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The Brandon Sanderson crowdfunding campaign…

The Brandon Sanderson crowdfunding campaign… published on 6 Comments on The Brandon Sanderson crowdfunding campaign…

…is bringing the wildest takes out of the woodwork, I swear.

“Why does he need a million dollars?” Buddy, making each book costs money, and he knew a lot of people like his books. If one book is $10 to print and ship, and his readers preorder 100,000, there’s $1 million already. That’s just math.

As of this writing, he has almost 150,000 backers. Lots of them are getting multiple books! Some are getting merch! All of that has production costs.

“Why doesn’t he use a publishing company?” He’s been using publishing companies for 20 years. Now he OWNS a publishing company. That’s…probably how he knows how much books cost.

Any publisher would also be taking a million in preorders, btw.

(Probably more. Sanderson’s website says the number of people ordering the new books through his campaign is much lower than the numbers he’s used to getting through Tor.)

“Why doesn’t he use a POD service?” You get that readers still have to pay for the books, right…?

Even if you didn’t keep any profit to pay your own staff (and, uh, keep your own lights on), the POD company is still taking a profit! Guess which path is ultimately more expensive for the book-buyers?

Also, POD services are optimized for authors who sell 1 book at a time. Maybe 10 if we’re lucky.

A print run for an NYT bestseller? Would straight-up break their machines.

My toaster oven is great at making 1 burger for my lunch. Doesn’t mean I should walk into McDonald’s and say “lol, why do you guys bother having an industrial-grade fryer??”

“Maybe he could use that money to support other authors!” The backers didn’t pay for books by other authors. They paid for Sanderson books.

So…you think he should commit mass consumer fraud?

Orrrrr he could produce and send everyone the products they ordered! What a concept.

…and, for a different flavor of wild take, “This shows how much success an indie author can have!”

No, this shows how much success a Hugo-winning, NYT-bestselling, 20-year mainstay of mainstream SFF publishing can have. (Again, the crowdfunding total is a downgrade from what he’s used to getting.) Presenting this as a typical or realistic indie experience is bonkers.

Look, I don’t begrudge Sanderson his success. His readers are getting books they like! This is a good thing.

Just don’t go “so inspiring! See, this means anyone can get this level of preorders. All you need is a bit of hustle and a few more podcast bookings.”

That’s not how it works. And we don’t have to pretend like it is. There are actual reasons to find this happy and uplifting — we don’t need to make stuff up, I promise.

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6 Comments

Yeah, i agree with you: A lot of people who have never been in a given business or have never even tried to use a given system often give uninformed opinions that are (frankly) baffling and seem to be based off of really weird misconceptions.

But also… yeah, this is internet.

I must admit, I was less than pleased with how his explosive multi-best-seller’s Kickstarter appeared to be taking steam from other kickstarters — until he went and intentionally threw money at a whole bunch of the other book-publishing kickstarters to undo some of that.

But yeah, congrats to him, and no he won’t be making nearly as much bank off it as it looks like once the printing and shipping kicks in…

Eh, I don’t buy that he was “taking steam” from anyone. It’s not like there were 185K users with existing Kickstarter accounts who were all set to back other creators until Sanderson showed up, and they decided to buy his books instead.

Probably close to 185K people who had never been on Kickstarter before, but they’re Sanderson fans and were always going to buy his next book(s), no matter what platform he sold them on.

Some of them will stick around and back other projects, now that a big-name author got them over the hurdle of creating an account in the first place! Others won’t back any more crowdfunding projects ever — but that’s no loss, because they weren’t going to back those projects no matter what.

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