Brandon Sanderson announces five new novels “accidentally” written
On March 1, 2022, Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive series, posted a video on his YouTube channel, titled "It's time to come clean–Brandon Sanderson", and the rest was history.
While I cannot offer the same level of drama and intrigue as Sanderson did with his video, I hope to at least channel my excitement and enthusiasm for the announcement he made.
The short version is that Sanderson has written five "accidental" books between 2020 and 2022, four of which will be published as full-fledged novels in 2023.
The longer version, on the other hand, is that Sanderson is a marketing genius who knows exactly how to engage his fans. The author found himself with a lot of time in 2020 as the pandemic prevented him from travelling to conventions and book events. He couldn't help but put that time into his writing.
The result was that he finally got to create narratives outside of his two big series, which he had not gotten the chance to do before. One book turned into two, two to three, and so on.
While it is great that an author could create five books in the span of two years, what is even more amazing is Sanderson's ability to challenge the traditional publishing process by coming up with his own plan for how these four novels will be published (one of these books is a children's story, which he will release at a later date as a graphic novel).
The plan is to release these books via his own company, Dragonsteel Entertainment, across each quarter of 2023. In his own words, "it is to establish a sort of book club, where people can read and experience my works without spoilers and as a community".
To further add to this facet of a community, he has also started a Kickstarter campaign, where "backers" pledge their money for rewards and/or to support the creator. While crowdfunding has been used in the past to publish books, I doubt any have been done at this scale.
The beauty of an author such as Brandon Sanderson is perhaps that he is, in his heart, one of us. He is a fan who loves fantasy and also gets to write it at the same time. This has enabled him to not only reach a large audience, but to build the sense of community with his readers over the years. Dragonsteel Entertainment's previous Kickstarter campaign celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Sanderson's Stormlight Archives had nearly 7 million dollars by the end of the campaign. So, it makes sense that his team is aware of how successful crowdfunding a new book can be.
And, well, they were right. At the moment of writing this article—and it's still hard to put a number down because the counter is continuously rolling as more people pledge to the project—around 14.5 million dollars have been raised by the campaign, with almost 55,000 people backing the project.
This is an absolute first that a book has seen such success in terms of crowdfunding, and definitely speaks to where the publishing industry might go next. In the future, this might be the day we look back on and say is the one when the publishing industry changed completely. I don't know what happens next, but I know that I am excited by the different possibilities.