Because the collectible leather edition of The way of kings, Brandon Sanderson's fantasy novel, is the most funded book in the history of Kickstarter?

That Brandon Sanderson is one of the greatest contemporary fantasy authors is no secret.

Sanderson, in fact, is an extremely prolific writer, with over fifteen published in about fifteen years to his credit, and his next release will be Rhythm of war, fourth book de The Chronicles of Folgoluce. Most of Sanderson 's books arrived in Italy despite the editorial diatribes and, recently, the latest titles translated in our country are Skyward (Armenia) e Oath (Knopf). In addition, Sanderson also completed the saga de The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, whose last unpublished novel we talked about Thu.

But Sanderson is a writer not only extremely prolific, but also very attentive and encyclopedic in his worldbuilding, as well as very profound and empathetic in the characterization of his characters. In fact, despite being Mormon, and therefore very religious, Sanderson is an author who is not afraid to question his ideas and approaches characters diametrically opposed to him with respect and a desire for discovery.

Therefore, it's no wonder Sanderson is one beloved writer and able to speak to a universal audience without ever being banal. His audience, therefore, has always been very fond of him and ready to embark, on trust, in reading each of his books, even if they are of a different genre from fantasy.

It is therefore not surprising that the public followed Sanderson in his own first crowdfunding on Kickstarter. However, it is surprising that this crowdfunding is the most funded editorial KS in the history of the platform. What caused this success? What motivated so many readers to finance this project?

The special leather edition of The Way of Kings
The special leather edition of The way of kings

The Kickstarter item: the leather collector's edition of The way of kings

The first book de The Chronicles of Folgoluce, The way of kings (The way of kings), was released ten years ago, in 2010. To commemorate this anniversary, it was decided to create acollector's edition of this book.

It is one of the famous leather editions (leatherbound edition) that some of Sanderson's books already have, created by the author's commercial company, the Dragonsteel Entertainment. These are obviously expensive editions, made with precious materials and with an internal graphic and artistic revision.

Therefore, Sanderson's idea would have been to produce a leather edition of the The way of kings, so as to celebrate its anniversary. However, this book, as its readers will well know, is very voluminous and therefore would need to be divided into two volumes to maintain a quality binding, thus making the price rise. To produce it safely and to further embellish this special edition, the Sanderson team decided to resort to crowdfunding on Kickstarter to finance The way of kings Leather.

What the Kickstarter of the special edition of The way of kings?

The leather edition of The way of kings cannot be bought in the first two Tier of the Kickstarter. These, worth $ 10 and $ 50, offer a unpublished short story by Sanderson, set in the world of The Chronicles of Folgoluce, respectively in e-book form and in paper form. The latter also includes a poster of the Ponte Quattro team, led by one of the protagonists of the work, Kaladin.

The autographed leather edition of The way of kings, together with the digital version of the short story and the posters (which can also be printed!), it reaches the third tier, at the price of 200$. For $ 250, on the other hand, you can have the autographed leather edition of The way of kings and the paper edition of the short story and of The Way of Kings Prime, the latter recently unlocked as a stretch goal. The Way of Kings Prime is an unedited edition of the first version of The Way of Kings, when it was still thought of as a very different story, not set in the Cosmoverse, that is, in the narrative universe shared by many of Sanderson's works.

Finally, at 500 €, you can have the autographed leather edition of The way of kings, with the paper edition of poster, short story and The Way of Kings Prime, including all the merchandise additional physique. This merchandise revolves around the ten coats of arms of the Radiant Knights, of which stickers, pins, fabric patches, prints and metal coins will be made.

Crowdfunding also includes other tiers, but they are all now sold-out, since they had a maximum backer limit, which is between 975 and 5100, depending on the Tier.

Leather editions of other Sanderson works. Photo by Reddit
Leather editions of other Sanderson works. Photo by Reddit

The Kickstarter results of the leather edition of The way of kings

The crowdfunding of this collector's edition started on July 7th and will end on August 7th, the date by which it will have to collect a minimum $220.000.

The $ 220.000 goal was reached in the former three minutes crowdfunding.

In ten minutes, this crowdfunding has reached million dollars. In thirty minutes it went up to two million dollars. Two days later he arrived at four million dollars and today we see it quite stable at around $ 4.400.000.

The Tier with the most current contributors is one of those with a limited number of copies, costing $ 250, followed by another sold-out Tier, with 2700 backers. Among the open tiers already seen, the most popular one is the $ 250 one, with 2000 backers. The two minor tiers are also quite popular, with 1200 payers each. The least followed Tier is, for now, the $ 500 tier with uncounted copies, which has "only" 400 backers.

Stretch goals unlocked

Currently, numerous stretch goals have been unlocked, and many more are pending.

Among the first reached, we count the stickers and the fabric patches of the orders of the Radiant Knights, but it was also possible to have an upgrade of all the special copies of The way of kings, which will now be bound in high quality leather, of Italian production (hear hear!). Furthermore, upon reaching the million dollar mark, the leather edition case was unlocked, while for two million dollars it was possible to offer the deck of playing cards of The Chronicles of Folgoluce.

At the moment, the next stretch goal to unlock will be the bookmark special, which will be available upon reaching five million dollars.

Some of the unpublished illustrations that will be integrated into The Way of Kings
Some of the unpublished illustrations that will be integrated into The way of kings

A record crowdfunding

That of the collector's edition of The way of kings it is not just an evidently successful crowdfunding that is grinding one stretch goal after another. In fact, this funding campaign is currently the most successful editorial project in the history of Kickstarter.

Publishing projects include all possible types of books, therefore from the artbooks of famous artists to calendars, from academic books to poetry collections. In this category, therefore, Sanderson's crowdfunding was the most financed project, and the gap that separates it from the second and third places in this ranking is considerable.

In fact, the second most funded book by Kickstarter is Good night stories for rebellious girls 2, which totaled $ 866.000 on a $ 100.000 goal. The third most funded book is, curiously, one driving on French rifles, who earned $ 800.000 on a goal of just $ 25.000. Among the other successful KS books that are interesting for us role players, we find, with a whopping $ 320.000 earned on a $ 10.000 goal, the artbook Simon Stålenhag's Tales from the Loop, whose role-playing game we talked about Thu e Thu, and whose TV series we talked about Thu!

If we want to frame the crowdfunding of The way of kings from the perspective of Kickstarter's more successful campaigns in general, let's see Sanderson's crowdfunding al 34 th.

Brandon Sanderson celebrates $ 4 million for The Way of Kings live with his parrot, Magellan
Brandon Sanderson celebrates hitting $ 4 million live The way of kings together with his parrot, Magellan

What does this success mean for fantasy?

Obviously, Brandon Sanderson's success must not be mistaken for the success of the whole fantasy literary world. Sanderson is a widely established writer who has sold millions of books and has translated into many countries. Therefore, it is not absolutely certain that its success implies that every fantasy writer or writer can make a bang on Kickstarter.

Finance a fantasy book with Kickstarter: a success found by few

In fact, it would seem that the only other fantasy books that have had a particularly successful crowdfunding on Kickstarter are the latest books of Michael J. Sullivan, who has already had the opportunity to become a rather established fantasy author. We have in fact already spoken (albeit negatively) of his books Thu. His most successful crowdfunding is to Age of Empyre, who earned $ 130.000 on a $ 21.700 goal. The other KS-funded fantasy books I could find, such as the picture book Caldyra, urban fantasy Blood Tally and the first volume of Kirins, they exceed their target relatively little.

Obviously, then, we must take into consideration the fact that we are talking about books in English, therefore with a very large audience. Trying your luck on Kickstarter can be even more difficult, for an aspiring Italian fantasy writer. Crowdfunding of Italian fantasy books, all by total debutants, which I was able to find on Kickstarter, none of them managed to be financed. These are extremely amateur financing campaigns, of course, which shows how difficult it is to finance yourself on KS without an advertising team, a captivating presentation and, above all, merchandise and illustrators behind you.

As Sanderson also says in this video, where he celebrates the success of the KS of The way of kings, For novice writers online selling and selling through unconventional means is more difficult. There are three factors that, according to Sanderson, help a novice writer: a nice cover, word of mouth and shopkeepers of small bookstores who read the book and recommend it to customers. Therefore, the digital revolution is good and useful, but it tends to harm small bookstores and first-time authors.

The new internal graphics of The Way of Kings
The new internal graphics of The way of kings

A success not for fantasy, but for Sanderson himself

Therefore, the success of crowdfunding for The way of kings it's not a particularly positive sign for general fantasy publishing, but rather for Sanderson's fame. It is a sign that this author has a very large audience and is willing to spend even very high amounts for a collector's edition of a work that, probably, those who buy already own.

So just like the great Kickstarter by The Legend of Vox Machina probably convinced Wizards of the Coast to focus more on the game world Critical role, in the same way the crowdfunding of The way of kings is a remarkable business card for Sanderson. With this in mind, I personally think we should expect to soon receive news of some manufacturer's interest in one cinematographic version o television of Sanderson's works. As The Chronicles of Folgoluce are still a long way from ending, I would see a TV series about the trilogy very well Mistborn, or one in the Eliminators trilogy, also in the wake of The Boys.

In short, for my part, I hope that a record crowdfunding on Kickstarter will finally make Sanderson enter the Olympus of fantasy authors also known to the public who normally would not read them, as happened to GRR Martin and Sapkovsky with Il Game of Thrones e The Witcher.