5 thoughts on “It’s Time to Come Clean”

  1. The big stack of manuscripts that he piled on the table was to put what he did into context. Most people never see something like that.

    Years ago, he posted videos of him writing on his YouTube channel.

    Writing the Stormlight Archive volume 2 Rysn interlude: Prewriting

    The first 13 videos show how he writes.

    Brandon Sanderson videos sorted by date

    They give you a glimpse of his process.

    • There is soooo much to unpack in this whole affair starting with two things: Sanderson is an outlier and the pandenic (and lessons from it) makes for an interesting experiment.

      First is the revelation that in a subgenre (High/Epic fantasy known for massive novels in a long series spaced years and years apart–WHEEL OF TIME, SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT) Sanderson just wrote four in one year. And not 50k word “novels”. (High Fantasy *starts* at 100k and up. Building to at least a trilogy.) With more to come.

      This is something tradpub simply isn’t geared to distribute and properly exploit with their system of slots and 90 day launch windows. No way can they turn over an entire year of the front table payola to one author. And certainly not after the pandemic forced a year long pause on the top titles. (Pity the “lesser” authors released in 2020)

      Now, in a normal year, Sanderson “throttles” his productivity by spending 110 days on the road, which the pandemic prevented. So, instead of book signings and other promotional make-work, he spent those extra days writing. Any fan service was online only.

      Now he’ll see if those road trips are actually needed by somebody at his level or if he can transition to the cliched “author recluse” of mysteries. 😀

      Also: he pointed out that he still has two tradpub’ed books in the pipeline. (Obviously delayed by the pandemic.) His publisher contracts probably ended with those two. The 4 “secret” books were very likely written without any strings on them so he’ll now be able to compare his net with and without Tradpub. Also, just how many of his books he can release in a year.

      Finally, there is a good chance he will be that last big name author standing, decades from now, who got his start before Kindle mainstreamed digital. He is, for now, a hybrid author with titles coming out tradpub and Indie. After the two currently contracted books..?

      A good milestone is coming.

      Either the tradpubs match his indie net or he goes on with annual Kickstarters. He most certainly will not settle for Scalzi’s 13Book deal at $3.4M gross since he looks to be grossing over $5M per book. And he keeps the copyrights. Odds are one of his books will out net Scalzi’s entire 13 Book contract.

      Good place to be.

      • The medium sized Fantasy novel of today is about 250k[1], that’s a thousand manuscript pages[2], or two reams of paper[3].

        Each manuscript — that he gleefully slammed onto that table — looks thicker than two reams, so the four books combined is probably more than a million words.

        A 250k novel does not fit as a POD paper book[4], it gets too thick even with very small print, and thus unreadable[5], so he can only do ebooks and specialty paper books with color pictures. That limits the number of paper books, which will make them collectors items.

        This does put many things in context.

        [1] LOTR is over 500k. Six books, plus an appendix.

        [2] One manuscript page is classically 250 words.

        [3] A case of paper is 10 reams, or 5000 pages. That’s 1.250 million words.

        [4] POD costs are based on the price per “page”, so the greater the page count, the more expensive the book in paper, which limits paper sales.

        [5] I bought Earth and Existence in hardback, by David Brin, so I could have them in big font. Sadly, they are in small font, basically mass market size, and are hard to read.

        I bought Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy for the same reason. The hardback is 750k, with tiny print and almost impossible to read. If they had gone two columns, same size print, it would be very readable and actually use fewer pages. The “white space” fills the page.

        When it comes time to read all three again, I will get the ebooks.

        • Sanderson has more options than digital and POD or collector’s editions. Bulk printing houses in Canada and China will take jobs wherever they find them. Not just tradpubs but also micropresses and individual authors.
          Money is money.
          And the price is cheaper than POD in even small batches (1000 units). Thick books might be extra but not outrageous.

          There is nothing that a BPH can do (outside of payola) that a moderately successful professional author can’t do. Very successful ones can do everything, even stoop to payola if they want to. At Sanderson’s level, Payola would be redundant: he’d get the front table just on his name.

          That has been known for a long time now.
          Sanderson is just pushing it several notches higher.

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