Arts & Culture

Brandon Sanderson and his Record-Setting Kickstarter

By Patrick R. ’23

Six months ago, fantasy author Brandon Sanderson made history with the highest-funded Kickstarter campaign of all time, raising over $40 million. What was he funding, you may ask? The release of four secret novels that he had written during quarantine, and was planning to release throughout 2023.

Brandon Sanderson published his first book, Elantris, in April of 2005, kicking off the beginning of an interconnected written universe named the “Cosmere”. While he may not have had it all planned out at the start, in addition to many non-Cosmere books, he has since added over a dozen novels and multiple novellas to the Cosmere, in the form of multiple standalone texts and two larger-length series. Each series takes place on its own planet with its own characters and complex magic system, but are all still part of the same greater universe. In addition, there are a few key, hidden characters appearing across multiple works. He currently has a rough release schedule planned out over 20 years into the future to make sure that he stays on track for his overall vision of the Cosmere.

For the majority of his career, Sanderson had already kept to a rigorous release schedule, so when, after a universally taxing quarantine, he announced a very important announcement coming soon, his many fans worried that he might be stepping back for a time. Sure enough, when he released a YouTube video on the subject, he started off talking about how overwhelmed he had been, and that his struggles had required him to change the way he approached writing. Nobody expected what came next. The way he decided to cope with these challenges was with … more writing! Over the course of the pandemic, he had written four additional novels without telling anybody and was planning to release them every three months throughout 2023. Readers had the option to buy the ebooks or hardcovers, along with additional swag boxes for every other month of the year if they were willing to pay extra.

Sanderson himself set his original goal at $1 million but was as shocked as everybody else when the project blew past $20 million in the first 72 hours, eventually settling at around $41 million a month later. The extra money allowed him to add all sorts of perks to the campaign, such as free stickers, two and even three-tone printing for the hardcover books, and much more. However, even after all of that, there were still plenty of excess funds. Rather than pocket it all, Sanderson gave back to the community, and used much of it to go back to Kickstarter, and backed nearly every publishing project on the site. So, as the November 2022 release date of Sanderson’s next book, The Lost Metal, rapidly approaches, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for whatever comes next in the world of the Cosmere.

Categories: Arts & Culture

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