Thirdly, and finally, there have also been some amusing and horrifically inaccurate takes in the mainstream press. An overnight success Sanderson really is not, but apparently that is how this Kickstarter is seen by some. No writer, ever, is an overnight success. It’s just not feasible — writing is a long process, even when it goes remarkably well. To call one of the biggest selling fantasy writers an overnight success is simply ridiculous. Sanderson writes fast, he is effective in what he does, has a process which works well, and has a team to support him. What this does also show is that perhaps The Normal needs to change.
Perhaps the time and energy many writers spend on travel and promotion could be used to write more? It is a difficult balancing act for many, I suspect — meeting fans, creating that sense of rapport, and actually getting the books out. I fall firmly into the latter camp. One of the big bonuses of leaving the UK for what essentially amounts to potentially never-ending travels, is that I know I won’t be available to tour widely. I might head to the occasional convention (I have yet to visit a single convention, on any subject or fandom), but I know how my brain works — and, if people want to read my words, then it is best I have time to create them, without expanding all my energy through meeting folk. I only recharge alone and, much as I love being with people and meeting new friends and old, I likewise only have so much energy to spend upon this. This is not a flaw, but for many years I thought it was. It is simply how my brain chemistry works.
Publishing has utterly changed over the last decade or so. And the dust is still in the air — the big houses have not recovered from these changes and, I suspect, they never will. Change is good, it brings new things, new ideas, new ways to share words. Perhaps the biggest thing is this — owning your own content and words is possible and, with creativity and hard work, you can actually make a better living than the big publishing houses would normally provide. You can also choose how to publish and how to share ideas. Print on demand options are also kinder to the planet, without expensive and potentially risky large print runs. Overheads are kept down, fewer people in a chain need to take a slice of the pie. In short, all is still in flux.
And Sanderson has done many of these things with this Kickstarter
— and that is definitely to be celebrated, shaking things up is good. (Special mention for the YouTube video
he released to sneakily announce this, a bit of showmanship is a good thing from time to time.)