Considered one of the most prolific writers working in modern fiction, with more than 30 million books sold, writer Dean Wesley Smith published far more than a hundred novels in forty years, and hundreds of short stories across many genres.

At the moment he produces novels in several major series, including the time travel Thunder Mountain novels set in the Old West, the galaxy-spanning Seeders Universe series, the urban fantasy Ghost of a Chance series, a superhero series starring Poker Boy, a mystery series featuring the retired detectives of the Cold Poker Gang, and the Mary Jo Assassin series.

His monthly magazine, Smith's Monthly, which consists of only his own fiction, premiered in October 2013 and offers readers more than 70,000 words per issue, including a new and original novel every month.

During his career, Dean also wrote a couple dozen Star Trek novels, the only two original Men in Black novels, Spider-Man and X-Men novels, plus novels set in gaming and television worlds. Writing with his wife Kristine Kathryn Rusch under the name Kathryn Wesley, he wrote the novel for the NBC miniseries The Tenth Kingdom and other books for Hallmark Hall of Fame movies.

He wrote novels under dozens of pen names in the worlds of comic books and movies, including novelizations of almost a dozen films, from The Final Fantasy to Steel to Rundown.

Dean also worked as a fiction editor off and on, starting at Pulphouse Publishing, then at VB Tech Journal, then Pocket Books, and now at WMG Publishing, where he and Kristine Kathryn Rusch serve as series editors for the acclaimed Fiction River anthology series.

For more information about Dean's books and ongoing projects, please visit his website at

Killing the Top 10 Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing by Dean Wesley Smith

As indie publishing flourishes, many, many myths form around this new booming area of publishing. USA Today bestselling author and major indie blogger Dean Wesley Smith takes a cut at killing some of the myths before they can take root.

From the myth that indie writers can't get books into bookstores (they can) to the idea that indie publishing must be easy (it is and it isn't), Dean knocks ten myths down one after another and might just save you years of wasted time.

Author of the acclaimed Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing, this companion WMG Writer's Guide for indie writers and publishers will become a necessity for your reference shelf.


Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith are like my version of Lewis and Clark in exploring the rugged uncharted wilderness of the publishing world. We began our writing careers at about the same time and have spent decades trying to figure it out, sharing information with each other. I would not have a writing tools bundle without a title from each of them. – Kevin J. Anderson



  • "Dean Wesley Smith's blog … is somewhere to see what's going on in the industry and how you can use it to your advantage, a place to hear that it's okay to write and submit quickly, and a blog where hard numbers are discussed. Even if you don't agree with everything that he says, it's worth reading his blog just to think about where and how much control you have over your own career."

    – Vision Magazine




Welcome to the second book in the Killing the Sacred Cows series. The first book was called simply, Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing.

Both books are about the myths, which I call "Sacred Cows," that infest the publishing industry. I've been writing about these myths, killing one sacred cow after another, on my web site for years now.

Finally, last year, some of the readers convinced me I needed to put the Sacred Cows into a book. So I took what I thought were the top ten myths about publishing in general and created the first book.

But then, as the indie publishing world started to grow and gain traction, it became clear to me that the writers thinking of indie publishing were getting pounded with a lot of myths as well.

So thus this second book.

All the chapters in the two books were blog posts on my website and have some wonderful comments and questions attached. So feel free to go follow the discussions and ask questions.

There is a tab at the top of my website called Killing Sacred Cows that links to all the different chapters in a rougher form.

Why I Can Write About This Stuff

I sold my first short story in 1975, and have been pushing and working at writing ever since. I went through many of the general myths from the first book and survived them and finally started making a living in publishing in 1987, the same year I sold my first novel.

Also that year, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and I started a publishing company called Pulphouse Publishing, which quickly grew to be the fifth largest publisher of science fiction, fantasy, and horror in the nation.

I was the publisher and sometimes editor on some projects.

We shut the business down in 1996, but I kept editing at times, first for a magazine, then for Pocket Books in the Star Trek department. Also, during that time and up until around 2008, I sold over one hundred novels under various names to traditional publishers.

So sitting in the writer desk, the editor desk, and the publisher desk allowed me to see all sides of this business. And working for such a long time writing many, many novels, helped me clear out the last of the myths for myself.

Then the indie revolution started and I loved it right off.

I loved the freedom and the fact that I didn't have to spend so much time dealing with editors and such in New York.

So in 2009, Kris and I once again started up a publishing company called WMG Publishing Inc. to work on our indie titles and get our backlist out.

Now, as I write this in 2014, WMG Publishing Inc. has seven employees and three more coming on in the fall. It has over 400 titles in print and is publishing not only Kris's work and my work, but work by a lot of other writers as well.

So I know the indie side as well as the traditional side.

And both Kris and I have been voices in the indie growth on our blogs since it started.

The Goal of This Book

Writers hold onto myths like lifelines that are keeping them from drowning in a raging river of information. Sometimes sane people in the normal world will follow a publishing myth that makes no sense at all.

And they follow the myth, the sacred cow, without thought.

So this new series is an attempt to help the new world of indie publishing with the growing list of myths that plague it.

My goal is simply to show other sides of myths, to help writers become grounded in good business decisions.

Writing fiction is a business. Indie publishing your fiction is a business.

This indie publishing business can be fantastic fun and very profitable if you can make clear business decisions that are right for you.

My goal is to not show you the right way, or the only way, or any other such nonsense.

My goal is to help you push aside the myths that are swirling around publishing and make good decisions for yourself.

Thanks for reading. I hope this book helps your writing and publishing dreams in some fashion or another.

Dean Wesley Smith
June 9th, 2014

Lincoln City, Oregon