art by Jake Johnson

Theoryland Resources

WoT Interview Search

Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.

Wheel of Time News

An Hour With Harriet

2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.

The Bell Tolls

2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."

Theoryland Community

Members: 7611

Logged In (0):

Newest Members:johnroserking, petermorris, johnadanbvv, AndrewHB, jofwu, Salemcat1, Dhakatimesnews, amazingz, Sasooner, Hasib123,

Theoryland Tweets

WoT Interview Search

Home | Interview Database

Your search for the tag 'brandon on publishing' yielded 64 results

  • 1

    Interview: Jan 18th, 2010

    Ashley

    What made you decide to release Warbreaker on your website? Was Tor at all irked by this plan? What about your agent or those who purchased international rights?

    I must say that I've purchased the Mistborn trilogy and Elantris, but that I read Warbreaker on your website.

    Brandon Sanderson (Goodreads)

    That's all right. I knew that people would do that. I would hope that those who really enjoyed the book will pick up copies, but you know, I don't mind if they just read it and don't pick up a copy—I mean, it's there for free!

    I like the idea of a free sample, and for a writer I feel that a free sample needs to be an entire novel so that you can get a real feel for how that author writes and tells a story. When I listen to music, I would like to be able to listen to an entire album and say, "Okay, is this an artist that I like?" Before I pay money for it. I want people to be able to do that with my writing. And what that means is if Warbreaker doesn't sell any copies, but it has tens of thousands of people read it who are then willing to buy and read my next books because they know they like my writing, then Warbreaker is incredibly successful.

    Was Tor irked? I wouldn't say that; I mean, I got approval from them first. I don't think it's what they would prefer for me to do, but they were certainly willing to let me do it. My agent didn't like the concept at all, and I listened to his counsel, but I'm very interested in the way the internet is acting as a medium for entertainment distribution, and I wanted to experiment with that.

    I think it's been a successful experiment. I think that a lot of people who were interested in me because of The Gathering Storm and the Wheel of Time announcement were able to try out my books and read one of them for free and therefore somewhat know who I am as a writer. For good or for ill. If they don't end up liking my writing, I'd rather they not have paid for it—I'd rather they not have to pay for something they don't enjoy. I think I'll end up better off—at the very least they'll think, "Well, I didn't really like his book, but he gave it to me for free," and still have a good impression of me. If they do end up liking my book, I would hope that they go and read other copies of my books. And that would increase demand on the libraries or the bookstores. Either way I think I come out ahead.

    Tags

  • 2

    Interview: Jun 11th, 2007

    Kaimi Wenger

    And, to end with a short one:

    Two words: Hardcover books. Why? (Okay, technically that's three words.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hummm. I'm going to assume you did your homework VERY well, and are referring to an essay I wrote on this topic on my website. I believe I mentioned it above.

    A little more background for the rest of you. In a short period of time, I got a lot of emails asking me why hardback books were so expensive. So, I decided to try and tackle this concept in an essay on my website. I tried very hard to explain that I don't mind if people buy my books in paperback, or check them out from the library. That's great! However you read them is fine with me. I feel honored that you're even doing so.

    However, my HOPE is that in reading them, you end up hooked, and therefore buy the hardback of my next book. (Once again, I'm not offended if you don't! I had a LOT of trouble getting this concept across in the essay, judging by forum responses. It's very easy to misinterpret me on this fact, particularly since I wrote the essay very early in the morning, and I'm not sure how coherent it was.)

    However, since you asked—as others have—hardbacks are very important to my genre. We don't sell in supermarkets very often, and even less often do we get into places like Sam's or Costco. That means we depend on the main bookstores, and the science fiction section sells a LOT less than other sections. (The romance section is 60% or so of the fiction market. Sf is around 6 or 7%.)

    So, we depend on smaller sales of more expensive books to provide our income. That's our business model. (At least, or the big thick fantasy books like mine. There are people who do sf/f paperbacks with larger print runs and are very successful.) For me, though, hardbacks are essentially the only way I make money.

    So, why we publish hardbacks is simple. Now, as to why you should buy hardbacks—or not—that's completely up to you. Some people simply prefer paperbacks because they are lighter and easier to read. That's fine! Don't feel guilty at all.

    And, I'll leave it at that.

    Tags

  • 3

    Interview: Sep 7th, 2009

    Christian Lindke

    Well, I think that I'd like to start at the beginning and then come to more recent projects that you've been working on and that's to look a little bit at how you came to be a published science fiction/fantasy author. I did not mention this in your introduction, but you did initially study writing in college and worked long and hard to become a writer. If you could describe that process for us, the process of getting your first novel, Elantris, published.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Alright. It's funny because Elantris...it's my first published novel; it's not actually my first novel. The story starts quite a long time before that, and the longer I've been in this business, the more I've found that this seems to be the rule rather than the exception. A lot of writers spend years and years writing books before they get published. Elantris was my sixth novel, and my story starts like a lot of stories, with an ignorant kid who enjoyed telling stories and writing books and having no idea really what he was really doing.

    I went to college my freshman year as a biochemistry major, actually, partially at my parent's encouraging, because 'authors don't make money' was the conventional wisdom, which a lot of us hear, and so I was going to be a doctor, which was, you know, the wrong place for me. But, I was under the impression—I had no idea how to do this writing thing, and even taking a few creative writing classes...they don't really talk about the business side of things, the actual 'how do you do this; how do you break in'—and so I was completely ignorant.

    My sophomore year, I realized after one year of trying hard at the biochemistry that I loved the concepts and I was terrible at the busywork; in fact I dreaded the busywork, and if you dread the busywork—the day-to-day work that you are going to have to do in a career—that's probably not the right career for you, whereas with writing, I loved the busywork, the busywork of just working on new stories and plugging away at them, and so I changed to English cause I thought that's what you had to do. I didn't actually know what you had to do—I had no clue—but I figured that was a good place to start. So I changed my major to English and just started going.

    One of the things I did—which I think was actually the smartest thing I did at the time—was get a job where I could write while I was at work; it was a desk job at a hotel minding the desk overnight, with the boss telling me during the interview, "Yeah, as long as you stay awake we don't mind...we don't care what you do. Between about midnight and five all we really want is to have someone there in case the building burns down, or in case someone calls and wants towels." It was actually required by the Best Western rules that they have someone on desk, so it was actually perfect for me, and I spent five years working that job, going to school during day, then sleeping in the evenings, and then going to work overnight, and writing all night. It was a wonderful experience. It was kinda was like my own little writers' enclave where I was able to practice my art and try different things, and ignorantly I had the advantage of not knowing how bad I was when I began. This is something I've noticed with authors: When you get going when you're younger, you are don't how terrible you are as a writer, and that's a good thing. Older writers a lot of times will be very critical of themselves, because they've read so much and they have so much more experience with writing that when they start working on their works, it's sometimes very hard for them. They aren't willing to...or it's too hard for them to suck at it long enough to become good at it, so to speak. I didn't have that problem because I had no clue how bad I was.

    And I am...like I said, I did that for five years: writing books and slowly, very slowly, learning about the business, realizing how you have to submit manuscripts, realizing where to...how to go about creating a query letter, and these sorts of things. And the real breakthrough, it came my senior year—I took quite a number of years to get through college; I think it was five at the end—so I guess it would be after four years, during my fourth year of writing books at the graveyard shift, I took a class from a published author who had come in to just teach couple of classes for the fun of it—it was actually David Farland, who is a fantasy writer who is local to my area—and what he talked about was the business aspect of it, the real nitty-gritty nuts and bolts of this industry, which nobody tells you about. You never find out about, in most of your creative writing classes—which, you know, they're great classes; they'll talk to you a lot about the craft of writing, and maybe the art of writing, but they won't tell you about the business—and it was because of him that I realized, "Wow," you know, "if I want to get published, one of the things I'm gonna have to do is network," and I never realized that networking would be important for an author. But who you know, the editors you know, that sort of thing, can help you out a lot. And so I started attending the conventions—[?] the literary conventions. And so, WorldCon, World Fantasy Convention, NASFIC...some of these things that you can go to, and editors will attend, and you can hear advice from them, you can meet them, and that sort of thing.

    So I started doing that. It's not a silver bullet; it won't get everyone published, but what it does is it partially trained me to think like a professional, and partially allowed me to get advice from people who really knew what they were doing. I spent...oh, three years, four years doing that, eventually graduated with my bachelor's degree, having no idea what to do with it, because I wasn't really prepared for anything by it except for writing books, so I applied to a bunch of MFA programs, got turned down from all of them—they didn't really appreciate [?] fantasy novels—and the next year I applied to a whole bunch more, got into a master's degree—not an MFA—at BYU where I had attended my undergraduate, and got rejected from everywhere else, and so happily went to get that master's degree, partially as a stalling tactic, to be perfectly honest. My dad was dreadfully afraid that, you know, that their poor son was going to be a hobo, and "Oh, why didn't he go into being a doctor like we told him", and so I went back to school to appease them and to stall my life and, you know, to stall myself, give me a few more years to work on it.

    And about a year into it, Elantris—which had been my sixth book, as I said—I finally got a call back from an editor that I'd met at World Fantasy Convention, I think in 2003, that I got the call back. It was eighteen months after I'd submitted it. Actually, I had given up on the submission. It was the Tor, whom I love; it's a publisher I wanted to be with. I was a big fan of the Wheel of Time books; I wanted to be with that same publisher, but Tor is also notorious for having an enormous slush pile, and things get lost into that void fairly frequently. They are one of the few publishers out there who will take manuscripts from unknowns, which opens the floodgates to tons of manuscripts coming in, and they do their best with it, but they get easily overwhelmed. I had sent to them before, and I never heard back, and so this time I assumed I would never hear back, [?] in person. And then I got a voicemail one morning; got up, and checked my voicemail, and lo and behold, there was an editor in New York, Moshe Feder, who left me a voicemail that said something along these lines: "Hello; I hope this is the right Brandon Sanderson, because you submitted me a book eighteen months ago, and now it's been so long that your email address is bouncing, your snail-mail address isn't good any more, and your phone number's changed, so we're not sure how to get ahold of you, but we googled you, we got a grad student page at BYU. We assume this is the right person; if it is, call us back, because we want to buy your book." And that's how it happened. I guess the moral of this story is: leave a forwarding address, if you are sending manuscripts off to publishers in New York.

    But, it just happened from there, and the years that I spent as an unpublished writer really—just practicing my craft and not worrying about publishing—served me really well. Elantris is by no means the greatest fantasy book ever written, but I do think that I was able to hit the ground running, so to speak, because it wasn't my first novel. It doesn't, I hope, in many respects read like a first novel; I had five other books under my belt by that time, and I got a lot of my terrible ideas and terrible storytelling out of the way, and so I was very aware of what I wanted to do as an author, and where I wanted to make my statement and how I wanted to add to the genre. All of these things, I had...right then, I knew what I was doing as soon as I sold, so I was able to be focused a little more, I think.

    Tags

  • 4

    Interview: Sep 7th, 2009

    Christian Lindke

    You've talked about how your experience at a job that gave you time to write on company time aided you and that you were able to write a good number of fantasy novels—writing, kind of, the 'bad' out of you, if you will—but I also wanted to know that, you know, for a period of time you volunteered and were editor-in-chief at the sci-fi and fantasy magazine at BYU, The Leading Edge, and obviously, as a magazine, the primary story being published in that is the short story, and I wanted to ask, how a) you thought that writing short stories and reading short stories helped you hone your craft, and b) what you think about kind of the dying outlet for burgeoning writers to have their short stories published.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Those are both excellent questions. Some interesting things are happening in the short fiction market, and it's in a very big position of transition right now. I've heard a lot of publishers talk about it, and there are people who are very optimistic, who they say, you know, "The short story form is not going to die. People like reading it. We just haven't yet found the new transmission method that is going to get them to people." But some things happened to the science fiction and fantasy market during the 70s and 80s that I think really changed the way fiction—particularly in our genre—reached its audience. I think the mainstreaming of science fiction and fantasy to an extent—I mean, this is Geekerati Radio; we're talking mostly to geeks and geek topics—but you'll notice that since the 70s, progressively geek culture has invaded mainstream culture. Nowadays, if a fantasy or science fiction film comes out, the general public goes to see it and doesn't even think twice about it. That wasn't the case before Star Wars; it wasn't like that. And I think this mainstreaming that, this building on the whole gaming aspect, with RPGs and all this, where there was a larger...even those who weren't mainstream, who were the kind of the geek culture, like I was when I was growing up in the 80s, we had enclaves, because we had things we could do, and it was easier for us to create our little enclaves. The big science fiction conventions started because getting people who are interested in science fiction together to chat about science fiction was hard to do without the internet, without, some of...you know, podcasts, and things like this—it was very hard to find people with like interests, and so when you did, you all got together with these conventions. And for us, I think that there were more people that we could find, there were more activities...it was just...it was easier to be a geek in the 80s than it was in previous eras, and mixed on top of that, the paperback novel, in science fiction and fantasy, kind of came into its own, with the publishing houses like Del Rey and Tor and Ace in the 70s and 80s suddenly producing lines of science fiction and fantasy targeted an adult audience. What you saw is, really, the science fiction novel overtaking the short story. My generation didn't grow up reading short stories, in general; my fantasy grew up reading, in fantasy, you know: David Eddings, and Tad Williams, and Anne McCaffrey, and Barbary Hambly and these people who were writing the novels. And so, if you look at me, I didn't get into short stories until I had already long been a fan of the novel, which I think is backwards from the previous generation.

    I got into short stories when I was in college, and it was partially because of the magazine. And the magazine did a lot of things for me. One of the things was that it was a nice—again—place where a lot of people with similar interests in me were congregating, and we were talking about fiction, and about science fiction and fantasy, and about what made good science fiction and fantasy, and we were able to read slush from around the world because it was a paying market, and writers, we are all desperate to get published, and so as long as something pays, we'll probably submit to it. So, The Leading Edge, though, being a BYU magazine, didn't actually publish BYU student stories. It existed more as a place to practice being an editor, so to speak; it exists as one of these things that is kind of like, not really a class, but an economist [?] club that is funded by the university to give people experience with editing and managing and learning [?] express and [?] programs, and so it's not actually student work that's getting published. You read a ton of terrible stories by authors, and boy, reading a ton of terrible stories teaches you a lot about what not to do. You start to see firsthand the clichés that show up over and over again. And, when you're that age—particularly older high school, younger college student—you're thinking that a lot of your ideas are new and original, until you read and discover that no, half of these stories are all wanting to tell these same ideas. If I had a dollar for every time we got a story that ended with "And, they turned out to be Adam and Eve"—that's a great cliché in the genre now. I had no clue, but I learned it firsthand by reading, you know, a dozen or two stories—so I guess if it were a dollar for each one, I would have enough money for pizza—but still, it was fairly common that we got stories like that. So, I really enjoyed that aspect of it, and it helped me as a writer, and it also taught me to love the short story genre, as we occasionally would come across these gems, and I had to feel like what an editor felt like, sifting through all of this, reading, you know, yet another story poorly written where Adam and Even turn out to...you know, the end of the story is that they're Adam and Eve and they found the Earth. Or, reading yet another poorly-done time travel story where someone kills his own father on accident, um, and that's...or, you know, ends up becoming Hitler, or one of these stereotypical things, reading one of these, and then sifting through that, and then a gem pops out—a beautifully-written story that says something meaningful, has engaging characters, really pulls you into a world and makes you feel like you're there—it like glows on the page after reading all of these things, and I understood, "Hey, this is what it's like to be an editor; this is what the editor is feeling when they're reading through the slush pile, and this is what I want them to feel when they hit my stories. So how can I do that? What do I really need to do in order to achieve it?"

    What is going to happen to short fiction? I don't know. There are people who are much more expert than I at this sort of thing. I have been very curious at these free-distribution-on-the-web models that we've seen. The first big one was called Sci-Fiction; it was run by the Science Fiction Channel. And, it went..they actually eventually canceled it; they did it for a couple of years. I was hoping that an ad-supported model that was bringing renown to the Science Fiction Channel would be enough to pay for a short story, which really doesn't take—if you're cranking it on the internet—doesn't take a whole ton of resources. You pay the author, you pay someone to edit it, and you maybe get a little bit of art. This is what Tor.com is trying right now in order to draw people in, and I think it works wonderfully, but I don't see the numbers on it. Several pay subscription e-zines have come around too; Intergalactic Medicine Show by Orson Scott Card; Baen's Universe which just, actually, closed its doors unfortunately, and I was hoping that those would go along, but I think one of the problems with the internet is people...it's been established that, if it's on the internet, that it should be free, which...we haven't been able to get beyond that, and some things, the operating costs are just too high for it to be for free. So I don't think that the webcomic model—where you can, you know, print a webcomic and then have people come every day, read it, and then draw ad money and things like that—is going to work for short fiction, because short fiction is too long, and the costs are too big. I was hoping it would work. Maybe if there...but you would have to, like, print a page every day of a 70-page story, and I don't know if that would be enough to keep people coming back. So, I'll be very curious to see what happens. I enjoy reading it, but you know, I generally read my short fiction when it's recommended to me and I go pick up a specific issue, because a story I know in Asimov's happens to be really good, or an author I know happens to publish an Asimov—I see him on the front—or I pick up the Year's Best by Garner Dozois or David Hartwell, and just read what they have collected as the best science fiction and fantasy of the year.

    So, I'm not an expert. I do hope that the genre—the medium—stays around, because it is a nice way as an author to practice, and to kind of do an apprenticeship. Once upon a time, if you wanted to break in, it was 'the main way' to break in, was to do short fiction for a while, get published in the good short fiction market, and then eventually, you know, an editor would come knocking and you would give them your novel idea. It doesn't actually work that way any more. It's still a potential way you can do it, but that's not the norm any more, I don't think; I think more people are getting published just off of their novels—straight submissions to agents or editors—than are getting published through a long apprenticeship in short story magazines, and that's certainly how it was for me. I didn't practice short stories until I was much older; I was much more practiced...even still I feel I'm a better novelist than I am a short story writer. I'm not terribly confident in my short story, though I do have one that you can read just on Tor.com for free—maybe you guys can throw that up in the liner notes, that people can click on and read—which has had a good response, but I think I'm primarily a novelist.

    Tags

  • 5

    Interview: Sep 7th, 2009

    Christian Lindke

    Now, you've talked briefly—I mean, jeez, you've got so much in that conversation that I'd like to jump off from...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sorry, I'm very verbose, so feel free to cut in any time.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    ...involved in thing that you did, I mean...I was thinking earlier in your comments about how those who came to start reading science fiction and fantasy in the, you know, 80s, largely—in the post-Lin Carter boom of fantasy and science fiction that came out in the late 70s, early 80s...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Mmhmm.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    ...being primarily people who read novels rather than short stories—and the first thing that hit my mind is that, you know, kind of one of the seminal works of science fiction, right—Asimov's Foundation

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yep.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    There's a whole generation of people older than I am, and older than you are, who read that as short stories as they came out...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yep. Yep, and I read it as a novel first; I'd never known it in short story form.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    Right, and I'm in the same boat, and those even seem, you know, like short novels to me.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yep.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    You know, those are the kind of books you read in an afternoon, where a Tad Williams novel is something that might take, you know, a weekend of, you know, devoted reading...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yup.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    ...ah, to get through the Bible-thin pages, and the massive length of the novel has become the norm—or an Ian Banks science fiction novel...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yup.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    ...which, you know, if you bought in hardback, you could probably, you know, put a hole in the floor when you set it down...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    [laughs] Yeah.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    ...it's so weighty. But, I wanted to, since you talked a little bit about internet distribution, and, you know, the kind of expectation of 'free', but also the interactivity on something that maybe, you're not using it as a means to actually distribute, but maybe to work and foment the product. You worked on your more recent Warbreaker novel through a kind of, we'll say, sausage-making process that, if people followed it on the internet, they could see the development of the novel before it was published.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    Could you about that a little bit?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Sure.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    And kind of the impetus behind that and, you know, how you feel about the result of that process.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The impetus behind it was really watching how the internet worked with viral marketing and with really the self-made artists—the webcomic community, I pay a lot of attention to, because of how I think it's fascinating the way that this entire community of artists is building up and bypassing all middlemen, and just becoming...you know, I have several friends who are full-time cartoonists who can make their entire living posting webcomics through ad-supported and reader-supported—you know, either buying collections or donations and things like this—I thought that's fascinating. I don't think that it will work, as I said, with long-form or even short-form fiction because of the difference between the mediums, but I like looking at webcomics as a model just to see what's going on there. There's a science fiction author, Cory Doctorow, who's a very interesting author and has a lot of very fascinating things to say, a lot of them very, uh...very...aggressive, and certainly conversation-inspiring—how about that?—and one of the things he started doing, very high-profilely—he's one of the bloggers of Boing-Boing, so he's very high profile on the internet—is that he started posting the full text of his books online as he released them with his publisher. So, Cory Doctorow is releasing his books for free, and he has a famous quote, at least among writers, which says that, "As a new author, my biggest hindrance—the biggest thing I need to overcome—is obscurity."

    And, so that's why he releases his books for free. He figures, get them out there, get as many people reading them as possible...and then that will make a name for him, and this sort of thing. Well, that scares a lot of the old guard. Giving it away for free is very frightening to them, and for legitimate reasons, but there was a whole blow-up in the Science Fiction Writers of America on this same topic, about a year or so ago—what you give away for free, and what you don't—and I said that Cory was right in a lot of the things that he was saying, particularly about obscurity. There are so many new authors out there. Who are you going to try, and how are you going to know if they're worth plopping this money down? It's the same sort of problem I have with albums. I don't want to try a new artist, because if I plop $10 down and then hate every track on the album...what's...what have I just, you know, done? I feel like I've wasted the money; I feel annoyed. So, I either wait till I get recommendations—and even then, a lot of times I'll buy an album, and then be like, "Man, I wish I'd gotten something else."—or I'll try the really popular songs, which may not be the songs on the album I like, which just puts you in all sorts of problems where, how do you know if you're going to like this artist or not?

    Authors are the same way. You pick up a fantasy novel—a big, thick 600-page fantasy novel—you look at it, and you say, "You know, how am I gonna know if this guy's any good?" Am I gonna spend 30 bucks on a hardcover, or even, you know, 8 or 9 bucks on a paperback, you get home, and then you start reading this and you discover that this is just the wrong artist for me? So, I felt that the thing to do was to release a book for free. Being, just, I dunno...[cut] part of it was wanted to do the [?], try something I hadn't seen before, which was to write the book, and post the drafts online as I wrote them, chapter by chapter, perhaps hopefully to get a little publicity, where people would say, "Hey, he's letting us see the process!" Partially to, you know, to give something to my fans that they couldn't get from other books, which is being able to see the process firsthand, help out new writers, whatever...whatever it could do, I felt very good about the opportunity there, and posting chapters as I wrote them, always with the understanding that this would be the next book I published; I mean Tor had already said that they were going to publish it. It wasn't an experiment in that I wanted to see how it would turn out—I was pretty confident in the story, with the outline I had—but I wanted to experiment in showing readers drafts, letting them give me advice, essentially workshopping it with my readers as I wrote it, and see how that affected the process, and affected the story.

    And so that's what I did, and actually I started posting drafts in 2006; it didn't come out until 2009, so it was a three-year process during which I finished the first draft after about a year of posting chapters, and then I did a revision, and then another revision, and they got to see these revisions, and I would post um...you can still find them on my website—brandonsanderson.com—you can still find all of these drafts, and comparisons between them using Microsoft Word's 'compare document' function, and some of these things, and...I think it was a very interesting process. Did it boost my sales? I don't know. Did it hurt my sales? I don't know. It was what it was, and it was a fun experiment; it's something I might do again in the future. Probably if I write a sequel to Warbreaker, I would approach it the same way. It's not something I plan to do with all of my books, partially because not all of my books do I want the rough drafts to be seen. Warbreaker, I was very...I had...I was very confident in the story I was telling, and sometimes, parts of the story you're very confident in, and parts of the story you know you're going to have to work out in drafts, and that's just how it is, and in other cases, it's better to build suspense for what's happening, and...so, there's just lots of different reasons to do things, but Warbreaker, being a standalone novel that I had a very solid outline for was something that I wanted to try this with, and once the Wheel of Time deal happened, which was just an enormous change in direction for my career, I was very glad I had a free novel on the internet, because then, people who had only heard of me because, "Who's this Brandon Sanderson guy? I've never heard of him before," could come to my website, download a free book, read something that I'd written, and say, "Okay," then at least they know who I am. They at least have an experience—and hopefully they enjoy the book, and it will put to ease some of their worries, even though Warbreaker isn't in the same style that I'm writing the Wheel of Time book in, it at least hopefully can show that I can construct a story and have compelling characters and have some interesting dialogue and these sorts of things that will maybe, hopefully, relax some of the Wheel of Time fans who are worried about the future of their favorite series. [chuckle in background]

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    Right, and it's good that you're working with Tor in a lot of this, because of course Tor is one of the publishers that's kind of renown for attempting to—I mean I don't know, I don't get to look at the numbers either, so I don't know what their success is—but really attempting to get readers to purchase their books, and to read their books, and then purchase follow-up books by, you know, almost using a 'first one is free' philosophy on the internet.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, Tor is very good at that. In fact the whole science fiction and fantasy market has been very good—as opposed to the music industry—in using the internet and viral sorts of things to their advantage rather than alienating their audience, which I appreciate very much.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    Yeah, I mean, obviously the music industry has a disadvantage that the publishing industry in books doesn't suffer from, and that's the brevity of the item.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yep, yep. Very easy to download a song, and...yeah.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    And they have some additional obstacles, but it's, you know, one of the things that they've done extraordinarily poorly is handle any kind of PR, or any kind of the public debate as far as, you know, defending themselves I think against—you know, legitimately it's theft, taking music for free—but, you know, attacking twelve-year-olds...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Right. Or grandmothers, or things like that. Yeah, just a [?] way to approach it. You know, they're just a very different sort of situation. With audio, number one, downloading a song and listening to it, you get the very same experience listening to it that you would if you'd bought it, whereas downloading a book, it's not the same experience; reading it electronically for most of us is not the same experience as holding the book. And beyond that, publishing in today's market is actually kind of a niche thing; it's a niche market. Not entirely of course, but science fiction and fantasy, we are...we have...despite the explosion of science fiction and fantasy into the mainstream, I still think we are a small but significant player in publishing, if that makes sense. We have a small fanbase that is very loyal that buys lots of books, is generally how we approach it, and because of that loyal fanbase, that's really how science fiction and fantasy exists as a genre, because of people who are willing to buy the books when they can go to the library and get them for free, people who want to have the books themselves, to collect them, to share them, to loan them out. That's how this industry survives, hands down. And so, I mean...that's...Tor gets by. The reason Tor can exist as a publisher is because it produces nice, hardcover epic fantasy and science fiction books that readers want to own and have hardcover copies up to display on the shelves, with nice maps, with nice cover illustrations, which, you know, covers on science fiction and fantasy books have come a long way since the 60s and 70s. Just go back and look at some of these...and part of that is because the artists of course have gotten better—there's more money in it—but there's also this idea that we need to create a product that is just beautiful for your shelf, because that's how we exist as an industry. Romance novels don't exist on the same...in the same way; they exist in lots of volume of cheap copies being sold, and romance authors do very well with paperbacks—and some science fiction and fantasy authors do too, just different styles—but with epic fantasy, we really depend on those very nice, good-looking hardcovers, and so, we....giving away the book for free actually makes a lot of sense for us, because...the idea...we're selling for the people who want to have copies anyway, who could've gotten it for free from their friends, or by going to the library and getting it, or now downloading it, I mean...we have a very literate community; they know where to find the book for free online if they want to get them illegally, and we don't really go and target those websites and take them down, because you know what....it's not...the people who are buying our books are not the people who are...how should I say? If they're gonna get them for free, it doesn't discourage them from buying the book, generally. In fact they're more likely, I think, to buy the book if they read it for free first, and then like it, we're the types of people...I mean, we're the types of people who have 5,000 books in their basements, who if they love a book, go buy it in hardcover, and if they just merely like a book, we go buy it in paperback, and loan it around to all our friends still.

    And so, that's who we're selling to, and that's who I think we'll continue to sell to. I don't think the book industry is threatened by the internet in the same way that the movie and music industry is, for various reasons, but I also don't think that we can...a lot of people say, 'get rid of the middle man'. I talked about the webcomic industry, and how they're able to just produce it all themselves. It doesn't work with novels. What I think readers don't realize is that most of the cost in a novel is not the printing. Most of what you're paying for when you're buying a book is the illustrator, is the copy-editor and the editor, and the layout and design team and all of this, which you really can't get rid of. Bypassing the middleman means you'd get a book that's unedited, and if you've read a book that's unedited, you'll realize why we have editors and typesetters and all of these people, and so, you know, the Kindle Revolution, if it ever happens—the ebook revolution or this sort of thing—will actually, I think, be a benefit to us, but I think people are going to be surprised that the prices don't come down as drastically as they would've thought, because of that, you know, $25 hardcover, you know, $5 of that is printing and shipping, but most of that is overhead for the publisher.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    Yeah, Lord knows I read the unedited version of Stranger in a Strange Land, and I said, "Oh god, give me the edited version again."

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    [laughs] Yeah.

    Tags

  • 6

    Interview: Sep 7th, 2009

    Bill Cunningham

    Let's flip the conceptual pancake a little bit in terms of collaboration, and let's think about the idea of you coming up with the concept, you creating the world, and then turning that over to other people to write short stories about.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. Yeah, I've considered that. I know that Eric Flint has had a lot of success with that, and created an entire community based around—what's it, the...1632? Is that the name? It's a number, so [?]—it's his big alternate history line where the community has essentially created a short story magazine based in this world almost without his involvement—he's of course been involved, but it's [?], and it's fascinating how the fans have jumped into this world and really created something where it's essentially sanctioned fanfic by Eric, which becomes canon because they all work together and create this story together. It's very interesting. I've considered doing that with novel ideas—and you see this happening sometimes with writers—I've got, now with the Wheel of Time that takes so much of my dedication and time—and, you know, rightly so; I want these books to be fantasticvI can't work on all the side projects I used to, which is a little bit sad to me, so I've considered getting some authors that I know and respect who are wanting to break in, writing out a 20,000-word outline and saying, "Okay, take this and make it 90,000 words; let's see what it turns into. I've considered doing that; I don't know if I'll ever actually do it, but I've considered seeing what that would do.

    BILL CUNNINGHAM

    Well, it does have its roots in the old pulp publishing model, where the editor would assign a story concept or a character to a writer, and also, in the 60s there was a gentleman by the name of—and he's somebody I've been researching lately, so he's on my mind as I say this—his name was Lyle Kenyon Engel, and he was a gentleman who gave John Jakes one of his major breaks, and James Reasoner, who was a huge Western author—some of their breaks, and several other very well-known authors of mysteries and genre fiction—their breaks—but he was, in essence, a "book packager". He would come up with the concept; he would pitch the publisher, and say "We're going to create a series of books based around this central character. I will have my writers write it, but this is basically what you're going to get." You know, "Can we put you down for," you know, "this series of eight books, and then we'll go from there." You know, and then he would hire the writers to write for that. Being as you're, you know, in the Wheel of Time now, you know...tremendous opportunity...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Mmhmm.

    BILL CUNNINGHAM

    The drawbacks are that you're working in somebody else's wheelhouse.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yep.

    BILL CUNNINGHAM

    But is that really a drawback?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Well, for this particular project, no. But it's very specific. There are a couple of things going on here. First of all, I read Eye of the World in 1990 in paperback when it first came out and have been reading these books as they came out ever since. I read them through numerous times. One of my favorite authors of all time, if not my favorite author, is Robert Jordan. And so, the chance on the fanboy side...heh. To be perfectly honest, to work on this, to take this master who's inspired me, and then be part of it, is incredible.

    BILL CUNNINGHAM

    I can hear the glee from here.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah. It's amazing. I don't know that I would have said yes to anyone else, because of some of the limitations. Now, another limitation that I don't have to deal with in this that you do have to in other shared worlds is...Harriet, the editor and wife of Robert Jordan, handed me the project and essentially gave me carte blanche, said "Okay, this is your project now. You write this project as you feel you need to write it. Here are the notes." You know, "Don't throw out anything from the notes unless you've got a really good reason, but you're in charge." I'm not just the writer; I'm the project manager and the story developer and all these things wrapped up in one, which is what you're not if you're writing for something like Star Wars. You are one of many; you have to be micro-managed quite a bit, as I understand, when you're writing for one of these type of properties.

    BILL CUNNINGHAM

    [Something about Wikipedia]

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah. I don't have to do that. Now I do have to make sure I'm being consistent with the world and things, but I've got lots of continuity experts in-house who can help me to make sure that that happens, but really, I've got creative control. The final say is with Harriet, but I've got a lot of creative power. And I'm using that to actually not use it very often. Whenever Robert Jordan has something in the notes, I'm using what he said—I'm not taking this and trying to make it my own—but it is incredibly liberating to work on a project like this and also have, at the same time, this creative control. So that's another aspect of it.

    Now, the big limitation is, it doesn't belong to me—which is fine, for this project—but that's the thing you have to get into. Like, when that "book packager" is pitching a series of books, he's gonna own that story from the copyright, which makes me very wary as a writer. The other great thing about being an author as opposed to being in film, or being in television, or even being in music a lot of times is that you, as the writer, own the whole thing. You generally don't sign away characters, worlds, setting, or anything—it's all yours. You have complete control over your story. A publisher like Tor buys the rights generally to publish it in English in North America. That's what they do. They get to package it how they want, they have control over the art and things like that, but the words are mine, and I retain control. The copyright is mine, which is fantastically different than if you're working in the video game industry, for instance. If you're working for a company and you come up with this brilliant, wonderful story, and you've developed it, and you work on it, and you have this amazing video game come out, the company then owns rights to all that, and can do whatever they want with it. The same thing generally with comic books—not always, but a lot of the time—and, you know, what you get instead is a regular paycheck, which for an artist is a pretty nice thing, but you trade off on that creative control, and creative ownership. And in novels you still have that creative ownership. It's the only major entertainment medium where the creator retains ownership so wholly.

    And so, that's the biggest thing that worries me about collaborations and things like that is, you know, who has ownership? This is the last, so-to-speak, line of defense in that. Some other industry executives' minds when they find out... If something gets really big like Harry Potter, Scholastic or Bloomsbury doesn't own that; J. K. Rowling does. And by the corporate-think, that's really ridiculous; they shouldn't be allowing that to happen. But for the artist, it's what's best for the series, I think, and the story, and it allows the artist to be in control. So, yeah. That's the big line of defense, and we are very, very wary in science fiction and fantasy in particular, about letting any sort of contract language slip in which would infringe on that.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    One of the challenges of the translation of Terry Goodkind's novels to the television is the fact that, here you have of these long epic novels that advance, in Terry's case, a particular philosophic position, and you end up with a pretty good [?]—I'm not disparaging the show; I actually really like Legend of the Seeker—but it's very different to watch that kind of slapsticky, samurai-y moment in the middle of Terry Goodkind's story. So I know exactly what you're saying; I think it's a perfect example.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    And just think if they'd been able to do Wizard's First Rule as a complete, one-season epic arc, rather than having to worry about slapstick and things like this.

    Tags

  • 7

    Interview: 2012

    Jestyr (January 2012)

    Seriously...This is the crap I hate - Amazon Kindle Link [The book in question is Blue Moon Rising.]

    Kindle Price - $12.99
    Paperback Price - $6.00

    How is that even close? I will buy this book once the price is reasonable. I am OK playing the same price as a paperback, even though that is still highway robbery.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    The book has been out so long, you have every reasonable right to assume it will be priced much lower than it is. But, in this case, you are also missing an entire piece of the puzzle.

    The paperback listed there is a remaindered version of the trade paperback. Remaindered meaning that Amazon probably didn't buy it from the publisher, but from a wholesaler, who bought it from the publisher at deep discount. The book is officially out of print, and the pricing on the kindle edition reflects the last in print edition—meaning the $15 trade paperback.

    Once again, I agree the book is too high priced. However, ebooks and print books are always going to be handled by different arms of the publishing business—and the different distribution methods are going to create oddities like this. Being mad about this would be like getting mad at finding a $2 copy of an old game in a bargain bin at Walmart when you just saw the downloadable version for $5 on Steam. The only difference here is that for books, Amazon is both Walmart and Steam.

    Tags

  • 8

    Interview: Sep 7th, 2009

    Christian Lindke

    You've talked a bit about your involvement in the Wheel of Time, and I really didn't want this show to focus overly much on that, because I was certain that you, as a writer, have been overly inundated about your involvement in that because so many fantasy fans are excited about that. I really didn't get to ask as many questions as I wanted to—and I'm not going to take you this way—about your system for developing the kind of intricate magic systems in your two series that I've read, or the one series and the one standalone—Elantris and the Mistborn trilogy—cause I'm kind of geeking out about those almost in the way that you are with Robert Jordan—maybe not quite to that extent, but maybe to someone that you've read more recently—but I'm very excited about the novels, and I highly recommend them to those of you out there listening. Brandon's got a very good voice, and it's really nice to find a new fantasy author who isn't telling you the same story you've read fifty times, but is very much within the milieu. But I did want to ask about Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians, your midgrade series. I have not read them, but I have to say—the only thing I've read is the opening sentence which you posted on your website, and I already want to purchase all the books that are available. Your next one comes out in October. Can you tell us briefly what the inspiration was to do them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. One of the functions of getting published like I did—taking as long as I did, and working how I did—when I was trying to break in—and even in those early years when I didn't know about breaking in—one of the things I did was pop frequently from project to project. I didn't write sequels. In fact, I haven't brought this up before, but when I sold Elantris, I was actually on my thirteenth novel. That's how far along I was in the process. Mistborn is my fourteenth, so you can read my sixth and my fourteenth. I felt that if I just sat and wrote sequels in the same world unpublished, number one it would be bad for me professionally because I can't really send book two to a bunch of editors, and say "Hey, look at this!" I can only send book one, so if I wrote six books and only had the first one as something that I could try and entice editors with, then I think it would have been to my detriment. Instead I wanted to have six different books—standalones, and beginnings of series—that I could be sending out, and if[?] I could immediately send them something else, and say "Hey, if there's something you liked in that one, maybe you'll look at this one and see that I'm getting better," or "Maybe you'll like this one better," things like that. That was my philosophy. So I got used to always writing a new setting, a new world, and a new magic each time I wrote a book.

    Partially, also, though, as a writer, this wasn't just market-field, it was because I wanted to develop something that was my own. I mentioned it before—I think that writers should add to the genre, and I myself was a little bit annoyed with the genre in the late '90s and early 2000s. Maybe I've overstated some of the impact that the children's book had because of that, but I don't know. I was one of those that was like, "Really? Do I really need to read yet another book that is about a guy who lives out in the rural woods and discovers that he is the lost king and needs to go find this magical artifact so that he can save the world. Do I really need to read that again?" I mean, Tolkien did a great job of that, and you know what, Robert Jordan did a really good job of that, and you've got Terry Goodkind with...I mean, with so many people telling this story, do we really need another one? And I think the late 90s, at least for me, is when I finally got tired of it, and I'd read Robert Jordan, and I said, "Look, I don't think this can be done better. How can you tell me you can do it better than he's doing it? Why am I going to read your book?" And that influenced me a lot as a writer. When I was trying to break in, I actually tried writing a story like that, cause I felt like that's what everyone wrote, that's what got published, and I got a little ways into it and said, "I just...I can't feel it. What am I doing that's new? What am I adding?"

    And so I was trying a lot of different things. I was trying to explore. Those first six novels of mine, in fact, were—well, the first five in particular—were very different. I wrote several science-fiction novels. I tried a cyberpunk, I tried a social science-fiction, I tried a comedy—I tried lots of different things, trying to find my voice, and at the end, when the dust settled, after doing that, I realized what I wanted to do, and what I wanted to do was kind of the postmodern epic, so to speak. The child of the 80s and 90s who is aware of what happened with the monomyth and all this stuff in science fiction and fantasy, and say "Yeah, what's next? What happens next? And how can I do something different? How can I do something new? Where can we take this genre?" New magic systems, different styles of plot. That's partially where Mistborn came from. Mistborn is the [?] which really doesn't work for books like it does for movies, so realize this isn't the only thing the book's about, but one of the big influences in me writing the book was the idea of me telling the story where the monomyth had happened. The monomyth meaning Joseph Campbell is here with the thousand vases, you know—young hero goes on a quest to defeat the great evil, and what if he failed? What if the Dark Lord won? What if Voldemort at the end of Harry Potter had said, "You're just a stupid kid!" and killed him, and taken over the world? What if Frodo had kept the ring, or Aragorn had kept the ring, or even Sauron had just gotten it back? What happens next? And that's where that trilogy came from.

    Alcatraz is an interesting story because...Mistborn is the first book that I wrote knowing that it was going to get published. It was my fourteenth novel. Always before then, I'd always written just whatever I had felt like next, and it was the first time I had to consider, "Wow. Elantris is getting published. How do I follow it up? What do I do next?" Originally I'd planned to release next a book called The Way of Kings, which was number thirteen—the book I wrote right before Mistborn—and as I was revising Way of Kings, I had this deep-seated feeling that I wasn't ready for Way of Kings. I'd written the first book, and it didn't do yet what I wanted it to do. It was a massive war epic, and was very intricate, enormous world, and thirty magic systems...I mean, it was actually beyond my skill level at the time. And I said, "I need practice writing sequels before I start a massive epic like this." I'd never written a sequel before.

    And that's when I sat down and outlined the Mistborn trilogy, wanting to write an entire trilogy straight through so that I could have beginning, middle and end done by the time the first one came out. And I actually was able to achieve that, as a side note; I had written Hero of Ages by the time The Final Empire, the first book, needed to be in for its final draft, and so I was able to—I think it comes through in the trilogy—I was able to make it completely internally consistent. You don't have the problems in that where you have...in some series where you get a little ways into it and then realize the author's just making stuff up, and trying to...and being self-contradictory, and things like that; I didn't want that to happen, and I think I needed to practice doing that with the training wheels, so to speak, of having them all done before the first one came out—before I tried launching into something where I would just have to trust my outline in order to do that, if that makes any sense at all.

    So, I sat down and wrote the first two Mistborn books back-to-back. First draft done of Mistborn 1, sent off; started the first draft of Mistborn 2, and was revising Mistborn 1 as I was finishing Mistborn 2. I got done with Mistborn 2, and it was the hardest book I've ever written, partially because of the grueling hours I set for myself—I wanted to get these all done—but mostly because I'd never written a sequel before, and I was so used to doing something new with every book that I wrote, and so I had to train myself into writing sequels. And after I got done with Mistborn 2, and was trying to write Mistborn 3, I realized I need, just for my own creative process—the way I've trained myself—I have to do something completely different now. I have to take a break for a little while and just do something off-the-wall in order to reset all of those tumblers in my head, get back, and write the third Mistborn book, because otherwise I felt that I wouldn't be approaching it fresh enough. I wouldn't be approaching it having enough passion for it. I felt I would started it burned out, or at least burn out to the middle of it.

    And so because of that, I sat down with that writing prompt: a one-sentence line that had come to me one time, just when I was hanging out with some friends, and I hurriedly typed into my phone, and said, "Huh, I should write that story one day." And the line was: "So, there I was, tied to an altar made from out-dated encyclopedias, about to get sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil Librarians." And I wanted to do what—I sat down with this—I wanted to do something very different from the Mistborn books. Number one, I wanted to do something humorous. Number two, I wanted to play off of the very things that were in danger of becoming clichés to myself, if that makes sense, to keep myself fresh, to say "I need to go completely different directions so that I don't just become a cliché of myself". And so I wanted to do something very wacky with the magic system that I could never do in an epic fantasy book, because I want those to all feel consistent and scientific. And I wanted to do a first-person narrative instead of a third-person narrative, to do something different again, and I wanted to write for a younger audience. Mostly though, I just wanted to write something off-the-cuff, which was more like a stand-up routine version, or...not a stand-up routine. More like an improv. You know, it's not just joke after joke, but it's an improv story, starting with a kid who discovers that librarians secretly rule the world.

    Partially, at this time, I'd also been reading The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, which has some fascinating aspects and some very annoying ones, the annoying aspects being, I don't like a lot of the cheap tricks he uses narratively to just pull you through the story, cause they get a little old, but beyond that, I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't believe that the Catholic Church, or anyone, has these secret cabals. I mean, they make for great stories, but I don't think that it's there, and so I wanted to tell a silly conspiracy theory book, and so I picked librarians ruling the world. And so what Alcatraz became was a short—for me; 50,000 words—novel that talks about fiction in general. There's a lot of Alcatraz, the narrator, addressing the audience and talking about what literature does, and what authors do. There's a point where he goes off about how authors are sadists—because we want to put you through all these terrible emotions—and explains and talks about it in what is hopefully a humorous way, but kind of digs at the roots of what makes someone want to tell stories.

    And there is a goofy magic system. Everyone in the books who belongs to the Smedry family—he's Alcatraz Smedry; it's a—anyway, they're the Freedom Fighters who resist the Librarians. They all have really dumb magic powers. It's kind of like a Mystery Man sort of thing, if you've seen that movie. Alcatraz's grandfather, who introduces himself near the beginning of the book, has the super-power...um, his super-magical power is that he can arrive late to appointments. Alcatraz in the book meets someone in the book who is really magically good—his power is that he's magically good at tripping. Another guy who is magically good at speaking gibberish. Alcatraz himself has the super-power of breaking things—he's really good at breaking stuff—and I just based these magic powers on silly, goofy things that me or my family do—being late to something is what my Mom always said—and then trying to twist them on their heads. You know, later in the book, Grandpa Smedry will arrive late to a bullet when someone shoots it at him, so it just barely misses him. You know...fun stuff like this, where I take preconceptions and turn them on their heads.

    And that's where Alcatraz came from. I didn't write it saying "I'm going to publish this." I wrote it saying "I need [to write] this." I finished it; I sent it off to my agent, and said, "Surprise, I wrote a different book than you were expecting me to." And he wrote back, and said, "Wow, this is actually pretty good! You wrote it really fast—I can tell; it needs a lot of revision—but I think I could sell this, if you want to put the time into revising it." So over the next year or so, I did some revisions and some drafts and some work on it, and we sent it out, and lo and behold, it had nine publishers want it. Four of them got in a bidding war, and it went sky-high and turned out to be this wonderful thing that Dreamworks Animation actually optioned it before it even came out. And so, yeah. It took on this entire life of its own.

    I sold to Scholastic four novels in a series. I have just finished the fourth one. There may be subsequent volumes, depending on things—particularly depending on if...um, when things calm down for me; the amount of work I have to do right now prohibitive for me entering into another Alcatraz contract; my attention really needs to be on the Wheel of Time at the moment—but, the third one is coming out in October; sometimes they appear on shelves a little bit early. They're a little bit tougher to find in hardcover than my other books because—I've been told, and maybe...I dunno—it seems that children's books...Scholastic likes to market directly to the schools and libraries, and that's their main method of doing it, at least with my books. They've sold as many that way as they have in bookstores, and the bookstores are kind of hit-or-miss on having a copy. Only about half of them get copies in, and so Amazon might be your best bet, or going to your local independent and asking them to order you a copy, and the paperbacks are generally easy to find, but the hardcovers are a little bit tough to find, but the first few chapters are on my website. If you're looking for something that's lighthearted—that's not ridiculous, but it's lighthearted—has some comedy to it, but really has me looking at the novels in the fantasy genre, in specific, from a postmodern view, just trying to break it down and see what it does, and telling a story with it, then you might enjoy the Alcatraz books.

    BILL CUNNINGHAM

    Cool.

    CHRISTIAN LINDKE

    Well, thank you for that answer.

    Tags

  • 9

    Interview: Sep 26th, 2007

    Aidan Moher

    Your web site mentions that Elantris was the sixth novel that you had written, yet the first to be published. What do you think it was about Elantris and the Mistborn novels that managed to capture the attention of a publisher in a way that the precluding novels did not?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My first five books were very experimental. I wrote a comedy, a science fiction, a bunch of different types of things trying to figure out what I was good at and what I wanted to do. When I wrote Elantris I knew I wanted it to be an epic fantasy, and I'd had some practice writing in that style. Also, my big hang-up with my earlier works was editing. I'd finish a project and be so excited about going on to the next project that I wouldn't take the time necessary to make changes. By the time I wrote Elantris I'd learned how to revise, so when I sent it out it was a much more polished product. These two reasons, and the fact that it was a standalone, were what I think made Elantris sell when my earlier stuff did not. Mistborn was actually part of the two-book deal in the contract I got for Elantris, so the publisher bought it sight-unseen. Luckily, they liked it!

    Tags

  • 10

    Interview: Sep 26th, 2007

    Aidan Moher

    Breaking into the field as a writer is a tough task, can you give a little rundown on how your relationship with TOR developed?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the best things you can do as an aspiring writer is learn about editors who publish writing similar to yours, then attend conventions to meet people and make contacts. I met Moshe Feder, a consulting editor at Tor, at World Fantasy Convention in 2001. He agreed to take a look at my work, so I sent him the manuscript for Elantris, my 6th novel. I didn't hear anything from Moshe, so I continued writing and submitting. Elantris sat on Moshe's desk for eighteen months, but eventually he read it, and liked it! I'd moved, so my contact information was no longer correct, but with a little persistence, Moshe managed to track me down and make me an offer for Elantris.

    AIDAN MOHER

    Eighteen months! That's a long time to wait patiently, what can you recommend to aspiring novelists to help them avoid such a fate...but still get their book published!

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I think a writer who has several works to send out, and is actively seeking multiple sources to which to send them, is more likely to get published. Be aware, though, that it is against industry protocol to send a complete manuscript to more than one editor or agent. You can send query letters or partial manuscripts to several sources, but if someone asks for a full manuscript, that person must accept or reject it before you send it to anyone else. It is important to know and follow the submission guidelines for the places to which you send manuscripts.

    Tags

  • 11

    Interview: Oct, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson (20 October 2008)

    Folks,

    This essay I just posted:

    http://www.brandonsanderson.com/article/55/EUOLogy-My-History-as-a-Writer

    Started as a blog post for this thread, talking about the old books I wrote to give context to my previous post. It outgrew the length of a proper forum post, so I put it on the site instead. But this might help you understand some of my history as a writer, not to mention explain the origin of all these old books Ookla that references all the time.

    LIGHTNING EATER

    I remembered a thread from ages ago in which Brandon posted a list of the books he'd written, I looked it up when I realised it wasn't in the article, and I figured you guys might be interested too, so here it is.

    1) White Sand Prime (My first Fantasy Novel)
    2) Star's End (Short, alien-relations sf novel.)
    3) Lord Mastrell (Sequel to White Sand Prime)
    4) Knight Life (Fantasy comedy.)
    5) The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora (Far future sf involving immortal warriors)
    6) Elantris (You have to buy this one!)
    7) Dragonsteel (My most standard epic fantasy
    8) White Sand (Complete rewrite of the first attempt)
    9) Mythwalker (Unfinished at about 600 pages. Another more standard epic fantasy.)
    10) Aether of Night (Stand-Alone fantasy. A little like Elantris.)
    11) Mistborn Prime (Eventually stole this world.)
    12) Final Empire Prime (Cannibalized for book 14 as well.)
    13) The Way of Kings (Fantasy War epic. Coming in 2008 or 2009)
    14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (Coming June 2006)
    15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Early 2007)
    16) Alcatraz Initiated (YA Fantasy. Being shopped to publishers)
    17) Mistborn: Hero of Ages (Unfinished. Coming late 2007)
    18) Dark One (Unfinished. YA fantasy)
    19) Untitled Aether Project (Two sample chapters only.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Thanks for posting that. Note that I can never quite remember which was first, Aether or Mistborn Prime. I always feel that Aether should be first, since it wasn't as bad as the two primes, but thinking back I think that the essay is more accurate and I wrote it between them.

    This would be the new list:

    1) White Sand Prime (My first Fantasy Novel)
    2) Star's End (Short, alien-relations sf novel.)
    3) Lord Mastrell (Sequel to White Sand Prime)
    4) Knight Life (Fantasy comedy.)
    5) The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora (Far future sf involving immortal warriors)
    6) Elantris (First Published)
    7) Dragonsteel (My most standard epic, other than the not-very-good Final Empire prime.)
    8 ) White Sand (Complete rewrite of the first attempt, turned out much better.)
    9) Mythwalker (Unfinished at about 600 pages. Another more standard epic fantasy.)
    10) Aether of Night (Stand-Alone fantasy. A little like Elantris.)
    11) Mistborn Prime (Shorter fantasy, didn't turn out so well.)
    12) Final Empire Prime (Shorter fantasy, didn't turn out so well.)
    13) The Way of Kings Prime (Fantasy War epic.)
    14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (Came out 2006)
    15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Came out 2007)
    16) Alcatraz Verus the Evil Librarians (Came out 2007)
    17) Mistborn: Hero of Ages (Came out 2008)
    18) Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones (Came out 2008)
    19) Warbreaker (Comes out June 2009)
    20) Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia (November 2009ish)
    21) A Memory of Light (November 2009ish. Working on it now. Might be split into two.)
    22) The Way of Kings Book One (2010ish. Not started yet.)
    23) Alcatraz Four (2010. Not started yet)

    PETER AHLSTROM

    Will elements of your untitled Aether project be worked into the Dragonsteel series?

    The Silence Divine (Working title. Stand alone Epic Fantasy. Unwritten.)
    Steelheart (YA Science Fiction. Unwritten)
    I Hate Dragons (Middle Grade fantasy. Maybe an Alcatraz follow up. Unwritten.)
    Zek Harbringer, Destroyer of Worlds (Middle Grade Sf. Maybe an Alcatraz follow up. Unwritten.)
    These titles are news to me. You described two potential YA or middle-grade books to me and Karen when you came out to Book Expo, plus Dark One, but now I can't remember the plots except they were cool (and that one of them involved superheroes). Are they among this list? Also, is that really Harbringer or is it supposed to be Harbinger?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Bah! That's what I get for typing so quickly. Yes, Harbinger. It should be "Zeek" too. Short for Ezekiel.

    Steelheart would be the superhero one, though that's a working title, since I'm not sure if it's trademarked or not. Haven't had much time for thinking about any of these books lately.

    PETER AHLSTROM (OCTOBER 20)

    Brandon, here you said Alcatraz 4 is called Alcatraz vs. The Dark Talent; is that still the working title? Also, you mentioned Dragonsteel: The Lightweaver of Rens, but now you say The Liar of Partinel is a standalone. Change of plans? (I know you can't get back to Dragonsteel for a while.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The Alcatraz titles are in flux because I need to know if Scholastic wants the fifth one or not. (They only bought four.) Dark Talent will be one of them for certain.

    The Liar of Partinel was part of a two-part story told hundreds of years before the Dragonsteel epic. However, since I've dropped plans to go with Liar anytime soon—A Memory of Light has priority, followed by Way of Kings—I don't know what I'll end up doing with the second book, or if I'll ever even write it. I was planning on not calling either of these "Dragonsteel" in print, actually, and just letting people connect the two series on their own. It wouldn't be hard to do, but I didn't want the first actual book in the main storyline to be launched by Tor as "Book Three" since there would be such a large gap of time.

    Tags

  • 12

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (10 March 2012)

    I've been thinking lately of ways to give away digital copies of my books when you buy a hardcover. There are some issues with this.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I don't know much about the logistics; it may be impossible. If there is a way to make this work, I'd propose it to Tor and Harriet for A Memory of Light.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Here's a reddit thread where I mention issues with the process. Weigh in here or in that thread to give me advice.

    SABERJ

    The only way I could think of would be to include one-time use codes with the books. But what's to stop people from selling?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah. The other problem with that is securing the code. Books aren't wrapped up, so the code could be scratched off/stolen easily.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    My preferred method would be to put a code in a book that, then, you can redeem for free or a small price. But how do we secure it?

    NIC JOHNSON

    You don't. Your stuff is already being pirated and publishers shouldn't consider those lost sales. Trust people a la Apple.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'm not worried about piracy. However, a digital code that can be used many times seems foolish. A one-use would be stolen.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    One use has to be secured, or the person buying the book is in danger of being ripped off.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Multi-use means that we're hosting the book, and paying the bandwidth, for those who want to pirate. Bad idea, I think.

    NIC JOHNSON

    I'll host it for you. :) No charge.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Lol. One other problem is that this needs to be reasonable enough to the publisher's ears to get them to go along.

    NIC JOHNSON

    My point exactly. Big Pub doesn't get the new model. They consider pirated copies as lost sales. See Seth Godin for new model.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The publishers aren't as ignorant as you think. The investors, however, are another story. (You're right about them.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Tor has done plenty of giving away free, DRM-free ebooks. They did it with Mistborn, for example.

    NIC JOHNSON

    Ah! To me as an outsider they are one and the same. :)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Publishers and editors in sf/f tend to be techies. Notice that Cory Doctorow, with Tor's blessing, releases all of his books for free.

    SABERJ

    How is Marvel doing it? They don't tend to wrap Comics either.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I think you order directly from them, and they send you the comic and deliver through their own secure app.

    ANNE BURNER

    Baen used to put a CD copy of the book inside the hardcover versions of @davidweber1 Honor Harrington books.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I asked if we could do that, and the answer was that it was expensive enough it couldn't become the standard.

    WES QUINT

    Maybe like a gift card where it's only active after purchase?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, this is probably the best idea. I don't know how hard that is to accomplish, though.

    SABERJ

    A lot of textbooks used to include a disc in the book for additional material. Discs are a bit harder to steal than codes.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Textbooks also have a much larger profit margin than novels. I asked about discs for my last book, and the publisher said no.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    They said it was just too expensive.

    BENJYMOUS

    Old school tech, I know, but how about a coupon you have to fill in with your email address then post back to the publisher?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ha. You know, I never thought about that. The problem is, how do we keep people from stealing them out of the books?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    People with a nice hardcover don't want to cut their book apart to get a coupon.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Here are a couple of problems with what people are suggesting. 1) We don't want to shrink wrap books, but a code can be stolen very easily.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Anything involving the retailer verifying a code, or printing one out, requires large-scale involvement of retailers.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That's not something I can change. They may be working on this already. I want something I could take to Tor, that we could do in house.

    TEREZ

    Or if you're talking about securing the code in the book...it seems easy enough with textbooks. Peel-off? :)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    People would walk into the store, peel off the sticker, write down the code, then sell it or use it.

    BRAD LICKMAN

    How do you stop people from sharing a hardcover copy?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The physical product can be made to set off an alarm. A code can be copied and carried out.

    ANDREW YAGER

    Could codes be single use? That would largely get around the securing problem?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    People would walk into the store, write down the code, go home and download the book.

    KYLE

    What about one-time scratch codes like what's used on gift cards?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Those are usually activated by the retailer. I'd love for us to be able to do that, but it would involve more than I can do.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Another issue with this is that if I did it, I would need it to work for indy booksellers and not just Amazon/Barnes & Noble.

    BRAD LICKMAN

    Can you sell the digital copy at http://tor.com, which provides a coupon for the hardcover?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    This is actually what I proposed to Tor a few years back, and they said they didn't want to offend the retailers.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I still like the idea, though.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I won't have time to reply to everyone here, but keep sending thoughts. I'll read and see if I can come up with something to take to Tor.

    BEN FOXWORTHY

    How about this: Put the code in the book. Don't secure it. Each code works three times. Hope people don't abuse it.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That risks punishing the person who buys the book (but their code has been stolen and used.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON (12 MARCH)

    More on the A Memory of Light ebook thing. What would you guys think if I tried to talk Tor into a 'special edition' release.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    A kind of 'boxed set' that came with hardcover, ebook, audiobook, a medallion or other keepsake, and maybe some interviews with me & Harriet.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Shrink wrapped & sold at bookstores for, say, $50 instead of $30? Does that get too far away from the 'free ebook w/the hardcover' concept?

    TEREZ

    It does seem to defeat the purpose, as far as most people would be concerned. Though many would buy it.

    DAVE PUTNAM (22 MARCH)

    A Memory of Light e-book release announced with three month gap. Can you explain the rationale behind this? Lot of vitriol on Tor site.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Harriet worries, among other things, at the impact on the bestseller lists by releasing at the same time.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ebooks make her uncomfortable.

    FYODOR

    Making us wait three three months for the A Memory of Light ebook is very obnoxious and shows contempt for the fan base. I have been reading...

    FYODOR

    ...WOT since 1992 and deeply resent this type of staggering.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I've been working on it. The delay is not Tor, but Harriet, who worries at the implications of releasing an ebook immediately.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    She originally wanted a six month, or longer, delay. I was able to persuade her to move to three months.

    Tags

  • 13

    Interview: Sep 18th, 2010

    Question

    Why did he choose to release Chapter 8 [of Towers of Midnight]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He said it was strategic, because he knew that the prologue would be up for sale, and chapters 1 and 2 would be up for free on Tor's site. As well, chapters 3, 4 etc. wouldn't have worked "because they build upon each other. Chapter 1 builds on the Prologue, Chapter 2 on Chapter 1, etc." And thus, chapter 8 was the earliest chapter that would work as a teaser without spoiling earlier things or getting in the way of the other early releases. He also confirmed that, yes, chapter 8 is the first Mat POV in the book.

    Tags

  • 14

    Interview: 2012

    exteras (April 2012)

    Of course, the comic industry isn't quite the same as the publishing industry, as Marvel and DC both have their own apps on the iPad/Android. No middle-man. But I can't believe that the publishing industry hasn't considered a solution like this to keep paper books relevant. In fact, I feel like Barnes and Noble would jump all over something like this: Buy a book in their store, and get a free (or even a $1) digital copy on the Nook.

    Brandon Sanderson (April 2012)

    It's an issue that I've busted my mind trying to figure out. There are several ways to do this, all somewhat problematic.

    1) Work directly with someone like B&N. This requires them to sell the digital copy alongside the print edition, probably at the register. Kind of a "Oh, you bought the hardcover. Would you like the digital add-on for a buck?" Then they give you a slip of paper with your digital code on it. There are huge logistical issues here. Not insurmountable, but still tough. How many books do you do this with? All new books? How do you keep all of those slips separate? Do you have a machine that prints one with a code? Who pays for the infrastructure? What happens to all of those slips once a book rotates out of being new? We already have trouble with advance copies being snatched by booksellers (or other) and offering them up for sale on ebay when they were intended to be review copies. (Printed at a high cost and given for booksellers to read.) I could see this, without careful management, going the same way.

    Also, what about all of your independent booksellers who are already up in arms about B&N and Amazon getting all of the preferential treatment? What do you do about them? Let them give away an ebook too? It would have to be multi-format, and that means printing and shipping them all the slips on your end.

    2) Print a code in the book itself. Easiest answer, I think, but it offers a huge problem. Books are not usually a sealed product. People like to flip through them on the shelves. So how do you hide the code? Make it inactive until it is scanned at the register, like some gift cards? I don't know how much work is required for this. It seems like less than the one above, but still requires and infrastructure change.

    This is much, MUCH easier to do with a sealed product like DVDs or CDs.

    If anyone has suggestions on how to make this all work, I'd love to hear them. I've proposed giving away digital copies of my books with the hardcovers before, and Tor as scratched its head trying to figure out how to make it all work.

    Edits: Logical flow, typo fixes.

    EDIT TWO: It has been mentioned on twitter that maybe, a code could be printed on the receipt. Much easier than a method I mentioned above—but the problem remains that it's not something that I can do alone. I MIGHT be able to get a code in my books, if we can secure them somehow. I alone can't get retailers to change so they print something out and give it to a customer. I'm mostly curious about something I can take to Tor, as a suggestion, that we could maybe get to work for the last Wheel of Time book or my future hardcover releases.

    warriormuse

    What about the system Baen uses? They include a CD with the book in multiple formats already.

    Granted, that increases the overhead for the publisher. And the ISO is able to be spread online.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm intending to try this again. When I asked last time, they were hesitant because of the cost. (About a buck.) However, that was for one of my books before I hit the level of popularity I have now. The Wheel of Time is something else entirely. Something that might be prohibitive for another book because of small print runs could be much more cost effective here.

    However, perhaps a code/CD plus shrink wrapping for certain books might be a good way to go. If we released most copies like normal, but did a certain percentage of them packaged like this with a code for a digital download, maybe it would work.

    dceighty8

    On this note does anyone know if the ebook release of A Memory of Light will be at the same time as the paper copy? I would prefer to buy it on my kindle over purchasing the physical copy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    <>This is basically what I'm working on. I don't know yet if Harriet will want to delay the ebook launch or not. She did last time, but things have moved quickly in the ebook world since then. Her main reason for delaying was worries over how the New York Times bestseller list accounted ebooks.

    She might not delay the launch this time. If she wants to, I might have a better chance of getting her to agree on a special edition with ebook included in the hardcover than I will persuading her to push the ebook launch up. It's one of the reasons I'm exploring this concept now.

    demooo

    Okay Mr. Sanderson, here are my two ideas, but I don't know if they are actually feasible.

    Disclaimer: if it turns out I'm fantastic with these ideas, please forward me a copy of A Memory of Light in the next week.

    1. Can you know just have two copies released at most stores? One copy would be the non-shrink-wrapped regular book. The other copy would be the 1-3$ more expensive shrink-wrapped copy with the digital code. Or keep the hardback copy+digital behind the counter.

    2. Include a scratch-off-code in all the books, but sell the copy at the normal price. The code will require a 3$ activation fee when you activate it online. I realize that the possibility for theft is still there, but I would assume if someone is going to illegally scratch the code and pay 3$, torrenting the book would be the first choice.

    Release A Memory of Light early. I know it will help.

    kaladin_stormblessed

    1 is a fantastic idea. I've got Avenging Spider-man in my pull (which comes with the digital copy), and this is pretty much how they run it. Comic is in a sealed baggie. They don't offer a version without a digital copy (that I know of anyway) however.

    I think your idea is the most feasible on here.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think this is one of the main options I'm going to try.

    precisionesports

    Hello people of the internet. I`d like to introduce you to.... email.

    Most retailers have them anyways. You buy a book, give your email.

    Receive email with direct download link or (heaven forbid) a torrent to relieve stresses on sites selling fast selling books. Harry Potter comes to mind.

    Done and done.

    Edit: Most B&N stores, among others already use a web based sales format. They just need a small code entry to create a drop box. Containing the Distributor code, and book name.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think Tor is more likely to want to use Tor.com as a method for this, as getting people to sign up for that (which is free, but includes an optional newsletter) could be valuable for them. When they gave out Mistborn for free, this was how the approached it. Sign up for our website, and we'll send you a book via email.

    jasonlotito

    Scrap number 1. Independent booksellers are awesome. I bought your last book through one.

    Print a code in the book itself. Good solution. Proper solution.

    Your problem is that it's supposedly easy to "steal the code". This makes a massive assumption, and ignores existing evidence.

    First, you aren't the first one to think of this. People already include codes for ebooks in their books. I know this is done fairly often in the tech industry (programming books often allow you to get access to an ebook. Granted, the market is much smaller than what you are probably used to by now, but the target market is also more tech savvy. They know how to pirate the book, even without the code.

    And that brings us to the second point: pirating. People who would copy the code can easily obtain your manuscript online already. In fact, getting the code would be far more trouble then it's worth. They have to go to a store, find a copy, write the code down, go all the way back home... or they could simply go one of a few places and have a copy in minutes.

    So, this brings us to the third point: who would go to a book store with the expressed desire of picking up your book? Your fans! People who already buy and pay for your books. People who want you to write more. People who want to see you finish your multiple series. And I'd be hard pressed to believe that your fans would open up a copy of the book, copy the code, and use that at home. They know what that costs them.

    And even if they did, would they have really purchased your book? Really? What your suggesting is that someone who loves your work, who has followed it, goes to the bookstore with the expressed intention of copying the code and leaving. That's pretty far fetched. Even the MPAA and RIAA can't come up with numbers that support these sentiments (industries that, despite all the doomsayers, continue to grow and earn massive profits).

    Yes, a few people might steal the code. And frankly, any system that accepts these codes will need to be lenient in the codes usage. But the reality is this:

    1.People will violate your copyright, code or no code.

    2.Having a code won't make it any easier.

    3.Having a code will only provide additional value to your paying readers.

    In the end, the only people who would abuse this are people that weren't going to buy the book at first anyways. You should try this out. You might be surprised.

    K.I.S.S. =)

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't disagree with anything you've said here. However, you've got to understand that I need to deal with the realities of a large business with investors and corporate overseers.

    Tor is not afraid of piracy, as I've said elsewhere. They give away DRM-free books, and have done so with mine. They let me give away on my website one of my books DRM-free in its entirety two years before it was released in stores. However, accepting that people will pirate and hosting the method they will use to pirate are different things entirely.

    The Wheel of Time is not something that the publisher wants to experiment with. It is a known quantity, the biggest bestseller for the company by a mile. Things we could get away with for a new author that the company views as being 'built' are not going to work for the Wheel of Time simply because this will have a 'why rock the boat?' kind of attitude.

    That's why I'm looking for something for this book that won't rock the boat quite so much. We can rock the boat on my own books, which are still growing, rather than the company's baby.

    Footnote

    This topic started about Marvel now offering free eComic with physical purchase, and how it should be that way in the publishing idustry. A Memory of Light will not have a free ebook with the hardback.

    Tags

  • 15

    Interview: May, 2012

    Nalini Haynes

    You’ve been nominated for and have won several awards, but what kept you going before this kind of affirmation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The hardest point for me was when I was trying to break in. I wrote thirteen novels before I sold one.

    Nalini Haynes

    Wow. Congratulations for persevering.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I say that to people and sometimes my editors shake their heads and say, ‘Don’t tell people that; they’ll think that you’re awful.’

    I was not very good at this when I started. I think a lot of authors do that. I’ve come to realise that the thing holding me back for a lot of years was the unwillingness to revise. I was one of those authors who like to write a book, be done with it and move on. Then I would say, ‘Oh, I’ll write the next one really well.’ I liked writing. I really enjoyed that process, but there were some tough years in there, particularly after I started feeling that I was writing things that were really good, that were publishable, that were quite solid and I still kept getting rejections. People kept telling me the books I was writing were too long, I kept sending in these big massive epic fantasies.

    [Nalini pulls her copy of Way of Kings forward.]

    Yes. They kept saying these were too big and people aren’t really buying epic fantasy now...this is what the editors were saying.

    Nalini Haynes

    So that’s a fashion thing in the industry.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. Mm-hm. I don’t know if they were right or not, but that’s what they were saying. So I decided to try writing what I felt the market was doing, and started chasing the market a little bit. I failed at that: I wrote a couple of books that were just awful. That’s the point when I really had my moment of ‘why am I doing this? What am I doing here?’ This was in 2001, maybe early 2002.

    I kind of had to make the decision that I was doing this for me. I was writing books because I loved books; I was doing it because I loved writing. I was going to write the type of book that I wanted to write. I had to decide I didn’t care if I didn’t get published. I decided I would keep writing books until I died, even if I ended up with seventy-five novels unpublished. I actually made that decision.

    The next book I wrote was The Way of Kings, throwing away all the stuff that people said to me. They tell me my books are too long, and I wrote a book that was twice as long as any book I had written before. They were telling me my books were too expensive, so I wrote one with thirty interior illustrations.

    While I was working on Way of Kings I actually sold my sixth book, which was Elantris, one of the ones I had written in the era when I really felt I was doing good work, before I decided to try chasing the market. At that point it was like: ‘Oh, I just sold one of those!’ It actually worked out for me, but it was about eighteen months after I made that decision, that I eventually sold a book in 2003. Since then I’ve had the conviction that I do this because I love it. I haven’t had to have the affirmation to push me along, but it’s great that people do enjoy my books. I certainly wouldn’t be making a living at it if people didn’t enjoy it, but I’d still be writing.

    Tags

  • 16

    Interview: May, 2012

    Nalini Haynes

    Because you just love writing so much.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s what I do. It’s who I am. During the years before, I worked the graveyard shift at a hotel so I could write while I was at work. I don’t know if I’d have been able to keep doing that at minimum wage, but maybe, I don’t know. I probably would have had to find a job where I could do some writing at work or that left me with writing brain space. I don’t know what I would have ended up doing. I do have a Masters, so maybe I would have gone on and taught English, I don’t know. I’m glad it worked out. I’m not really trained for anything else.

    Tags

  • 17

    Interview: May, 2012

    Nalini Haynes

    I have been told that Way of Kings has been set in the same universe as Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is. All of my epic fantasies have been set in the same universe.

    Nalini Haynes

    Are they on different planets?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are different planets, but there is a character who is in every one of them. The same character is in Warbreaker and in Mistborn. There are other characters who appear here and there and cross between the books.

    Nalini Haynes

    Who is the character?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In Warbreaker he is the storyteller, Hoid, with the dust, and he’s the King’s Wit from Way of Kings. If you read Mistborn, he is named Hoid in each of those as well. In Alloy of Law and Well of Ascension, he is not named but is only there to be picked out by description, but in the others he’s named. I did this because, during those early days writing books, I wrote thirteen, as I said earlier.

    I love the big epics. You can’t be a Wheel of Time fan without loving big epics. I wanted to tell a big epic, but early on it seemed to me that writing a whole bunch of books in the same series was a bad way to break in. If an editor rejects the first one, you can’t really send in the second one.

    So, while hunting editors, I wrote thirteen books that were all different worlds, different settings. I started having characters sneakily move between them, to be building, setting the stage for a grand epic that I would tell later on, behind the scenes. So from the get go, from Elantris, this was all planned because this is something I been doing in my books since then.

    Tags

  • 18

    Interview: 2012

    Twitter 2012 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (13 September 2012)

    The prologue ebook for A Memory of Light, "By Grace and Banners Fallen," is up for preorder on Dragonmount. Other vendors to follow.

    Austin Moore

    After prologue is released on October 2nd, will you be able to say which part of it was all RJ?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Sam Tills

    Will this be part of the whole book when it comes out, or will it only be sold separately?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tor and Harriet like to sell the prologue early as a separate ebook. It will be the same one in the final book.

    Brian LeP

    I know that this isn't your idea, but selling the prologue is a brutal cash grab. I'll save my $3 and wait for the book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have made it clear both to fans and Tor that I do not like this process. But you are right, I do not get to choose.

    Jasmin

    No normal book??? Only an ebook??

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tor releases the prologue of each WoT early as a for-sale ebook. It is the same one that will be in the print edition in January.

    Footnote

    On September 17, the prologue showed up for sale on Google Books in Canada, including some revealing previews that tempted fans (aside from the Canadians who were able to buy it) to piece together the prologue from Google Book searches. Predictably, chaos ensued.

    Peter Ahlstrom (17 September)

    I blame Canada.

    sleepinghour

    Last time it was some guy in China with an early Towers of Midnight copy. But Canada was the dark horse nobody saw coming. #amolgate

    Terez

    I hope moving up release date is a possibility, elsewise a little black market will emerge very soon...

    Footnote

    I should disclose that I was essentially the ringleader of the put-the-prologue-together team, but I wasn't trying to make a threat here. It wasn't even my idea, and if I hadn't organized it, someone else would have; that's just how things go in the WoT world. But I was really referring to the possibility that some of the Canadians would share the whole prologue, or even sell it.

    Terez

    I'm going to pretend like Brandon did this on purpose. #wotgh

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Now I just blame Google. What a cluster****.

    sleepinghour (September 18)

    What's sad about the prologue leak is that Harriet and others in publishing will likely see this as proof ebook releases should be delayed.

    Mike Beckwith

    Wow. I know I'd be pretty pissed. Wonder how Sanderson feels about it. @BrandSanderson Spoiler thoughts?

    sleepinghour

    Google's stopped the sale now, but some people already have copies and shared spoilers. So Harriet & Co. probably aren't happy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not fond of spoilers, but I can't see the original comment, so I don't know the specifics of this discussion.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This sort of thing happens. I don't really mind, personally. Harriet is probably upset, however.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you're the type who wants the $2.99 A Memory of Light prologue ebook, it will be available September 19th instead of October 2nd.

    Brandon Stetter

    Is that correct? The ebook will be available tomorrow instead of October 2nd? Pre-order or not?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I believe so.

    Austin Moore (September 19)

    Was the RJ part of the prologue the Bayrd scene?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, actually. It was the Isam part, though I filled in a hole in the middle of the scene.

    Tor Nordam

    Looking forward to it. But do you know when it'll be available in Europe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know, I'm afraid. That is up to the UK publisher, and I don't think ebooks are as big a concern to them as they are here.

    Étienne Bausson

    Where can European people get it from? Dragonmount won't sell it to me. Do I have to go for a torrent?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The problem is that Tor doesn't have rights to sell it in Europe. It's a frustrating system, but Orion UK has the European rights.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The system made more sense back before ebooks; a European company needed assurance US publishers wouldn't flood their markets.

    Étienne Bausson

    I will check Orion UK once at work. Thanks for the tip!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Warning: they might have been planning to release it in October. This whole "Release it two weeks early" thing surprised us.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's because of leaked copies in Canada. (Also, it's Orbit in UK—not Orion. I get them mixed up.)

    Aulis Vaara (20 September)

    What is your opinion on the North American exclusivity of the A Memory Of Light prologue?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's because Tor doesn't have rights to sell anywhere else; Orbit UK has those rights. If you want the book, ask them.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wish Orbit had it out too, and I'm seeing what I can do. But it is their call.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tor has a post indicating that the A Memory of Light prologue ebook is now for sale in select countries outside the U.S.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Note that this doesn't include countries where Orbit UK has rights to the books. To buy it there, you'll need to ask them to release it.

    Danny Hooper

    Who do we contact to ask them to release it? Is there an email address we can write to?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They have a form on their website. That might work.

    Michael

    Where can Australian fans get a copy of the WOT release?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Orbit UK owns the rights. They'd have to either release it or authorize Dragonmount. You can email them through their website.

    Lane Thompson

    Is the prologue going to come out in audio or do I need to pick it up the written down on magic pixel paper version?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No audio I'm aware of. (Until the full book is out, of course.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, just saw that there was one. Never mind.

    Marc Taylor

    Any idea as to when will Weller @WellerBookWorks starts taking autograph orders for A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not sure.

    Daniel Shepard (21 September)

    By grace and banners fallen. Was that your line or RJ's? Exquisitely eloquent if I say so myself.

    Brandon Sanderson

    How bad is this? I honestly can't remember. It's one of my favorite lines, but I don't know if it was in the notes or not.

    Jonny Nilsson

    Will it be possible to order A Memory of Light signed, like the previous two books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it should be.

    Brandon Sanderson (24 September)

    Jason of Dragonmount writes the world's first review of A Memory of Light in the form of a touching letter to Robert Jordan.

    Tags

  • 19

    Interview: Sep 22nd, 2012

    Question

    When are you going to write the last Alcatraz?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I bought the rights back from the publisher, I didn't like how they were being handled. That was February I think, and they have a six month sell off period till the rights officially reverted. So what's six months after February? We basically just got them officially back. And so I'm looking for trying to squeeze that in sometime next year.

    Question

    That's the one I want you to finish the most.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And once I get it done, I will probably just post it on my website for a digital download or something like that, just for the people who want it. Then we'll worry about how to get a print edition.

    Tags

  • 20

    Interview: Jan 12th, 2013

    Question

    Writing Life: How did you sell Elantris?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was hard, but it gets easier as you go. An editor can see in one page who has been training for years on their writing. You have to practice for years, and have good writing habits. For example, I was working on book 13 when I sold book 6. Just learn, adapt, and network.

    Tags

  • 21

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    How are your plans for Stormlight Two doing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am trying to get done for a fall, late fall release this year. Harriet snickers at me when I say that, because she knows that the chances of that actually happening are kind of slim. It could happen. It's more likely that it would be spring the following year, but I'm going to try. I'm going to try very hard. I'm about forty percent of the way through the first draft; the problem is never first draft, though; revisions take a long time on a book this big. Rothfuss once described it as, "It's like ninety percent awesome, but you don't want to release something that's only ninety percent awesome, and that last ten percent is really hard to get to sometimes." So we'll see.

    Harriet McDougal

    And then, production on an enormous book is also very time-consuming, and the way I think of it is, there will be Gelusil on coffee carts at Tor, or other remedies for stomach upsets. They say, "You want this book by when?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tom, who runs Tor, is optimistic, though I noticed he had little stickers—there's copies of Way of Kings to give out as prizes, and they have a sticker on it that says, "Watch for the sequel in late 2013."

    Tags

  • 22

    Interview: Nov, 2012

    Szabó Dominik

    What was it like to attend the classes of such renowned authors as David Farland at university?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dave's class was fantastic. It was really different from attending my regular college courses, because a lot of those people were good writers, but they hadn't ever published professionally. They didn't know the business, and Dave did. It was a turning point in my career where I was able to listen to a writer who had actually made a living out of it and could talk about the real world of writing. It was just really eye-opening for me to meet someone like that, to listen to them and hear their advice. It was wonderful, and Dave's a fantastic writer as well.

    Tags

  • 23

    Interview: Jun 3rd, 2011

    Helen O'Hara

    Speaking of adaptations, of course, you've taken over Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and sped up the pace of the story considerably, so as a long-time reader there, thank you for that!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Credit needs to be given to Robert Jordan; he started to speed up in Book 11 [Knife of Dreams]. In fact, I've read interviews where he admits that the focus was a little bit wrong in Book 10 [Crossroads of Twilight], which is the one that the fans complain about being the most slow, and he himself changed that for Book 11 and picked up the pacing. And I like spectacular endings. When I build my books, I start from the end and work forward with my outline. I write from beginning to end, but I outline end to beginning, because I always want to know that I have a powerful, explosive ending that I'm working toward. Endings are my deal: if a book or a film doesn't have a great ending, I find it wanting. It's like the last bite, the last morsel on the plate, so I get very annoyed with the standard Hollywood third act, because they seem to play it most safe in Act Three, and that's where I most want to be surprised and awed. That's where it's got to be spectacular. You've got to give the reader something they're not expecting, something they want but don't know it, in that last section.

    Helen O'Hara

    Does that go for something like your Mistborn Trilogy; did you start with the end of the trilogy or go book-by-book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I plotted all three backwards and then wrote them all forwards. I had a great advantage writing those books, because I sold my first book, Elantris, in 2003. The nature of how books are 'slotted' into release dates is that a new author doesn't get the best slot. They want to give each author a good launch, but they can't give them in the really prime slots. So we had a two-and-a-half year wait, and usually you have a year between books. That meant I had three-and-a-half years before Mistborn would be out, so I pitched the entire trilogy together and wrote all three before the first one came out.

    Helen O'Hara

    Is that something you have in common with Robert Jordan, because re-reading the prologue to the first book you think, 'This guy knows how it's going to end'.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He actually wrote the ending that I worked towards. The last pages were written by him before he passed away. He always spoke of knowing the ending, so I think we do share that. He was a bit more of an explorer in his writing than I am. He knew where he was going, but getting there he wove around a lot. You can see that in the notes I've been given; he jumps from scene to scene. So there's a difference there, but he really loved endings. And that ending is really great; I think fans are going to love it.

    Tags

  • 24

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2011

    Epic Games

    How do you think the digital space is changing the publishing industry?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's doing a lot of things. It is making it easier for people who don't frequently read books to run across books. I'm hoping that people who love to play their Infinity Blade games will see the story there and download it, and remember that they once loved to read books. Because a lot of people who are playing games read occasionally. I've found that most people, when they read a good book, say, "Wow, I really do like reading great books. Why don't I do this more often?" It's just a factor of that it slips our mind or we don't find time, or video games and movies are really flashy and books are anything but flashy. But there's just a wonderful experience to reading a book. I think there's space for all of these things, and I hope that more people can discover and be reminded of why they love books.

    It's also taking away some of the constraints. Book length is no longer as much of a factor as it used to be. You can have a really long book or a really short book, and the binding doesn't dictate the length of your story, which I really like.

    Tags

  • 25

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2011

    Epic Games

    What are the benefits of people becoming more comfortable consuming their books, games, etc. digitally?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Certainly there's just a convenience factor. In book sales, we lost a big convenience factor during the 90s and early 2000s, and that is that we lost mall stores. A lot of the bookstores in malls went away. And a lot of the distribution to little gas stations and corner stores went away, for various reasons that I can't explain in the length of this interview. Basically, our science fiction and fantasy books lost a lot of the places where readers could pick them up. As I said before, a lot of people when they run across a good book and start reading it, they love it. Yet now they don’t have as many opportunities to come across books. Recently they've been having to go to one of these big box stores, they have to make reading a destination. Because of that, all the people who would pick up a cool science fiction book that they would see in their corner store aren't reading anymore. Hopefully if we can show them books on their phone or in their game, they'll be reminded, and we can replace those distribution methods we lost with these new distribution methods where we can sell books for half the price and deliver them right to you in the moment of super convenience. I'm hoping this will encourage more people to look into our stories.

    Tags

  • 26

    Interview: Feb 11th, 2013

    Aegon

    I don't have a report. I brought my 3 year old and was focused on keeping her happy, so I didn't take notes. Off the top of my head, two days later, I remember some things:

    Brandon Sanderson

    The publisher for the Alcatraz series wasn't taking the books in the direction BS wanted, so he recently bought-back the rights to the series and plans to continue writing according to his own plan.

    Tags

  • 27

    Interview: Feb 11th, 2013

    Question

    Are you planning on continuing to the fifth book of the Alcatraz series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Am I planning to continue to the fifth book of the Alcatraz series, which are my middle grade and young adult wacky fantasy books? The answer is yes. I did not like what the publisher was doing with the Alcatraz series, so I actually bought the rights back as part of agreement last year, which gave them until January to continue selling the books, and then I got the rights back in January. But they didn't want to do the fifth book for various reasons, and so I bought them all back and am now planning on how to get them back out there. I've given my UK publisher the right to distribute in the US, so they should have distribution again. And so I'll do the fifth book sometime this year. I will initially probably just put it on my web site to read because you've been waiting for so long, and then we'll worry about getting it printed somehow. [applause]

    Tags

  • 28

    Interview: Feb 14th, 2013

    Kazmero

    For the Q&A he went closer to an hour than the scheduled half an hour, which was greatly appreciated.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He answered questions regarding his writing practice (at least 2000 words per day), the editing process of WOT, and strategies for working with more than one editor at a publishing house to get your own book published.

    Kazmero

    I also know that he asked each person that brought a book to get signed if they had any questions for him. It was fun for each of us to take a few minutes here and there to listen to the variety of questions and answers.

    Tags

  • 29

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Question

    Mr. Sanderson, I noticed that Utah seems to be producing a lot of writers lately, You, Dan Wells, and Larry Correia come to mind offhand. Do you have any insight as to why Utah has been producing a lot of Science Fiction and Fantasy writers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, a lot of people ask this. I think it has to do with the fact that once a community gets started, they lift each other up. For instance, I gave Dan the contact info for my editor. Larry Correia, when he was publishing, got some help from some people locally. And what happens is you see people kind of helping each other out. It started with Orson Scott Card, way back when. And that started a class at Brigham Young University, it was 'How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy', which I took. And it's not that there's any sort of inside club or thing, it's just that, you see people being successful. It becomes more possible for you. And, like for instance, I took this class, it was taught by Dave Farland, who writes the Runelords, which is a fantasy series. It's quite good. And I was able to say, How do you do this thing, how do you get published? He's like, oh, here’s some advice. Go forth and meet editors and things. So, I think it has to do with this idea. if you go back, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were in the same writing group. It just starts a sort of community thing, where it becomes a viable, possible thing. Like, I grew up in Nebraska. I didn't know any writers in Nebraska. I didn't know anyone who was a published science fiction/fantasy writer. There weren't conventions in Lincoln, and things like that. But when I moved to Utah suddenly there's a bunch of writing conventions. You've got a ton of them around here too. And things like that. That sort of community is just really helpful for helping writers along. I think that's got a lot to do with it.

    Tags

  • 30

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    LyndseyLuther ()

    Hey there Brandon, thanks for doing another AMA!

    Unpublished authors are often told that agents and publishers won't even look at a debut novel longer than 150k words. Your debut, Elantris, was considerably longer than that. How did you get your foot in the door? Was it just a query letter, or did you pitch the novel to someone at a convention/conference? If the former, would you mind sharing that query synopsis with us?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I pitched it at a convention. (World Fantasy Convention, which was in Montreal that year.) WFC does still tend to be one of the best places to meet editors/agents if you're interested in publishing with a mainstream publisher.

    Elantris was 250k words, and I had a real rough time getting my foot in the door with it. The editor I met there let me pitch to him after we had a nice long conversation about the authors he was working on at the moment. Dan Wells, who was with me, also pitched and sent his book. His got read far more quickly than mine did. (His was far shorter.)

    I waited eighteen months for a reply—so long, that I'd given up on the book. The editor said that every time he sat down to read slush, that enormous book intimidated him, so he picked something shorter to read. When he finally read Elantris, he only got two chapters in before he wanted to buy it—which is nice.

    Editors have a love/hate relationship with huge books like this. The big ones do tend to drive the epic fantasy market, but they're more expensive to produce than the short ones, and therefore more risky to take a chance on. I would never suggest writing your books shorter than you feel is the right length, but do realize that both readers and editors will cock an eyebrow at you if the length goes too long. They expect more payoff for the increased size.

    Digital formats, fortunately, are helping change this perception. Size (either direction) is no longer as limiting as it once was.

    LyndseyLuther

    Thanks for the reply! I was actually at WFC this past year and you gave me great advice about going to the room parties. It was definitely an experience.

    I waited eighteen months for a reply—so long, that I'd given up on the book.

    You have no idea how much a relief it is to hear you say that. Thank you. Currently playing the waiting game on a book I submitted, and I was getting worried. But knowing that it took so long for someone to get back to you and that the answer was in the positive put my mind at rest a little.

    Thanks again, look forward to seeing you in Connecticut in July!

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's perfectly acceptable to send a polite email to an editor if they've had your book for a long time. Just say that you're curious if it's still being considered, or if there's a chance it has been lost. (Usually, six months is the time to send this.)

    cosmando

    What does pitching a book look like? I'm familiar with how that would work in the movie business, but I'd never considered it in the publishing realm.

    P.S. love all of your books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Usually, this is the two or three sentence explanation of a book you'd put in a query letter. It focuses on one idea in the book, kind of the 'concept." Not that different from a Hollywood pitch, only a little less...uh...Hollywood.

    For Elantris it was something like "The Prince of a kingdom catches a terrible magical disease, and is locked away in a prison city with everyone else who has the disease. He works to bring unity, hope, and perhaps a cure to the city."

    Tags

  • 31

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    Rotten_tacos ()

    Hey Brandon! I've always wondered this, what is the best way to support you as an author? Do you make more money if we buy an ebook, off of amazon, or at Barnes & Nobles? As a fan of yours I want to make sure you're receiving as much of the money as I can give.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I get this question on occasion, and always feel the best thing for me to do is emphasize that I prefer you to buy the format that makes you the most happy. That way, you are encouraged to keep reading, and that is really what is best for me.

    Most authors makes something around the following:

    Hardcover, 15% of cover. (Regardless of store, unless it's a bargain book.)

    Paperback, 8% of cover. (Regardless of venue.)

    Ebook, 17.5% of the list price. (Unless they are self-published, and then it's usually 65-70% of list price.)

    So, the best way to get money to an author is to buy the hardcover, preferably during launch week. (That influences how high the book gets on bestseller lists and how much in-store support it gets.)

    However, I don't think that is something a reader needs to worry too much about. To be honest, rather than thinking about this, I think most authors would say that the best thing you can do for us is just read the books. Second best is to loan your copies to a friend so they can enjoy the books too.

    firsthour

    With these percentages, were you then sharing/splitting it with the Robert Jordan estate for the Wheel of Time books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    deadlycrate

    Can I just send you money?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I suppose you could—but I'd rather you buy a copy of one of my books and give it to someone. If I have you send me money, then we work around all of the people who deserve their share for helping me out. (Like my agent and editor.)

    stave

    Risky question time! How do you feel about those of us that buy your hardcover, then go and pirate the ebook?
    * This comment is not an admission of guilt.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Risky answer time. I've got no problem with it. I wish I could actively give away the ebook to everyone who bought the hardcover. I can actually do this on books like Legion and The Emperor's Soul, where I retain rights to the ebook. (So I do.)

    I'm not encouraging this, mind you. But I'm also not going to complain or make anyone feel guilty. If you've paid for the content once, I feel you should have access to it into the future, whenever you want, in any format you want. (With the exception being audiobook, where the voice actors deserve to be paid for their work above and beyond me getting paid for the writing.)

    oditogre

    What about with audiobooks? I subscribe to Audible and I can't help notice the price I pay for my subscription makes the books I get a steal compared to buying them without subscription or buying actual discs. How does that work out for the authors?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Audible has done wonderful things for the audiobook market, helping the format gain a lot of popularity. But their prices ARE rock bottom. I don't know off-hand how much we make. I don't mind, however, because audiobooks in the past were so horribly expensive.

    Tags

  • 32

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    rome_demands ()

    I just started listening to The Way of Kings on audiobook with my wife! Did you get any input on how the production/casting/pronunciation went on it? Or is that entirely out of your hands?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am of a level in the field now that I can ask for certain readers, and I did so with The Way of Kings. I do try to send in pronunciations, but sometimes this gets lost in the shuffle.

    Tags

  • 33

    Interview: Feb 13th, 2013

    Question

    Hi. Brandon, I know that you're a pretty big cheerleader of e-books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Question

    And you two have had some discussions over the years about e-books. Could you just take a minute to talk about how specifically the e-books for these three novels kind of . . . evolved.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. Harriet has been in publishing a very long time, and understands publishing for a very long time. And e-books have kind of blindsided all of us. As she said earlier and has talked about, I swim in the net.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And Harriet does not.

    Harriet McDougal

    He has gills.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh-huh.

    Harriet McDougal

    He's very much at home in the e-world.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Harriet, early on with the books, was under the impression that e-books were like the paperback: that you release the hardcover and then a year later, you release the e-book and the paperback. And she was under the impression that was how it would work, and it's come as a surprise to many in the publishing industry that it doesn't work that way.

    Harriet McDougal

    And let us talk about the elephant in the middle of the room, which is the window for A Memory of Light. The e-book won't be out until the beginning of April, a three month window. And that was my doing.

    And I did it for the bookstores. I love bookstores. Bookstores are a vanishing breed. They're just going. Even, I understand, Barnes and Noble is talking about closing half their stores. This, to a freak like me, who just really has a thing for paper and bindings, is very ominous and sad. And I wanted to give the bookstores a break. Bookstores have been very good to Robert Jordan, all his career. And that's why there's a window.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have been trying very hard to find ways that we can blend this. Because I really like books, too. In fact, I'm a big fan of a lot of the independent booksellers. You'll notice I went to them on tour. Dwayne's bookstore—U books—is one of my favorites.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Borderlands in San Francisco, and Mysterious Galaxy down in San Diego. These bookstores—these are places that supported me when I was brand new—these bookstores that have a focus on genre. You know, you would call some big bookstores and they'd be like, who are you? We're not interested. These bookstores are like, hey, a new author, we want to meet you. Come, and we will bring in our readers, and we will let you talk to them, and things like this. And it's a completely different experience.

    And for a small genre like science fiction and fantasy, these stores mean a lot to us. Because, you know, the person at Costco is not going to read our books and sell our books. But Dwayne does. And you can go to Dwayne and you can say, hey what have you read lately? Or, what are people excited about? And he'll say, I read this, it's good. Or, this guy came and he was really nice, and here's what his book is about, and things like that.

    And that is something in the small genres that I feel—we're going to be clobbered by the vanishing of bookstores, when people like John Grisham are not going to have to worry about it as much. And so one of the things I've been trying to do is work out a 'you buy the hard copy–either the paperback or hardcover, the print copy—and you get the e book for free'. That's one of the things that I'm trying to do. And so my latest two . . . [applause] Oh, thank you. My latest two smaller releases last year, Legion and Emperor's Soul, I actually will mail you the e book of those two. If you buy the hard copy, and you send me an email, we will respond with a DRM free version in multiple formats that you can just read on any e-reader that you want.

    And so that's just something I'm trying, and I'm trying to use this as data points to convince Tor to let me do this for my larger books, for which they own the e-book rights. The small books I was able to retain them on, but that's not something viable for a big release like a Stormlight Archive book or something like that. And so it's something I'm hoping we can convince them to let me start doing with my other books.

    Tags

  • 34

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2013

    Invisible Vanguard

    Lastly, what advice can you give to new and unknown authors with limitless ambition who want to write epic fantasy and/or sci-fi books? From my own personal research, it appears that agents and publishers do not want long word counts from new authors. Is it best to start simple with shorter stories and work your way up to your true love: the epic, or should you just go for it and write as much as you deem necessary and pitch your grand masterwork as a whole?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are so many questions in there that are going to be very situationally dependent. If you have not already written a few novels, I would say absolutely do not write your grand epic yet. You won't have the skill to do it, and it will disappoint you. I've run across a lot of new writers who this has happened to. They want to do their own Wheel of Time, but they don't yet have the skill to achieve it. I tried this myself and learned this the hard way.

    That's not to say that it's impossible to do, but I strongly recommend to most writers to try a few other books first. Standalones or something, to really get your head around the idea of characterization and plotting and narrative arcs before you say, okay, I'm going to tell a story across ten books instead.

    If you are confident of your skill, and find that you are just incapable of writing anything else? Writing is the most important thing. If something makes you not write, then it's usually going to be bad advice no matter who it comes from. So then I suggest just writing and loving what you're writing. If you can somehow style your book as "a standalone with sequel potential," then that's probably a better way to go.

    This is not just for publishers and agents. New readers have a built-in skepticism toward a new author who is trying something that massive. I've found that a lot of readers like to try the standalone to find out what kind of writer you are, before they then read your big series. Having a couple of standalones has been very useful for me for that reason.

    At the end of the day, just write what you love. Yes, editors and agents say they want shorter books. This is because historically it has been proven to them that authors trying to write books that are too long for them bite off more than they can chew and the book spirals out of control. But the draft of Elantris that was the first thing I sold was 250,000 words. That's a full 100,000 words longer than what everyone was telling me agents won't even look at. So by empirical proof: They will look at a longer book if it works for them. So write what you love—if you can get into your head that you're going to do this professionally, and that you have years to learn how to do this, then that's going to help you. Taking the time to practice with shorter works will help you get ready to write your epic. But if you just can't do that, then go for it.

    Tags

  • 35

    Interview: 2013

    MichaelJSullivan (January 2013)

    I just got done writing an article for Amazing Stories and in doing some analysis I was surprised to see that the percentage between self-published and traditionally published has shifted dramatically. In 2012 it was pretty much evenly divided. But currently 61% of the titles are traditional and only 39% self published. I'm not sure if this is a by product of the holiday and new kindle owners buying "known names" or if it is the start of a trend.

    Interestingly the number of self-published authors that have multiple books on the list is 11 as opposed to 9 for traditionally published. Jordan, Tolkien, Sanderson, and Martin eat up 35% of the list. The full lists include:

    Traditional Publishers

    11 - Robert Jordan (8 solo, 3 2/Brandon Sanderson) ($2.99(short), 5-$7.99, 2-$8.99, 3-$9.99)
    9 - George R.R. Martin (3-na, 3-$8.99, 1-$14.99, $1-29.99(omni), 1-$39.99(omni))
    8 - J.R.R. Tolkien (6 solo, 2 2/Christopher Tolikien) (1-na, $7.29, 3-$8.32, $9.0)
    7 - Sanderson (4 solo, 3 w/Robert Jordan) ($2.99(short), 2-$7.59, 2-$7.99, $8.99, 2-$9.99, $20.69(omni))
    3 - Joe Abercrombie ($8.69, $9.79, $11.04)
    3 - Michael J. Sullivan (2-$7.99(omni), $8.89(omni))
    2 - Terry Brooks (2-$0.99(shorts))
    2 - Justin Cronin ($7.99, $13.99)
    2 - Brent Weeks ($5.99, $9.74)
    1 - Peter V. Brett ($12.99)
    1 - Jim Butcher ($9.99)
    1 - Steven Erikson ($7.99)
    1 - Terry Goodkind ($8.54)
    1 - Deborah Harkness ($9.99)
    1 - Stephen King ($8.99)
    1 - Mark Lawrence ($7.99)
    1 - Robert R. McCammon ($8.54)
    1 - L. E. Modesitt Jr. ($2.99)
    1 - David Mitchell ($11.99)
    1 - Patrick Rothfuss ($9.99)
    1 - R.A. Salvatore ($2.99)
    1 - Martha Wells ($7.99)
    1 - Weis/Hickman ($5.59)

    Self-published authors

    5 - David A. Wells ($0.99, 4-$2.99)
    3 - T.B. Christensen ($2.99, 2-$3.99)
    3 - Ben Hale ($0.99, 2-$2.99)
    3 - Michael G. Manning ($0.99, $2.99, $4.95)
    3 - M. R. Mathias (2-$0.99, $0.99)
    2 - Brian D. Anderson ($3.90, $3.99)
    2 - David Dalglish ($0.99, $3.99)
    2 - J. L. Doty ($3.99, $4.99)
    2 - John Forrester ($0.99 - $2.99)
    2 - Joseph Lallo (2-$2.99)
    2 - Aaron Pogue ($0.99, $4.99)
    1 - Daems/Tomlin ($3.99)
    1 - Chanda Hahn ($2.99)
    1 - Hollaway/Rodgers/Beely ($3.99)
    1 - Brian Kittrell ($3.95)
    1 - Toby Neighbors ($2.99)
    1 - Stephenie Rowling ($0.99)
    1 - Aaron Patterson ($2.99)
    1 - LK Rigel ($0.99)
    1 - Jason Teasar ($2.51)
    1 - Christopher Williams ($0.99)

    On a personal note I was happy to be back on the list with all three titles (thanks in part to the Amazon Deal of the day for Theft of Swords, but was saddened to see Anthony Ryan fall off the list now that Penguin has raised his price. My hope was that he would still be able to pull in similar numbers even with a higher price point.

    okapishomapi

    I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that you, Sanderson, and Abercrombie are suddenly sky-rocketing in popularity (at least, from what I've seen). Combine that new-ish popularity with Tolkien's movie release, the end of Jordan's series, and of course Martin's show—everyone can flock to those six authors and be guaranteed an awesome story.

    I'm a little saddened to see so few women on the lists. Oh well, such is nerd-dom. I AM happy there are any at all :)

    MichaelJSullivan

    Jordan's numbers are about the same—he's had 9 - 11 books on the Top 100 for as long as I've been watching.

    Sanderson's numbers are better (and I assume related to Wheel of Time issues) generally he has 2 - 3 on the list and he has 7 now—the highest I've ever seen him.

    Martin's numbers are also unchanged—he's always at the top and has dominated it for a long time.

    Abercrombie has definitely seen a boost from Red Country—having it and 2 back lists on there.

    I've only recently returned to the list, and am thrilled to have all three books there. It is a direct result of a special that Amazon ran for Theft of Swords and while I hope to be there for awhile, I think realistically I'll fall back off in a few weeks. My hope is to return when my new books come out in the fall.

    I too was saddened by just how few women were on the list. I'm hoping its just a matter of timing and we'll have some killer books coming out soon from the ladies and get that adjusted. I know Robin Hobb's soon to be released title is getting a lot of attention—but by all means we need more female fantasy writers.

    Brandon Sanderson  ()

    If it is meaningful to the list, both of my shorts were self published in ebook form. Not sure how you divide these things in your counts, though.

    MichaelJSullivan

    Yep, I know about those works being self-published and Legion is categorized on the Science Fiction List and The Emperor's Soul isn't categorized as just Fantasy so they don't show up on the list I'm reporting on (Epic Fantasy). Not sure how I would handle them—ideally they would be listed as hybrids (authors who both self & traditionally publish) but there really aren't enough hybrids to do this at the moment. I would probably put them as "self-published" but with an asterisk.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Huh. I wonder what that $2.99 one of mine is, then. The prologue to the new Wheel of Time book, I imagine. I saw the low price and just assumed it was one of my shorts, but obviously Legion (which is that price) wouldn't show up here.

    Epic is an interesting one to categorize, since my (never scientifically investigated) assumption has been that for self-pubbed works, shorter generally tends to sell better. So I would expect traditional to do better here (where the advance model might work better) when compared to something like heroic fantasy or urban fantasy (where shorter works, published more quickly, don't need the advance crutch as much.)

    Has that been your experience looking into these things, Michael, or are my assumptions unfounded? Thinking about it, I don't even know if Amazon has a heroic fantasy subcategory.

    MichaelJSullivan

    Yeah, it is the WoT Prologue. In general, shorter works don't hit the Top 100 often. There were three shorts in this list and I think this is first time I saw that many on it. (Yours/Robert's and two shorts by Terry Brooks).

    Most self-published authors don't think of length of work in their consideration of whether to go traditional (advance) verses self. Generally it has more to do with being entrepreneurial, thoughts about maximizing income, or just aversion to contracts that are the larger deciding factors.

    And no Amazon doesn't have a heroic fantasy subcategory, or even an adventure fantasy sub or secondary world classifications. The choices are:

    Alternative History
    Anthologies
    Arthurian
    Contemporary
    Epic
    Historical
    Paranormal
    Series
    Urban

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, I'm aware why people go self. I've been watching the community with interest. What I was curious about was whether epic, as a genre, has fewer self published hits because of length factors. One of the strongest models for the self-published paradigm I've seen talked about involves doing shorter works, with a first book priced very low.

    I can see from the list that some are doing it in epic; what I'm wondering is if my assumption that it's harder to do this in epic than urban is correct. I'd also be interested to know how many on the list above are more heroic (like David Dalglish) than traditional epic.

    Note that isn't me trying to be dismissive of anybody's success. It's me trying to keep an eye on what is working better in the self-published realm as opposed to what is working more poorly. My instincts say that for self publishing, putting out a number of works more quickly to generate momentum is going to be far more effective than spending three years between books, then releasing one single capstone work that is as long as the shorter ones combined. Rothfuss, for example, probably had a much better shot at popularity in traditional than he would have in self-published.

    MichaelJSullivan

    Yeah, I saw your class where you mentioned that self-published authors focus on shorter works, and I must say that I respectfully disagree. There are a few who adopt this model—but very few. Most are just writing the story the way any author does...and let the tale dictate the length. Actually, more often than not I'm seeing the opposite where authors who are concerned about the query submission rule of thumb (where many agents say they want works 80,000—120,000) too confining and they like that in self-publishing they can put out a 240,000 novel without problem. I actually find myself trying to convince many authors to divide their books into smaller pieces to maximize income —but most don't think with their "business heads" they think with their "creative ones."

    Your "theory" is a sound one—and if self-published author were savvy they would indeed focus on smaller works and more titles than single large works—but I've been in self-publishing for a long time and as I've said I really don't see that much.

    We both write in the epic fantasy space but for whatever reason my novels tend to come out in the 100,000—120,000 word range. I sold well when self-published with those lengths...but when I switched to traditional, my publisher did "double them up" and released my six books as three to have the "bulk" that most epic fantasy readers are used to. My next two books (both 100,000 words each) will be released by themselves so now that I'm getting established they aren't so concerned with the length. There are other authors that write shorter epic works—like Saladin Ahmed's The Throne of the Crescent Moon and Jeff Salyard's Scourge of the Betrayer to name just a few.

    The authors that do do well in self-publishing are the ones with multiple titles (a few exceptions of course such as Anthony Ryan's Blood Song which has now moved to Penguin). I started finding traction once I had 3 titles out—and yes with multiple titles, many are using the first book low-price incentive to get people to 'take a risk' as it were.

    I'm not in the urban market...yet...I do have Antithesis that will be self-published and is urban fantasy, so I'm not as up on it as I am the epic space—but I'm sure I'll be watching that space more closely once I publish it. As to how much of the list is heroic fantasy—I have no idea—I find the breakdown of Amazon categories to be a complete mystery—I mean why have Arthurian (very narrow) but not Adventure or Sword & Sorcery?

    With the exception of the very rare (i.e. Rothfuss, etc) all authors (regardless of path) are better off with more titles in a timely manner than a one book per several year model. I would think that much of your success comes from the rate at which you generate quality fiction. But the self-published authors that do well are doing the exact same thing...putting out frequently and putting out a quality level that people are returning to time and time again. Logically that would seem to imply write more smaller books...and again a really savvy person might be adopting that model. But most don't. My books aren't 100,000 words because I know I can write 3 of them in the same amount of time it takes me to write a 300,000 word book—it's just the size that I generally take to tell the tale I want to.

    If I were going to council a new author (and regardless what path they go) I would recommend more books of smaller size—but most don't listen to that advice as they can only tell their tales the way that works for them—and most don't really think about the length beforehand. Should they? I don't know I'm of two minds..."business" sense says yes but my "creative" side says—make the book the best it can be regardless of size.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Great post. Thanks for the info. This is the sort of thing I like to try to get from the proverbial horse's mouth, so that when I speak on the topics, I don't mislead people. The big breakouts in the new self model have all been writing shorter books—but I believe they've also been in different genres, where the books are naturally shorter.

    From what you're saying, there probably isn't enough data (at least in epic) to back up my hunch, so leaving it as a hunch is probably for the best. Interestingly, I don't suggest to new writers that they write shorter or longer with traditional publishing—I suggest that they write whatever length is appropriate to them creatively. However, this is in part because a publisher is unlikely to publish books in rapid succession.

    In regards to myself, for example, I was still locked into the one book a year method for my first years—and my instincts say that is fine with a traditional book, but if I were launching a self published career I'd have wanted to have two or three coming out in a year rather than one a year. (Ideally.)

    What you say makes a lot of sense about the mindset of the artists who are choosing this method. As someone steeped in the industry, my natural reaction is to look at the business side of which is better for which project—since, artistically, it would be the same either way to me. But it should have been obvious to me that many, even the majority of, newer writers are not going to approach it that way.

    Another informative post, Michael. Thanks for your contributions to this subreddit. I always find them useful.

    MosesSiregarIIIA

    Here's something you may find interesting. Check out slides 37-42 on this slideshow from Mark Coker. It shows that at Smashwords the bestsellers tend to be longer works.

    Of course, someone may still do better with five 80,000-word ebooks instead of two 200,000-word ebooks (and probably would), but on the other hand it suggests that someone who can write fast should still consider releasing meaty novels. Having an indie novel that feels longer than most and still sells for a low price gives you another selling point, and probably leads to happier readers (obviously enough).

    It may be a good strategy to do something like this: have 1 or 2 long novels for every 2-4 works that are shorter, such as novellas, novelettes, or collections of shorts. But of course many roads lead to Rome, and novels are always the main attraction.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did find that interesting, Moses. Thanks for sharing it.

    Tags

  • 36

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    rphlkelly ()

    How have Eye of the World/Mistborn sales been ever since Game of Thrones hit it big? Has the interest in Game of Thrones garnered more exposure of the fantasy genre?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's hard for me to answer this one because there are too many factors influencing my sales right now. New Wheel of Time books, for example. You'd be better finding if something that has been out for a while, but hasn't had new books in a little while, has done better. (Maybe something like the Belgariad or Thomas Covenant.)

    Tags

  • 37

    Interview: Apr 15th, 2013

    Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

    espais ()

    Hi Brandon,

    First of all, just wanted to say that I love your work. I got hooked with Elantris and have felt the need to purchase all your other books as a result. Also, fantastic job with handling the WoT series!

    I'm curious on your thoughts regarding the self-publishing market. I've always had an interest in writing fiction and have finally completed my first novella. As a person with a full-time job, I'm seriously considering self-publishing rather than finding an agent to represent me, and attempting to market through the internet.

    So, how do you feel about the self-publishing route, rather than the publisher-agent-writer trifecta?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think self-publishing is a perfectly viable option these days, and has many things to recommend it. For a novella in particular, it can be one of the best ways to get your work out there.

    I cover some of the differences in depth, by my perspective, as one of the latter writing lectures at WriteAboutDragons. (Those are videos a grad student posted of my lectures for a class project he's working on.)

    The long and short is, however, that I think you are wise to consider both options. If I were breaking in right now, I'd probably try both methods.

    Tags

  • 38

    Interview: 2013

    chrismansell (March 2013)

    The Way of Kings e-book is on sale for $2.99!

    Sure wish this applied in the UK too.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Huh. You know, I hadn't considered this. Tor, my US publisher, was the one who came to me and suggested the idea&mash;so I said yes. And, stupidly, I didn't go to the UK publisher and suggest they do the same. I'll see what we can do.

    Ticus6

    Why did Tor want to do the sale? Is the second book close to being finished or something?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Second should be out later this year. (If I keep at it.)

    dowhatuwant2

    Would that apply for Australia too?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It should. Email is sent. We'll see if we can prod UK/Ireland/Australia to match.

    Question

    Thank you for mentioning Ireland. Already have the hardcopy and wanted to get a copy for the kindle but despite having to use the US kindle store I couldn't get it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The email is off...but it might take some time to get a reply. The time difference sometimes means that having a conversation with the publisher in London has to occur across several days. Should know by early next week.

    dowhatuwant2

    Out of curiosity how big is the difference in terms of the amount you end up with in your pocket between retail price and sale price?

    Brandon Sanderson

    On ebooks with a traditional publisher, we get 17.5% of the sale price.

    dowhatuwant2

    What's the best method of purchasing a book/ebook in terms of most money in the author's pocket?

    PeterAhlstrom

    Hardcover puts the most money in the author's pocket per copy sold. And with Brandon's books, if they've been out for a year, you can get a signed one from his website and that puts way more money in his pocket. Though he would rather you just convince five of your friends to read the book, because that will pay off better over the long term.

    dowhatuwant2

    Thanks, getting signed books would be pretty great. Shipping cost to Australia is a bit high but that can't be helped.

    PeterAhlstrom

    Unfortunately, that is true, and it keeps getting more expensive. The US postal service won't even let you ship things by sea anymore; it's all airmail.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not something you should really worry about, honestly. Pick the format you enjoy the most, and go with that. They all have their value.

    In my opinion, the best thing you can do for an author is loan your copy of the book out to a friend who hasn't ever read one of them. That's worth far more than the difference between formats.

    However, since you asked, I should probably actually answer the question. I get about $4.25 off of a hardcover sale, about $.64 off of a paperback, and 17.5% from the paid price of any ebook. (So about $.52 for each one of these that sells during this promotion.) But again, that isn't something you should really have to worry about.

    Tags

  • 39

    Interview: 2013

    cluracan13 (March 2013)

    It's 4.99 here [The Way of Kings ebook]. Yes, I know I say it a lot, but I HATE geographical restriction / pricing for ebooks :(

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do apologize for this, but I honestly don't see a way around it. I'll use the UK as an example, though I don't know where exactly it is that you live.

    As an American author, I have a couple of choices. I can sell the UK rights to the US publisher. There's a big risk there that they won't do a good job with it in the UK market—they won't repackage to give a more appropriate cover for the market, they won't have the teams in place to work with the local booksellers. In fact, since the UK is a smaller market, they may not pay any attention to it&mdashand might not even release the book there.

    Or I can sell the book to a UK company. The UK readers get a book packaged for them, and get the attention they deserve. But when the US publisher runs a promotion, they don't have the power to change prices outside of the US.

    Ebooks have done some odd things to this. For example, in the past, if you found a specific book on sale at one bookstore you'd have no reason to assume it would be on sale at the competing bookstore.

    Hopefully we'll find better solutions eventually. I DID send an email to my overseas publishers asking them to match prices for the promo—but that's all I can really do.

    I'd be curious to know where you're from, though. It might be a place I haven't contacted yet.

    cluracan13

    Middle east here. I think there are... more than 8? amazon regions. Each priced differently. Do you really have 8 different publishers?

    The Amazon page itself claims Tor as publisher, although that might just not update per region.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually have around 40 different publishers at this point, though The Way of Kings only involves fourteen or fifteen of those. Is this English language? If so, it's probably the UK publisher, as I believe they get the right to publish in most places in English language other than North America and the Philippines. If it's Turkish or Hebrew, those are different publishers entirely. Are you on the local Amazon page, Amazon.com, or Amazon.co.uk?

    cluracan13

    It's English, but I buy through Amazon.com, not amazon.co.uk.

    I never realized an author had to deal with so many publishers. I was thinking, 2 - 4 tops. Wow.

    Now I can see why this whole international availability / pricing of ebooks is so ... broken. I had no idea. Hopefully once the majority of book sales moves to ebooks, you could simply use one publisher world-wide (or, maybe, different publishers for different devices—one for kindle, another for nook etc.)

    Branson Sanderson

    I sent an email to my assistant, asking him to figure out if this is just an oversight or if something more is happening.

    As for multiple publishers, the problem we run into is translation, as I mentioned above. I don't know if I want my US publisher in charge of deciding how a translation—and a cover—for one of my books should be pitched in Taiwan.

    However, for English Language, it is a little less complicated. I basically have four publishers. Tor (US), Delacorte (Teen Books), Tachyon (Novellas), and Gollancz (UK). It comes down to the fact that I'm the owner of my work, though, not the publisher. And I'm not sure I'd want to have just one publisher. If I write a book, and one publisher will offer a better deal (because it's more their specialty) than another, it's often in my best interest to go with that publisher for that specific book.

    I DO hope we manage to get this all working more smoothly in circumstances like this, however.

    Tags

  • 40

    Interview: 2013

    stumpitron (March 2013)

    Why are you tagged as a novice writer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Heh. I picked the tag on a whim quite a while ago, and forgot it was there until this post. I felt like quite the novice at the time, surrounded in the field by giants like GRRM, Robin Hobb, and the like.

    Maybe I'll change it once I hit the ten year mark. (2015 will make it ten years from the publication of my first book.) It seems to me that I really haven't been doing this very long. One of the things I keep reminding myself is that, in entertainment, there are a lot of flash-in-the-pan tastes of the week. I want to aspire toward more.

    Calvertorius

    Why on Earth would you list Robin Hobb alongside yourself and GRRM?

    I had the misfortune of reading her Soldier Son series while I was deployed, and I thought the entire concept of the story was terrible.

    I looked at her website just now, and she's not much more prolific of a writer than yourself, so what constitutes her as a 'giant'?

    **Tangent: Please develop your Stormlight series into something much more than a trilogy! With WoT completed, and GRRM writing at a snail's pace, I need another inspiring epic series to fill the void. Also, I commend your writing work-ethic. /fanboyrant end

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll preface this by saying that I adore Robin's work. However, Soldier Son is divisive among her fanbase, and is not as widely loved as her Assassin's Apprentice series, which is where I suggest people begin.

    That's beside the point. I chose her deliberately because of her story as a writer, which is similar to that of GRRM. Both toiled in relative obscurity for years and years as writers. Robin published under the name Megan Lindholm for a long time, and never found huge commercial success. She finally hit it big with Assassin's Apprentice, which was one of the bestselling epic fantasy trilogies of the 90's. In a similar way, GRRM wrote and published for decades before hitting it big with Game of Thrones.

    These are the kinds of writers I admire, and one day wish to join. The writers who have been through the ups and downs, and who have continued to press forward. They didn't write their best work when they first broke in—they are doing it now, after years and years of growth, effort, and occasional failure.

    As a side note, in 2006 I was nominated for the Campbell award for best new writer. I lost to John Scalzi, and was kind of down in the dumps. GRRM found me sitting on the side of a bed at a hotel party that night. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Don't worry, kid. I lost that damn award the first year it was offered." And he did—he lost it to Jerry Pournelle in 1973, two years before I was even born. GRRM handed me one of his famous "Hugo Loser" badges to wear with pride, gave me a pat on the shoulder, then continued on.

    ***As for the tangent, don't worry. I have big plans for Stormlight...

    reidhasguitar

    Wait, so you're published? Change your flair!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha, okay. Enough people have pointed it out, that I have officially done so. Flair changed. :)

    Kintanon

    Why, of all of the people in the internet, do you have 'Novice Writer' as your flair? I mean, I understand that you don't have the ungodly library of titles to your name that someone like David Weber or Piers Anthony does, but I think once you write more than 1 best seller you have to at least upgrade that to 'Professional Writer' or at least 'Journeyman Wordsmith' or something!

    Also, I must give you many many many thanks for the way you handled completed the Wheel of Time series. I admit to being overcome with trepidation when I heard that you were going to be completing the series because while I really really really liked the Mistborn novels, then didn't seem quite in line with the feel of Jordan's universe. I was worried. But you handled the completion of a series that has been with me since middle school incredibly well and brought everything to a satisfactory conclusion in some an artful manner that it was never at any time obvious that Jordan himself wasn't penning every word.

    I'm looking forward to more of your works in the future now more than ever.

    Brandon Sanderson

    See elsewhere in the thread why I chose that flair, but I've been persuaded that at this point, "novice writer" was strange enough on me to be out of place. So I've gone ahead and changed it.

    Working on the Wheel of Time was one of the great pleasures of my life. Thanks for the kind words.

    Tags

  • 41

    Interview: 2012

    elquesogrande (September 2012)

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Not sure what I think of this. Right now, one of the main things that a NY publisher can give you is their distribution chain. Print still makes up a lot of sales, and it's almost impossible to get into physical bookstores in a wide release without a large publisher.

    Selling with the intention that it will be ebook only means you lose out on this. Granted, a solid editor is worth some amount. Marketing for a book like this basically will boil down to "We will pay Amazon/iBooks to give good placement for the novel." Publicity will be non-existent. (They aren't going to put you on tour or bring you to BEA for an e-original.)

    I'm entrenched in NY publishing, and feel they've done right by me, so I'm not one of these "you MUST self publish" types. However, something about this posting makes me uncomfortable. Perhaps it's because they look like they're specifically seeking people who don't know much about the business, and might not understand a horrible contract if offered one. Then again, I might be too wary.

    MadxHatter0

    So, to break this down. As much of an opportunity this is, there's still some stuff not right about it because it won't ever be in print? Crap, back to the long arduous path of writing and publishing. Once you think the skies have opened up, you find it's full of lightning.

    Brandon Sanderson

    What I'm saying is that this might not be better than just publishing the book yourself in ebook form. It COULD be better, but it's not a slam dunk.

    Tags

  • 42

    Interview: 2012

    tritlo (September 2012)

    Great effort from Brandon!

    Hey all,

    I just wanted to share with you this mail I got from Subterranean Press, through which Brandon sells his new book Legion.

    Here it is.

    I think this is a great development, and I hope this experiment succeeds. Keep up the good work, Brandon!

    serenityunlimited

    That is fantastic. Brandon appears to be approaching the ebook market in a really wonderful way, embracing it, and delivering intuitively. Now that I have an ereader, I don't buy physical books as much, but I love having the actual paper copy, too.

    I wonder if this is for anyone who buys it hereon out, as well? The website doesn't seem to have those details available. EDIT Brandon Sanderson is a really rocking dude. (reddit thread)

    I will happily purchase the paper copy of books if an ebook comes along with it. Does anyone know which version, the paper vs. electronic, gives more to the author? Ultimately, I want to pay my dues here! Brandon is a really great author, and I'd love to support him as best I can. (Would it be weird to check out a copy from the library, then paypal/mail Brandon the retail price of the book? He's an exception- I wouldn't do that for every author!)

    Anyway, I love ebooks and this is a great step towards helping and forwarding the market. Kudos Brandon, thank you for all you do, and for furthering this cause.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The offer will last the life of the book.

    In this case, I make about the same from either copy, so don't worry about that. Do remember that this is a novella, however, so either think of it as a very long short story or a very, very short novel. At $20, that length can be a bit pricy for some wallets, which is one reason for the $2.99 ebook.

    If you ever read my books from the library, don't feel bad about me money wise. I love libraries, and your interest in my books there makes them order in more copies. If you want to give something back to me in that case, just loan one of my books that you own to someone else and get them to read it. That can do wonders for an author.

    trimeta

    Just a heads-up: you may want to have the folks at Dragonmount.com work on their SEO a bit. The page to purchase the ebook version of Legion doesn't come in the first page of search results for "Sanderson Legion ebook."

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. Okay, I'll give them a heads up. Thanks. :)

    Tags

  • 43

    Interview: 2011

    Reddit 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    HSMOM (January 2011)

    A Dance With Dragons, I'm hoping for an announcement soon.

    I have a feeling we waiting for all the Harry Potter Hype to die down.
    The show coming out has to be putting preasure on him.
    A few months ago he said he only has 5 chapters left to finish. He's almost DONE with it!

    TL;DR I'm expecting the release date to come out some time around April.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    A timeline for reference:

    I turned in Towers of Midnight somewhere around July First. It was done being edited by mid-August. Book was on shelves first week of November. I'd guess this speed would be similar for ADWD. On our part, we'd done some editing along the way (as I was turning in chunks to the editor all through the first half of the year.)

    GRRM might have been doing the same, though I'd suspect—in all honesty—GRRM is edited less than me, and needs editing less than I do. He's been at this much longer, and he labors over his prose long enough to get things perfect before sending it in.

    So...minimum turn-in-to-shelves will be three months. I'd honestly guess it at five or six here, as Tor would have rather taken that long, but felt they really wanted TofM out for the holiday season. Without the holiday worry, they'd have taken a few more months.

    CatfishRadiator

    Are you... Brandon Sanderson?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I am. Also, I should have mentioned why this timeline is relevant. I sometimes forget that people don't know the insides of publishing.

    Normally, turn-in to on-shelf time for a book is at least a year, usually longer. One of my books (Warbreaker) was turned in (first draft) in mid 2006, and came out in mid 2009. That's not uncommon.

    With a book expected to sell more copies, you can push things faster. You pay overtime at the printers, you shove other projects aside for the designers and typesetters, that sort of thing. In addition, book scheduling has to do with 'slots.' You don't want to self-compete too much, or compete with other books of the same nature from other publishers, so you make a schedule where you're trying to give each book the best fighting chance of survival.

    That means for a newer author, there may not be a 'slot' for your type of book until months and months after you turn in the book. However, a GRRM book will set the schedule for everyone else—they can drop it where they want, and shuffle everything else. However, a GRRM book will ALSO involve a lot more publicity and marketing—which means that once you pick a month, it's much harder to change, as you are losing marketing momentum.

    It makes them a little more hesitant to name a month on a book that has been floating for a while—but once they're confident, it's got a very good shot of not changing months. (Unless Grisham decides to release a book the same week after you've slotted, which happened with us on The Gathering Storm. So we bumped back a week.)

    I should probably start doing a TL;DR with these posts of mine, eh?

    BunjiX

    GRRM might have been doing the same, though I'd suspect—in all honesty—GRRM is edited less than me, and needs editing less than I do. He's been at this much longer, and he labors over his prose long enough to get things perfect before sending it in.

    Did you ever meet GRRM in person?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have met him, actually. Several times. One of the two years I lost the Campbell award (the year I lost to Scalzi, I think) GRRM lost the Hugo. At the party, we were chatting, and he told me about how he lost the Campbell to Jerry Pournelle the first year the award was offered. Then he gave me the 'Hugo Loser' badge he'd been given by someone and told me to wear it with pride. Extremely awesome person.

    Tags

  • 44

    Interview: 2011

    Reddit 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    HSMOM (January 2011)

    A Dance With Dragons, I'm hoping for an announcement soon.

    I have a feeling we waiting for all the Harry Potter Hype to die down.
    The show coming out has to be putting preasure on him.
    A few months ago he said he only has 5 chapters left to finish. He's almost DONE with it!

    TL;DR I'm expecting the release date to come out some time around April.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    A timeline for reference:

    I turned in Towers of Midnight somewhere around July First. It was done being edited by mid-August. Book was on shelves first week of November. I'd guess this speed would be similar for ADWD. On our part, we'd done some editing along the way (as I was turning in chunks to the editor all through the first half of the year.)

    GRRM might have been doing the same, though I'd suspect—in all honesty—GRRM is edited less than me, and needs editing less than I do. He's been at this much longer, and he labors over his prose long enough to get things perfect before sending it in.

    So...minimum turn-in-to-shelves will be three months. I'd honestly guess it at five or six here, as Tor would have rather taken that long, but felt they really wanted TofM out for the holiday season. Without the holiday worry, they'd have taken a few more months.

    CatfishRadiator

    Are you... Brandon Sanderson?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I am. Also, I should have mentioned why this timeline is relevant. I sometimes forget that people don't know the insides of publishing.

    Normally, turn-in to on-shelf time for a book is at least a year, usually longer. One of my books (Warbreaker) was turned in (first draft) in mid 2006, and came out in mid 2009. That's not uncommon.

    With a book expected to sell more copies, you can push things faster. You pay overtime at the printers, you shove other projects aside for the designers and typesetters, that sort of thing. In addition, book scheduling has to do with 'slots.' You don't want to self-compete too much, or compete with other books of the same nature from other publishers, so you make a schedule where you're trying to give each book the best fighting chance of survival.

    That means for a newer author, there may not be a 'slot' for your type of book until months and months after you turn in the book. However, a GRRM book will set the schedule for everyone else—they can drop it where they want, and shuffle everything else. However, a GRRM book will ALSO involve a lot more publicity and marketing—which means that once you pick a month, it's much harder to change, as you are losing marketing momentum.

    It makes them a little more hesitant to name a month on a book that has been floating for a while—but once they're confident, it's got a very good shot of not changing months. (Unless Grisham decides to release a book the same week after you've slotted, which happened with us on The Gathering Storm. So we bumped back a week.)

    I should probably start doing a TL;DR with these posts of mine, eh?

    BunjiX

    GRRM might have been doing the same, though I'd suspect—in all honesty—GRRM is edited less than me, and needs editing less than I do. He's been at this much longer, and he labors over his prose long enough to get things perfect before sending it in.

    Did you ever meet GRRM in person?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have met him, actually. Several times. One of the two years I lost the Campbell award (the year I lost to Scalzi, I think) GRRM lost the Hugo. At the party, we were chatting, and he told me about how he lost the Campbell to Jerry Pournelle the first year the award was offered. Then he gave me the 'Hugo Loser' badge he'd been given by someone and told me to wear it with pride. Extremely awesome person.

    Tags

  • 45

    Interview: 2011

    agentm83 (January 2011)

    A career via e-books?

    So I've been reading on the net about some indie authors who have self-published their novels online in e-book format, and they're making a decent living at it! I've also been reading that publishers are accepting less authors these days. So with these trends, would any of you go for the idea of publishing your own novel as an e-book, and trying to make money by selling it at low prices ($3-4 a pop or something)? I think this may be the way of the future for many authors. E-books are starting to revolutionize publishing!

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Yes, things are changing. (Finally.) People have been predicting this as imminent for years. It's only now starting to happen. It looks like we might have our first batch of full-time writers publishing only in ebook form. We'll know more (such as exactly how many people are doing this) when Bookscan starts reporting ebook sales. They've said they plan to start doing so soon.

    From what I know, it is a myth that publishers are accepting fewer authors. However, as I have no reference to back that up other than personal experience, take the statement with a grain of salt. Still, I see just as many new writers being published now as before. Publishers would be foolish to stop picking up new writers, as the nature of the beast is that people age, and new talent is always needed.

    Also, remember that even with these statistics, 91% of books sold are still physical form. That number will shrink. How far it will shrink is anyone's guess right now. The farther they shrink, however, the more that the added money made from higher royalties at ebook only outweigh the larger distribution of a print/ebook split.

    The revolution is coming. I'll stick with my publisher, personally, but I think a young writer who is good at self promotion and marketing could do worse than to try a few ebook-only self releases, though I'd still suggest (for now) continuing to submit to New York as well. Might as well cover all of your bases. If you get an offer from New York, but it turns out you've been doing well enough with your own ebook releases, you could turn down the offer.

    agentm83

    Thanks for that. If you don't mind me asking how much money does a new author with one book out typically make per year from traditional publishing? Assuming low, to moderate sales numbers (whatever those may be).

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a really, really hard question to answer because of the wide variety of genres and publishing models out there.

    Some genres have what I like to call a larger amplitude. The pool of potential readers is much greater, but people in the genre are not voracious readers—and so, if a book takes off in that genre, you see HUGE numbers. But you also see a very large number of flops because so many in the genre gravitate only toward the popular books, and don't have time to read much more than that.

    Other genres have a smaller amplitude, with a small base of potential readers (keeping the highs much lower.) However, these kinds of genres can have better averages because readers in them read a lot. So a lot of books can sell a medium number of copies.

    Some genres thrive on hardcovers and early buying, while others thrive on tons of cheap paperbacks. Children's books have a readership that refreshes more quickly, but also a readership that reacts strongly to fads. Some genres have long shelf lives for individual titles, others have very short ones.

    Toby Buckell did a survey for the sf/f genre on first book advances, which might answer some of your questions.

    Restricting the genre to sf/f, we still have to deal with sub-genre and publication model. But let's say fantasy (as I know it best) from a major publisher with a hardcover initial, and a paperback to follow. Moderate to low sales would be...let's say 3,000 copies hardcover and 10k copies paperback in the first two years. That's high enough that some people are buying the book, but low enough that the publisher is going to want improvement over the next two books. (Often, you can sell three books to start in this genre, and are given until the third to prove you can sell.)

    Royalty on the hardcover will be $2.50. Paperback, $.56. So, earnings are $13k. You'll probably have a few over-seas sales in translation, and maybe some book club money, and some sales in the third and forth years. (Though if the series doesn't grab some traction, those will have shrunk by the fourth year to very small numbers.) I'd guess 20k over the life of a book for a mid-to-poor seller.

    A really poor seller would be under 5k, and that's when the publisher would enter panic mode. Good seller you're looking at $40k on a first book. Sf/f has a 'small amplitude' you might say, but has really good legs and a long shelf life. So the best gains in sales are made by converting paperback readers to hardcover readers, and by having an enduring book (often in a series) that continues to hang out on shelves for many, many years.

    agentm83

    Thank you very much for the in-depth reply! I appreciate it. :)

    yeahiknow3

    10% @ 7500 copies. You do the math.

    agentm83

    Thanks.

    yeahiknow3

    Compare that to 70% @ 7500 copies. Even if the book is $5 or, more realistically, $2.99, you'd make more money.

    7500 copies is considered "doing ok," for a new author, just enough to cover an advance (most new authors don't sell enough copies to cover the advance). Of course, some do better, and more do worse.

    EDIT: The author of this book has a blog about self publishing. Claims to make 6 fugues. Not bad at all.

    agentm83

    Thanks for the blog suggestion. I guess the question is whether one is as likely to sell 7500 copies of e-books as one is if one went with a traditional publisher. The traditional market is bigger, but the royalties are much smaller, hmm...a quandary.

    yeahiknow3

    Depends. You'd likely sell more. It's far easier to sell something that costs 99 cents than it is to sell something that costs 11.99 etc. It rather depends on you. (Not to mention people can't return an ebook if they don't like it, and 40% of books usually end up being returned). Most of all, the assumption is not a stretch considering how many absolutely terrible self-published novels have done fantastically, precisely because of price.

    And we want people to buy more books. Why buy one 10 dollar book if you can buy 10 ebooks? People are being less cautious about what they buy, more willing to give your book a chance. Just go to the Kindle store, to the self published stuff in any genre listed at 99 cents, or 1.99 and you'll see what I'm talking about. Crap selling @ 1000 copies a week no problemo. In the end, it'll depend on you getting a website, and telling people about your book, trying to create some buzz. No idea how you'd do that. Goodreads, Reddit, whatever you gotta do.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, to offer another side to yeahiknow, a few things to consider.

    1) You don't get the 70% royalty on a $.99 book. You get 35%. 2) You get the higher royalty at the three buck mark, but here I believe Amazon still charges the author their "delivery fee" for sending your book to a kindle. For a small book, this is cheap. For one of my books, it is $1.20. 3) As I said, 90% of sales are still physical. A good publisher will have your book in every bookstore in the country. 4) Almost all of the people doing really well in ebook only have multiple books out. I think the guy linked has a dozen or so.

    That said, there are indeed people out there making more in ebook indy than they could with a NYC contract. It should be noted that others who are doing well are actively seeking a print contract.

    None of this is a reason not to try, and the numbers continue to move toward epub. I just think there is more to the discussion than it may first seem.

    yeahiknow3

    This is useful for figuring out roughly how many Kindle copies of a book are being sold given its rank. Compare that to regular Amazon sales ranks vs copies sold.

    Also:
    - J. A. Koranth's blog is a good read (even if his books aren't).
    - A third of the Kindle Bestsellers are self-published through Amazon.
    - Checking a small genre like fantasy shows that no fewer than half the best sellers are self-published (damn).
    - Already many books are dropping in price on Kindle format to compete. Joe Abercombie's Best Served Cold is just 2.99. World War Z is 5 bucks, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—5 bucks. Not bad.

    agentm83

    It certainly is interesting times out there, that's for sure. Thanks for the links.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Again, some things to consider: (also, note. It may seem I'm contradicting yeahiknow, but really, he/she makes excellent points and is directing you to good info. But there are some things to consider.)

    Looking at the indy books on that list, I think you will find most of them are a certain type. First, they are really short. Like, 400k short. That's under 200 pages if conversions are the same with some of my books.

    Some are $.99. These earn the small royalty %. But then, they are meant as a hook for the series. (Which is often working, mind you. But the .99 book would earn so much less that it shouldn't be looked at for earning potential.)

    Finally, almost all the books selling really well right now from indy authors are the more pulp genres. Quick thrillers. Paranormal romance. Shor hack and slash fantasy. There is nothing at all wrong or inferior with these genres. But if you don't happen to be writing them, sales seem to indicate that epub will be tougher for you right now.

    If you do happen to write them...strike now. It looks really good.

    yeahiknow3

    You're right. I doubt literature would be as successful, although, who knows. Genre fiction like fantasy and mystery are doing quite well.

    Why are you up so late, btw? Kindred spirit.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. For years, I have been a late night worker. I just can't seem to function on an early morning schedule.

    Eventually, even the litfic will sell best on ebook. But it is very interesting to me that we see this huge pulp explosion from indies on Amazon. Reminds me of some of the early genre fiction days, actually.

    smpx

    Given the trend in technology, and that paper books are slowly dying to ebook sales, I wouldn't be surprised [that ebooks are starting to revolutionize publishing].

    yeahiknow3

    Having a direct connection to authors, and knowing that more of your money goes to the artist, is pretty satisfying.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is satisfying, though do please keep in mind that the publishing industry is NOT the music industry. The record labels have been gouging their artists (and their customers) for decades; it's now coming back to bite them.

    New York publishing, for all of its faults, does tend to treat its authors well. When a book of mine sells, I see a very reasonable amount of the profit. I wouldn't mind more, but I've never felt cheated.

    Tags

  • 46

    Interview: 2011

    aglidden (January 2011)

    That is not dead which can eternal lie... The Lovecraft collection, free online.

    rgladwell

    Is there still any actual verification that Lovecraft's works are now out of copyright?

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    I can give some info on this one. My agent represents one of the groups that claims copyright to Lovecraft's work.

    According to what I've been told (and this is from memory, so it might be a little off) Lovecraft himself didn't leave anything in the form of a solid will. After his death, two different people came forward with arguments that they'd been granted ownership. Both claims were rather flimsy legally—I think one might ACTUALLY have a napkin with a scribbled promise on it. (That sounds too cliched to be true, but it is what I've been told.)

    Either way, both groups know they have shaky legal ground, and neither one wants to take it to court to force the issue. If they sued each other, or anyone infringing, the courts could very well decide that all of the claims are legally null. Therefore, everybody treads very softly, and nobody seeks to shake the boat by being aggressive with infringement. Hence, lots of derivative works (some by some very popular authors, like Neil Gaiman) and some low-budget films, songs, graphic novels, etc.

    So far, I've heard that nobody has been willing to finance a major film because the legal issues are so uncertain that investors are skittish. But there are several screenplays that have drawn some notice.

    Tags

  • 47

    Interview: Aug 21st, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's the first time I knew that Tor was a thing. I was like, "Hey, who's this publisher?" You have the best logo in publishing. I don't know if you feel that, but the little mountain...

    Tom Doherty

    That was all about visibility. I started out as a salesman, and we used to check stock. I wanted something you could see from a distance. If you have ten letters, they have to be small to fit on the spine of a paperback. If you have three letters with a handsome image, it fits in and you can do it big enough so it's visible. That was the idea behind Tor: mountain peak, small, nice looking, and just three letters.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That mountain peak, as a fantasy reader, actually meant "fantasy" to me. I'd see a lot of the logos, like—well, I'm fine with Bantam, but it's a chicken, right? Isn't that Bantam? I didn't see chicken and think, "Oooh, fantasy novel." With the Tor mountain peak, we've got the Dragonmount, we've got the Mines of Moria with the mounds... It's just so evocative of the genre. I'd see it and think, "Oh, fantasy novel." So that was very smart.

    Tom Doherty

    It was kind of lucky, because I didn't mean it especially for fantasy. I wanted it to be something handsome and visible and symbolic of the kind of things that we wanted to do. In the beginning we were planning to do history: past, present, and future. You know, starting with the prehistoric, which to me is science fiction, because it's an extrapolation from anthropology, rather than from physics going forward into the future. The far past leads you toward the present, and it leads you to a time when European civilization, which was industrial and much more advanced, met Stone Age North American. The same editors who are comfortable with "human meeting alien" are comfortable with the clash of such different civilizations.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I never heard it described that way. That's pretty cool.

    Then, from the other end, we did near‑future science fiction. Other people began doing it and calling it techno‑thriller.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. The Michael Crichton sort of thing.

    Tom Doherty

    Yes. Michael Crichton was the beginning, really, and it sold better as a thriller.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you look back at it, James Bond has always been slightly science fiction‑y, near future‑y science fiction. People who would think, "Oh, science fiction, I don't do that" would pick up a James Bond novel and read it.

    Tom Doherty

    That's how we created [Tor sister imprint] Forge. We were doing these near-future science fiction novels that weren't getting reviewed, because the people who'd review them were the thriller reviewers.

    We had a book by Paul Erdman, not really a techno-thriller, more a financial thriller. The San Francisco Chronicle had always been very good to him, but they totally ignored this book. We contacted them and said, "Look, far be it from us to suggest who to review, but we were just kind of surprised that you would skip Paul Erdman, when you've always reviewed him so well in the past." And they said, "Oh, we would never skip Paul Erdman. Let us look into that." When they came back to us, they said, "Oh, we got the book from Tor and sent it to our science fiction reviewer. He put it aside as not for him." So that's why we made Forge.

    Tags

  • 48

    Interview: Aug 21st, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    I remember those little half books of The Eye of the World. I was already a fan by then, but those became collectors' items among the fans.

    Tom Doherty

    We gave away over a million of them. I figured anybody who read that couldn't stop.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow. A million of them? Really. That's a lot.

    Tom Doherty

    It was. It wasn't quite half of the novel. It was a natural break that Harriet agreed on.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was Shadar Logoth, I seem to recall. Wow. A million. That's crazy. I mean, most authors don't have a million books in print, and Robert Jordan had a million of his promo books in print. That's just crazy. You did that right around the third book, wasn't it?

    Tom Doherty

    Yeah. The first book sold 40,000 trade paperbacks. We launched it as a trade paperback, because not many people were doing major promotions on trade paperbacks in those days. We ended up selling 40,000 of the trade.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Which is really good.

    Tom Doherty

    Which was very good, yeah. I had the hardest time with the sales force when, on the third book, I wanted to make the major promotion in hardcover. They said, "Well, you've got such a winner. Why would you want to change?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    See, as a reader, when I picked up The Eye of the World, I picked it up in mass market paperback. My bookstore first got it in mass market. I was just a new reader, and all the books that I had read up to that point had been series in progress that people handed to me, like David Eddings. Fantastic stuff, particularly for a teen boy. And Tad Williams, and Terry Brooks. I found the Dragonriders on my own and loved those, but it was already done. I was on the lookout for something to discover then. I didn't want to always just be handed something that everyone else loves. "Where's my series?"

    When I saw The Eye of the World, I was on the lookout for big, thick books, because you got more bang for your buck. As a kid who didn't have a lot of pocket change, that was an important thing. So I bought The Eye of the World, and I read it, and I said, "There's something really special here. I think this is going to be mine."

    Then my bookstore got the second one in trade paperback, and I said, "A‑ha! I've spotted it!" Because as a kid, that told me that this book was popular enough that my little bookstore was willing to order in the trade paperback. Then, when the third one came out in hardcover, I thought "He's made it, and I called it." I was like the Wheel of Time hipster, right? "From the get‑go, this is my series and I found it, and all you other people didn't see it in the beginning." Even still, I'll go on signings and ask, "Who picked it up in 1990?" and we'll get a cheer for those of us who waited 23 years for the series to end.

    Tom Doherty

    That's great.

    Tags

  • 49

    Interview: Aug 21st, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I started wanting to get published and was sending books out, there were really only two publishers I was sending to. One was you, as Robert Jordan's publisher, and the other one was Daw, because I really liked how Daw handled... Well, to be honest, I sent to them because they got Michael Whelan covers a lot, and I liked Michael Whelan covers.

    When Moshe [Feder, Sanderson's editor] finally called me, my agent wanted me to negotiate and take it to other publishers to see who would offer more. I wouldn't let him, because I thought, "Once you're at Tor, you don't go anywhere else. You go with Tor. Once you're at the fancy French restaurant, you don't go down and see if there's a better deal at McDonald's. Maybe there will be, but you end up with McDonald's instead of the fancy nice restaurant. Instead of getting a steak, you end up with a burger." I already had the steak, so I went with Tor.

    And now, sitting in this room... The readers can't see this, but we're in the prow of the Flatiron Building. It's one of the most famous buildings in the city. This was the Daily Bugle, right?

    Tom Doherty

    Yep.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you go watch the Spiderman movies, you can see. I'll always be like, "There's Tom's office." I'm right at the tip of it, just looking out at the city. It's the coolest office I've ever been in.

    Tom Doherty

    They tell me it got trashed in Godzilla.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Godzilla reached in the window and pulled something out.

    Tom Doherty

    Apparently they shot some rocket at him. [Note: here's the scene on YouTube.]

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's looking remarkably well put together for having been blown up.

    Tags

  • 50

    Interview: 2013

    goodnightlight (September 2013)

    This is interesting—thrift store find of an advance copy Sanderson...

    Maldevinine

    I've seen thrift store advance reader copies before. Fun to have in the collection.

    Are you interested enough to read the whole thing and tell us what changed between the advance and the mass market copy?

    Brandon Sanderson (September 2013)

    If you really want to know this sort of thing, I posted one of my novels (Warbreaker) on my website in each of its incarnations. You can compare the last draft version with the printed version. In fact, you can just plug them both into Microsoft Word and have it "Compare documents" and it will highlight any changes.

    Link to Warbreaker

    goodnightlight

    I think it's great that you respond to this sort of post—thanks for that—it really makes me happy to be around in this day and age where the authors really interact with their fan base.

    EDIT: question—on the back of the book it says "9-copy floor display (November 2011; $224.91)". What does that mean? Does that mean 9 copies of the first edition hard cover and a floor display for that amount? Just wondering.

    Thanks!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow! Slow to getting back to you, aren't I? Sorry about that.

    This means that if a store wants one of those nifty floor displays that they put in bookstore sometimes, they can buy one from the publisher. The prince there is the retail prince, I believe. They'd actually buy it wholesale, for about half the cost listed. (Though I don't know a ton about the marketing side, so I could be wrong.)

    sjhock

    The Retail Prince, noblest of all retailers.

    Tags

  • 51

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2013

    WorldCon Flash AMA (Verbatim)

    Question

    How are you seeing the internet impact the industry?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One thing it's really changed is allowing authors to have a lot more direct interaction with fans, which is wonderful because we are directly supported by readers. Even though there are editors and people, there are very few middlemen even in fantasy, even in writing. To the point that, when you interact with me, what I mean is you're interacting with the content creator directly, which is fun. It's awesome. It allows me to actually get feedback from fans, to talk to fans, to thank the people who are supporting me. And like I said, there's very few layers between, but in the old days there was that buffer. You know, people used to send letters to the publisher, and then the publisher would send to the author, right? And granted, the publisher's not opening them and stuff. It's not like there's a big buffer there, but it's taking time, and there's just that step. And that step has vanished, which I like.

    It is changing publishing. It's democratizing publishing. I really think this is a good thing for particularly our genre, where you will have a lot of things in sci-fi/fantasy that are not even the mainstream of sci-fi and fantasy. And sci-fi/fantasy alone is already not the mainstream. So when you go a couple niches down, you can find these things that a certain core audience would love, but it's very hard to market nationally. And this helps a lot more variety come into the genre. And that whole connecting directly with fans helps with people building a brand and breaking in, even if they aren't going traditional. The whole self-publishing has been a great boon, I think, specifically to science fiction and fantasy, in helping to add variety.

    Ebooks mean that when I write 400,000 word novels, I don't have to apologize quite so much. Because people can buy it in ebook, and I say it weighs the same amount. So there is that. Otherwise, there are so many things changing.

    Tags

  • 52

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2013

    WorldCon Flash AMA (Verbatim)

    Myke Cole

    (Myke Cole, author of the Shadow Ops series): And so, you had this dream of being a writer, and you achieved it. You achieved it probably beyond your expectations. Is it what you expected? I mean, you're on tour all the time, you have deadlines barking at you. How do you like it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Man, that's a good question. You know, I like meeting readers—that's fun. Being on tour, as much as I go, is not so much fun. And I think this is the first year where I said "yes" to too many things. I've just made too many appearances, and it's impacting the writing. Nobody tells you—that's why you make such an astute question. No one warns you that when you first break into this business—you know, you think, "Oh, I'm going to sell a book, and then I can go full time as a writer, and all my time will be writing."

    But then, you break in and realize the touring and stuff almost becomes like a second job to you. You become . . . I describe it like in Hollywood you have the writer who writes the script and sends it off, and then the director who directs the script, and then the actors who go out and do the publicity later on. And in writing you're all those people, plus the business person financing it all in the back end. And so you have to wear so many hats. It's bizarre, how many things you have to do.

    That said, I really love doing signings. I just wish that I could manage that a little bit better. So we're trying to, starting next year. Just a few fewer cons, making the tours a little bit shorter—make sure that I'm not stretched so thin. And it came about partially because we released three books this year, and last year released zero, which is a really stupid idea of us. Right? You really would rather be releasing a book or two a year, instead of three in one year and none the year before. But that's how things played out.

    Tags

  • 53

    Interview: 2011

    pacodecabra (February 2011)

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Author's standpoint here. Basically, what I'm hearing from publishers is that they worry about one bookseller having a monopoly. Losing Borders shifts more power to B&N and Amazon; that could be bad if it hurts variety.

    I have friends whose books are carried only by Borders, not by B&N. I have books that aren't carried by Borders, and were only carried by B&N. This has to do with the way that the buyers view their customers, and what they think will sell.

    That said, that worry is more of a "last decade" worry than a "this decade" worry. Ebooks, online sales, and perhaps a return to the small independent bookseller will compensate if Borders does fall. However, I wouldn't say worries of a monopoly are completely unfounded.

    Tags

  • 54

    Interview: 2011

    Reddit 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Question (March 2011)

    Within 5 Years, Digital Books Will Only Cost $0.99

    AnalyticContinuation

    It is amazing to see sales take off when the price falls below some resistance point.

    But $0.99 seems very low for a full-length novel. Such a novel probably takes a year to write, and I would have though it was similar in terms of creative effort to a complete album rather than just one song.

    muhfuhkuh

    See, that's the magic of volume pricing. When it's priced to sell at $.99, an author (no doubt indie, because there is no possible way a publisher, with all their overhead, can price like that and still remain viable) gets two substantial effects: They get the "cash register candy" impulse buyer to pull the trigger without much thought; and, because there are alot more of those readers (as evinced by the explosion in sales of ereaders), they make up in volume what they sacrifice in price.

    If you're #60 in the Kindle top 100, you're selling something like 500 copies a day. These ebooks stay for (afaict) an average of 8 weeks on the charts. So 500 x 56 days = 28000 sales. If you're pricing at, say $2.99, you'll get $2.10 a copy after Amazon's cut. 28000 x 2.10 = $58,800. In 2 months of being on the charts. Not saying everyone will do that, but let's put it this way: You have as much a chance as anyone with a novel of similar quality and luck. Now, if you wrote 3-4 breezy, genre novels of sellable quality, and you had even 1/4 of the sales, you can see how this volume pricing can provide you with a pretty comfortable living, even if Amazon takes 65% of the 99 cents.

    Such a novel probably takes a year to write

    That's the romanticized "Great American" notion of the Novel as singular artwork and the novelist as auteur. It aggrandizes people like Hemingway and Fitzgerald and Salinger to the level of genius (which, arguably, is well-deserved), but not every novelist is like that and writes those kinds of timeless classics.

    The two darlings of the 99-cent authors, Amanda Hocking and John Locke (yeah yeah...) are absolutely brand-spanking new to fiction writing. She's written 6 novels, he has 7. Almost all their novels were written within the last year or two (Locke, I believe, never wrote any of his novels before last year, Hocking had one or two of the 6 novels done before hitting it big).

    All of their novels are in the top 100 Kindle store, selling, on average, between 500-6000 ebooks a day. Last I heard, Hocking was selling something like 100,000 ebooks a month, priced between 99 cents and 2.99. And, there are hundreds of previously mid-list writers publishing their back catalogs this way and making more on 99-cent or 2.99 ebooks than they ever did as a published mid-lister, even with the modest advances.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    There are things you aren't taking into account here. The biggest one is this: all books are not the same. The Gathering Storm took me eighteen months to write. That's not a romanticized "Great American" novel. That's me, writing commercial fiction. True, I hope there's some strong literary value to it. But at the end of the day, I'm a craftsman—and I'm writing every day, working full days. It just takes a lot of time to create a 1000 page novel.

    Selling a book at .99 is one thing if it's a short book (which the ones selling for that price are) that is very episodic (which they are.) Write a book at 400k words instead of 70k words, and the difficulty of managing plot lines grows exponentially, not to mention the months it takes to worldbuild a realistic epic fantasy world.

    Beyond that, Epic Fantasy—which I write—has a shorter 'amplitude' than something like Hocking is writing. The biggest bestselling epic fantasies—at any price—sell far fewer copies than the best selling romance or paranormal romance books do. There are fewer people who want to read them, and for those who do read them, time is less of a barrier (to many) than price. You can only read so many books of that length. (Well, you can only read so many of any length, but you get what I mean.)

    Even accounting for collectors grabbing everything they can at low prices, if you drop epic fantasy books to $.99, the genre will probably no longer be able to support full time writers. That's not to say it won't happen, and maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised at how many new readers we can pick up. But I'm skeptical.

    I find the $.99 ebook thing kind of baffling, honestly. We'll pay $10 to go to a movie, we'll pay $10 for an album, but we want a book to cost a fraction of that?

    Phinaeus

    Wait wait. Are you saying you're Brandon Sanderson? I'm honored. I was a big fan of the WoT series but haven't caught up fully due to no time.

    I don't know if it's been revealed in TGS, but who exactly killed Asmodean?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's me. And the killer of Asmodean is revealed in Towers of Midnight. (Brows through the glossary if you want a 'quick fix' answer. It's in there, though the text of the book makes it pretty clear too.)

    Tags

  • 55

    Interview: 2011

    stealthshadow (March 2011)

    Getting something published?

    I am an aspiring author and I've been searching for information online but I continue to come up mostly empty handed. I'm wondering, where do some of you writers out there submit your work? (Short stories and full manuscripts alike)

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    This question is very difficult to answer without more context—information like genre, length, target reader age, etc. Also, is this your first novel? I might be able to give you a few pointers, but the industry IS changing pretty rapidly these days. Less than ten years have passed since I broke in, but it already feels like a very different world.

    casusev

    Now I'm curious. How has it changed in the past ten years?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Basically, the ebook front is changing a lot of things. I'd say this the major change. However, the continued shifts in the short story markets (from print to on-line, with smaller and smaller subscription rates) is another thing to be aware of. The changing roles of agents is another piece to all of this.

    casusev

    It will be interesting to see where ebooks take the market. I love my Nook and will probably buy most books from here on out in a digital format (The Mistborn Trilogy being the first btw).

    Does that worry you? How different is the ebook vs traditional market from an author's standpoint?

    It also interests me that the limitations of a digital format are very different. For instance as an ebook A Memory of Light could be one book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will be both challenges and opportunities. The chance to offer an A Memory of Light single volume, with some re-arranged chapters, is one of the opportunities. I'm curious at what the future will bring. As for right now, I AM worried about the plummeting prices on ebooks.

    I basically make half as much on an ebook as I do on a hardcover book—but I make more off of an ebook than I do off of a paperback. So it's very easy that volume will compensate for the lowered prices—in which case, everybody wins.

    Tags

  • 56

    Interview: Mar 24th, 2014

    Question

    And, if the convention of printing books disappeared tomorrow and every one began reading ebooks only do you think the way you write books would change (i.e. being able to disregard wordcounts or even being able to consider serialising a book)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think that would offer some very interesting opportunities. I think I would be unwise not to try to take advantage of them, if such a thing did happen. In fact, it's possible to try right now. I've got thoughts in my head about how I would do this. Because the form of the story is a very important thing to me, if you can't tell from the way I was talking about everything before. The form of the book, looking at the book and saying, what am I doing with this actual thing? What is the shape of it? Elantris had a specific shape, with the chapter triads that were happening at the same time as one another. These things are interesting to me, and I want to do things like this with e-books also. But there are other things we would lose. Just like if you go and you can compare, a great example of this is the US cover of Words of Radiance, which was hand painted in oil by Michael Whelan. It has a certain feel to it.

    In fact, you can see the oil. You can see the brush strokes if you look very closely at the painting. You look at the gorgeous digital painting that Stephan Martiniere did for the US edition of Elantris. But if you look at these different covers, one is digital only, and has this interesting use of digital light, and the other has texture and feel. Those are two different forms for creating art, and they both have awesome things to them. I think if we lost the book as a form, we might lose some of that idea—the book as a texture, and what it feels like to hold it goes away. I'd be sad to lose that. But I can't tell right now if that would be the sadness of someone watching an antiquated technology that no longer really matters in life go away, or if it would be losing something that will very much negatively impact society. We will just have to see. Time will tell.

    Tags

  • 57

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2014

    Frannie Jackson

    In a more transparent vein, Sanderson differs from his fantasy peers in that he has a progress bar on his blog to keep fans updated on the status of his manuscripts.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "When I was getting into reading, I would often get into a big series and have no way of knowing when the next book was coming out or even if the author was working on it," he says. "Having a progress bar on my website lets readers see what I'm working on and that I'm not sitting idle while they wait for books to come out."

    Frannie Jackson

    Sanderson also chose to post Warbreaker, one of his stand-alone novels, for free on his website in 2007. Many people, including his agent, thought the idea was crazy, but he stood firm.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Your time is probably more valuable than your money, so I'll give you the money part for free if you'll give me your time," Sanderson explained.

    Frannie Jackson

    Six years later, Warbreaker is still available for download on the site, and Sanderson's readership only continues to grow.

    Tags

  • 58

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2014

    Question

    So one of the things I really like about this is that in the Ars Arcanum and the blurb on the back of the dust jacket, they're not just Brandon Sanderson explaining the magic system, or Brandon Sanderson summarizing the book for casual perusing, they're written in world by characters in the world, and I was wondering if you could tell us or give us a hint as to who wrote the dust jacket.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can tell you it's not the same person as who's writing the Ars Arcanum, and neither of those are Hoid. How about that? That gives you something. I had to fight to get in world text on the back cover. I personally really don't like summary blurbs. Those summary blurbs are either bland or they spoil too much, and they really get on my nerves. They're marketing copy, not author copy. And so I fought and I fought and I fought. I won with Elantris, getting the prologue on the back of the hard cover, but then they didn't do that for the paperback. But for the hardcovers of these I won, so I'm glad you appreciate that—I intend to keep doing that. But yes, they're being written in world by a group of people on Roshar.

    Tags

  • 59

    Interview: Aug 13th, 2014

    Question

    Hi Brandon, love your work and I appreciate you doing the Q&A. I absolutely love the fact that your Stormlight books are so big. I enjoy the feeling of starting such an epic quest and pushing myself to complete higher word count books. That being said, is there a possibility that we might see a 450k, maybe even a 500k word book by the end of the Stormlight Archive or by the end of the Cosmere works? Take care!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thanks for the kind words!

    It's certainly possible. I will write them at the length they need to be. After 400k, though, the print has to start shrinking which makes reading more and more difficult.

    Tags

  • 60

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2015

    WeiryWriter

    Question about Brandon’s outlining process.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh good question… You picked the hardest one to outline, by far. Normally the outlining process for me, I sit down and write Plot, Setting, Character in a new sheet. [...] And then I put all the things that I have been thinking in my head for a while, that I’ve been brainstorming with friends or-- Every book that I write I spent a long time planning it out, it’s when ideas connect together that you know you have a great book. One idea is not enough, multiple ideas that influence each other in cool ways is a book to me. So I write all this down and start looking for structure and what are people’s plots. Now the way I outline I’m goal-based. Say I want to have an interesting relationship between these two characters, how can I achieve that? What is the result at the end and what are the steps to getting there? [...] Somebody wants to learn to use the magic, what’s my end goal, what are my steps to get there, what cool scenes will there be. Those are all separate in my outline, it’s not like in my outline there’s “Chapter one: this, this, this, and this”. It’s Goal and how to achieve, Goal and how to achieve, Goal and how to achieve. Now the Stormlight Archives is a strange beast, it is plotted as ten books, each focusing on a character, and for that what I did was sit down and lay out more in prose form by vision for the whole series and then I wrote a paragraph for each book. Then I did what I just told you for the first book, then I wrote the first book. Then I went back and did a bigger, much more detailed outline for the rest of the series. The interesting thing about the Stormlight books is that I actually plot each one like I plot a trilogy. So for instance, Words of Radiance you can find breakpoints between quote-unquote books, that this volume is actually written as three books with a short story collection as the interludes woven between. That’s how I approach those books. My publisher has a love/hate relationship with the Stormlight Archive because they feel they could publish them as four volumes and make four times as much money but I won’t let them. But they don’t want me to write other things because they really want more Stormlight because Stormlight is the one that sells the best out of everything. So they are like “Write more Stormlight, but can we split it please?” and I say “No you can’t split it” and they go *arghhh* [...]

    Tags

  • 61

    Interview: Jan 24th, 2015

    Question

    Do you find it hard working with multiple publishers and multiple houses?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Do I find it hard working with multiple publishers… and multiple houses as a writer? Uh, yes there are some hard parts to it. I do two tours a year instead of one, because I have two publishers now-- And that’s rough. Every time one publisher asks for something the other one is like “Well we want that to” so I'm going to BEA, that’s the Book Expo, and the other is like “Well you have to come to this thing for us”. So it fills my time a lot more, which is hard. But at the same time it is very nice because it gives me a little more credibility with both. That they both know that they kind of have to make me happy. That is pretty nice. And there is also the piece of mind that if for some reason one of things I was doing tanked I’ve always got another one. That was much more important to me early in my career, when I was doing the Alcatraz books with Scholastic and the epic fantasies with Tor.

    Tags

  • 62

    Interview: Feb 20th, 2015

    Question

    How has the fantasy publishing industry changed with the global popularity of [...]

    Brandon Sanderson

    It has changed, but really what we’re seeing is what happened in the States in the seventies, the States and the UK following Tolkien, is now happening in a lot of countries that it hadn’t happened in before. Which is cool. But it’s not just Game of Thrones, since the Lord of the Rings movies, it’s Harry Potter. The last ten years are wakening fantasy. See the thing about fantasy is we don’t find fantasy doing well in developing countries. It’s kind of the thing where if you are going to be reading about knights and wizards, you are not going to be somebody who’s struggling for your bread each day. You know what I mean?

    Question

    People in developing countries read more aspirational--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. So you see for instance as countries transition out of that you see a lot of fantasy and things. For instance it happened in Japan in the seventies. It happened in the US even earlier. It’s happening now in Brazil and Taiwan. Those are two of the places where it is just appearing. India, it’s just starting in India. Mainland China hasn’t quite caught on yet but there’s hints that it is going to happen. But it has been in Europe for quite a while.

    Question

    So do you have translations of your books in Portuguese?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I’m in 26 languages, or something like that. But you can kind of use that as a map for the places that read-- you know. Like the only South American country is Brazil, I don’t have any other distribution in South America. Not a single country in Africa, except South Africa, the UK editions. None of those. Japan, China, Korea? Yes. Europe? Almost everybody in Europe.

    Tags

  • 63

    Interview: Sep 1st, 2016

    Question

    I know you're past this now, but would you ever consider something like the Patreon? Is that something that you would've done ten years ago, if it existed?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I might have... Patreon is kind of a hard thing, because I think Patreon is much better for people who are doing something that may be not as market-friendly, but which a group thinks is very important and should be rewarded. There are certain authors I know whose work is very important to the field, like Nora Jemison. Nora's work is really important, and it's really good, but... and it's sold pretty well, but I think that the idea of "(???) have to be market-friendly" is really terrifying to Nora... maybe not terrifying, I don't think anything terrifies Nora. But you know, it's that she doesn't want to be beholden to that, and so her setting up a Patreon said, "look, I'm just gonna write this stuff, I don't even have to worry about the market", is really good use of Patreon. We set one up for Writing Excuses, and then we use the money to pay our guests, and to fly people in and stuff like that. I don't need one because what I write naturally does very well in the market and so there's no need or worry for me to do that. If all writing shifted in that direction I'd be fine with it, but for right now what's working here with me is working just fine...

    Question

    Yeah, the traditional model for publishing really serves you...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. The traditional model works very well when you're someone like me. My plots and my stories and things just connect very well with a large segment of the population. (pauses) It's also why I don't do a lot on Kickstarter, like I think Kickstarter's- like we did, we let people making this one board game - which, by the way, Mistborn Board Game, yeah, you guys kickstarted that very well - I let them Kickstart that, they're like a small company that makes the board game, and I said, "you can make the board game, but you have to get a really good designer, because I can't micromanage making a board game", and so they get it, and that's somebody very expensive, and then they Kickstarted, you guys supported that. I think that's a good use of Kickstarter for someone like me, but Kickstarter ain't just something of my own, I'd rather Kickstarter be used by people who maybe need it a bit more, so I've stayed away from doing this thing for now.

    Tags