Edit: As of Friday, Sanderson’s Kickstarter project has amassed more than $21 million, officially giving him the title of the highest earning internet crowdfunding project of all time.
On Tuesday morning, literary fantasy icon and incredibly prolific writer Brandon Sanderson made a “shocking announcement” via his personal YouTube channel. In a video entitled “It’s Time to Come Clean,” Sanderson explained that he had been lying to his loyal fans for the last few years … because he’d actually been working on a new series of four more novels in secret. Cheekily, Sanderson then explained that he intends to release these books independently over the course of a year, funding the entire effort through a Kickstarter campaign. That crowdfunding campaign kicked off yesterday, with an ambitious goal of earning $1 million in the next 30 days.
As of this moment, about 24 hours later? It’s currently at $15.1 million and continuing to climb. That number already makes these unnamed novels—that’s right, the projects aren’t even named yet—the second most successful Kickstarter campaign in history. The project will have to earn more than $20.3 million to unseat the biggest campaign ever, that of the Pebble Time smartwatch, but at this point it sure as hell seems like the sky is the limit. Are you about to doubt Sanderson, or the passion of fantasy geeks, when they’ve already gone 75% of the way in the first day? We wouldn’t bet against them.
This project strikes us as wonderful for a few reasons—first for the fact that there’s something deliciously archaic about the fact that the number one crowdfunded project of all time may soon be a … series of physical fantasy novels. Does that not feel like a direct rebuke to the persistent claim that “people don’t read any more”? Secondly, it’s simply hard not to root for Sanderson, one of the genre and literary world’s most gregarious and likable figures. Clearly, there are legions of readers who feel the same, as around 60,000 people have already donated to this project.
Backers for the Kickstarter are choosing from an array of different contribution levels, ranging from $40 for simple ebook copies of each of the four novels, released quarterly, to $500 for a wide-ranging “Year of Sanderson” experience. The latter includes the novels in three different formats (ebook, audiobook, hardcover), as well as monthly “swag boxes” throughout the year that celebrate other Sanderson series such as Mistborn and Skyward.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this project, hoping to see Sanderson smash the all-time Kickstarter record this week. Check out the project here.