Brandon Sanderson’s Message to Publishing Is Mostly a Message About Himself – Gizmodo


In case you haven’t heard, fantasy author Brandon Sanderson is running a Kickstarter campaign titled “Surprise! Four Secret Novels by Brandon Sanderson.” It is the most successful Kickstarter of all time, with $30 million in pledges and more money rolling in every day.

Sanderson has been very busy lately; beyond those four new secret novels, he also has The Lost Metal: A Mistborn Novel arriving this fall. If you’re not familiar with his work, he’s an epic fantasy author who’s been publishing with Tor Books (one of the premiere SFF publishers in the business) since 2005 and has apparently never stopped to breathe since then. He’s got dozens of books under his belt, including the Stormlight Archives and the last three books of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, which he wrote out while using Jordan’s notes as a scaffold.

Sanderson’s $30 million fundraiser is no fluke; it is the result of a 20 years of hard work, humility, and accessibility, as well as a science-fiction/fantasy fanbase that is well-known to have money to spend on their favorite creators. You only have to look at other Kickstarters to see that, like Critical Role’s Vox Machina animation or Magpie Games’ Avatar TTRPG. The nerds are out in force, and just waiting for their favorites to deliver.

In a new interview with YouTuber Daniel Greene, Sanderson goes into some of the details about his newest project, and specifically remarks on the state of traditional publishing. That’s what happens when an author acquires an agent (usually by cold-querying, sometimes by referral, occasionally through direct pitching at a convention) who then sells that author’s book to a publishing house. What Sanderson is doing is very clearly not traditional publishing, and is considered self-publishing, which has long been the domain of zines, chapbooks, and most recently Amazon. There are some “hybrid” companies in between traditional publishing and self-publishing, but many of them are little more than vanity publishers–companies that authors pay to produce their book, a process which often swindles authors, according to the SFWA .

Self-publishing has been gaining popularity for a number of reasons–including the accessibility of Amazon and the global nature of the marketplace (although often publishers from the global south and underserved countries report issues with payout). But it has, for the most part, not upset traditional publishers. A $30 million dollar Kickstarter for four books, however, might be enough to …….


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