Fantasy author’s record-breaking Kickstarter campaign closes at $41.7 million

Portrait of American fantasy author Brandon Sanderson taken on June 3, 2011.

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Brandon Sanderson asked Kickstarter fans for $1 million to self-publish four novels he wrote during the pandemic. Thirty days later, his campaign has topped $41.7 million from more than 185,000 backers and is the most-funded Kickstarter in the crowdfunding site’s history.

Sanderson’s campaign surpassed the previous record holder in just three days, topping the $20.3 million in funds that smartwatch company Pebble Technology generated in 2015.

With the project successfully funded, Kickstarter will take a 5% fee from the funds collected, or more than $2 million.

A well-established figure in the sci-fi and fantasy novel space, Sanderson has published more than 50 books since 2005. He is best known, however, for creating the Cosmere fictional universe, in which most of his novels are set.

This is the second time Sanderson has turned to Kickstarter to publish his work. In 2020, he generated $6.7 million in funds from nearly 30,000 backers to produce a leather-bound 10th anniversary edition of his novel “The Way of Kings.”

The campaign acts as a preordering platform, allowing Sanderson to get a better gauge on how many people are interested in purchasing his work so that he can have the proper amount printed.

Those that backed the campaign will get access to these new titles as digital e-books, audio books or physical copies based on their donation level starting January 2023. People who spent over a certain threshold will also receive eight monthly subscription boxes of items related to Sanderson’s work over the course of next year.

“We are a simple bookstore,” he wrote in his campaign. “We can easily sell a book or a piece of swag that is already in stock or will be in stock soon. But planning out an entire ‘Year of Sanderson’ takes setup and tracking we are not capable of at Dragonsteel Books.”