Challenge,  On Writing,  Smiths Monthly

Smith’s Monthly

Ten Years Ago…

Yes, one fine day in 2013 right about this time of the year, Kris and I were headed into Salem, OR from the coast to have dinner and see a movie. I had been noodling on ideas to get myself back really writing after spending most of the year before dealing with my friend’s estate, and then not really writing that much in the last half of 2012 and the early part of 2013.

I needed something to get me focused. Earlier that day, while in my office, I had been sorting out my digest fiction magazine collection and came across some Mike Shayne issues. It was at that point that I noticed that magazines were often named after writers, even though the writers seldom wrote for the magazine. It was a marketing and licensing deal and nothing more.

Three such magazines still exist today. Asimov’s, Hitchcock’s, and Ellery Queen.

But I knew back in the 1950s, writers like Silverburg and Harlan Ellison often filled every word of an issue of some magazine or another.

So I wondered aloud on the drive to Salem with Kris if that would be possible for me to do. She thought I could do it. And then she said simply, “Call it Smith’s Monthly.”

And the magazine was born.

August 1st I announced it and the first issue came out in October, 2013 with over 70,000 words of my fiction in it. A novel, a serial, four or five original short stories, and it went from there.

Every issue had at least four original short stories in it. There have been sixty-seven (67) issues now, with two breaks along the way. First break was Kris getting sick and our move to Las Vegas and then the pandemic. Second break was last November when I lost my eyesight. I had to pause the issue because I couldn’t write and also since I did all the layout and covers, I couldn’t see to do that.

So I hope to restart Smith’s Monthly this fall, keeping the eyesight break under a year.

Doing your own 60,000 to 70,000 word monthly magazine with only your writing in it is difficult, to say the least. But it has also been great fun.

It has been ten years since I came up with the idea and Kris named it and got me to do it. 9 and a half years since the first issue. And I didn’t miss an issue for 44 months in a row until Kris got sick. And then after the restart, I did 23 issues in a row without a miss until I went blind.  I will see if I can break both of those streaks with this next restart.

This summer we will be fixing and updating the Smith’s Monthly web site and I will do some fun stuff there. And during this summer I will, of course, be writing more books to fill the issues. (I have about 50 unpublished, original short stories, so I have a good jump there.)

You want to see all the issues covers and contents and maybe grab one or two, go to…

Of course if you wanted to read a bunch of my novels, short stories, and nonfiction, you could get all the issues. No one will do this, but I added it up. We sell each issue for $6.99 electronic which is $469.00 to get them all, but just for fun, if you want all 67 issues of Smith’s Monthly in electronic, you can get them all for $350.  Just write me and say you are interested and we’ll make it happen.

But a warning. there is about four and a third million words there. Yikes.


  • Michael W Lucas

    I love everything about this. Not the blind part, that is. Or the Kris getting sick part. But getting back at it.

    BTW, I also offer bundles on my web store. The two best sellers are “all the fiction” and “all the nonfiction,” but every so often some madman buys the “Absolutely Everything” bundle. I think you’ll get takers on the Smith’s Monthly bundle.

    • dwsmith

      Thanks, Michael. And why would anyone buy the library when they can just check out one book at a time? (grin)

  • Philip

    I’ve read a few issues and highly recommend it. One of the reasons I love it is it reminds me kf how I started writing in the first place. When I was 11, me and my buddy “started a magazine” of short stories where we’d produce an issue every week. Now, thanks to the indie revolution, writers can actually do it for real and reach readers.

  • Chris

    I keep coming back to Smith’s Monthly and have a number of documents that I have started as I try to plan how I would even begin to approach such an off-the-charts-crazy project. Your pop-up about publishing your own magazine is brilliant, and I’m about due for another viewing.

    But I’m simply not there yet, not ready to take the plunge. 🙂

    Congratulations on your Smith’s Monthly anniversary.

    With the greatest respect, it is off-the-charts-crazy and equally inspirational!

    • dwsmith

      Thanks, Chis. My problem is that the indie world opened my mind and I knew personally and were friends with writers who filled entire issues at times under pen names. So I knew it could be done and indie publishing allowed me to do it my way. Great fun.

  • Desikan

    Hi Dean,

    Wishing you the very best in restarting the monthly and breaking your previous streaks.

    I love the way you practically keep reminding us all on concepts from your teaching and how you apply it in your daily work. Keep the streak going.