Stranger Than Fiction: Fantasy Author Makes Record-Setting $40 Million Through Crowdfunding Alone - Arts & Culture

“I’m supposed to write fantasy worlds—not live in them.”

American author Brandon Sanderson has broken several records on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, including its most funded project ever after raising $20 million in just the first 72 hours.

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For self-publishing of his Surprise! Four Secret Novels, the writer has altogether raised $41.75 million from 185,341 backers on Kickstarter. This despite his initial target of only $1 million.

This is more than double the record it broke, which e-paper smartwatch Pebble Time previously set at $20.33 million.

“Who would have thought that a group of quirky stories could rival—then topple—technological innovations and beloved game projects. I’m floored. And you did this all without even knowing what you were getting, save that I promised you it was awesome,” Sanderson wrote in reaction to the milestone.

Among the other records broken, according to the novelist, are the fastest to fund through various price points, the biggest first 24 hours, and even the largest Kickstarter campaign ever.

Behind the bucks

Sanderson promised that backers who pledged different amounts would be able to read the Surprise! Four Secret Novels throughout 2023 on a monthly or quarterly basis.

The series will also come in different versions like e-books, audiobooks, hardcover books, and all of the said formats together. Special add-ons and editions additionally include swag boxes, collectible pin sets, and leatherbound books.

Kickstarter consequently attributed Sanderson’s success to a good campaign, trust, credibility and visibility, a passionate fan community, fun and excitement, a strong promotional plan, algorithms and internet dynamics, and a little help from friends.

Recently, the publishing category on Kickstarter has become increasingly valuable thanks to publishers who have collectively pledged at least $200 million to different projects. These include art books, literary spaces, and zines, among other types of literary works.

Banner Photo via Brandon Sanderson’s Instagram

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