Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Brandon Sanderson just finished a kickstarter for a ten-year-old book that almost hit $7 million in funding.

Brandon Sanderson through his company Dragonsteel Entertainment just finished a Kickstarter for a ten-year old book that nearly hit $7 million. Let me reiterate that...this book has been out for ten fricken years...available in hardback and paperback and audiobook, etc. from the big publisher known as Tor. It's as common as dirt to find online and despite ALL OF THAT, it is making MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. And I assume (now) that the rights have probably gone back to Mr. Sanderson for him to do with as he please. The book? The Way of Kings. Anyway, if they haven't gone back to him, maybe there's some kind of catch whereas he's allowed to just sell copies of vanity special editions, or something like that, and keep all the profit. Maybe the publisher was's no money in the vanity stroking business of leatherbound, beautiful, illustrated editions. That's a fools game! If that's what they thought, they are looking pretty silly right about now.

Sure...there's going to be overhead with Sanderson's company Dragonsteel Entertainment. Maybe a few hundred thousand in overhead. Possibly the cost of a middle class home in Salt Lake City ($500,000) in overhead (which is chump change to a lot of the ritzy crowd that calls this place home). But definitely not $7 million. This Kickstarter goldmine was unbelievable. Kudos to Brandon who should be laughing all the way to the bank. I mean...damn.

And it should terrify traditional publishers. Kickstarter is launching bankable authors into the stratosphere as far as the money they can reap from their intellectual property. But of course...that's the key, right? The word "bankable" is kind of a catch-22. However, if you've got your name out there in lights already for one reason or another, there is no way in hell that I think you should ever go with a publishing house. Kickstarter is the way to go...period. I've been watching Michael J. Sullivan's Kickstarters and have been blown away with the numbers those Kickstarters have been creating. But Sanderson's $7 million on a ten year old book? WOW!!!

Anyway, I just thought I'd share my thoughts. I think traditional publishers are going to be taking on a lot of unknowns (remember the days when mid-list writers were looked down upon?) to pay the bills in the future. All the big names can just say "FU" to them and go their own way, and they can do so in their Bentleys and their Rolls Royces. The mid-list will become the "only list" willing to sign with a publisher. Oh how times are a changing.


  1. I could see giving all that money to make a TV show or movie but 7 mill for a book is ridiculous.

    1. @Pat: I've also heard that "The Way of Kings" is one of ten books that he wrote that was in a drawer that sat rejected by a publisher who wanted him to write more like George R.R. Martin. Of course, it eventually got published by Tor and has been widely available for ten years. But this kickstarter broke records. He's probably going to be the next "billionaire" author like J.K. Rowling.

    2. One of my Facebook "friends" posted a link to a New York Times article about Don Trump Jr self-publishing his latest screed and said how "risky" that is but for people who have a large following like the son of the president or someone who's sold a ton of books traditionally, self-publishing isn't risky at all.

  2. I can see a market for a beautiful edition of a well-loved book. More authors should go into their backlists and try such a thing. If you've got a following, there will be those willing to shell out money for it.