Dean Wesley Smith is a USA Today bestselling writer and has been in the publishing industry for 30 years, during which time he has published over a hundred novels. The number of short stories he has published goes into the hundreds and hundreds in numerous genres.
Dean is definitely someone who you could say has been there, done that and has got the t-shirt. And he continues do so. In fact, he is an inspiration to writers, both new and experienced. Read on to learn 5 writing lessons from Dean Wesley Smith.
1. Have the mind-set and attitudes of a publisher
In this modern era of publishing, writers are empowered to publish their own work. However, success won’t come from writing and publishing one book. You increase your chances of success in this industry when you do what Dean says, and think like a publisher. This includes setting up a proper business, creating a business plan, considering just how many products you can develop (your books and eBooks over a five year period), understanding how much it’s going to cost you to get your publishing business to start up and run (e.g. costs for editing, proofreading, cover designs, internet connection, website hosting, marketing and so on), setting up a business bank account, and projecting just how much income you will make in the future, so that you develop a venture that is sustainable.
2. Don’t undervalue your work
As a new, independent publisher have you bought into a false belief within the self-publishing community that you need to price your eBooks at 99 cents? If so, you might just be undervaluing your work. Dean Wesley Smith would be the first to tell you to believe in your work and your worth.
Don’t be afraid to raise the price of your books and eBooks. If you’re planning on running a serious publishing business then you’ll have to raise your prices at some point anyhow. As Dean Wesley Smith says, “If your motives are profit, you must sell ten books at 99 cents to make the same amount that you would make when you sell one book at $4.99. And since almost no traditional publishers do 99 cent novel pricing except rarely as a short-term promotion, a 99 cent price for a novel will label you as a discount or hobby publisher.”
3. You don’t need to rewrite
Dean Wesley Smith advises new writers to not fall for what the ‘experts’ may have to say about having to rewrite everything you write. As Dean says, although there isn’t anything inherently wrong in rewriting, it can be dangerous for a beginner writer to believe it is vital to do so, as creativity can be stifled and a writer’s unique voice can prevented from manifesting.
4. It’s okay to write fast
Another area where Dean Wesley Smith has a strong opinion on, is the speed of writing, and how the idea that writing slow means better quality and the idea that writing fast means the resulting story is going to be poor, are both untrue.
Its fine to write fast and doing so will increase your productivity, drastically. The more words you knock out per hour and per day, the more stories, and novels you will finish and in true business fashion, the more products you’ll have to sell on the market. “And if you decide you can spend more hours every day writing and working on your art, be prepared to face those who want you to write the way they do. Be prepared to face those who want to control your work”, says Dean Wesley Smith.
5. Write what you want to write
Dean Wesley Smith tells writers to beware of falling into the trap of believing they have write about popular genres and topics to attract the interest of readers and editors. Why is this belief untrue? Well, as Dean says, “Interestingly enough, over the history of publishing, the really monster books, the ones that people talk about and remember for decades, were not easy-sell books.” Advice that Dean gives includes keeping the idea of your book to yourself, and to not allow people to read your book while you’re still writing it. Doing so will ensure your voice is heard through your writing, and your views are not influenced by others, which can end up diluting your work.