Over half a decade later, a new Kickstarter campaign has finally eclipsed Pebble's crowdfunding record on the website. Fantasy and sci-fi author Brandon Sanderson set up a campaign to raise $1 million within 30 days to fund four secret books he intends to release every quarter next year. It didn't take 30 days to blow past that goal, though — it took only 35 minutes. And three days on, as of this writing, the campaign has already made $20.4 million, almost $100,000 more than what the Pebble Time e-paper smartwatch raised when it was up for funding.
While Sanderson is self publishing the four books included in the project, he's not a little-known indie author. Raising over $20 million in just three days was possible because he already had a solid fanbase who knows he can deliver, seeing as he's famous for being a fast writer who can quickly churn out new books. He's known for his novels set in the Cosmere universe, which he likens to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the Mistborn series and The Stormlight Archive series. Three of the secret books in the campaign are also set in the Cosmere universe, with each story taking place on a different fantasy planet. Sanderson is known for finishing Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, as well.
The author told The New York Times that one of his objectives for launching this project is to see what it would be like to challenge Amazon. The e-commerce and cloud giant dominates the printed book and ebook market, and it accounts for 80 percent of Sanderson's sales. "If Amazon's grip on the industry is weakened, that's good for the publishers — they are very much under Amazon's thumb right now. I don't want to present this as 'Brandon versus Amazon.' Amazon's great. But I think that in the long run, Amazon being a monopoly is actually bad for Amazon. If they don't have competition, they will stop innovating," he said.
To get Sanderson's secret books, fans will have to pledge a minimum of $40 for ebook copies. The audiobook versions will set them back $60 at least, while they'll have to pledge a minimum of $160 (not including shipping costs) for the premium hardcovers. Sanderson plans to release one book each in January, April, July and October 2023.
Those interested can either go in blind and just wait for the deliveries or read an excerpt from the first book on Sanderson's website. They can also listen to him read the first book's opening chapter on YouTube.