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Interviews: Reddit 2013 (Non-WoT)

Summary:

Entries

43

Date

2013

Links

Reddit.com

  • 1

    This thread has all of Brandon's non-WoT Reddit comments from the year 2013, starting in January. Occasionally, when he's doing a Q&A, we do a separate report for that.

  • 2

    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.

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  • 3

    Patmcc10 (January 2013)

    How many books can one man write? (AKA A new Brandon Sanderson book)

    drake129103

    I thought he was writing Stormlight 2? AMOL just came out, as did Legion and The Emperor's Soul (both novellas, I know). When did he write this? I wish I had half the work ethic that Mr. Sanderson does.

    moose_man

    It's one of his 'breather projects' between/during the writing of larger works.

    mes09

    It's also one of the books that he started/wrote before he got involved in WoT.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Mes09 is right. This is one of the projects I was developing before I got involved with he WoT. I've actually been reading the prologue at conventions for years. I had to put the book aside in order to do the Wheel of Time. Now that I've finished, I had time to do revisions of this justice (Doing that was a breather project for me between AMOL and Stormlight 2.)

    The odd thing is, I still feel kind of bad about not having a book come out last year, only short fiction. It's been almost three years now since The Way of Kings, still with no sequel.

    I did need to get this book out of my system, though. It had been brewing for way too long. Fortunately, I had the majority of it done years ago.

    queentenobia

    Another book?? I cannot wait to delve into it. I started on your books with The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight. Then I picked up Emperor's Soul because the story looked intriguing and omg the cover art was so brilliant, and now am reading The Way of Kings. I have to say I became an instant fan, I cannot wait to read your other books. I love the way you portray your characters. I don't know if you will ever see this but thank you, your book, your writings they filled me with hope.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did see it. Thank you for reading, and for the kind words.

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  • 4

    BryGuyYup (January 2013)

    Wait seriously? Is this actually Sanderson's reddit account or some guy doing the most long-term-troll ever?

    tobyreddit

    It's him, he's done an AMA before :)

    BryGuyYup

    Oh. Wow. Um. Cool.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    I'm actually his half-formed clone, stuck in the basement with a computer, never allowed to see the light. help....me....

    kemikiao

    If I send you a bucket of fishheads, could you send me a autograph?

    I'm sure hundreds of people have Sanderson's signature... but his half-formed clone? It'd be worth millions.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mmm.... Fishheads. Brandon hates them, but WE loves them.

    AvalonBright

    While you're here, I want you to know that you're the reason I finally got into Wheel of Time. Mistborn, Elantris... pretty much everything you've written, including some unpublished bits, have been my favorite fantasy books in a long, long time. I'd tried Wheel of Time but just couldn't get past the opening for the longest time. When I heard you were set to finish it I knew I had to try again, and after finally pushing through the introduction again I love it! I absolutely can't wait to get to your section of the story, even though it means I'll be closing the book (literally!) on what's quickly become another of my favorite epics.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Awesome! Thanks for that.

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  • 5

    Chlis (January 2013)

    Quick question if you're still about; Is this book [Steelheart] part of the Cosmere? Since it's based in Chicago I'm wondering if that maybe isn't the case?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, most of my "breather novels" are not Cosmere. The Cosmere requires meticulous planning and continuity. That's not usually good for what I'm looking to do when I take a break from a big project for a small one, though occasionally I can fit in a novella or such.

    alexanderwales

    I don't suppose there's any way that we could read the prologue outside of a convention, is there? Or should I go surfing youtube for bootlegs?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I should do this. I'm on tour right now, though, so it's going to be tough—and I will probably have to coordinate with the publisher.

    If you find a bootleg, let me know, and I'll tweet it for people. If it's already out there, I don't have to worry so much. If not, I'll see about doing something to get the prologue on line somewhere.

    17thShard

    Brandon,

    If you want to post it online somewhere, you know we're always happy to post this sort of thing...

    -Josh

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thanks. I might do just that, but I have to coordinate with the publisher first.

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  • 6

    Soronir (February 2013)

    I love how many authors we get on this subreddit, it's amazing. Not sure if you meant this forum or not but it's still cool. I hope I see Brandon Sanderson one of these days, I have a stupid question for him.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Shoot.

    I've been terrible about my reddit pms lately. Better to ask here.

    Soronir

    About Miles from Alloy of Law and his regenerative powers. If he was bisected down the middle and the halves were separated immediately before the healing process could begin, would the two halves each regrow into a whole Miles?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question. In all of the Cosmere's Shard-based magics, the greater portion of a bisected body regrows the lesser portion. If it were done EXACTLY halfway, the soul wold jump to one or the other randomly and that would regrow.

    Amusingly, this first came up in 1999, six years before I got published. (I see someone else already mentioned the situation where I had to consider it.)

    Halo6819

    As little add—on Sanderson has stated that at its core, Shard-based healing is about restoring the person back to themselves. So someone who wears glasses and gets shot and healed, will still need glasses as that is how they (or their soul) sees themself. I assume this would happen in more extreme cases too, some one who had a limb amputated at birth gets healed at another time, the limb will not be restored because they see themself as an amputee, even if it is within the magic's ability to restore limbs to some one who recently lost one.

    Phantine

    So... wait a sec, the Lord Ruler got decapitated at one point...

    What did he do with the severed head? Mount it on the wall?

    Brandon Sanderson

    :)

    Phantine

    He mounted it SIDEWAYS? :P

    Phantine

    Actually, this is kind of a sillier followup to a silly question, but could you use Forgery to say 'actually, this half had 51% instead of 49%' and temporarily clone Miles?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Boy. That's a can of worms, right there...

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  • 7

    Kaladin_Stormblessed (March 2013)

    Discussion of the week: Shadesmar & Truthspren

    http://coppermind.net/wiki/Shadesmar

    sufficientlyadvanced

    It says that it's dangerous to travel to Shadesmar on Sel. Why?

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    It has to do with the Dor and the lack of an entity controlling much of the power Odium left in his wake on Sel.

    Phantine

    Woah, that's interesting. I had no idea Odium left little bits of his power on Sel... I guess it kinda makes sense for evil monks to be powered by pure hate, though.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Odium did not leave his power behind, one should note. He left several other powers which are now, to a large extent, mindless...

    Windrunner17

    This is an awesome answer!

    If you wouldn't mind answering, does Roshar have a similar problem, with Honor being Splintered?

    Thanks!

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, Roshar does not have the same problem. There are some differences going on. (One reason being that the spren are far more extensive on Roshar, and provide something of a "release valve." The Seons and the Skaze on Sel are not numerous enough to fulfill a similar function. Though, of course, that's only one part of the puzzle. Raw power is dangerous.

    It's one reason everyone should be thankful Kelsier was around on Scadrial.

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  • 8

    Autarchk (March 2013)

    If I can ask a question, I just read the Mistborn trilogy and, were Preservation and Ruin two different shards or a single one with their power split somehow? If they were two shards, does that mean a single person can hold more than one, since Harmony apparently holds both now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They were two shards.

    Yes, one entity can hold more than one. Remember that holding a shard changes you, over time. Rayse knows this, and prefers to leave behind destroyed rivals as opposed to taking their power and potentially being overwhelmed by it.

    Nepene

    I have a question, if you are willing. Would Ruin be more compatible with Rayse, would he pick up that shard had he visited Scadrial and shattered him? All the shards we have seen that he has shattered seem rather different in intent than him—Honor, Cultivation, Love, Dominion. But Ruin seems more in line with Odium. Rayse has ruined the days of quite a few people.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Technically, Ruin would be most compatible with Cultivation. Ruin's 'theme' so to speak is that all things must age and pass. An embodiment of entropy. That power, separated from the whole and being held by a person who did not have the willpower to resist its transformation of him, led to something very dangerous. But it was not evil. None of the sixteen technically are, though you may have read that Hoid has specific beef with Rayse. Whether you think of Odium as evil depends upon how much you agree with Hoid's particular view.

    That said, Ruin would have been one of the 'safer' of the sixteen for Rayse to take, if he'd been about that. Odium is by its nature selfish, however, and the combination of it and Rayse makes for an entity that fears an additional power would destroy it and make it into something else.

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  • 9

    Satsuoni (March 2013)

    Regarding the topic, a quick question: Are Truthspren originally sentient, or do they gain/regain sentience from a bond, like Syl?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO for Words of Radiance, where a lot of these questions will find answers.

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  • 10

    Nepene (March 2013)

    I suppose one thing to wonder is how do you enter Shadesmar? We know of a number of people who are jumping from world to world through Shadesmar. Grump Thinker and Blunt, Hoid too. How are they accessing the cognitive plane to transport themselves across the lands?

    Presumably Shallan's bond with the truthspren let her get in. How does this work? If she had only a dim sphere then does it not require any stormlight, any spiritual power? Is it a purely cognitive change? I could see some advantages to that. You could hop into this alternative dimension at will if you were being attacked, even with little power.

    The scholars earlier talk of whether there is food in Shadesmar, so presumably others have visited it. Can non soulcasters visit it? Is there some fabrial that grants you access? Are they only referring to the distant past, when KR had the power to access it? Is it purely a thing of the mind that anyone can learn? Is it only possible if you have access to a splinter of a shard?

    And on an unrelated question, they have symbols on their heads. If Shallan managed to draw one of these would it be some glyph? Perhaps some glyph that we would recognize, like the glyphs in the artwork at the front?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are many ways to enter Shadesmar. You'll see more of this in the future. One thing to keep in mind about Shadesmar is that space where things are thinking is expanded, while space where there is nothing to think is contracted. In other words, in an empty void, you get almost no Shadesmar. This makes distances as we think of them very different there.

    As for the symbols making up the heads of the cryptics, those are not glyphs. But it's possible you would recognize them...

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  • 11

    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.

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  • 12

    krackato (March 2013)

    I just saw the $2.99 Kindle deal for The Way of Kings and someone mentioned "it had a slow start."

    I don't read a lot of fantasy, but I'm trying to get more into it. It seems to me (and I could be wrong) that every seemingly uber-popular Fantasy series out there has "a slow start". (LotR, Game of Thrones, Wheel of Time, the Stormlight Archives, etc.)

    But who cares if I'm right or wrong.

    Are there any fantasy books or series out there that 'start REALLY FAST' and just don't slow down?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Writing a fantasy book that is fast in the way you say is not difficult—it's writing a fast-starting epic fantasy that is difficult. A good epic is often like a good piece of electronica music&mdsah;it's the slow build, the steady adding of complexity and worldbuilding that I find exciting about the genre.

    That's not the only way to do it, I'm certain, but it is the route I took. The Way of Kings does indeed start slow. The slowness isn't caused by what I think you may be assuming, however. It's caused by multiple viewpoints arranged in a puzzle for which the final picture is not yet clearly obvious. There are plenty of action scenes in the first ten chapters of KINGS. There is a lot of motion and conflict. However, we don't get a viewpoint from the main character until chapter three, and don't come back to him until chapter five. This gives a real sense of "What is this book even about?" which, mixed with some very steep worldbuilding, slows the book down.

    Contrast this to a traditionally fast book, like a thriller or mystery. You are presented with one character, and the conflict for that character is often clear in the first chapter. You know what the plot is going to be early on. There are some fantastic books written this way (Jim Butcher has been mentioned, and I think his Codex Alera books are a great example of someone doing a hybrid epic fantasy and thriller. They are some of the fastest epics I've read. But even they don't "Start really fast" like you say. I think you'll be hard pressed to find an epic that does. The examples will mostly be heroic or urban.)

    I find that the slow build allows for far more explosive endings as all of the pieces come together. It is something I avoided doing to the extent that KINGS does it, however, until I already had a reputation as a writer.

    pensummoner

    I feel like starting slow and creating buildup is sort of the "classic" way to write fantasy, as that's the way Tolkien wrote. Could that be another reason so many fantasies are written this way? Are writers are saying, "This was good enough for Tolkien and it worked and people liked it, so I'm going to emulate his method."?

    Edit: I should add that I usually like slow build-up and wasn't really critiquing them, but rather just wondering about them.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tolkien certainly casts a long shadow. It's hard to separate anything we do in epic fantasy from his influences. Certainly, I'd say this is part of it.

    In the end, most writers create things like they loved to read. Hopefully, we're adding to the tradition, rather than just replicating what has gone before.

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    thabombshelter (March 2013)

    I've just been told that I get to be the first one to teach a brand new Science Fiction & Fantasy elective at my High School. I am building this class from scratch and since the students will be responsible for getting the books themselves, I have pretty much free-reign for my book choices. Great, right? Absolutely! However, I want to expand my initial book search so I wanted to enlist the Hive Mind to help with this initial salvo.

    This class is an elective for 10, 11, and 12 and meets 2 or 3 times a week. I haven't even begun the process of planning the structure of the class, but I'm thinking of doing about a novel every 3 weeks or so plus one choice novel a quarter. This is a semester course and I'm thinking of doing a quarter of fantasy and a quarter of science fiction.

    My wheelhouse is primarily epic, series based, high fantasy (Malazan, Recluce, Pern, SoT). I'm not that familiar with standalone fantasy novels, and since this is a short class, I would like to probably focus on single novels (or maybe individual novels of a series that can stand alone).

    I'm also much more familiar with the classic Sci-Fi canon (Asimov, Bradbury, Dick, Bova) but I'm not really well versed in current Sci-Fi.

    I also am not very up-to-date on YA Sci-fi/Fantasy, so any suggestions along those lines would be greatly appreciated.

    My request is the following: Please suggest books that would be great to use in a High School elective. At this point I'm not really concerned about Lexile scores so much as I am about quality and length. While I would love have the kids read a book like Reamde or Name of the Wind, those 1000 page tomes are a bit out of reach for my purposes.

    Thanks in advance!

    JDHallowell

    Don't neglect Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. Rider Haggard, Robert Louis Stevenson, etc.

    There are a lot of great SF & F books that are either in the public domain or available for free, legal e-book download either from Project Gutenberg, the Baen Free Library, or other sites.

    H. Beam Piper's books are now public domain.

    Cory Doctorow's Little Brother is available to read free on his website.

    Drawing as much of your curriculum as possible from free books will be a kindness to students who might otherwise not be able to afford to take your class.

    I hope you have fun with it!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I agree with this, particularly about Little Brother, which would be an excellent book for OP to consider. I also think, in line with the free books, that doing some short fiction would be good for the class and the readers. In my early SF classes, I remember the impact of some really great short fiction pieces—it allows you to have something to read quickly for class and have a discussion.

    If I were doing a class like this, I'd break it up by topic or subgenre. For example, these two free short stories are among the best SF I've ever read.

    Wikihistory

    They're Made of Meat

    Both are excellent because of their use of non-standard viewpoint. One is first person epistolary, the other done only through dialogue. You could do a great job in combining these as in-class reads for a given day (both take under 5 min to read) while working on a longer work that also uses viewpoint in an interesting way. (I'd suggest The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms for this, but I'm not sure if the content is acceptable for the audience. Dracula is a great fallback for a classic with an interesting use of voice—and you could contrast it with Wikihistory in some very interesting ways.)

    Another example would be to do dystopian, which is very big in YA because of the Hunger Games. Have them read Harrison Bergeron (my all-time favorite piece of short fiction) or something like the lottery, then read Little Brother or Uglies (both strong dystopian novels in recent years.)

    For metaphoric fiction, look up Ponies. It's another excellent, very short piece that I think your students would really get.

    In the Baen Free Library posted right above, you can find a free copy of 1632, one of the foundational works of alternate history. Niven's "All the Myriad Ways" might be a good match for that, or you could match it with Amber for multi-world connections. His Majesty's Dragon and the Yiddish Policeman's Union would fit really well here, as would some steampunk stories. (Hungry City Chronicles?)

    Basically, I would pick a theme for every two weeks or so, get one central novel for that theme, then have a half dozen shorts to either read in-class or as additional homework. Give yourself a topic to dig into, not just a book to read.

    Also, drop me a PM. I've got a whole stack of ARCs of Legion, one of my novellas, lying around. I could send them to you for your students.

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    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.

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    Runner_one (March 2013)

    Well I received my first rejection letter and feeling a little depressed. How do others deal with a letter like this?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This touched me, so I just went [and] dug something out just for you. Two rejection letters from DAW.

    These are pretty special in that they're from over ten years ago, and are rejections of Elantris and Dragonsteel, the first two books in my cosmere cycle. After getting the second of those rejections, I was pretty down in the dumps. Things turned a corner for me soon after.

    Head up. Keep writing.

    Brandon Sanderson

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  • 16

    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.

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    cubiclejockey (March 2013)

    I have based countless Dungeons and Dragons characters off of your worlds. Thank you for being an inspiration. Your systems of magic are wonderful.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Fun fact: Hoid, the character who has shown up in each of my cosmere books, had a brief stint as one of my high school D&D characters. He didn't start life there, but I did try to build a character for him. So I've done the same thing. (Koloss made their first appearance in a game I ran, though they were far more demonic in nature.)

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    blocking-WTF (March 2013)

    Holy cow, do I feel dumb, and maybe a little smart.

    I did not know about "Cosmere" or its cycle until this very moment. I have however, read just about every single one of your books and knew that HOID makes an appearance in them. I had always thought it would be a grand idea if someday, a long time from now, we found out that all these different worlds were connected and your last masterpiece would be the book that revealed that to us. But I guess you thought of this brilliant idea before I did, sigh.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I planned to do something just like that, actually. I considered sticking the clues more deeply into the text. (For example, in some early drafts of later books, I didn't use the name Hoid for his alias.)

    In the end, though, I felt that readers would enjoy the journey far more if they could connect things and begin to dig at the deeper picture themselves. Besides, if I hid the clues so well nobody found them, then that would have required so much arranging of stories as to make for some awkward moments.

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    Cpt_Life (March 2013)

    Read them all. Loved them. The characters are extremely realistic. I'm jealous, really I am. I want to steal your ideas so badly (but won't of course).

    shlomif

    Hi Cpt_Life,

    As long as you don't copy+paste text, I don't think you should feel bad about "stealing" ideas. Stealing memes, stories, and characters is a time-honoured tradition, and even the stories in the Bible are in effect various tales that circulated all around the Near East, and were constantly enhanced, improved, and incorporated into larger epics. Some of my own stories are crazy crossovers/mash-ups of various characters, plot elements, ideas, concepts, and phrases from various sources: Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, the Bastard Operator from Hell, the "Friends" television series, Buffy, Star Trek The-Next-Generation/Deep-Space-9, Dumas' The Three Musketeers, Illuminati and Elders of Zion conspiracy theories, the television show Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Sesame Street, the film The Princess Bride, the Jewish Bible and the Jewish "Midrash" (= "to study", "to investigate"), etc. etc.

    If you look at the wikipedia entry for Milady de-Winter—who is featured in Dumas' The Three Musketeers (and is a truly formidable, resourceful, and awe-inspiring antagonist—and as a result a very attractive and captivating character), you can see that he borrowed her from characters by previous writers about this. Back in the 19th century, copyright only applied to texts, not to characters or concepts or worlds in the story, and I have decided to place all of my original things of those under CC-by.

    I'm not saying you should do blatant plagiarism, but you should feel free to incorporate some of those in different variations in your stories. Ideas can not be copyrighted—only patented, and patents on such non-tangible things such as software, business practices, or on storylines or plots (see this Slashdot.org post titled "USPTO Issues Provisional Storyline Patent") are absurd and given the current United States patent regime, are hard to avoid, and you probably should not worry about them.

    Regards,

    -- Shlomi Fish (a.k.a "Rindolf").

    Brandon Sanderson

    Shlomif is right. Every author is influenced by what they've read. Mistborn was deeply influenced by my love of heist movies, and you can trace where characters came from if you watch enough of them. Let yourself be inspired by what you read, just make sure to take your own spin on it.

    Thanks for reading!

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    CargoCulture (March 2013)

    I might not prefer your stuff, sir, but you are a class act all the way.

    windolf7

    Just curious, what don't you like about it?

    CargoCulture

    Pacing and tone, mostly. But it's a minor quibble. Mr. Sanderson is a great writer, just not one I tend to enjoy reading.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thumbs up from me, CargoCulture. There are plenty of fantastic writers I could name who just...well, don't click with me. There's nothing at all wrong with that. In fact, I really wish more people were like you—capable of simply not liking something, rather than making an issue of it.

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    anotherface (March 2013)

    Brandon has written 18 books in the last 8 years.

    Robot jokes aside, there are three possible explanations for this:

    - Brandon writes just over two books every year for 8 years. That's not impossible, but given the size of the work in question it's very difficult.

    - Brandon had already written lots of these books in draft form prior to the publication of Elantris/Mistborn. These currently published titles were written in that time period. (He alludes to this in his writing of The Way of Kings.)

    - (Tin foil hat time!) Brandon isn't just one person, but several people working under the Sanderson name with him having the final say/edit. This one is entirely unsubstantiated and given that it's 18 books and not 30 I'm not inclined to believe it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're pretty close on several of these points. I generally write two books a year—a big one and a small one. This is a habit I fell into during my early, unpublished years. I'd do one longer epic fantasy and one shorter "breather" novel to try something new or to keep myself fresh.

    Off the cuff, here's how I think it breaks down. (Elantris was finished long before, in 2000.) There's one year of three shorter books instead of an epic. (That was the year I tried to write a book called the Liar of Partinel, and it just didn't work. Wrote The Rithmatist instead. This is also the year I got called and asked to work on the Wheel of Time.) Also, note that the year of Towers of Midnight and The Way of Kings just about killed me, and is the busiest I've ever been.

    A Memory of Light—last book of the Wheel of Time—took by far the longest of these all, particularly with the revision demands during 2012 (which is why I had no epic fantasy that year, only the two novellas.)

    2002: The Way of Kings (early draft)
    2003: Mistborn
    2004: Mistborn 2, Alcatraz 1
    2005: Mistborn 3, Alcatraz 2
    2006: Warbreaker, Alcatraz 3
    2007: Steelheart, The Rithmatist, Alcatraz 4 (Alcatraz was a 4-book contract.)
    2008: The Gathering Storm, Part of Towers of Midnight
    2009: Towers of Midnight, The Way of Kings (New Draft from scratch.)
    2010: Alloy of Law, half of AMOL
    2011: Half of AMOL
    2012: Legion, Emperor's Soul
    2013: Words of Radiance, Steelheart 2 (hopefully)

    NeilaK20

    More recently I've noticed myself writing on something different than my main projects when I need a break. Wasn't sure it was the best thing to do, but after reading your post I'm convinced it may be! I have yet to have a chance to read one of your books, BUT I intend to as they sound awesome. They're on my list of "stuff I need to read when I have money to buy books again". :D

    Brandon Sanderson

    Cool! If you do the ebook thing, Warbreaker is free on my website.

    http://brandonsanderson.com/book/Warbreaker/page/20/WARBREAKER-Rights-and-Downloads

    There's an html version on there somewhere too. My assistant posted it.

    Best of luck with your writing!

    It-just-is

    Confused: Steelheart—written in 2007, Amazon says it won't be released until September 2013. Are you re-writing an early project?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I finished a good chunk of it back then, but had to put it on the shelf and leave it alone. The Wheel of Time demanded all of my attention. Now that I'm finished with AMOL, I have time for side projects again, and have taken this one off and given it a solid polish to be released this year.

    PeterAhlstrom

    I'm pretty sure Brandon has Steelheart misplaced; he wrote it in very early 2010, before Alloy of Law, though he came up with the concept earlier than that. 2007 should have Liar of Partinel in it, which Brandon talked about above.

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    Lebal (March 2013)

    Wait wait, so it is a book [Steelheart] about a magical upper class and a lower class who rebels against them? But I already read Mistborn!

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, I honestly worry about this a lot. Perhaps more than I should. I don't want to start repeating myself.

    This was one of those "Write it by instinct" books. The idea was too awesome to ignore. Basically, it's the story of what happens if people in our world started getting superpowers, but only evil people got them. Story is about a group of people who fight back by assassinating people with superpowers by researching their weaknesses, then laying a trap and taking them out.

    However, it DOES share similarities to Mistborn. Much as Warbreaker and Elantris share a worldbuilding premise. We shall see, after readers get it, if I'm repeating myself too much. It's hard when you've got an awesome story you want to tell, but also want each series to have its individual identity.

    rockeh

              | what happens if people in our world started getting superpowers, but only evil people got them

    Is that the case, or rather a more cynical approach to 'power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely'?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That very question is actually a plot point in the story.

    rockeh

    Oh wow. The book's not even out, and I managed to spoil it...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. No, you're not spoiling it. What I mean is, very early in the book, people ask the same question you did. Is the way they act caused by them having too much power, or is it because certain types of people got the powers in the first place. It's not a spoiler to ask the question.

    The origin of this story has to do with me, driving along, and getting cut off in traffic. I thought to myself, "Buddy, you're glad I don't have superpowers, because I'd totally blow your car off the road right now."

    My immediate reactions made me start thinking about what would actually happen if some people had those kinds of powers.

    Batblib

    This sounds really cool and I look forward to reading it! One thing I wonder about though, is how you fit this into the shard multiverse? I'll be honest and admit I'm not totally up to speed on all your books and all the meta-lore, but as far as I knew you had a pre-set number of possible worlds, all created by some unique piece of shard from a larger whole, right?

    So for this idea, did you happen to have a specific shard available that fit with the world, did you have an "undefined" shard you could use, or is this something separated entirely from the multiverse setting? Really curious about this as this whole concept as I know of it of the multiverse is really intriguing.

    Anyway, thanks for being an awesome writer, from a fan!

    Brandon Sanderson

    So far, most of my deviation novels (Alcatraz, Steelheart, The Rithmatist) have not been part of the shared universe. Part of taking a 'breather' is letting my mind run free without continuity restrictions.

    Often, good restrictions can make for a more impressive story, but sometimes you have to be able to do whatever occurs to you, even if it doesn't fit the shared cosmology. So, Steelheart is not a shard novel. I HAVE set apart plenty of places that are less defined that I can tell shard stories in, but this isn't one of them.

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    Kaladin_Stormblessed (April 2013)

    Dreamworks has acquired the film rights for The Way of Kings.

    In an official PR broadcast today, Dreamworks Studios announced the acquisition of film rights for Brandon Sanderson's NYT best-selling fantasy novel, The Way of Kings.

    "We're very excited to bring The Way of Kings to the screen," Dreamworks CEO April Firston says. "We're dedicated to giving this epic story the exposure it deserves, and plan on staying completely true to the book, unlike that hack Peter Jackson."

    Initial reports are that the book will be split into seven 4-hour long animated movies, each to be directed by M. Night Shaylaman. Ben McSweeney, interior artist for the original book, is quoted as saying, "Well, they got the rockbuds right, so that's something, I guess." Brandon Sanderson didn't have time to comment, as he's currently working on fifteen additional tie-in novels taking place over a thousand-year time span in eight different interconnecting worlds.

    Casting is still underway, but Robert Pattinson is rumored to be in talks to voice Kaladin, and Pauly Shore has expressed interest in Hoid. Eighteen musical numbers will be added, including "Why Can't I Just Die," "What the Hell Are These Symbol Headed Things?" and "Livin' La Vida Roshar."

    EDIT: Obviously this was an April Fool's joke. Happy Spring everyone, and stormfather forbid what I've written above should ever come to pass. Thanks to /u/virgiliart and /u/catastrophesnail for brainstorming on ideas.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You got it wrong. I'm not busy because I'm writing other books, I'm working on the licensing deals! Cardboard shardplate! Official Bridge Four loincloths! "There's spren in my poop" toilet paper!

    Rutthed

    Serious question: are there poopspren, and how would they fare in indoor plumbing situations?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, it depends on how you're defining spren. In the books, they don't make a distinction, but there are several varieties. At the basic level, everything has an identity—a soul, you might say, but more than that. This is based on how it is viewed, and how long it has been viewed that way. Feces would have this, but wouldn't have a very strong cognitive identity because of its transitional nature.

    Other types of spren, the type that characters see and interact with, are cognitive ideals or concepts which have taken on literal personification over time. These are usually related to forces or emotions, and don't relate to this particular topic.

    And that's far more than I ever expected to say on this...

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    samsonation (April 2013)

    TOR.com International release?

    I was wondering if anyone here knows how to purchase The Way of Kings in Australia? Brandon's website says it's $3 and DRM free but none of the links seem to work over here. Any thoughts?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My UK publisher has the right to distribute there, so you should be able to buy it on Amazon.co.uk. However, despite our request, I don't believe that they've decided to discount the ebook to match Tor's promotion. (I might be wrong; perhaps they've lowered the price.)

    I'm sorry about this. A lot of things are more expensive down under because of shipping; ebooks shouldn't be one of them.

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  • 25

    bleedscarlet (May 2013)

    I met Brandon Sanderson (/u/mistborn) last night!!!!! I've never felt starstruck until now.

    kurin

    I heard that if he's away from a keyboard for more than fifteen minutes he develops a nervous tick where he starts tapping out rough drafts with his fingers in Morse code. He doesn't even know he's doing it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    . .- -.-. .... / - .. -- . / -.-- --- ..- / .- .-.. .-.. --- .-- / - .... .. ... --..-- / .- -- .- .-. .- -- / ... .- .. -.. --..-- / .. - / -.. .-. .. ...- . ... / .- / .-- . -.. --. . / -... . - .-- . . -. / .... .. -- / .- -. -.. / - .... . / - .... .-. --- -. . .-.-.- / .- -- .- .-. .- -- / - --- --- -.- / -.. .- .-.. .. -. .- .-. / -... -.-- / - .... . / .- .-. -- --..-- / ... - --- .--. .--. .. -. --. / .... .. -- / ..-. .-. --- -- / -.-. --- -. - .. -. ..- .. -. --. / ..-. --- .-. .-- .- .-. -.. .-.-.- / .-- . / .... .- ...- . / -... .. --. --. . .-. / .--. .-. --- -... .-.. . -- ... / - .... .- -. / -.-- --- ..- / .- -. -.. / ... .- -.. . .- ... --..-- / -- -.-- / ..-. .-. .. . -. -.. .-.-.- / -.-- . ... --..-- / .... . / -... . - .-. .- -.-- . -.. / -.-- --- ..- .-.-.- / -.-- . ... --..-- / .... . / .-.. .. -.- . .-.. -.-- / .-- .. .-.. .-.. / .- --. .- .. -. .-.-.- / -... ..- - / .-- . / -.-. .- -. / - / .- ..-. ..-. --- .-. -.. / - --- / .-.. . - / - .... . / - .-- --- / --- ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / --. --- / - --- / .-- .- .-. .-.-.- / - .... . / ...- --- .. -.. -... .-. .. -. --. . .-. ... / .- .-. . / -.-. --- -- .. -. --. .-.-.-

    SkyCyril

    Crying from laughing. That's a real passage. You're awesome, Brandon.

    EACH/TIME/YOU/ALLOW/THIS,/AMARAM/SAID,/IT/DRIVES/A/WEDGE/BETWEEN/HIM/AND/THE/THRONE./ AMARAM/TOOK/DALINAR/BY/THE/ARM,/STOPPING/HIM/FROM/CONTINUING/FORWARD./ WE/HAVE/BIGGER/PROBLEMS/THAN/YOU/AND/SADEAS,/MY/FRIEND./ YES,/HE/BETRAYED/YOU./YES,/HE/LIKELY/WILL/AGAIN./BUT/WE/CAN/T/AFFORD/ TO/LET/THE/TWO/OF/YOU/GO/TO/WAR./THE/VOIDBRINGERS/ARE/COMING.

    MosesSiregarIII

    Sitting in the audience at Superstars right now. We miss you this year, man. Tracy Hickman and Joan Johnston have been quite awesome, though.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Say hi to everyone for me!

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    wesem (June 2013)

    Just realized what Shardblades remind me of...

    In my head, they remind me a lot of Keyblades from Kingdom Hearts. The blade appearing out of nowhere when you hold out your hand seems rather similar. They're also both highly coveted in their universes and for both types each blade is different from the next (I think). Just wanted to see if anyone else noticed this or if I'm just crazy and have had way too much time to think waiting for Words of Radiance.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Shardblades aren't inspired by keyblades specifically, though there is a core inspiration that might be shared by both myself and the creators. While I did play the first kingdom hearts game when it came out, the first draft of The Way of Kings was well under way when the game was released.

    However, I did play all of the Final Fantasy games—I had the first on original Nintendo, so get off my lawn, you kids. The origin of Shardblades relates to fantasy games and art in general, and the concept of the stylized sword which is also horribly impractical.

    In a lot of my writing, I react toward or against the fantasy archetypes of my youth in the 80s and 90s. When designing the Stormlight Archive, one of the things I asked myself was, "Can I make a situation where these oversized, over-stylized blades are actually practical? Why in the world would you need a weapon like that? And how do you actually use one?"

    Making the blades summonable seemed one of the only ways that carrying one around would be reasonable.

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    Massawyrm (June 2013)

    Most people believe that creative success is a pipe dream only achieved by people they don't know. They also don't embrace anything like it until it has been approved of by a mainstream gatekeeper. My favorite story illustrating this happened last year around this time. A waitress at our local diner overheard me and my buddies talking about movies, one of them being a movie I wrote. She was making small talk with me at the register and asked "So your movie, will it play at a theater here in Austin or something?" I said "Yes, several. It's on 2500 screens nationwide, and it should be on a number of them here." Her eyes lit up "Oh! you mean it's a real movie. I thought it was just, you know, an indie thing."

    In their eyes you are not a writer, you are a dreamer, until proven otherwise.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Similar thing happened to me. A friend was having a party at her house, and I dropped by. She introduced me by saying, "This is Brandon. He's a writer."

    One of her friends piped up immediately. "Oh, so he's unemployed."

    This attitude in our society has always bothered me. As if mastering an art weren't hard enough, we have to deal with the derision of those who think we're fools for even trying.

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    jag51989 (July 2013)

    Which book should be my next to read?

    Elantris and Rithmatist were my next two books on my list and I was going to read which ever I just got my hands on first. I ended up getting both of them in my hands right now, so I don't know what I should read first.

    Elantris is his first novel and many people really love it while Rithmatist is new and sounds really interesting.

    What would you suggest reading next?

    Also, if it makes a difference, I will be going to an event that he will be at over the weekend, so I want to be able to talk about more than just Mistborn.

    Thanks for the help.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Elantris was my first published book, and it does show. I think it's still perfectly readable, but do go into it knowing that it wanders in places, that the prose is a little rough, and the characters a little more straightforward than those of Mistborn. It would be a good one to read if you are interested in the Cosmere, as The Rithmatist isn't a Cosmere book.

    The Rithmatist is a stronger work overall, but has a weaker start. (That's the roughest part of the book.) It is also more narrow—it has one viewpoint character, and is about basically one event. It's going to read faster than Elantris, come together more tightly, but overall is going to feel less deep because of its focused nature.

    Either way, thanks for reading.

    --Brandon

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    trimeta (July 2013)

    As much as I know I'll enjoy every single book listed there, I'm a bit curious what (if anything) is happening with the "modern" and "future" trilogies in the Mistborn universe. Are those still planned? Have they been put into a "not until the Cosmere is far more well-established" category?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I decided that, while doing Stormlight, I wanted to stay away from other "in-depth" series. The second Mistborn trilogy is very involved, and will require memory between books for all of the hints, plotting, and twists to make sense. (Much like the first trilogy and Stormlight.) Therefore, I am keeping to series like Wax and Wayne or Steelheart, where each book stands better on its own, and doesn't evoke a "I have to re-read each time to catch up to the new one" mentality.

    Once I finish the bottom five Stormlight books, which form a complete arc of their own, I will jump over and do the modern Mistborn cycle.

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    adribbleofink (August 2013)

    Brandon Sanderson announces Infinity Blade: Redemption

    Xyrd

    I wonder which of the BSBs (Brandon Sanderson Bots) wrote this one? I'd guess it was BSB_04, since I'm pretty sure the current situation is:

    BSB_01 is focused on Words Of Radiance
    BSB_02 is working on Firefight (Steelheart sequel)
    BSB_03 is prepping the Rithmatist sequel
    BSB_04 is prepping Shadows of Self (next Mistborn)
    BSB_05 is handling the promotional events
    BSB_06 handles the Writing Excuses stuff
    BSB_07 does M:TG/fathering

    Seriously, how the hell does he do all of this?!

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    You forgot BSB-8: The Reddit bot.

    Actually, this was my breather short piece between Words of Radiance (rough draft) and diving into Firefight and the WoR 2nd draft. I'm really feeling like I could use a few more bots, these days. The promotional events side of things has been killer.

    I do have to say that these two Infinity Blade shorts have been quite fun to do. They've been my first chance to dive into something video game related, which is another entire world of writing. I plan to write the Mistborn video game when we finally get around to doing the thing, and getting some first-hand experience with the backend of video gaming has been wonderful.

    Jimmith

    So much awesomeness at once. Please don't burn out though! We want you to keep making books in the years to come too.

    Also, we'll keep bying your books, so you don't need all that promoting ;)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, promotion for someone like me is more about going out and saying "Thank you" than it is about going out to encourage people to buy my books. Most of that promotion involves doing booksignings or conventions, which I do explicitly to meet with readers. (Without whom, I'd never have been able to do what I've done.)

    The problem comes in saying yes to a full slate of conventions, then having two publishers decide to release three of my books this year. (When I had no book releases last year.) That added a heap of publicity onto my slate. Next year should go back to a more normal schedule.

    Jimmith

    Well, I can't pretend to be sorry for getting several books out of you this year, but it does sound like a monumental task.

    PiR8_Rob

    Some of us really appreciate you interacting with your fans here, so thank you. That being said, I really prefer reading works that came completely from your own imagination than that of someone else.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I understand this, and don't worry—I don't plan to do a lot of this. At the same time, working within confines like these offer me a chance to flex different kinds of writing muscles, ones which I'd like to practice using. I plan to take these kinds of projects sparingly. However, if I'm going to dabble in video games, I figure I should gain some experience with the medium before I tackle something like Mistborn.

    Slug_Laton_Rocking

    Are you tempted to write some content for an RPG like Patrick Rothfuss is doing for Torment? Love the books by the way.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The thing that would most tempt me would be doing Magic: The Gathering content, as that is my nerd obsession. I could foresee doing some kind of RPG content, however. Depends on the project and how behind on things I'm feeling.

    Slug_Laton_Rocking

    Ha my respect for you just went up a notch. Nothing more fun then playing Magic: The Gathering with a big group of friends.

    savramescu

    To be honest there must be versions BSB-9 and BSB-10 because you're also in those writing lectures on youtube.

    I'm loving them by the way. At the start of the last years session where you started asking if anyone read Honor Harrington I literally raised my hand in front of the screen (couldn't believe more people didn't). You should assign it as a mandatory reading!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Glad you're enjoying them. Keep writing.

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    drake129103 (September 2013)

    Congratulations to Brandon Sanderson.

    submitted 4 months ago by drake129103

    Brandon Sanderson

    Fun fact: winning two Hugos in one night can leave a guy sitting in bed unable to sleep until 5:40 in the morning. Whew. That was quite an experience. Winning for Writing Excuses was unexpected enough, but getting to take home a Hugo in a fiction category...wow. It's something I've dreamed of for a good twenty years.

    Thank you all for the kind words. This was an incredible night.

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  • 32

    High_Stream (September 2013)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thanks!

    Howard slept with his that night, by the way. (Not even kidding.)

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    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.

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    Cytherean (September 2013)

    Are the Infinity Blade iOS games necessary to play in order to read Sanderson's novellas?

    Hi, the title pretty much says everything I want to know. I have an Android device, so I can't play the Infinity Blade games in whose world Brandon Sanderson's two IB novellas are based. That being said, I tend to read all things Sanderson, so I was wondering if anyone out there who has either read the novellas but not played the games or done both could give some input as to whether playing the games is necessary for reading the novellas.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The answer is "Kind of."

    For the first one, all you really need to know is the basic premise of the game: In it, your nameless hero would go to fight his way through a palace in an attempt to defeat the God King at the end. (Who was deathless, a kind of immortal.) If you died fighting him (which you usually did) your character's son arrived twenty years later to do the same thing. Eventually, when you beat the game, the king's throne unfolded, showing some science-fiction technology.

    The fun of writing the story that came after was taking video game tropes (such as generic healing rings and potions) and trying to make a complex and interesting magic system, along with trying to figure out a character and setting that would work with what the game had displayed—yet also have narrative depth.

    It was quite a fun exercise, but is of most interest to those who have played the game, because of the reasons mentioned above. That said, the first story can be read with only a small lead-in.

    The developers brought me in for the story of the second and third games, however, and so my novella between games two and three is directly linked to the events of the games. It will stand far less well on its own. (Though you can watch all of the cinematic cut-scenes from the second game on Youtube.)

    Brandon

    SubPsionics

    That was amazing. At first I thought "This guy is really knowledgeable about this". It only makes me happier to see it's actually you! I want to congratulate you on being awesome as well as taking part in the community that appreciates you. It makes me glad to know you take care of your fans.

    Brandon Sanderson

    My pleasure.

    schwiz

    I hope to see more games based off your work. I think Stormlight would lend itself great to an MMO. I could see high level characters getting together once a week to take out a chasmfiend.

    I've actually been toying around with the idea of trying to bring a Rithmatist game to life on touch screen devices. Both Rithmatic duels between players or tower defense single player modes could lead to some really fun game play.

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of my main goals in agreeing to jump on board with the Infinity Blade guys was to learn about gaming from the industry side. I've always played, but wanted some real experience before being involved in video games based on my own works.

    morsk

    One thing I found confusing in the first story was mention of some events between killing the God King and when the story started. Taking the Infinity Blade (obviously), and killing some people in a basement? Or some lower level of a building, I think. I guessed that it was from some DLC add-on to the game, but I was never sure if it wasn't something the story added on its own.

    Brandon Sanderson

    DLC, as you guessed

    BigZ7337

    Hm, I have the Infinity Blade 2 game but I haven't gotten around to finishing it yet, should I wait to start the second Novella until I finish the game, or should I just jump in and try to recover from the possible slight confusion? Btw, I really enjoyed the first Infinity Blade Novella, not only did it give a whole new look on the game, it was also just a great story.

    Thonyfst

    Wait. Seriously. There's some plot events that you want to experience from the game.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I try to make it somewhat clear what happened at the end of the second game in the novella, but it might be a little confusing to you anyway. You COULD always watch the cut scenes on youtube, though. They're all up there. Either way, thanks for reading!

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    danielsmith46 (September 2013)

    Cheap way to get the e-books?

    I have bought the Mistborn trilogy in book and audiobook form. I want to get an e-book version of them as well, anybody know of a cheaper way to do this than just paying another $16 to Amazon for the e-books? It's not that I'm not willing to do that, it's just that I have already paid for these books, and it's annoying to pay all over again just to get them in another format that doesn't cost the author anything to produce! I know, Brandon Sanderson is selling them on Amazon with no DRM, and that's awesome, but...I just feel gipped paying the money just so I can have it on my phone as well as the actual physical books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't have the rights to send you these for free, as I sold ebook rights to Tor way back when. That said, I have no personal problem with people...ahem...finding them through other means, so long as they have the physical books in their possession.

    Wish I could do more. I'm trying hard to get Tor to agree to let me send ebooks to those who buy the physical books. I feel they'll budge on this eventually, but so far, I haven't gotten permission.

    danielsmith46

    Wow, and this is part of why you are my favorite author! Your involvement with your fans...and of course, the awesome books.

    Seeing your response, I would rather buy another set through Amazon to give to a friend, and get the e-books via the Amazon MatchBook thing mentioned above. Spreading the good books and such. Do you know if Matchbook will be applicable to your books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will make ever effort to get Tor to agree to make my books Matchbook enabled. I don't think they'll have a problem with it. (I've been making noise for years, trying to get them to do something like this, and they've complained about logistics.)

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  • 36

    LittlePlasticCastle (September 2013)

    Introducing the Steelhunt

    Gloman42

    The Sanderson marketing machine is in full force today, huh?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sorry. I'm doing a lot of blog posts—it's release week and all that. While I'm happy to see people posting them here, I don't particularly want to dominate the front page and annoy people.

    I guess it's like what happens at a gaming subreddit when a new game comes out. If it's any consolation, this should taper off next week.

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  • 37

    the_doughboy (September 2013)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Man. Is this what it feels like to have finally made it? I feel like Weird Al just did a cover of one of my songs.

    ryzvonusef (September 2013)

    Is Sanderson being hyped too much?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Honestly, I probably am.

    It's pretty awesome to appear in a Penny Arcade strip, either way. And, to be honest, a major shock. I still haven't gotten over the surprise that comes from having random websites I visit suddenly mentioning me.

    Next thing you know, Yahtzee will be comparing me to someone's testicles.

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    bethrevis (October 2013)

    What have you guys been up to? Any sales or signings or agents news or finished manuscripts or other good stuff you want to share?

    This is the promo page: post whatever new stuff you have for this month here!

    Brandon Sanderson (October 2013)

    I...kind of have the country's #1 bestselling YA book this week. Does that count?

    EDIT: Link, by request, to the New York Times bestseller list. I am #1 on the YA list, which you have to scroll WAY down to find.

    bethrevis

    Sure does! Link that shizz up!

    Also: congrats!

    Also also: my husband ADORES your work. He's incredibly stompy right now that I won't let him buy Steelheart, but it's only because I've already gotten him a copy for Christmas. Fortunately, he never ever reads this sub.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Link posted. Thanks! It's my first time at #1 on the teen list, so we were quite excited.

    bethrevis

    That is truly awesome and amazing! You have every reason to be excited!

    Lilah_Rose

    If that wasn't impressive enough, I've just realized you've been on reddit for 5 years!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. I've wasted my fair share of time around here. :)

    chihuahuazero

    Hello! I haven't read any of your stuff yet, but I might check your books out now.

    Do you hang around here much?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've been impressed with the sub. It seems well managed and genuinely helpful. I don't post much for time reasons, but I do read much of what gets posted here.

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    quantumsheep (October 2013)

    Do you think "movie potential" for your book is an important factor in the YA market?

    I know this applies across the board, but many YA books are being given the book-to-movie treatment nowadays. As YA is an emerging market, it feels like many stories are lined up for their movie adaptation before they even hit the shelves.

    Do you think that "movie potential" is more important for YA books? Do you think the YA market is being used as a vessel to more easily find big-bucks action movies?

    bethrevis

    I don't think that "movie potential" is more important for YA books, because movie deals are SO nebulous, and everyone in the business is very aware of that. Movie deals are often rather small, and remember, a movie deal =/= a movie, and movie deals are different from book deals in a few key ways: typically, with a book deal, you get an advance and then royalties when your advance earns out. With a movie deal, you get paid at each stage. They buy the rights; you get a small amount of money (and sometimes we're talking VERY small—like, maybe you could buy a used car small). They decide to buy a script, you get some money. They take the script into development, you get some money. They produce it, you get some money. So, movie deals CAN be lucrative—if they actually make the movie. But if they JUST buy the rights...not so much.

    Now compare the number of books that have movie deals versus the number of books that are actually made into movies. Sure—there have been a lot of movies from YA books, but there are a LOT more without.

    If I had the choice between just selling movie rights and selling to a larger foreign country, such as Germany or England or Brazil, I'd rather sell foreign. For most authors, foreign deals are far, far more lucrative than selling movie rights. (Exception: some high profile deals, movie rights sales that turn into movies.)

    TL: DR: movie rights aren't important enough, nor are they guaranteed, to make writing a book for a movie worth it.

    There ARE a lot of YA books-to-movies right now—I think this is more a reflection of the movie market, though, than the book market.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think you are correct—that thinking of the movie potential isn't worth the effort—but for a different reason.

    My experience is that the author can't do much to make film deals happen. Of the deals I've done for my books, in only one case was I able to go out and shop a property and sell it. The other four times, everyone ignored our attempts to sell the books for film—until someone came to us. My impression of Hollywood has been that they want to find it on their own, not have you go to them pitching it.

    Every one of my five deals has been an option agreement. For those who aren't aware, an option is kind of like a lease on a property. You do a big deal, but the producer/studio doesn't have to pay out the entire amount at first—instead they make an option payment, which is often somewhere around 5-10% of the buyout price. That lets them reserve the rights for a period (usually 12-18 months) where you can't sell it to anyone else. They usually have two chances to renew the option, and often the option money paid is deductible from the final buyout price if they decide to exercise their option to purchase.

    The vast majority of film deals I hear about from friends are deals like this, with very few films actually being made. But that doesn't mean they can't be lucrative. If the buyout is 10k and you're getting 1k every 18mo...sure, that's not much. If the buyout is 500k, and you're getting 50k every 18mo though, it can make a nice supplemental income.

    However, bethrevis is right—translation deals are far more plentiful, and far more reliable. Beyond that, I'd suggest that developing a story for its film potential can draw your attention away from writing the book the way it needs to be written.

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    SaeLow (November 2013)

    Are YA authors considered "inferior"?

    I am very interested to know what the sub thinks about YA fantasy fiction. I have often wondered why (other than the obvious financial benefits) a talented author would choose to write in a style that is more easily digestible if they are capable of writing at a higher level. I imagine this may be a sensitive topic and don't mean to offend, but I always assumed that an author would write at as high a level as they possibly could. Upon reading some YA fiction (and quickly deciding that I hate it), it seems to me that the level of writing is very low. How can these authors be proud of these works? In my opinion, at least, selling a million copies of a book is not synonymous with good quality writing. Am I alone?

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Well, this (including the discussion of my writing) was not what I was expecting to find when I opened this thread.

    I must admit, one of the things I find most frustrating about discussions of literature in our culture is the need we all seem to have to polarize and demean. When it comes to artistic taste, it seems we can't simply enjoy something—we have to declare that what we enjoy is superior to the alternatives. That the piece we dislike is unchallenging and immature.

    Enjoyment of art is about personal taste. This is as true for novels as it is for a painting on the wall. And yet, we seem unable to accept this, and assume that those who like the writing we do not must somehow be inferior.

    I find this disappointing in the face of the constant attempts by the sf/f community to rebuff the literary elite who would dismiss, demean, and ignore our genres. We shout until we're blue in the face about the virtues of fantasy. (There several posts the front page right now, arguing about the power of a sense of wonder.) And yet, we're just as quick to do it to ourselves, deciding the thing that does not suit our particular taste must be worthless, written poorly, and created by those of inferior skill who are looking to cash in on a fad.

    There is a difference between poor writing and writing that does not suit our personal tastes. I don't mean to say that we shouldn't criticize authors or try to hash out for ourselves what makes great writing great. I just wish that we, collectively as a genre, would spend less time talking about why the writers we don't like are crap.

    OP, by the way, most of this isn't directed at you—but instead represents my frustration at how often topics like this become so argumentative. To you, I'd ask: Is a Pixar film less valuable because of its sometimes more straightforward themes and lack of brutal depictions? Perhaps ask what the creators of such films can accomplish through their medium that another story cannot and you will find why writing pieces for younger readers is sometimes so fulfilling for writers.

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  • 41

    Darkenmal (November 2013)

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    You people. (And I say that with fondness.)

    Yes, I'd probably do it—so long as it didn't become a thing. Someone asking for a fun, odd signature once in a while is doable. But if people started asking for a page of writing each time they ordered a book, I'd have to stop offering personalizations.

    At least it's better than the guy/gal who always asks for a limerick...

    Darkenmal

    Wow, neat! Thanks for coming in here and being awesome.

    althoughiwouldn'tmindifitwaswrittenasalimerick...

    Graveworn

    Haha, i was planning on doing this for the Wheel of Time books. Something like "I solemnly swear not to use the words 'Homicide, Guano, and Lichen' in A Memory of Light" but I was broke. :( Luckily it was unneeded. Thanks again for finishing the series!

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was an honor.

    At least I didn't find a place for Maladroit or Inchoate. (I think.) Those are ones I tend to find too many excuses to use...

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  • 42

    Gearbox302 (November 2013)

    Mitosis: A Reckoners Story

    Does anyone know if this book will take place between the first and second Steelheart book? Or will this just be the beginning of the second one as kind of a teaser?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Between first and second. Stand-alone story. Including some really bad power ballad lyrics by yours truly.

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  • 43

    mjlavalleejr (December 2013)

    Found out Brandon Sanderson Teaches at my school.

    I had no clue who he was till recently. His class offers specialized instruction twice a week. He basically helps you write a novel? However his class requires an application. I think I'm going to try and get in!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Be sure to take the audit/lecture course if you don't get into the main course. Taking that once gives you an advantage if you apply again next year. (At least, that's how I've instructed my assistant to proceed, as he is the one who reviews the applications.)

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