Will there still be minor POVs [in Stormlight Five]? Like Moash/Lift/etc? Or only Kaladin, Szeth, Dalinar, Shallan?
There will be minor povs.
Will there still be minor POVs [in Stormlight Five]? Like Moash/Lift/etc? Or only Kaladin, Szeth, Dalinar, Shallan?
There will be minor povs.
Charlie says the Iriali just up and vanished one day some 300 years ago. How big of a population are we talking about here?
We tried to get a celebrity voice (David Tennant) for Tress [audiobook]. His people were great, but I soon realized that asking someone unfamiliar with my work to record something on such a tight deadline was unfair and potentially too stressful for everyone involved.
I tried a different celebrity for project two, but their schedule wasn't open. So I settled on Michael and Kate (whom I was always going to ask to do project three) for the first three. Only they were herculean enough to do it on such short notice. (And for the publishing industry, less than a year up front is short notice.)
Project four will have a narrator we haven't used before in order to try something new. We haven't picked yet, but are starting the process.
Are you able to share who the second celebrity would have been?
I saw Brandon at a book signing back in mid-December, and I asked him about the 16 percent deal. He said that Preservation replaced the real External Temporal Metals with Atium and Malatium (at least I'm assuming Malatium, but he didn't mention that specifically. He only said Atium). So not-Cerrobend and Cadmium weren't counted in the 16%. Nicrosil and Chromium, on the other hand, were. So there are Chromium and Nicrosil mistings running around, not knowing that they're mistings.
Hello, Reddit! Back with another update on your book!
I'm going to do a spoiler free update in this paragraph, but the rest of the update will contain some small spoilers. So don't read on past this paragraph unless you want to know more! (They aren't huge spoilers, but I will talk about the structure of the book, which might lead people to guess some things. So fair warning! If you've read book four, though, none of this should be anything concerning spoiler wise.) Anyway, the non-spoiler version is this: I’m roughly 1/3 the way done, and on target for finishing first draft end of this year, with our November release next year. I’m sorry it’s taking a little longer on this one. But all looks good for our targets!
Okay, read on for light light spoilers.
First off, if you missed it in the State of the Sanderson, the working title of this book right now is some variation on Knights of Wind and Truth. I’ve been shortening that a lot to Wind and Truth in my mind as I write, so it’s possible I might just go with that as the cover title. If I do, the rest of you can know that in our hearts, the REAL title is Knights of Wind, Truth. That way, you can have your symmetrical title.
So where are we? Well, I hoped to have this section done by January this year--and it took two months longer. I’d anticipated this section, which includes Kaladin/Szeth and the Szeth flashbacks, to be around 100k words. It ended up at 150k words. Does that mean we’re actually 1/3 through the book? Or are we less, since this section went long?
Hard to say. I write each section at the length that feels right, but I do tend to self-regulate to keep things around the right length for a novel. This is all a lot of guesswork, when it comes to lengths. Best guess I can make right now is that this is what I have remaining:
Section two. This will be Shallan/Dalinar with some Navani and Renarin. I’m writing these in a group, as these viewpoints (while not as intertwined as Szeth/Kaladin) feel the next good division point. Goal is right now to write this all straight through, beginning to end, including epilogues if there are any to this sequence. My gut says this will be another 150k word sequence, on par with the Kaladin/Szeth one.
Those groups are the core of the book, but there’s still some to do afterward. Notably, Adolin, Jasnah, and Venli. Each will have a nice little chunk in this book, and while their plotlines aren’t interconnected, I’ll probably write them all through together. I anticipate these sequences to be a total of around 100k words.
From there, there will probably be a few little bits here and there to do, along with the Interludes, which total should be 50k. Now, before you go theorizing too much, if I didn’t mention a character it doesn’t mean they aren’t in the book. I’m just using a certain other character’s sequence as the kind of core viewpoint for that part. For example, Rlain will be in the Renarin sequence, he just isn’t likely to get as many viewpoints. So if there’s a character I didn’t mention that has had viewpoints before, there’s a good chance I’ll include them in one of the other plotlines.
My goal this year is to do a minimum of 30k words a month. With 10 months remaining, that gets me exactly this number of words by the end of December. Hopefully, I can keep this pace--which isn’t too aggressive for a professional author, but I’ve got a lot to do this year!
My goal is going to be to come back to you after sequence two is finished. (The second “book” of the trilogy that makes up this novel, if you remember that I treat each Stormlight book kind of like a trilogy bound into one volume.) That’s 150k words, so about 5 months.
For now, please enjoy this nifty concept art by Petar, depicting a scene that has been building for a long time....
Hey Brandon, where does Stormlight 4.5 fit into your writing schedule?
4.5 is most likely after 5 sometime. So I won't have it ready to deliver next year unless something miraculous happens. 2025 maybe?
I notice that while you're listing a lot of characters, the interlude throughline is still unspecified... I assume it's safe to say it's not any of the other characters you mention in this post (i.e. not Venli, Rlain, Navani, etc), right?
Interlude through line is a RAFO. But you are correct--I do not plan for it to be a character I mentioned elsewhere.
I am planning something interesting, and I have to see if it will work. If it doesn't, I will maybe jump to another idea.
Was Sword-nimi based on its creator replicating a Living blade, Shardblade or Honorblade?
I plan to answer this in the text of the books eventually...so RAFO. :)
What's Dan Writing?
I continue to work on the revision of Dark One. It's going well, but still not at the pace I would like, in part because I am splitting my time with three other major projects: a new Cosmere series and two secret things I can't tell you about.
What's Dan Reading?
Right now I'm reading Dawnshard, which is a small book that fits between Stormlight 4 and Stormlight 5. And that news, by itself, is not super exciting, but I'm reading it for a very specific reason which IS exciting but which I can't tell you :) You'll find out in a year and a half.
Spren are reflections of how people in the Physical Realm see things. So if you have a Cognitive Shadow, would their personality change based on what people in the Physical Realm see them as?
The short answer is, not as much as you're worried about, no more than we tend to change based on what people say to us and how we interact with the people around us.
The long answer is, over a long period of time, it can happen. And it's gonna depend on a number of factors. But we're talking a matter of centuries not years. The same sort of thing you see happening to Vessels of Shards can happen to Cognitive Shadows.
So, the long answer is yes, but it's not an immediate worry. It's not like people start thinking of you and it shifts you because your perception of yourself is enough strong usually that it rebuffs these sorts of things, being self-aware does that. And a lot of the influence to spren and things like that happen during kind of formative not-quite-self-aware times, if that makes sense.
If you were to become a Cognitive Shadow right now, it wouldn't be a major concern, but in a thousand years, you may look back and say "wow, I was shaped by public perception in ways that I wasn't expecting".
My question was, you might tell people to like start reading your books, especially with Cosmere, I tell them to start with Elantris. But I just wanna know your opinion, especially the Cosmere and all it's current... like the best area for [inaudible] to start.
Yea, the best place to start. That's a good question. So this is a wonderful question. I know that a lot of people love Elantris and I do too, I think it's a fine book. But I do think it's significantly weaker than Mistborn. So I usually point people to either Mistborn or Warbreak, those are now like twenty years old, but I grew a lot. Elantris was my sixth book and Mistborn was my 14th book. If it's a person I'm talking to I kinda do find out, I say alright what do you like, do you want to jump in to the deep end first. If you do here's Way of Kings you just gotta trust me, right? It's worth it. Uhm, if they.. but uh, Emperor's Soul is also a great place to start for someone who maybe doesn't want a book like that.
Will there be slugs?
Would it be a Skyward book if there were no slugs?
depends on when it was set
I suppose.There's something announced! It's directly after Defiant. Same set of characters.I think we have now exhausted what I'm allowed to say about it. Besides that I'm really excited.
Oh, there are three books! I can say that!
Well well [email protected] is "Skyward Legacy" supposed to be an actual name like "Skyward Flight", or just a placeholder for "those books after these current ones"? or are you not ready to say one way or another yet?
It is the working title. If the publisher likes it it will be the series title.
If an advanced android was created with artificial intelligence using technology—but not Investiture like other artificial intelligences—artificial blood, organs, all that stuff, would they be able to access Invested Arts?
That's an excellent question. It's a really interesting question in the context of the Cosmere. So for right now, I am saying—now, maybe we will invent true AI, and I'll have to backpedal, but what I'm saying is in the Cosmere, true AI requires Investiture. And so a thinking machine is going to basically... the line between a thinking machine and a spren is going to get very blurred. And it's going to either attract [Investiture] or require it, and so the answer to you is "yes, to an extent". There are some arts that are easier to use and some that are hard, depends on all these things, but the answer is "yes"...A thinking machine that actually is self-aware would be a person in the Cosmere for that reason, and would have the same Cognitive aspect and Spiritual aspect—so a soul, if you would—that an organic being would have.
Would you ever consider releasing the grimdark version of Mistborn as a Prime novel?
I will release it as a Prime novel, I'll do that and Final Empire because they're both cohesive stories. The one I can't release is Mythwalker because it ends part the way through the ideas I have made. The magic system in Mythwalker is just broken beyond all my ability to fix. I plan to eventually get to you Dragonsteel Prime, Aether of Night, Final Empire, and Mistborn Prime in some incarnation. The others get harder because they just get worse and worse after that. But those ones are of interest to Cosmere fans. The first is Aether of Night, there's digital versions but there's no print version. The first showing up of a Shard, and Midnight Essence, and all sort of cool stuffs in there. Dragonsteel takes place on Yolen, which is still canonically part of the Cosmere. And you see Sho Del popping up which are a race that are in Dragonsteel Prime. Final Empire and Mistborn, there's not as much of real cool interest to you because I already took the best ideas and reused them, but I'll get it out there someday.
Are you planning to release White Sand as a graphic novel exclusively, or will the story be published as a regular novel further down the line?
The plan is graphic novel right now. We'll see how the reception is, but I think it would be awesome if this entry into the cosmere story were always in a graphic form.
AETHER was the best of the patch of three you read. During that period, I was trying to force myself to write shorter books (ala 500 pages) because I thought the beastly lengths of some of my novels (DRAGONSTEEEL 1100, ELANTRIS 1200, WHITE SAND 1000) was keeping me from getting published.
What I learned was I just wasn't good at the shorter format. What happened was that instead of just writing a shorter book, I ended up short-changing something vital (Characters for MISTBORN, world elements and plotting for FINAL EMPIRE) in my attempt to slim-down. AETHER came in the middle of the patch there, and it actually turned out longer than the other two, and worked all right. (The female character was weak, ending needs a lot of work, but it's not a lost cause like the other two.)
New writers be aware (my agent tried to warn me of this): don't try and write in a way that you're just not good at. You can try to adapt to the market a bit, choosing one idea instead of another because you know the first is more marketable. However, if you force your writing too much, it will suffer.
Will we ever find out what EXACTLY gold is? That's been bugging me as well... it doesn't seem complete.
I leave gold intentionally vague, I'm afraid, even by the end of book three. I do this in novels, particularly when I feel that I might do more books in a world later on. The events of books two and three don't lend me to spending much time on gold or malatium, so I figure I'll save really digging into them when I can have a character more focused on them. (I'd someday, for instance, like to do a Malatium or gold Misting and see if I can do anything interesting with them.)
Kaladin has known two Lightweavers.
Is there anything unusual or special about the afterlife on Roshar?
There is a "far afterlife" or "real afterlife" that is cosmere-wide, but there is also a "middle afterlife" specific to each world. So Roshar's is different, but so is the afterlife for every world.
The "far afterlife" is where Vin and Elend go and where Sazed cannot reach them, correct?
The Hallandren believe that the Returned are sent back in part to give up their Divine Breath at an appointed time. Was or is there such an appointed time for Vasher's Divine Breath?
RAFO. This is a Hallandren belief; it may or may not be true.
Does Vasher need to take any special precautions (compared to the rest of the year on Roshar) to ensure that he survives the Weeping?
Yes, but it is not too difficult. Larger gemstones last longer in the time between highstorms.
How does Nightblood work on Roshar?
Nightblood consumes any Investiture within the person, ultimately consuming their innate Investiture.
Is Mraize the leader of the Ghostbloods, or is there someone higher up in the organization? Is it Thaidakar?
Sanderson: There is someone higher up. RAFO on Thaidakar.
What's up with Roshar's moons? Do they all have the same orbital period? What is that orbital period?
They all have the same orbital period. Peter figured out their orbital configurations; they orbit twice per day.
Theoretically, could the Surges of Gravitation and Transportation be combined to gain time travelling powers?
would a non returned be killed using nightblood if it used up their breath, or would they just become a drab?
yes and very quickly, no matter whether they are returned or not
so the same would happen if they used nightblood on Roshar with stormlight
yes just the same
Approaching the mid-way point on the book (but not quite there). I'm aiming for around 120k total, which I hope to revise back to around 100k. That seems realistic at this point. Don't know if I'll finish in December, but I'm not planning to ease up on the writing until I finish this draft.
How are you prepping Dan Wells to start working in the Cosmere?
We are working closely on Dark One, the novelization. (It's not really a novelization of the graphic novel. It's my original outline.) And this the main way: we're working on a novel together that is not Cosmere to get our feet underneath us. He is also reading the whole series and kind of being brought into dealing with how crazy a bit of this is in the business. He'll have, probably, a year before he starts writing novels in the Cosmere, would be my guess. We'll do some short stories; we've got some cool ideas for some short stories that we'll have him write. And one of the key things is, as I've said: for the most part, we want him writing that have worldbuilding like the Cosmere, but that play to Dan's strengths, that are books that I would not be as good at writing. So the Cosmere just has a little bit more breadth to the types of stories we're telling. Hopefully it won't be too jarring to have Dan writing some Cosmere stories.
We'll present it all to you once we know what we're doing, which we don't even know yet. We haven't come up with... Basically, we'll sit down and do some brainstorming and look at some of the things we need to have happen for the final endgame of the Cosmere, and then design some stories to fill out some of the things we want to have happened. I'm being very vague on purpose.
What a year!
I have been holding back these Secret Projects for so long, I’m practically bursting with excitement for you all to read them. So this next year will be an even wilder ride, particularly if the stars align and I can start making some bigger adaptation announcements.
As always, thank you for your enthusiasm. I’d probably still be writing books if I had never made it as a writer, but I can’t imagine them being as good. Your energy, excitement, and love for all of this propels me.
I wish the best to you and yours. And if you haven’t been hanging out with me on my monthly livestreams, stop by and say hello!
Brandon Sanderson (and company), December 2022
My books are coming out in different languages all over the world! This is not a complete list (notably Spain and Poland are missing), but these are the publishers who asked to be included.
Livre de Poche (France)
In 2022, Livre de Poche published Dawnshard, Cytonic, and Sixth of the Dusk in French. In 2023, they will publish French editions of Rhythm of War, Skyward Flight, and all four Secret Projects (simultaneously with the US releases).
In 2023, Piper will publish a German edition of The Lost Metal in June and Secret Project #1 in the fall. They are also re-releasing The Alloy of Law and all of the Mistborn ebooks.
In 2022, Heyne published German editions of Warbreaker, The Original, and Dawnshard. They will release Secret Project #4 in January 2024.
Droemer Knaur (Germany)
Droemer Knaur published a German edition of Starsight in 2022, and will publish a German Cytonic in 2023.
In 2022, Mondadori published an Italian hardcover of The Hero of Ages. In 2023, they will publish Italian paperbacks of The Alloy of Law, The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages, and Shadows of Self. They will publish The Bands of Mourning and The Lost Metal in 2024.
In 2022, Trama published a Brazilian edition of The Way of Kings. In 2023, they will publish Brazilian editions of Secret Project #1 and Words of Radiance.
Faro will publish a Brazilian edition of the first volume of the Dark One graphic novel in February 2023.
Mipl will publish Serbian editions of the Secret Projects in 2023.
Kayan (Egypt/Arab Republic)
In 2023, Kayan will publish Arabic editions of Secret Projects 1 and 2, the first Legion book, and Mistborn.
January 2023: Secret Project One (Kickstarter, ebook, audio release), Dark One: Forgotten (audio)
April 2023: Secret Project One (print release)
April 2023: Secret Project Two (Kickstarter, ebook, audio release)
July 2023: Secret Project Two (print release)
July 2023: Secret Project Three (Kickstarter, ebook, audio release)
October 2023: Secret Project Three (print release)
October 2023: Secret Project Four (Kickstarter, ebook, audio release)
November 2023: Defiant and Dragonsteel 2023!
January 2024: Secret Project Four (print release)
November 2024: Stormlight Five and Dragonsteel 2024
To be determined: Janci/Brandon Skyward Sequel Series books
To be determined: Dark One print release
The Creative Development team has been Ben McSweeney and I for the last few years, but recently we added Rachael Buchanan to assist with Brandon’s BYU class, help me with my communications with freelance artists, work on facilitating some legal things, and just in general be helpful and awesome. She recently signed a traditional deal for a book that will be releasing in 2024. So keep an eye out for that. Hayley Lazo has been working with us on the books since Tor’s re-release of the Alcatraz series. In the last year or so, she joined the Creative Development team and has been creating lots of cool things that we’ll get to reveal soon. At the end of the summer, Jennifer Neal joined us to help keep all the art assets organized, but she also does so much more. I’ve been incredibly impressed with and grateful for each one of them.
The Creative Development team has been hard at work with Editorial in putting together the Secret Project books and shepherding them through to the printer. Like Brandon said, there have been supply chain delays, which we anticipated, but even then, there are things you can’t entirely plan for. Our printing rep, Bill, has been working miracles to get us the books as quickly as possible, and we’re incredibly grateful to him and all the awesome people working hard at the printer and bindery.
Additionally, Creative has worked with the Products team to create cool things for next year’s Year of Sanderson boxes. It’s a big team effort here to fulfill on March’s Kickstarter, with all departments involved, and we can’t wait for you to see some of the awesome things that are coming down the pipeline!
This year we put together new art, broadsheets, and maps for The Lost Metal as well as worked on the art and designs for the first two Wax & Wayne leatherbound books, prep and commissions for the upcoming Words of Radiance leatherbound, and much more. Thanks to all of you who have expressed how much you like the art. That’s not just the Creative team behind that, but also all the wonderful artists who work with us throughout the year.
One of the highlights this year and a bit of last was getting to work with Brandon and Brotherwise on defining the look of the characters for the Stormlight Archive miniatures. From the beginning, we saw an opportunity to not only create cool miniatures, but to also make a body of artwork that can serve as a visual base for what we do with visually with this series for a long time. I look forward to continuing to work with Brandon, Ben McSweeney, and Brotherwise on fleshing out Roshar. Cool things are in store!
On a more personal note, 2022 marks the first time my name appears on the cover of a fantasy book! (Unless you count Monsters Don’t Wear Underpants.) Yes, the White Sand Graphic Novel omnibus released in Spain in May and Germany in June of this year! (Though, please note the German version is split into three parts.) Other languages will follow. We can’t wait for the English version of the omnibus to be out very soon!
We all worked quite hard to make this the quintessential White Sand graphic novel experience, updating text and dialogue to be more in line with the rest of the Cosmere. There are 38 new pages at the beginning with art by Nabetse Zitro, revised text and art throughout, a new map by Jian Guo, a glossary, and fourteen Ars Arcanum pages with art by Ben McSweeney. We think you’re really going to enjoy experiencing the complete package!
I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. It’s been such a whirlwind this year! As one last tidbit, Brandon’s mentioned a few times that I’m working on a fantasy novel that tells the story of some of characters we’ve seen in the Mistborn Era 2 broadsheets. I finished the first draft in September and am actively working on revising it. Time will tell if it’s any good, but it’s been a blast to write. With any luck, I hope to be able to share it (or some version of it) with you all someday.
Hi, everyone! I’m excited to be on the team, and bubbling over with joy at the prospect of writing a bunch of awesome Cosmere stories for you.
The first Wells/Sanderson project, as Brandon mentioned earlier, is Dark One: Forgotten, an audio series that you should be getting very soon. It’s a prequel of sorts to the Dark One novel, and we chose to do it in audio because it’s presented as a faux True Crime podcast: instead of reading about an amateur investigator researching a mysterious disappearance, you get to listen to her record a podcast about her investigation. It’s a lot of fun, and I think you’re going to love it.
I suppose that technically, though, the REAL first Wells/Sanderson stories are the audio dramas for the video game Moonbreaker. This is a slightly different case, because I’m contracting directly with Unknown Worlds rather than working through Dragonsteel, but the end result is the same: Brandon did the worldbuilding, I’m writing the stories, and we’re working together on edits and revisions. The game is in early access and still in flux, but the characters UW has created are incredible, and I am loving the process of bringing them to life. I just turned in episode 5, and I’m starting on 6, and there are many more in the pipeline. Definitely check it out.
There are many other Dragonsteel projects I’m working on, but most of them are still secret. What I can tell you now is that I am deep in the third draft of Dark One, and Brandon and I have been workshopping it heavily. We’re polishing the story and the characters, we’re expanding the scope a little, and I’m hoping to have the book finished early next year. It’ll still be a while before most of you can read it, but trust me: it’ll be worth the wait.
As for my Cosmere novels? We’re already working on the first one, but it’s mostly just brainstorming at this point. We’ve found a corner of the Cosmere—and of the fantasy market in general—that’s just begging for a series, and we’re going to take our time and do it right.
Hello, everyone! It’s been an exciting year for the marketing and publicity team here at Dragonsteel and we have some awesome stuff planned for the Year of Sanderson in 2023 too!
I don’t want to spoil anything we have planned as we want it to be a surprise (go figure, we’d want to do that to you…) but one thing I want to mention is a book club/read-along series we’re planning for each of the secret projects. Now, we want to make sure everyone has a chance to read the book before we start this series so you can expect the first series to start in February.
Just like many of our other departments, we’ve grown considerably. Though, considering I’d been in a department of one for so long, even getting two people doubled the department. But over the last year, I’ve been able to bring on three incredible talents. You’ve probably heard their names on livestreams, the podcast, or on social media, but in case you haven’t, here they are:
Jeremy Palmer joined as our marketing director in January of 2022 and his help has been invaluable as he joined just in time for the Secret Project’s Kickstarter, and we’ve kept him crazy busy since.
Octavia Escamilla is our social media coordinator and is responsible for all the awesome content you’re getting on Brandon’s and Dragonsteel’s social media channels. She’s been with us for several months now and has really driven us to expand our reach. If you’re on Tik Tok, you can specifically thank her for spearheading that stretch.
Taylor Hatch started working freelance for us in March of 2022 doing video editing work. You’ve probably seen an uptick in the quality of our content on YouTube, and that’s all because of Taylor’s hard work.
We have some exciting changes we’re hoping to make in the next year, and we can’t wait to show you.
Hello, Everyone! M.A.T.T. here. I’m the new guy at Dragonsteel, or I was…almost a year ago. And, since I came on to head Operations and Human Resources, Dragonsteel has doubled in size! Why so much sudden growth? The success of the Secret Projects Kickstarter of course! That’s you, the fans, who have been inspired by Brandon’s worlds. But I’ve learned it’s also everyone here who can’t (won’t?) stop thinking about how many fun and interesting ways they can bring new experiences to your journey. Thankfully, it’s my job and that of my Special Ops team, including my boss Emily Sanderson, Jane Horne, Emma Tan-Stoker, Kathy Sanderson, Becky Wilson, Makena Saluone, and Hazel Cummings (and you, too, Lex!), to help make Dragonsteel an awesome place to work. In other words, meetings. Lots and lots of awesome meetings.
This year, thanks to how Dragonsteel has grown, I’ve also had the unique pleasure of hearing the personal stories that inspired some of you to apply to work here. Those stories, knowing that Dragonsteel has made such a difference in your lives, inspire us and our work on a daily basis. So where do we go from here? We have a long journey ahead. Onward towards Awesome! Is there a city named Awesome in the Cosmere? There should be…I’m going to have to look that up.
The year 2022 catapulted our Merchandise and Events department to incredible levels of excitement, growth, improvement, and fun!
Our first big project was the “Surprise! Four Secret Novels by Brandon Sanderson” Kickstarter campaign held in March. The fandom came together and absolutely shattered records, ending with our campaign at double the next most funded project ever launched on Kickstarter.
We also attended FanX Salt Lake in September, New York Comic Con in October, and our own Dragonsteel convention in November—we loved seeing and interacting with everyone! Held this year in conjunction with the release of The Lost Metal, we tripled our attendance for Dragonsteel 2022, nearly doubled our exhibitor hall vendors, and had one fantastic time!
Between our Kickstarter campaign, our three book bundles (Skyward Flight: The Collection, Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians, and The Lost Metal), and our convention, our merchandise team has worked on more than 70 new products this year! Many of these have already been released or will be coming in 2023. We are excited to be expanding our product offerings and can’t wait to see everyone’s reactions to the awesome products we have for next year.
Preparation for 2023 is well underway! First, we have tripled our employee headcount and are ramping up packaging rewards and prepping for fulfillment of our Secret Novels campaign. Second, our events team has already begun planning Dragonsteel 2023, so watch for announcements on hotel discounts and open registration. We are determined to make every year even more awesome for our fans, and we hope you’ll join us on November 20-21, 2023. Third, our merchandise team will be working on the Defiant book bundle, new releases for the store (including opening preorders for those who missed the Kickstarter), merch for Dragonsteel 2023, and the upcoming Words of Radiance campaign. Keep an eye on our social media (Instagram | Facebook) for updates on all these projects!
And finally, with hundreds of pallets of products and shipping materials received already, and hundreds more to come, we have spent much of the past year looking for a larger warehouse space. We are happy to say we found a warehouse that is 10 times the size of our current one, and we can’t wait to move in next year after the improvements are finished.
The enthusiasm for next year is abundant here at our warehouse, and we can’t wait for you to see the results of all our hard work.
This is the year when Dragonsteel’s Editorial Department moved beyond being a family affair! I started as Brandon’s assistant in May 2009, and my wife Karen joined to help answer fan mail off and on in August that year. Over the years my duties got more and more focused on just the editorial side of things, and Karen moved to Continuity Director in 2013. For a long time, that was the entire department.
My sister Betsey joined as Editorial Assistant in 2020, but this year we started branching out! Kristy Gilbert, who has been our InDesign master for many a leatherbound, started a one-year contract in June as our Production Editor for the Secret Projects and other titles, and she’s been marvelous—I hope she’ll be able to stay! But it soon became clear that we still needed more help. After listing a job for an editor and receiving over 90 applications, I hired Jennie Stevens, who started right after the convention in November. She’s working on the tweaks for the Words of Radiance leatherbound and is doing a great job. We also did a smaller search for an Editorial Assistant intern, settling on Emily Shaw-Higham, who has been fantastic—and that also could turn into another permanent position.
Even with all of this new help I’ve been swamped, so over the next year there will be a lot of figuring out of the division of labor to keep things running smoothly. It’s an exciting time!
Hello! Brandon and I are Co-Presidents of Dragonsteel, and he is the C.E.O., while I serve as the C.O.O. I’m also Brandon’s wife, and biggest fan. In 2007, when Brandon and I signed the paperwork to create our LLC, I listed my official title as Queen, and he was President. Since that time, we have grown from 9 employees in 2014, to 15 employees in 2020, to 22 employees in 2021, and now at the end of 2022 we have around 60! Though I had the audacity to claim it, I’ve never been completely comfortable with the title of Queen. Such a position seems to befit a person who likes to stand out in front and boss others around. I’m much more likely to hang out on the edges and make snarky comments to those who are close enough to hear. The growth of Dragonsteel this year has compelled me to take a larger and more public role in the company. Sometimes, the added responsibility makes me feel like I’m lugging around a 100 pound barbell! Hiring, onboarding, training, benefits, policies and procedures, and facilities are some of the plates I’ve loaded on this year. Thankfully, I don’t have to lift this load by myself! We have a team of amazing people at Dragonsteel, and working with them is one of the best parts of my job. On the bulletin board above my desk is a quote from The Way of Kings that says, “Strength does not make one capable of rule; it makes one capable of service.” As Dragonsteel continues to grow this next year, I want to use the strength I’m gaining from the experience to be of service: to my family, my employees, and to all of you. That’s the kind of Queen I aspire to be.
This is the year that Dragonsteel (my company) “grew up,” so to speak. We about doubled in size, with a ton of new people on the staff working on fulfillment. But we also have a number of new people helping in other departments.
So, I’m going to give each department a spot to update you on things here. I hope it will also give you more chances to get to know my team—because the people on this list are, for the most part, my friends and collaborators going back decades now. We’ll start off with some words from my wife and co-president, Emily! After that, we’ll jump into the departments in no particular order.
Part Six: Hollywood and Video Game News
I know a good number of you probably jumped straight to this section, if you’re reading the prose version! The thing is, if I had announcements on this front, I absolutely would have made them at Dragonsteel 2022.
So, I regret to tell you, I can’t say much about Hollywood projects right now. Basically, we want our proverbial ducks in a row before we make any announcements. Hollywood things are moving, and moving well, for the first time in my life. I’m hoping that by this time next year you’ll know what has been going on behind the scenes—but making things in Hollywood is challenging, and can take a lot of time. (Particularly if you want to do it right.) So it’s possible that we still might not have a Hollywood announcement next year, either. We’ll see.
I appreciate your patience. I’ll tell you about movie stuff when I can!
In the meantime, Soulburner (a longstanding project on these lists) did eventually get made as a video game, named Moonbreaker. Dan has been doing audio dramas for it based on my outlines and characters, which you can listen to HERE!
It was a wonderful experience working on this game, though I will note that I wasn’t thrilled by the monetization methods they picked upon launch. (I got a little blindsided by this, I’ll admit.) They’ve listened to feedback, however, and improved this aspect of the game a lot–and continue to improve it with every patch. It’s still in Early Access, but give it a look, if you’re interested! I find it quite fun myself.
Part Five: Updates on Minor Projects
Songs of the Dead
In limbo, pun intended, for the time being.
We keep meaning to put an ebook of this SF novella with Mary Robinette Kowal out, but we’ve been swamped. Should come before too long.
Isaac did a ton of work getting the graphic novel omnibus ready, and I’m excited for you all to read it, and I’m very sorry it’s taking so long. Latest word is that the paperback editions have been printed and should be shipping soon. According to the publisher, the hardcovers and slipcase editions are still in production.
I am more and more likely to put out a (heavily) revised prose version of the novel, as it is Cosmere canon and quite relevant.
There will be a new edition of LEGION, which is going to say “mystery” on the spine. I think it might’ve been published that way to begin with if I hadn’t written it–I’m not known as a thriller writer, so this book wasn’t marketed as such despite being very much a thriller. If you or someone you know also reads in the mystery/thriller space, please take a look at it. It might be a good way to introduce my books to your friends who don’t read fantasy.
Unnamed Dan and Isaac Cosmere Novels
I’m working closely with both Dan and Isaac on some new Cosmere novels, which we’ll be producing in-house at Dragonsteel, so I’m adding this category to the list. But there probably won’t be much to announce about these for quite a while yet.
Things I’m Tinkering On
Mostly in the back of my head, here are future novels that you might be able to expect in the Cosmere. Night Brigade (Threnody novel). Dragonsteel (Hoid backstory series.) Silence Divine (Ashyn novel). Aether World series. Mythos series (new planet, though this is the off-world nickname right now).
We’ll see if/when any of these appear!
Part Four: Updates on Secondary Projects
At long last, after years of promising it, Book Six, Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians, came out earlier this year. Janci did a wonderful job, and I am delighted that we were able properly conclude this smaller yet still beloved series. Alcatraz now joins Legion in that category, and only The Rithmatist remains. (I almost don’t want to get back to that one now, if only for the memes…)
Anyway, if you’ve been waiting on this series, it’s done! This concludes updates on the series, and I’ll move it off the State of the Sanderson going forward.
Mainframe Audio will be releasing a collaboration I did with Dan Wells in the Dark One universe sometime very soon. It’s called Dark One: Forgotten, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out. Rather than writing that one as a novel, it’s presented as a fake True Crime podcast that slowly uncovers a supernatural mystery; because of that, it’s an audio exclusive, and you can pre-order it HERE. In addition, work proceeds on the second graphic novel and the actual novel–which isn’t a novelization of the graphic novel, but instead working from my original outline and spinning off into exciting new directions.
Anyway, lots of fun things are happening with this project, which I hope you’ll enjoy.
Other Cosmere Novels
The Year of Sanderson includes three books in the cosmere on new planets, with new magic systems. (Well, new-ish in one case.) Each of them are self-contained. (Well, self-contained-ish in one case.) But each book has some references to characters and/or worlds you already know.
I really hope you enjoy this surprise experience next year! And I hope you don’t get overwhelmed. I promise not to do anything like this again in the near future, but at least all four books (plus Defiant, which also releases next year) when added together are not that much longer than a Stormlight novel. So it’s actually a quite ordinary amount of Sanderson, if you think about it, just spread out across multiple titles.
It’s also worth mentioning that Tor has repackaged and will be re-releasing the original Mistborn trilogy, with all-new covers. They look great, and I’m grateful to everyone who worked so hard on the new editions.
All will have to wait until Stormlight 5 is finished, I’m afraid. Stormlight’s my main focus now!
I am letting a friend of mine, Stephen Bohls, play around in the Reckoners world! He has one book out, titled Lux, which he wrote with heavy input from me on the outline and revision. It’s only in audio right now. No other updates currently, though we’re considering more books in this series. Weigh in on how you’d like me to proceed! Did you enjoy Lux, and want more?
Part Three: Updates on Primary Projects
To kick this off, let’s give a big announcement. I’ve settled on a title, and I think it will be final. (No absolute promises, as these things can change during development.) So, for now, Stormlight Five is named Knights of Wind and Truth.
Some of you who have been following along might notice this doesn’t QUITE fit the format we wanted to make all five books have some symmetry to their titles. (It has an extraneous “and” in it.) But I feel this is close enough to nod to that kind of inside easter egg, while also functioning as a title the way I want.
I did a moderate amount of work on Book Five, which is somewhere around 20–25% done at this point. Putting me in a fairly good spot for finishing it next year. (Which will be required if we want it out in 2024.) So watch the percentage bar go up on my website, or check my weekly updates on YouTube, and I’ll keep you in the loop! If you missed my first big blog post update on it, find it HERE on Reddit—with the video edition HERE on YouTube.
There’s also an announcement I want to make here. We’d talked about doing the Words of Radiance leatherbound crowdfunding campaign in March—and I even announced it at Dragonsteel 2022. After announcing it, though, I started to rethink that date. The thing is, we currently have two outstanding Kickstarters, and while we’re more than ready for Words (I’ve been signing the pages all year), I don’t feel comfortable asking you all for more money right now.
I want to have a chance to fulfill on the Year of Sanderson for a while before I do another book Kickstarter. Beyond that, I want to give Brotherwise time to start fulfilling (at least a little) on their minis Kickstarter. (Which they hope to do midyear, though that could change as the year proceeds.)
So the plan now is to move the Words of Radiance crowdfunding campaign to fall 2023. I’m sorry if some of you were excited for this, but I believe sincerely in making good on promises before making new ones. This decision feels very right to me. Note that this won’t influence when the books arrive from the bindery, so even though the Kickstarter will be six months later, our fulfillment on these leatherbounds will be around the same time it would have been anyway. (Dates I don’t quite have yet—likely sometime late 2023, early 2024.)
I continue to have a lot of fun with this series. Defiant is done, out for beta reads right now, and I have editorial feedback from Krista in hand.
The plan is to do revisions on this book starting in January. Which is, not by coincidence, also when Janci and I will sit down and really outline the sequel series.
Defiant will be our 2023 fall book launch, coinciding with Dragonsteel 2023! So, I’ll see you all there!
Mistborn Era Two is concluded. Huzzah! It feels extremely good to be able to say that.
Stormlight is my main focus right now, but Era Three of Mistborn will take over as my primary focus once the first arc of Stormlight is finished. So expect no Mistborn updates next year, but then the year after they will start again as I really look hard at Era Three.
Unlike the last section (which was long), this one will be pretty short. Usually I go month-by-month, but I think we can handle this more simply.
This was a year of revisions for me. I did multiple revisions of The Lost Metal, one revision of Cytonic, and a revision or two on each Secret Project. That’s what I get for spending so much time writing the previous years, ignoring revisions!
It’s not done yet, unfortunately. I still want to tweak Secret Project Four some more, and Defiant needs at least one more big solid revision. (Hope to do both of those in January.)
Every month I wasn’t revising, I worked on Stormlight Five. That was March (during the Kickstarter, which was a little distracting!), August, November, and December. Only a third of the year working on the novel, though next year I should have the majority of my time to focus on it.
PART ONE: SECRET PROJECT UPDATES (Long—but important.)
Traditionally, the first big section of each State of the Sanderson focuses on my year and what I’ve written. I’m going to bump that down, however, and talk to you a little about the Kickstarter books—and what you all can expect. This is important information if you’re interested in the Secret Project books at all, regardless of whether you backed the Kickstarter or not. However, if you did back the Kickstarter, expect an update email in the next couple days with more details and instructions to prepare for the Year of Sanderson.
EBOOKS for BACKERS
On January first (and every three months thereafter) you will get an important email from us. In it will be a link to your BackerKit account, where you can download your copies of the Secret Projects. These will be DRM-free copies, in your choice of Epub or PDF. We will also include some instructions on how to get these onto common e-readers, like Kindle, if you want to read that way. It’s extremely important that your email address filed with BackerKit be up to date. If you aren’t sure, look HERE.
EBOOKS for NON-BACKERS
If you didn’t back the Kickstarter, but want to read the books (and I hope you do!) they’ll be available starting the 10th or 11th of each month that a book ships to the backers. You’ll need to wait just a little longer than them, as we want to be absolutely certain that everyone has their copies and all is working before we sell them to anyone else. But they should be available on all platforms you expect—at least in English.
AUDIOBOOKS for BACKERS
If you chose a backer tier in the Kickstarter that included audiobooks, you are going to have three ways to get your books. This is probably the most important section here, as—looking at the numbers—the majority of my fans prefer audiobooks these days. So pay attention.
FIRST: AUDIO FILES. You will be able to click that same link in your email to download the raw files in mp3 and m4b format, to put onto your device and listen as you want. We’ll include instructions on how to download and use a common audiobook player. This is because these books won’t be on Audible—we’re selling them ourselves. Indeed, one of the big reasons I did this Kickstarter like I did is because I worry about Audible’s dominance in the market. For that very same reason, I’m suggesting that instead of just listening to the raw files, you look at one of our partners listed next.
SECOND: SPOTIFY. Yes, Spotify does audiobooks now; they launched this in the US, UK and Australia earlier this year. And so, I’m extremely excited to say I’ve reached a deal with Spotify to distribute the Secret Projects—free for every backer who pledged a tier that included the audiobooks. Again, clicking the link in the email mentioned above will take you to a page that lists all your available downloads, as well as a unique code for Spotify. You’ll be able to use this code to unlock a free copy of the first Secret Project and listen on Spotify. (And you’ll get a new code every three months for the next ones.)
You need a Spotify account to do this (they are free), which is why we’re also giving you the option of the raw files. Using Spotify or our next partner isn’t required—however, I want to encourage it. I’ll explain more below, but I’m hoping that bolstering real competition to Audible will help all authors going forward. For the same reason, we have a third partner.
THIRD: SPEECHIFY. Speechify (no relation to Spotify) is a really cool service that does text-to-speech for people. It started as a tool to help those with dyslexia, something that is very important to me, as the father of a dyslexic son. (He uses his Speechify tablet daily to help him with his disability.) Speechify’s big thing is letting you see the text as you listen, to help both with reading comprehension and disability. And that they can turn any ebook or PDF into a high quality audiobook for you.
I have really enjoyed working with this company, and they want to move into a larger market. (They already have a sizable number of subscribers, but want to draw attention to their service by starting to offer audiobooks and ebooks for sale.) They have agreed to give each applicable backer an audiobook for each Secret Project as well. This makes it easier for you to access the books on your phones, so you don’t need to figure out how to download a massive audio file and lose your place in the book. Your unique code for Speechify will be available on that same BackerKit page, where you will find your available downloads. To get ready, just download Speechify by visiting https://speechify.com/sanderson (signing up is free). And you’ll get a new code every three months for the next ones.
Though keep in mind that Speechify’s audiobook store currently works only on iOS for iPhones with iPad support coming in January; their other products on Android, Web, and Google Chrome are due to add audiobooks and ebooks later in 2023.
So feel free to pick your way to get the book! Or download all three versions, and see which experience is best for you!
The only thing I ask is that, on your honor, you don’t give away or sell the codes. I’m giving you three options as a way to make this as convenient for you as possible, which is also the reason that the files from me also have no DRM. As always, I don’t mind (I even encourage it) if you share my books with family and friends, but in this case I would greatly prefer if you didn’t give away the extra codes you get.
I’ll dive deep into more of why I picked these partners in the next section, which I encourage you to read, even if you’re a backer.
AUDIOBOOKS for NON-BACKERS
On the tenth or eleventh of each month a book goes to backers, we will put the audiobooks up for sale. They will be on several services, but I recommend the two I mentioned above. Spotify and Speechify.
The books will not be on Audible for the foreseeable future.
This is a dangerous move on my part. I don’t want to make an enemy of Amazon (who owns Audible). I like the people at Audible, and had several meetings with them this year.
But Audible has grown to a place where it’s very bad for authors. It’s a good company doing bad things.
Again, this is dangerous to say, and I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty. I have an Audible account, and a subscription! It’s how my dyslexic son reads most of the books he reads. Audible did some great things for books, notably spearheading the audio revolution, which brought audiobooks down to a reasonable price. I like that part a lot.
However, they treat authors very poorly. Particularly indie authors. The deal Audible demands of them is unconscionable, and I’m hoping that providing market forces (and talking about the issue with a megaphone) will encourage change in a positive direction.
If you want details, the current industry standard for a digital product is to pay the creator 70% on a sale. It’s what Steam pays your average creator for a game sale, it’s what Amazon pays on ebooks, it’s what Apple pays for apps downloaded. (And they’re getting heat for taking as much as they are. Rightly so.)
Audible pays 40%. Almost half. For a frame of reference, most brick-and-mortar stores take around 50% on a retail product. Audible pays indie authors less than a bookstore does, when a bookstore has storefronts, sales staff, and warehousing to deal with.
I knew things were bad, which is why I wanted to explore other options with the Kickstarter. But I didn’t know HOW bad. Indeed, if indie authors don’t agree to be exclusive to Audible, they get dropped from 40% to a measly 25%. Buying an audiobook through Audible instead of from another site literally costs the author money.
Again, I like the people at Audible. I like a lot about Audible. I don’t want to go to war—but I do have to call them out. This is shameful behavior. I’ll bet you every person there will say they are a book lover. And yet, they are squeezing indie authors to death. I had several meetings with them, and I felt like I could see their embarrassment in their responses and actions. (Though that’s just me reading into it, not a reference to anything they said.)
Here’s the problem. (I’m sorry for going on at length. I’m passionate about this though.) There are no true competitors to Audible. Sure, there are other companies that can buy your book—but they all just list on Audible, and then take a percentage on top of what Audible is taking. Apple? Their books come in large part from Audible. Recorded Books? They are an awesome company, whom I love, but their biggest market is Audible. Macmillian, my publisher? They just turn around and put the books on Audible.
I had a huge problem finding anyone who, if I sold the Secret Projects to them, wouldn’t just put them on Audible—and while I can’t tell you details, all of their deals are around the same low rates that Audible is paying indie authors. Audible runs this town, and they set the rates. For everyone. Everywhere. (I had one seller who really wanted to work with me, who will remain unnamed, who is consistently only able to pay authors 10% on a sale. For a digital product. It’s WILD.)
I found two companies only—in all of the deals I investigated—who are willing to take on Audible. Spotify and Speechify. My Spotify deal is, unfortunately, locked behind an NDA (as is common with these kinds of deals). All I can say is that they treated me well, and I’m happy.
Here’s where the gold star goes to Speechify. Let me tell you, they came to me and said—full of enthusiasm for the project—they’d give me 100%. I almost took it, but then I asked the owner (who is a great guy) if this was a deal he could give other authors, or if it was a deal only Brandon Sanderson could get. He considered that, then said he’d be willing to do industry standard—70%—for any author who lists their books directly on Speechify a la carte. So I told him I wanted that deal, if he agreed to let me make the terms of our deal public.
I’ve made enough on this Kickstarter. I don’t need to squeeze people for every penny—but what I do want to do is find a way to provide options for authors. I think that by agreeing to these two deals, I’m doing that. We have the open offer from Speechify, and we have Spotify trying very hard to break Audible’s near-monopoly.
I hope this will rejuvenate the industry. Because I do like Audible. I worry that they’ll stagnate, strangle their creators, and end up burning away because of it. Real competition is good for everyone, including the companies themselves. Lack of it leads to a slow corporate death.
So I’m not putting these books on Audible. Not for a year at least. Maybe longer. I need to be able to make a statement, and I realize this makes it inconvenient for many of you. I’m sorry. I really am. And I know it’s going to cost me a ton of sales—because right now, people tend to just buy on the platform they’re comfortable with. The Lost Metal preorders were 75% audio—almost all through Audible. I know many of my fans, probably hundreds of thousands of them, simply won’t buy the books because it’s super inconvenient to go somewhere else. Indeed, Audible locks you into that mentality by making you sign up for a subscription to get proper prices on audiobooks, which then makes you even more hesitant to shop around.
But please take the time to try these books somewhere else. I’ve priced them at $15—the current price of a monthly subscription to Audible at their most common price point. You can get these books with no subscription and no credit. (Though you do have to buy on Spotify/Speechify’s websites—and not through their apps—because of monopolistic practices by certain providers. Something I’m not qualified to say much about currently. Besides, this rant is already too long.)
Each book you buy somewhere else helps break open this field. It will lead to lower prices, fewer subscription models, and better pay for authors. Plus, these partners I’ve gone to really deserve the support for being willing to try to change things.
Whew. Okay. Rant over. Let’s talk print books.
PRINT BOOKS for BACKERS
The first book is being bound right now! We had a scare last month when the material for the covers didn’t arrive because of shipping delays, but Bill (our print book rep) worked some miracles and got things ushered along. Then we were hit with another setback: as we speak, a giant snow storm is descending on our printer’s location, and that’s going to delay the books even further, as we will not receive them until after the New Year. All of this will cause some slight delays on the first book, as we will need to package and ship the first box throughout the entire month. Some might stretch into February. We promise to do what we can to prevent that, but it might not be in our control. But fortunately, everyone will have their ebooks and audiobooks right on the first day.
PRINT BOOKS for NON-BACKERS
These will take longer than the ebook/audiobooks to come out. You see, we knew supply issues could be a problem—it’s the story of all marketplaces these days. So we wanted to be extra, extra careful not to have these on sale too soon, lest we risk people being able to buy the books in stores before backers got their copies. (Which would be wrong.) However, in publishing, you have to pick dates like this super early for (again) supply reasons.
So we picked a three-month delay. When the second Secret Project goes out to backers, the first Secret Project will appear in bookstores in the English-language countries. At this point, you’ll have two options.
My publishers (Tor and Gollancz) will be releasing their own editions, in line with the other editions of my books you might have bought from them. Our Dragonsteel editions will remain the premium edition of the books, which we will sell ourselves. Both the books and the swag boxes will be available for pre-order on Dragonsteelbooks.com on the 10th of each month (at the same time as the audiobooks and ebooks are released to the public), but they will not ship until after we have completed backer shipments. The individual premium hardcovers (with the extra art, special cover treatments, etc.) will be $55, and all extra boxes will be $65.
I’m sorry for the long delay, but it was what felt right when we put these deals in place.
Whew. That was a long bit of information! Sorry to go on at length, but there was a lot to get through.
Wow. What a year. I can remember writing this essay last year, and being all giddy about the fact that I was hiding four secret novels from you all. I said, “Maybe next year, I’ll be able to explain to you all why my year was so strange.” One big part of it was those novels. The other part is…well, something I can’t quite talk about even still. That said, last year, I’d just started planning the Kickstarter campaign—and I was extremely curious how the reveal would go.
It went well.
I did not expect to come back to you this year having run the most successful Kickstarter campaign of all time. That’s for sure. It was, obviously, the highlight of my year—though I suspect next year’s highlight will be finally getting to see what you all think of the books.
The other big mark this year (other than the aforementioned “I can’t talk about this yet” things that are still happening in Hollywood) for me was finishing various series. I worked on the ending of the Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series and the ending of Era Two of Mistborn (which both came out this year), and the ending of Skyward (which is scheduled for next fall), and I began the ending of the first arc of Stormlight (scheduled for the following fall).
It’s been an era of transitions for me. All of them good, all of them fulfilling, and several of them very big. My company grew sizably to match the demands I’m putting on them—most specifically editing, art directing, publicizing, and shipping 600,000 secret novels.
The daunting part is, I think this probably isn’t the biggest year we’ll have. So…stick around.
And as always, thank you.
Man the way pattern is running never fails to crack me up.
What's extra funny is that I threw that in there with a bit of silly doggerel as a joke during layouts, expecting it to be pulled and replaced later. Instead they kept the drawing (though we ditched the poem, and thank goodness for that).
Do you remember what the poem was? I'm interested now
I've never seen a Cryptic run,And I hope to never see one.For if I saw a Cryptic running,I would dearly fear the reason.
Shallan should stick to observational notes. ;)
All very cool. Would it be wrong to guess that Autonomy turned dockworker Trell into an avatar. Had him worldhop to Scadrial and found the original version of "Trellism" in the distant past.
I have to imagine that rando isn't named Trell as a red herring, though it's hard to see Autonomy being so into a random longshoreman.
There is a visual hint in White Sand.
[theory about time dilation with regards to Selish characters in The Lost Metal]
Personally I think that Brandon is just moving Elantris in the timeline