And all those companies who license will be at the 2019 Licensing Expo, the largest Licensing Expo in the world.

We attended the CES in January here in Las Vegas and a month later I could barely remember anything from it, even though we both learned a lot and saw a lot. But Kris remembered much of it. Why? Because Kris took great notes and then blogged about it for a while. I took no notes. Collected flyers and other information, sure, but I was not prepared for the scope of the event in the slightest. Or how to retain the vast amounts of information flowing around me.

So today, at lunch with Kris, I decided that I was not going to make that mistake with the Licensing Expo, which is a thousand times more important to writers and small publishers than CES. And might make us millions.

Kris and I are walking into a firehose of information at the Licensing Expo. And we have spent a few months preparing. But as we were talking today, I realized that the best way, the very, very best way for me to really remember all the things from this Expo would be to not only write it down, but try to have what I am seeing and learning make sense to others, both before, during, and after.

And thus, over a great steak sandwich, this unique Learn Along idea was born. (Kris and I are dangerous over lunch.)

THREE SECTIONS in this course. All included in the one price.

The Preparation section.

The Actual Event section.

After the Event section.

Each section will have numbers of videos of me talking about things I learned, concepts about licensing, and so many other things I can’t list them all. Each section will also have files with things like flyers, both ones Kris and I did and flyers and information from the Expo that I will scan in and share.

This will have a lot of videos and a ton of other information.


Sorry, this is not a workshop, a Pop-Up, a lecture, or a Study Along. This is a one-of-a-kind event. So no credits from those others apply I’m afraid. And this will not be in any lifetime subscription either.

And if you sign up, you can look at it all later in the year if you are busy. Once you sign up, the information and learning and lessons will remain. So if you are busy here in the Time of Great Forgetting, just sign up and come back to it later. I will close off sign-ups at some point.

Price is $200… For everything…

Sign up on Teachable.

–I have already started posting videos. All the preparation section will be finished by the start of the conference on the 4th of June. (It is stunning how much we have already done, so a lot will be posted that first week.)

— I will post videos and some updates during the conference, and a number for days afterwards to actually fill in the Actual Event section. During the three days I will be crazy busy, and I will be exhausted, that is why the Actual Event part will stretch through that entire week. (Got a hunch it will take me a week or more to recover.)

— Then over the next number of weeks I will post more and more details about the after affects of the conference. And will also post updates on any kind of learning we continue to have for the next number of months.

THERE ARE NO ASSIGNMENTS but I will answer questions, of course, from those in the Learn Along. And if the question is one I think more should hear the answer to, I will do a video and post it.

Attend the 2019 Licensing Expo without all the expense.

If you want a sense of the Licensing Expo, go to

Join me for a ton of learning.  Sign up on Teachable.

And who knows, maybe make yourself a ton of money down the road as well by learning how to license your own IP.


  • Marsha

    Dean, if the videos will remain on Teachable does that mean we can sign up later (as in when I can free up some $$) to watch them, or is it a now or never deal?

  • Alexandra

    I’m very interested in the topic, but I feel that I’m just not at a stage where it’d make sense for me to learn about licensing – I’m only just finishing my first novel (the first non-fanfiction one that I’m actually finishing), so right now my main focus is putting out the words and after that, actually starting to publish.

    On the other hand, I really like this kind of deep-dives… I really don’t know…

    How long do we have time to sign up?

    • dwsmith

      Alexandra, you can sign up and get on board until at least after the expo is done. But I am starting to understand this now. There is a belief that knowledge must be learned in a certain order and that a time will come when you will be ready for knowledge to come flowing in. I suppose in some fields, it works that way. And that method is certainly taught in colleges, where knowledge is built over years, one supposed block at a time.

      But in business and fiction writing it doesn’t work that way a great deal of the time. I can give you examples of hundreds and hundreds of writers who had early novels or stories get licensed and take off.

      George RR Martin for example. He had two early novels die an ugly death, a collaboration novel do no better. Game of Thrones first book was his fourth novel.

      Writing is more about getting out of your own way than building knowledge like a bunch of bricks. Sure, basics are critical, but on the business side, it doesn’t build so much as run you over.

  • Cora

    I’m working to massage my budget to make room. Can you give a time frame of when you are going to close this off to sign ups?

    • dwsmith

      Honestly hadn’t given it that much thought. After the expo at some point. I’ll warn everyone (meaning the few that might be interested) when I am going to close it.

  • J. D. Brink

    It sounds great and I’d love to learn along!
    I’m betting on a few factors as to why people haven’t signed up, all of which also apply to me: finances are low these days and I’ve already spent my budget on the “hobby” that’s never returned a profit; it is the time of great forgetting; and after years already spent, I still don’t feel like I’m successful enough at the basic level to bother venturing into the further reaches of literary ambition here. Once ebooks actually start to sell I can start worrying about more licensing ventures.
    That’s me at least. Barely treading water in the “real world,” and forever taking on water in the writing world. So I don’t have even a spare oar for the next level of paddling.
    Sounds cool though.

  • Harvey Stanbrough

    Dean, I honestly don’t understand. This is such a staggeringly excellent offer. Had this been available when I had published only a handful of short stories I’d have signed up.

    I think you must have nailed it when you wrote above that too many folks feel they have to do things in a particular sequence. It’s an awareness issue. It’s difficult to imagine possibilities when you don’t know they exist. Yet here you’re offering a first-hand glimpse at what exists.

    This is knowledge I wish I’d had years ago. Had I not been flush at the moment, there is no doubt I would have hocked something or added two-hundred bucks (an investment) to a credit card so I could learn-along with you.

    I’m telling every writer I know about this. I won’t say “good luck” to you because you’re going to get what you need from the expo whether or not anyone else shows up. But I really do hope for their sake others come to recognize the value of this and jump in before it’s too late. sign on.

    • dwsmith

      Yup, so many of what Kris and I teach are nothing but awareness. Writers limit themselves more than any other art I know. Nothing is even a close second.

      So I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. Time of great forgetting mixed with “I don’t need that now.” But I’m like you. I wish I had known what I know now about licensing way back when I was starting and what I am going to keep on learning this coming week. I would have made it to freelancing a lot, lot sooner, that’s for sure. But like everyone else, I wasn’t aware of this stuff back then.

  • Denise Gaskins

    I can imagine how licensing opportunities might be exciting for fiction authors. But do you expect there to be many options in all this for nonfiction? It doesn’t seem like games, toys, apps, etc. would apply to nonfiction.

    • dwsmith

      Oh, sure, lots of ways, actually. Since I also write a lot of nonfiction, I’m going to be open and looking for it. And so is Kris. We won’t know until we see some things, that’s for sure. Learning, great fun. (grin)

    • Karen Fonville

      Hi, Denise,

      I’m sure there are a lot of non-fiction merchandizing that is out there. In the Christian Market, there’s a lot of T-shirts that reflect sayings from either the Bible or the non-fiction books that are available. It all depends on catching the licensing companies at the right time with the right product. IT also seems to me that I remember some stuff related to the ‘Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus’ series of books, like a game from Mattel, (and maybe some coffee mugs?).

      • Denise Gaskins

        I guess it’s a failure of imagination on my part. I can envision myself putting out T-shirts, mugs, card decks, etc. (except for the nuisance of having to deal with 50 states and a gazillion local jurisdictions’ different sales tax laws). But I can’t imagine anyone else being interested in paying to use my little niche stuff.

        So the point of a workshop like this is to expand my imagination, right? Learning to see what I couldn’t see before…

        • dwsmith

          Exactly, in part, Denise. And maybe help you understand the value of your own work some as well. (grin)

    • Thomas E

      You only have to look at the “for dummies” series…

      Licensing educational course material, computer games, TV shows and documentary movies, items of clothing, mouse mats, even tarot cards at one point.

  • Betsy

    Honestly, I jumped at the chance to sign up. I’m in NO WAY ready to put much of this knowledge into practice at this point – heck, right now I’m just trying to figure out how to write more books more efficiently. But my failure of a high school German class taught me a long time ago that I need to try to learn things ahead of the time when I’m actually going to need them – it’s the only way I’ll understand what’s going on. If anyone’s on the fence, and they’re interested in learning about licensing, maybe sign up and listen to what’s going on out there. That’s what I’m going to do. Then I’ll keep revisiting as I move along. Prior planning prevents poor performance! 🙂

    • dwsmith

      Betsy, you don’t know if you are or not ready until something pops up. But you are dead right about being ready. As I learned about licensing over the years, I realized I had missed some massive opportunities back when I was starting off, opportunities that would have changed my entire writing career. They went by me and I didn’t even notice, like invisible cars.

      So great attitude. Exactly right.

      And if you jump on board, the lessons of this one will always be there on Teachable to go back to and refresh as the years go by, since once you sign up, it will be there for you.

  • Catherine Mesick

    I’ve been off the grid due to the Memorial Day Weekend, and I’m just finding out about this now. Thank you so much, Dean! I’m very excited about this! (And I believe I committed to taking a licensing class in a comment on a post from a few weeks ago. And I know this is a learn along and not a class, but I think it applies :)) I can sign up on June 1. I hope that will be soon enough!

    Thank you again!

    • dwsmith

      June first is more than soon enough. The expo starts on the fourth. Hope the weekend was a good one.

  • Linda Maye Adams

    Wrong timing for me. I’m learning three different things right now, so my brain’s full. One of them is the time class, which I’m getting hit with in my story, and the two others are things that floated up and said “Now.”

  • Michèle Laframboise

    It is a wide world with many aspects.
    I’m looking at licensing for… fonts use! (I design my own book covers and must check the font software EULAs for the correct legal use). It relates indirectly to my IP.