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DragonCon 2016 ()
#1 Copy

Jennifer Liang

How much of your-- the way you work-- interact with your fans and your process with us is a reaction to being a Wheel of Time fan, and the things that you wanted to happen from--

Brandon Sanderson

Right. I think a lot of it is, but it's a mix of being a Wheel of Time fan and just a fantasy fan in general. Wanting to know more about business, being an author, and just wanting this transparency and-- I don't think that the authors before can really be blamed, they didn't have the Internet, right? I mean, you couldn't really have a thing like I have now on my website-- Or that most authors have on websites. I mean, some authors tried newsletters, but those were huge productions, requiring, you know, actual paper, you know, that stuff they used to use, then sent through the actual mail, not email. The email's named after it, kids. *laughter* These were huge productions, and so they were-- It's not like I sat one day and said "oh, those authors!", but then you see my generation, when we broke in and were--the Internet was becoming the thing that it is--we're like "Ah, let's use this!" I remember when Kevin J. Anderson said to me "but so here's Twitter", and I'm like like, "Twitter. Why would-- They're so short", he said "No, but it's like you can create your own newsfeed from all the people you're following, and it's like a little kind of news ticker about what's going on in everyone's lives." I'm like "Oh, that's a really useful thing as an author", so I hopped on Twitter very early, I hopped on Reddit very early, I hopped on-- Ehhh, some of the other defunct places, but yeah, the idea was that--

I'm gonna go off a tangent, you'll get a lot of this. I have this view, as-- of a writer---and again, don't go say to other writers, you should feel this way--the way I feel is that I'm an artist and you are my patron. In the old days, you used to-- to be an artist, you used to have a wealthy patron, right? That's how you made art, that some rich person came and said "Here's a bunch of money to live on, now go make this art and then, you know, mention that I'm your patron". And a lot of the great art we have, in fact almost all of it came from somebody paying so the artist can actually have food and a life while they're creating this art. In the modern society that's changed to kind of the crowdsourcing, "You are my patron". The crowd in general says "Okay, we're all going to be insurance actuators so that you don't have to be one". Thank you. "You write these stories and then we'll support you". And so my philosophy is: in a lot of way, you are my boss, in more of a patronage sort of thing, you're my patron, and so I should be accountable with what I'm doing. It doesn't mean that I'm going to necessarily change what I'm doing, and it doesn't mean that I'm always going to be writing on the thing you want me to, but I will be clear about what I'm doing and when, just for that transparency, 'cause we can do it now, when we're not-- we couldn't before.

Jennifer Liang

Yeah the patronage thing is really interesting, the way that it works. I know you're past this now, you don't need to do this, but would you ever consider something like Patreon?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh Patreon. So--

Jennifer Liang

Is that something you would have done ten years ago if...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I might have-- Patreon is kind of a hard thing, because I think Patreon is much better for people who are doing something that may be not as market-friendly, but which a group thinks is very important and should be rewarded. There are certain authors I know whose work is very important to the field, like Nora Jemisin. Nora's work is really important, and it's really good, but-- And it's sold pretty well, but I think that the idea of trying to have to be market-friendly is really terrifying to Nora-- Maybe not terrifying, I don't think anything terrifies Nora. But you know, it's that she doesn't want to be beholden to that, and so her setting up a Patreon said, "Look, I'm just gonna write this stuff, I don't even then have to worry about the market", is a really good use of Patreon. We set one up for Writing Excuses, and then we use the money to pay our guests, and to fly people in and stuff like that. I don't need one because what I write naturally does very well in the market and so there's no need or worry for me to do that. If all writing shifted that direction I'd be fine with it, but for right now what's working here with me is working just fine.

Jennifer Liang

Yeah, the traditional model for publishing really serves your style...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. The traditional model works very well when you're someone like me. My plots and my stories and things just connect very well with a large segment of the population.

That's also why I don't do a lot on Kickstarter. Like I think Kickstarters-- Like we did-- We let the people making the Mistborn board game-- Which, by the way, Mistborn board game, yay, you guys kickstarted that very well.  I let them Kickstart that. They're like a small company, that makes the board game. And I said, "You can make the board game, but you have to get a really good designer, because I can't micromanage your making a board game", and so they did, and that's somebody very expensive, and then they Kickstarted, you guys supported that. I think that's a good use for Kickstarter for someone like me, but Kickstarter ain't just something of my own, I'd rather that bandwidth at Kickstarter be used for people who maybe need it a bit more, so I've stayed away from doing this thing for now.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#2 Copy

uchoo786

Are the House bios etc. for the game considered canon?

Brandon Sanderson

Short version: no.

Long version: Crafty needs too much new material for their games for me to provide. I'd be spending hours and hours on backstory, and none on writing new books. We tried, at first, to make it all canon, but it was too time consuming. We do look it over, and try to catch any big errors, but the problem is that if I want to write more stories in Mistborn, I can't be bound by what the games have included.

That said, I'm mostly worried about extrapolations of the magic in this regard. (They need to be able to include powers and abilities that are good for gameplay, for example, and need to let people use metals in ways that the stories haven't explored yet.) I highly doubt there would be any reason at all to contradict the information about the houses and their bios, which looks solid to me, and in no need of revision.

So it's more of a "Yes, you can treat this as canon, but know that in some extreme cases it's possible I'll rewrite it in fiction."

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

What can you tell about House War?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, House War--the Kickstarter for the board game. So there's a board game. We're doing this primarily because people kept saying, "When are you gonna do a board game?" The big problem is I play Magic: The Gathering. And if you have friends who play Magic: The Gathering, they don't have time for any other games, right? So my experience with board games is, like, Settlers of Catan, and... that's it. So I have had to-- so what I went to them and said is, "You have to hire a top name designer, that I recognize--because my friends play board games." And so they came back to me with the designer who had made some really great games. And my friends were like, "Yes, this is a good designer." They made a game. It's fun, but I don't know if it's fun for board game people, right? Because I don't play board games. I'm like, "This thing's fun! But it--" so... I'm hoping it will be fun, and you will all enjoy it. There's a Kickstarter now, if you like board games then you can go participate in that. I can't give you direct information on, "Is it-- is it fun for people who play board games?" because I don't play them, right? I play Magic. That's my honest answer to you. And if we do this and the fans are like, "You know what, it just doesn't work if you're not involved," then we won't make anymore. But I thought it was worth trying, because I do have people on my staff who play board games. And you know, the company is good, the designer is good. I have every confidence that the people are going to love it. Except for the confidence that I can give you directly that I played it and thought it would work, because I don't know. It's-- like I said, "It seems fun, sure." Does that make sense? So yeah... We're doing one for Stormlight also that's supposed to be a war game on the Shattered Plains, and so... Because board game people are like-- they email me all the time like, "Where are you board games? Where are your board games? Where are your board games?" I'm like, "Alright, alright." But again, I just have to trust that they're good. So really, if you are into board games and you do play these games, give us feedback. Give me feedback. I have to have your-- you have to tell me whether to keep doing this stuff or not. Just like I-- I have to do this with my foreign translations. I can't read books in German, right? And so I say to my fans, "Tell me how the translations are. I have to know if I have to get a new company or what, because I have no idea."

Questioner

Do you have an ETA on that Stormlight game?

Brandon Sanderson

Stormlight game is only just started in development. I think it-- I don't know. I mean, they love Kickstarters in board games, and we told them you can't overlap with this one. So I would bet it's a year away, and then there's a Kickstarter for that one.