70 Book Challenge,  Challenge,  publishing,  Writing in Public

Publishing 70 Books In One Year…

I’m Doing It!

In my 67th year, three years ago, I started a challenge to publish 67 books in my 67th year. Then things kind of went sideways with a life roll and because Kris was so sick I moved her down here to Las Vegas just after the first of the year and then had to clean out our big house and the challenge went by the wayside. (I think I still got out about thirty books, but that was all momentum from the fall.)

So now, since I just turned 70, I am tempting fate and going to do the challenge again. That’s right!!

I am going to publish 70 books in my 70th year on this planet.

Only a few people have had the courage to try the publishing one-book-a-month for 12 months challenge. I will need to average about 6 published books a month to give you some perspective.

So after a good talk with Kris and with Allyson, they both think I should go for it and so do I. (Thank you both for being so positive on such a crazy idea.)

Basically I am going to use the Isaac Asimov’s counting rule. (How he got to about 700 books in his lifetime.) No individual short stories count (too easy), but any book that is major title meaning any book I edited or that I wrote with my name as author or editor on the cover.

Here is what I will count as books: 

— Novels

— Novellas that stand alone

— Collections (of my short stories)

Pulphouse Fiction Magazine issues

Smith’s Monthly issues (a large collection, basically)

— Nonfiction full books

— Anthologies that I edit, like Cave Creek anthologies or Pulphouse collections

All of these will be in electronic and paper editions.

Frighteningly enough, as Allyson and I looked at the schedule of what is planned between now and this time next November, if I get Smith’s Monthly back up and going as planned starting the first of the year. I will be pretty close to 65 books with some added collections. And that includes 3 nonfiction books I want to write on my blog, the Cave Creek novel and three anthologies of Cave Creek stories, and about 12 novels or so I want to write. (I am sure I can add five books along the way somewhere.)

So got to push on the writing and push to get Smith’s Monthly back on track and rolling.

But more importantly, I’m going to have a blast.

So for the first time in my recorded history, I will list each book I publish here on this page as it is published and the number it is in the challenge so you all can watch if you want. (Normally I publish books stealth, but for this year I’m going to bring all that into the light.)

And I will do regular blogs about the process of each book as well, because after this year, I will put all the blogs and other stuff together in a book for learning. It will not be counted in the 70 because I wouldn’t be able to get it published in time.

Challenge goes from this week in November to this second week of November 2021.

70 major books published. Stay tuned for the ride. I can promise it will be fun.


  • Alix

    This sounds fantastic Dean, what an amazing challenge. Hope you enjoy every minute and I’m already excited to come here and find out how it’s going and what you’re publishing. I’m starting the 52-week story challenge on Sunday, so it’ll be extra fun knowing you’ve started this 70 book challenge around the same time. And extra motivation when I get whiny and tell myself I can’t do it, haha. Good luck and good wishes!

  • Mihnea Manduteanu

    You are an inspiration. Can’t wait to be along for this ride. Now, honest and fair, for someone like me, who isn’t a beginner in writing but a beginning in this type of writing and publishing, what would be a good goal to set from now until the next of November? A fair goal. For self publishing books I mean.

    • dwsmith

      Totally depends on a number of factors. How much do you already have out and how fast do your write and finish something.

      For example, a person who did the short story challenge and made it has 52 short stories. That’s ten 5 story collections, so possible to do almost one a month.

      But the publishing depends completely on where you are in the writing and publishing area. Starting off, five or so things in a year would be fantastic. Someone like me, it’s a ton easier, and I have a ton of help, which is a factor that allows this to happen as well.

      • Mihnea Manduteanu

        Thank you.

        I have nothing out yet. So for me, I would have to factor in, besides the writing itself, getting to know the self publishing business. Which of your classes in this area would help the most? By the time you end your own challenge, next November, I want to have at least 3 things out. Is it doable, if I start now from scratch?

        • dwsmith

          Yup, great goal. But the key is to focus on the writing first and have fun with the writing. Don’t think about publishing anything until you have finished something. You don’t want to get the publishing side mixed in with the writing side. That way lies madness.

          • Mihnea Manduteanu

            Oh Ok, I didn’t even check, thought there were limited places or something. This is the kind of challenge that is worth an effort. Just to be sure, it could mean up to 6 novels of mine that you would read and send feedback about in a year? It’s not just one novel in 2 months.

          • dwsmith

            Nope, six novels, yes. One novel every two months. But I will not read them or give feedback. You have to send me a paper version at some point after you turn in the electronic (which I do not read, I have one eye and limited screen time). But if your cover and your topic catches me when I am holding the paper, I will read it for pleasure, but not give feedback. But to get the lifetime subscription on the challenge at the end, I have to have six paperbacks in my hand at some point. (The two month clock is the electronic version. Papers can come at any time.)

  • Kat

    I’m delighted to see you giving this one a go, Dean! I was hoping you would. It’ll be great fun to watch. Thanks for doing this in public so we can.

  • Kate Pavelle

    I decided to plan from birthday to birthday like Blaze does, and my challenge for my 55th year is to publish 33 books. I won’t count individual short stories either (although I’ll try to publish 2-4 a month just to get them out,) but I have enough backlog and material to put into collections and omnibuses that I don’t have to. (This surprised me.)
    The number 33 has no significance. I was making lines on my white board in permanent marker, and that’s how many fit. It’s bigger than my current Publishing Challenge of 12, although this year I’ll have 19 (the cookbook, plus some stealth releases.)
    I spent a good bit of yesterday deciding on the dates and such, and I ran into a conundrum which I hope you will tackle in one of your blog posts:
    – to be productive, we need a production schedule.
    – to write with abandon, we need to unshackle our creative voice and write whatever we feel like writing at the time.
    – So… what about that schedule? How do you decide?
    For me, I planned only through January so far, although I have more I can put in to fill the one or two compiled works a month. I plan to leave one blank field a month for something new, and I have a separate montly schedule to make sure I get my words in and such. This level of effort is a must if I want to give my non-romance pen name some more love. It’s also a good way to move away from genre romance into stuff I really want to write. I got kind of stuck writing genre romance because it used to make money, but I think my lack of excitement for it tanked my sales. I think my readers can tell.
    I’ve also decided to run 4 small Kickstarters to launch some of the collections or omnibuses.
    But scheduling a whole year out is intimidating. I don’t know what I’ll want to write. So, thoughts?

    • dwsmith

      Well, that is an entire six week class in publishing scheduling that few writers need or will ever need. There is a ton that goes into setting up a yearly publishing schedule, and Kris and I make it worse because on our writing we never allow anything to be scheduled until we finish it, that way the publishing doesn’t get into the middle of the writing process. But all the other stuff I do can be scheduled and has deadlines, and that’s because of all the steps needed to get a book out. So no right answer on those questions. Just depends on your number of products and productivity.

      But a simple answer in one area would be to look at how many stories you have, how many collections you want, then spread that out over the entire year (realizing that publishing must be done by a date and working backwards to when you need to start). So if you are doing six collections, you need to start one every two months. That is a simple answer. Then hit the deadline to start each one.

  • Bonnie

    So I just did some cyberstalking to look up exactly when you turned 70, wondering if I should still wish you a happy 70th. I realized that you were born on my father’s 18th birthday.

  • Kris Rusch

    I am so looking forward to this. And I will wear my mask, stay socially distant, and stay in the condo with you, so that I don’t get the dreaded covid. I’m planning to stay healthy, so you can complete your challenge.

  • Val Emerson

    This is an amazing goal and I look forward to watching you get it done!

    I’m handling my own goals one item at a time, keeping the focus narrow so I don’t get overwhelmed. I’m writing a short story a week and spending the rest of my writing time on a novel. My goal is to finish with a clean draft and get it out there when it’s done. Then I’ll start the next one.

    In the meantime, I have enough stories to put out a couple of collections, so that’s on the list too.

  • Karen Fonville

    Happy Birthday, Dean!
    Wow, another challenge! Who could ever have guessed? Thanks for asking us along for the ride. It’s going to be fun! Go, You!


  • Jim Turnbo III

    Holy effing #$!%!! I missed a couple of days on your blog and this is what I come back to. Of your classes, which one would you consider the first one to take? I’ll be 51 in Janaury and have entertained a goal of writing 20 books on top of my short stories in 2021.

    Thinking Depth In Writing. How you come up with the ideas for this many stories (and not have them be the same, but different) is beyond my scope of thinking.

    • dwsmith

      Depth in Writing is the first class to take, and make sure you do the assignments so I can help you get on track. We offer it every month.

      And don’t worry about ideas, just sit down and write and they will be different if you trust the creative voice. Critical voice in all of us is not possible to come up with ideas, but the creative voice can come up with them far, far faster than anyone could write them. Just got to trust it, which almost no one in the early days can do.