Fyi, the unstoppable Brandon is in Publishers' Lunch today... he employs 64 people(!)... which is more than many medium-sized publishers!
Visiting Sanderson In His Dragonsteel "Lair"
Brandon Sanderson's TRESS OF THE EMERALD SEA
, the first of the books he offered through his record-smashing $41 million Kickstarter campaign, publishes in its regular trade edition next Tuesday. As his employees pack March swag boxes for his over 38,000 of his backers (the Kickstarter had 185,000 backers overall), Esquire visits
Sanderson in his "underground supervillain lair" in Utah.
"To fulfill the Kickstarter, we had to double our staff," Sanderson says, and his company Dragonsteel now employs 64 people. He tells the magazine, "The Kickstarter didn’t make us more money than just selling those books in New York would have," due to the investment and costs he incurs "But the statement? That’s exciting."
Sanderson explains his motivation to offer books directly to his core fans: "Most of my [traditionally published] books are sold through Amazon, and I have huge problems with Amazon. They don’t treat their employees very well. But if we do it ourselves, we know that people will be treated well, and that helps me sleep at night."
Also, "One thing I think publishing is poorly equipped to deal with right now is letting people pick their price point." The story expands: "For years, he tried convincing the former president of Macmillan, John Sargent, to publish multiple editions at different price points—including leatherbound hardcovers filled with original art like Tress and the Emerald Sea
—and bundle them with e-books and merchandise. But Sargent never budged.
"'They won’t say it, but publishers get really excited by the idea that we can get super-fans to buy three copies of the same book,' Sanderson says. 'But wouldn’t super-fans be happier if they could buy one really nice edition in all formats? Give them a bundle with the print book and the e-book. Reader-centric ideals will lead to long-term success for the publishing industry.'"
Other fan-focused initiatives include his two-day Dragonsteel Convention in Salt Lake City, this year timed with the midnight release of Defiant
in November, capped at 6,000 people.