Well, this week has been full of interesting. Interesting in a way that brings to mind that common curse (thought as I understand it, it is neither ancient, nor Chinese) “may you live in interesting times.”
I’m not just speaking of my own experiences here. The war in Ukraine continues to be a constant source of “interesting” as the world rightfully dogpiles on Russia for invading its neighbor in a naked power grab. The longer things go on, the more insane Russia looks, from their claims to their actions. Last night they shelled a nuclear power plant, briefly setting it on fire.
These are not the actions of sane people. You don’t shell a nuclear power plant in an area you’re trying to conquer. That’s supervillain 101. Russia is proving more inept than comic book villains right now, but with very real consequences to their nation’s actions.
Here’s hoping Kyiv is the stone their entire military trips over and can’t recover from.
Yeah, sorry to start off with such a dour topic, but that’s sort of the state of things these days on the international stage.
Thankfully, not everything making the news is terrible these days. Have you heard about Sanderson’s Kickstarter success?
Well, I have. Repeatedly. Constantly. So yes, I have heard about it, you can stop messaging me everywhere about it. It is cool, but I heard about it the first day.
Now, those of you that haven’t might be wondering what’s going on. Well, what’s going on is that today (literally), Brandon Sanderson has made publishing history. But you probably wanted a little more background than that.
So earlier this week, Brandon released a video saying that he’d “lied” to all his fans. A lie of omission as it turns out, but during 2020, when the world was in lockdown, Brandon found that all of his public appearances at cons and whatnot were now canceled and he had a lot more time to write. Based off his graph of time spent, I’d guess it was “like the old days” before he was a megastar. But the “lie” was that he kept quiet about this and pretended to be writing books at his “star level” pace.
At least, until this big unveiling that with that extra time no longer spent traveling (roughly a third of his workdays a year, IIRC) now spent writing, he’d written four books that no one knew about. And he was going to be publishing them through his own imprint (Dragonsteel Books) with a kickstarter campaign to finance the publication and gauge interest.
As I said above, we are now two days into this kickstarter, and it is the most successful kickstarter of all time.
Now on the one hand a lot of this isn’t surprising. Megastar author announces kickstarter, gets money. But there’s a bit more to it than that. Because this is Sanderson’s imprint. This isn’t like when when a major studio or publisher hops on Kickstarter just because they can.
This is Sanderson’s own imprint. In other words … this is indie.
That’s right. Four indie books, from one of the biggest authors in the world, who would have publishers promising their first and second-born children for a chance to publish his stuff, and they broke the all-time kickstarter record in less than two days.
Sometimes when discussing history, people talk about turning points. In the world of book publishing, this, I think, will be one of them. The Martian scoring a movie deal and becoming an international sensation despite not having major trad-pub backing was one. The meteoric success of Brandon’s kickstarter? I think this will count as another. Years from now, when moldy historians are discussing the moments when “indie” books finally became accepted the way indie games, music, and movies are, they’re going to point to this moment as one of those moments.
And there’s still a whole month to go.
If you want to check the kickstarter out (and maybe be a part of publishing history) you can check it out here.
But either way, this is a major success, both for Brandon as an author and for publishing as a whole.
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