When Brandon Sanderson asked his legions of dedicated fans to help him fund a collection of four secret new novels, he set himself the bold and ambitious target of $1 million.
Using the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter, he offered readers a series of rewards and incentives to back his latest project, but never in his wildest dreams could he imagine just how successful his campaign would be.
Just three days after going live on the site, he’d already beaten the previous record holder, smartwatch company Pebble Technology, which raised an impressive $20.3 million in 2015.
And after 30 days, he made crowdfunding history by collecting a staggering $41.7 million.
This is by far the most funded Kickstarter of all time, and no one is more surprised than the author himself.
“This has already been a year of surprises, and the success of the Kickstarter campaign was a giant surprise. I was blown away by the result—and am gratified and humbled,” he said in an interview with Publishers Weekly this month.
A Loyal Fanbase
Sanderson may have got much more than he bargained for when he asked for his reader’s support, but with millions of loyal and adoring fans worldwide, it’s perhaps no wonder his campaign did so well.
The author has been penning epic fantasy and sci-fi fiction for more than twenty years, and his bestselling books have been translated into more than 30 languages.
He’s written countless titles, including his smash hit YA series, The Reckoners, and hugely popular adult series The Stormlight Archive and Mistborn.
Top Secret New Releases
The staggering sum raised on Kickstarter is funding the publication of four brand new, top-secret books, which will be released next year.
Three of the four works will be set in the author’s famous fictional universe, Cosmere, but aside from the setting, the rest of the details remain largely shrouded in mystery.
“You might be asking why none of these have titles yet. Well, we thought it would be fun to keep those hidden for now,” says the author on his Kickstarter page.
“Some of you might want to receive these books with minimal spoilers and just enjoy them fresh and new, without even knowing the title ahead of time—kind of like going into a movie blind, never having seen the trailer, on the promise that it’s by a filmmaker you know you love.
We also thought this might make it fun for book clubs or groups of friends and family to co-read a mysterious Sanderson book, knowing almost nothing about it.”
But for readers who simply cannot wait, Sanderson is offering some tantalizing teasers and previews for each of these upcoming titles on his YouTube channel.
In 2023, fans who donated to the author’s wildly successful campaign will receive these four new releases as either e-books, audiobooks, or physical editions, based on their level of contribution.
Those who pledged $40 or more will receive quarterly e-books, which will be available to download with each new release (expected in January, April, July, and October of next year.)
Supporters pledging $60 or more will receive these titles as audiobook releases, and for $160 or more, the author will ship a premium hardcover copy of each title directly to the reader’s doors.
But that’s not all. Uber fans who made even larger contributions will also be treated to themed swag boxes delivered throughout what he calls his ‘Year of Sanderson.’ The boxes will contain fan merch such as t-shirts, bookmarks, stickers, playing cards, and notebooks with writing prompts from the author himself.
Paying it Forward
To celebrate his phenomenal crowdfunding success, Sanderson and his publishing company Dragonsteel Entertainment have pledged to donate part of the epic $41.7 million total to fund other literary projects on Kickstarter.
More than 300 campaigns have received donations so far, and the author is keen to continue supporting up-and-coming authors and share his success.
Clearly, Sanderson has been blown away by the response he’s had. “I’m floored. And you did this all without even knowing what you were getting, save that I promised you it was awesome,” wrote the author in a recent update on his Kickstarter page.
So, it looks like Brandon Sanderson’s fans are in for a real treat in 2023.
But even if you’re not already initiated with this prolific sci-fi and fantasy writer’s work, he’s made sure that these upcoming titles are accessible to everyone.
“These books are an excellent place to start into my work, as they are each standalone novels that require very little previous knowledge of anything I’ve written before,” he said.
“You’re not going to be launching into a big series—instead, you’re going to get a sampling of the many different types of things I like to do.”
So, if you’re interested in exploring what Brandon Sanderson has to offer, there’s never been a better time to do it.