Recent entries

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7751 Copy

    Questioner

    The man that gives Nightblood to Szeth at the end of Words of Radiance, I don't understand who he is.

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...Oh Nale, oh you mean Nale. Nale's one of the Heralds.

    Questioner

    But I thought that those guys left? At the be-- In the prequel, at the beginning of The Way of Kings.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They abandoned their swords and went about the world, but did not return to the place where they were supposed to go, which was off-world.

    Questioner

    So they just die?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They did not die.

    Questioner

    So they're all still out there?  Somewhere in the cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It can be assumed that they are all still out there unless some of them died since then. It was 4,000 years ago.

    Questioner

    But the one guy that stayed, went crazy because--

    Brandon Sanderson

    The one guy they abandoned was left in their version of hell, and the rest of them were supposed to return and didn't.

    Questioner

    Every day?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Every time they die they're supposed to go back. Or every time the war is over. You are asking good questions, they're questions that will make more sense as the book progresses.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7753 Copy

    Questioner

    So the other thing I don't understand is in Hero of Ages when Harmony dies. How they became--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Harmony didn't die, you mean--

    Questioner

    The man.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you're talking about the person who was holding the power of Preservation.

    Questioner

    Yeah, how did those people become that in the first place?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a book I'm going to write eventually called Dragonsteel, that deals with how that came about.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7754 Copy

    Questioner 1

    In The Way of Kings, when Hoid is talking to Kaladin and he says his name is Hoid, he said that he took the name from someone else.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He did.

    Questioner 1

    So why is he Hoid in everything else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid is not his original name.

    Questioner 1

    So...

    Questioner 2

    Does he still go by his original name ever?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know if you've ever seen his original name.

    Questioner 2

    I've read your Master's thesis [Dragonsteel Prime].

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, he doesn't go by the name that is in there very often but there are people who know him by that name.

    Questioner 1

    What is his original name?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well he's assuming that the name he is using in there is actually his original name. He's using the name Cephandrius. Which you're assuming is his original.

    Questioner 2

    Closer to the truth than Hoid is.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is closer to the truth...

    Questioner 2

    Cephandrius is closer to his original name than Hoid, it's an earlier alias.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well Hoid was one of his very first aliases.

    Questioner 2

    So I stand corrected.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But, Cephandrius is more him.

    Questioner 2

    Does he still go by his nickname he got.

    Brandon Sanderson

    To some people, Topaz.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Cephandrius Maxtori.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7756 Copy

    Questioner

    So I’m a big Terry Pratchett fan, and my dad, he got a Ankh-Morpork city map.  Do you have any large maps--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Large scale maps?

    Isaac Stewart

    You know we have-- I actually have that same Ankh-Morpork map and I'm like "We gotta do something like this" but it's-- that’s down the road because that is so detailed.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The thing that I would like to do would be a cosmere star chart, that’s large scale, but we have to get a little further, introduce you to a few more planets before we can do that.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7758 Copy

    Questioner

    So that scene in Warbreaker when Hoid is doing the storytelling with sand, was he doing--

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is indeed some sand in there.

    Jasonioan

    Is it sand mastery though?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There may indeed be, not everything he's doing is sand mastery, but there may indeed be some things involved in that.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7759 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    And we changed Hoid's appearance, in the White Sand.

    Questioner

    I couldn't even find him.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He's just, as I remember it--it's been a long time--I think he's just one of the cases Ais mentions talking about.

    Questioner

    Oh yeah, he's in the letter, no that’s someone else.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No he's just one of the people Ais' been chasing. There's just this one case that is mysterious to him. Like remember a lot of the early Hoid things were really obscure mentions.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7760 Copy

    Jasonioan

    What is the Shard on White Sand? Because we've both read White Sand.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Shard-- So what the Shard is doing is, the Shard is the Sand God. But I didn't bring it out much, there's only one Shard on the planet. And the Shard actually kind of resides in the atmosphere and stuff like that but we decided to bring the Shard out a little bit more in the comic book so when you read that you'll be able to find a little more.

    Jasonioan

    Does it take effect in the Darkside?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it does.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7765 Copy

    Questioner

    How... Where would be the... How are you expecting to sell "Screenshot"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Snapshot?

    Questioner

    Yes, Snapshot. That one.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am expecting to do a limited edition and ebook simultaneous. Steve Diamond, who does...  *unintelligible* bookstore guy. He's local, you guys know Steve Diamond. He wants to start up a company doing that, and I told him he could have Snapshot if he did. And so it will probably be like that. He'll do it-- a nice little really-- I just don't expect that our company is ever going to do leatherbounds of any of the short fiction with-- except the possibility for Emperor's Soul. So yeah, that's the plan right then. If that happens it's next Spring's novella release. 

    Questioner

    Okay. Just can't go six months without publishing a new book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Eh. Next year's gonna be something, because right now it's only Snapshot and Stormlight 3. I haven't--

    Questioner

    "Only." *group laughs*

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7766 Copy

    Questioner

    So I've got a question about the Selians in Secret History.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay.

    Questioner

    It seems... It seems pretty clear that they're Selians. Or people from...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    ...the planet Sel. Is that the right term? Selian? I don't know...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um... *sigh* I get this one mixed up. Peter knows. I know I've called them Selish before, but I think we went with Selian because it sounded too much like "selfish". But we did canonize it, and it probably is in the essays, I think. But Peter knows the canon term.

    Questioner

    Okay. What era are they from? Are they from like the... are they from the... the original...

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are old! [very drawn out "old"]

    Questioner

    Were they part of the society that built Elantris?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, someone asked me this coming through the line, and I RAFO'd them. But they are old.

    Questioner

    They are old.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are oldold people. Here's the thing. You give me the opportunity to wiggle around, because I could say, "No," if anyone has joined them since then.

    Questioner

    It's true.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Does that make sense? 

    Questioner

    Yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not canonizing anything right now, but that question is so wiggle-aroundable. And I took the opportunity not to wiggle around it and just tell you they are old

    Questioner

    They are old. Got it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The organization is old. And some of the people that you meet there are very old.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #7767 Copy

    Dalenthas

    Were the epigraphs meant to be in order? If so, reading them all straight through it seems Sazed keeps going off on tangents, seems more stream of consciousness than we're used to seeing from Sazed...

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are in order, but there are large gaps of text left out. So you're not getting the whole thing, just the 'good parts' versions. That's why it feels jumpy.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #7768 Copy

    Happyman

    In one of the bumps, Sazed mentions a discussion between Vin and Ruin in which Vin asks Ruin why she was chosen to release him from the Well. Did this discussion occur in the in-between afterlife where Vin, Elend, Kelsier, etc., were, or did it occur off-screen while Vin and Ruin were busy stopping each other from affecting the world?

    Dalenthas

    I was fairly sure she asked it while she was a prisoner of Yomen, but I could be wrong.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, as has been pointed out, that's in the text—unless I cut it during editing for pacing issues. If I did, the conversation still happened, but it just didn't get shown on 

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #7771 Copy

    Darxbane

    In an annotation from book one, it is mentioned that The Lord Ruler needed all three magic systems in order to do what he did. I always assumed that it meant his Hemalurgy enhanced his Allomancy. Did Marsh get a double power, or is the Feruchemy-Allomancy combo enough? (a sidebar to this question is whether or not stacking abilities is possible through Hemalurgy)

    Brandon Sanderson

    He used Hemalurgy to pull off his most dramatic effects. Marsh didn't need them, but it makes things much easier.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #7772 Copy

    Qarlin

    A modern world update for a future Mistborn trilogy probably wouldn't involve as much metal, unless Mistings were rare, which apparently will not be the case. I'm thinking more like plastics, ceramics, fiberglass, and silicon. I mean for cars and guns and all that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes and no. For the rich, this would be an option. But much like using metal weapons in the Mistborn world, it isn't always an option for everyone. You will see both.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #7773 Copy

    Qarlin

    Lemme guess, the "Mistborn" following Vin was actually Ruin, since Elend never actually saw him, and he disappeared every time Vin got close?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. 

    Qarlin

    Why did Ruin give off Allomantic Pulses? Because Preservation did and they're two sides of the same coin? Allomancy is of Preservation, so I figured that's why he did...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Manifestation of the awesome power he held, mixed with Vin's increased ability to sense these things. Allomantic pulses are like a ripple of sound in the fabric of creation itself—the power of creation being used, creating a drum beat to those attuned to it. Ruin created a similar beat when his consciousness was near.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #7775 Copy

    Qarlin

    Who were Ruin and Preservation? I mean, when they died, they had bodies, like Vin. And you went as far as to describe their hair color (Red and Black, respectively). Preservation even had a prominent nose. Why describe their dead bodies, if they weren't at one time mortals themselves? They created humans, but were at one time human themselves?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. (Sorry.)

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7778 Copy

    Questioner 1

    Does Wit go to-- uh... what's that one place in The Way of Kings... The one place they go to, aft... The end of the book. Uh, I can't remember it now. *someone suggests something* The city they go to at the very end.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Of Way of Kings?

    Questioner 1

    Not Way of Kings, uh...

    Questioner 2

    Words of Radiance.

    Questioner 1

    Words of Radiance, yes. Does Wit go there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Radiance. Urithiru?

    Questioner 1

    Urithiru! Does Wit go to Urithiru?

    Brandon Sanderson

    By the time that a certain somebody at the end shows up there. Wit is no longer with her, and nobody knows where he went.

    Questioner 3

    Oh, he disappeared again! *others comment*

    Brandon Sanderson

    He tends to do that. What's that? So Wit has been lost. He will show up at some point in the book... But yes, he will at least have the Epilogue.

    Footnote: The book Brandon is referring to at the end is Oathbringer.
    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7779 Copy

    Questioner 1

    What's your stance on fanfiction?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I approve of fanfiction. *brief interruption* I think that there are many pros in the field who started in fanfiction, so it can be a springboard to professional writing. Most painters don't start by-- with their own style. They start by imitating a style. I also take the oppos-- the other stance of, if you just do it because it's fun, there's nothing wrong with that either. I'm unlikely to read the fanfiction set in my worlds, but it is also perfectly okay to do.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7780 Copy

    Questioner

    Couldn't think of any [questions], but I would just like to say that I would like to punch Kelsier in the face now, so... *group laughs*

    Brandon Sanderson

    He usually deserves getting punched in the face. *group laughs* If you were to meet Kelsier on the street, you can guess he has something that he's done that makes him deserve to be punched that day. *group laughs*

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7781 Copy

    Questioner

    *reading a question from a friend* He asks you, "How a dead Splinter [Sliver] can interact with the physical world," and the follow up, "What could they do?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    A dead Splinter... So something like a dead...

    Questioner

    Someone who's held the power and let go of it, so someone like... someone like...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Someone like the Lord Ruler.

    Questioner

    Yeah, Lord Ruler or Vin or <someone like that>.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so... How could they interact with the world?

    Questioner

    Yeah, the physical world.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So they would have some of the same problems that Kelsier had. But would have slightly more advantages than him. So for instance, speaking to the mad is something they could probably do. 

    Questioner

    Because Kelsier can't do that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    What's that?

    Questioner

    Because Kelsier can't?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He can't?

    Questioner

    He can?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, in Secret History he's able to speak to them. He has a lot of trouble getting through, but he can. So yeah. So I-- read Secret History and... *stutters* <a bunch> of the same answers. But they would be slightly more Invested than Kelsier was... No, but then he... yeah... They'd be about roughly the same.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7782 Copy

    Questioner

    Does Odium actually present a real threat to Harmony, because he-- *interrupted*

    Brandon Sanderson

    So Harmony is vastly more powerful than Odium.

    Questioner

    Yeah. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Elend was vastly more powerful than Vin. Who would win in a fight?

    Questioner

    Vin.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, there's your answer.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7783 Copy

    Questioner 1

    You know how in, uh... the God King was engaged to Siri?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner 1

    And she went to his room few times?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner 1

    Will there be something like that in the second book? Or will you be avoiding that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will be a romance in the next book between different characters. Slightly different. The outline right now it's-- the romance is a married couple who, for political purposes act like they hate each other.

    Questioner 1

    Okay.

    Questioner 2

    *laughs* That's awesome.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But yes.

    Questioner 1

    But what I mean is there will be any-- like-- there won't be anything, like, prostrating or whatever...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably not... Um, I mean...

    Questioner 1

    Because if you avoid it I'll love to read the book. *laughs* I had a hard time recommending Warbreaker to others because of that. I mean, it's not a big criticism or anything, it's just more uncomfortable.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I understand that completely. It was a book about a wedding night. And I felt there were certain things that were appropriate for that book that may not have been appropriate for others.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7784 Copy

    Questioner 1

    So the orb thing in a Secret History, that he breaks?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, mhm.

    Questioner 1

    How does that work? Like is it-- is Connection a Shard and it has the essence of Connection in it? Or...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *sighs* It is more complicated than that.

    Questioner 1

    Okay.

    Questioner 2

    <In> email then. *questioners laugh*

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO, without being a RAFO.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7785 Copy

    Questioner

    In Memory of Light, how Lan didn't die.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner

    And you were surprised that fewer people were discussing how you could interpret Rand's actions as bending the Pattern to make it that he did not die.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner

    And I'm trying to-- You mentioned that there were certain real world homages that you were trying to make because of this...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner

    I couldn't remember what those were.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, Lazarus.

    Questioner

    Well, okay. But like something like with K-- like King Arthur or something like that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's-- yes, there are... *interrupted*

    Questioner

    But I don't remember what that was.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are... the Fisher King.

    Questioner

    Fisher King?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, Google the Fisher King if you want to read about that. There's a lot of him... I mean, there's also Hindu and Muslim symbolism that I cribbed from, so to speak. The thing about Lan is I... if you press me, I would probably say he didn't die. But the parallelism of Rand in book 3 trying to raise from the dead and not being able to, and Rand in the last book with him there--

    Questioner

    This man *inaudible*.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Um, you can make the argument that, and you know, we'll never know if he did or didn't. I think it is... I made it intentionally ambiguous. Brandon the reader, you press me, I'll say, "Eh, he probably didn't." But there is parallelism there, and it is intentional.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7787 Copy

    Questioner 1

    We asked about Bloody Tan. He burned... What is it that he <stole>?

    Questioner 2

    Bandalloy.

    Questioner 1

    Bendalloy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So... "Does he burn bendalloy?" is your question? 

    Questioner 1

    Mhm.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um... So... Which version of Bloody Tan?

    Questioner 1

    Oh!

    Questioner 2

    The non-Paalm version.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Questioner 2

    Alloy of Law version.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so the... Right... Okay, see, I have to kind of ask. He is not burning bendalloy any place you see, I don't believe. Why do you ask if he burns bendalloy?

    Questioner 2

    He mentions that he stole or was involved in steeling a shipment of bendalloy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. He steals this because it's worth money. I did-- *interrupted*

    Questioner 1

    Oh, and he's-- wait, which one is-- Is that what makes you fast?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that's the one that-- *interrupted*

    Questioner 1

    And that he moves Lessie so fast.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but then a time bubble would have to be used in that, and-- Oh, you mean for... No, yeah, then a time bubble would be involved and the whole bullet thing wouldn't work. He's not using the time bubble there. 

    Questioner 1

    Okay, that makes sense.

    Brandon Sanderson

    'Cause if he put up a time bubble he would be moving super fast. But Wax would have known that a time bubble was-- had been thrown up. So good question, but no. I don't believe... Yeah, he wasn't an Allomancer. He stole that because it's money. I can say that with 100% surety. I just have to look through and make sure, "Okay, I'm not-- I didn't do anything in the notes."

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7788 Copy

    Questioner

    Has Hoid ever submitted a painting to the Court of Gods?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid has... potentially submitted a painting. *group laughs* That's something he would do. But I have to say that as, "Brandon says that's something he would do. And 'sure.'" But that's not out of the notes or anything.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7789 Copy

    Questioner

    So the paintings that Lightsong reacted to...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner

    Who painted those? Anyone in particular, or...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are important in the scheme of that book, yes.

    Questioner

    Oh, anyone mentioned in that book? Anyone we know.

    Oh, one of the paintings is important. Not all of them, but one of them.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7791 Copy

    Questioner

    In the Graphic Audio books... Obviously they had to change things, and when Vasher wake-- or puts the rest of the Breath into the rope he uses a different Command. He says, "My breath to give for life to live." Is that that canon, or is that just...

    Brandon Sanderson

    So here's the thing... You have to be ver--...

    Questioner

    I mean, I know he's got to...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah...

    Questioner

    ...You know, he has to be careful with his Commands so he doesn't give away his Divine Breath. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    I'm just wondered if that's the...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think that's canon.

    Questioner

    Canon. 'Cause it's not in the regular book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But it's not in the regular book. I'm gonna have to go back and look, but I think that's canon.

    Questioner

    Okay, cool.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Pretty sure. So yeah, you have to be really careful when you've got a Divine Breath, what you're doing. *interruption* I'm gonna have to go to Isaac and Peter to make sure that that's the canon thing. That they got that from us. But for now you can pretend that it is.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7792 Copy

    little_wilson

    What's the earliest that we'll be seeing more of Scribbler (I'd heard a bunch about it at TWG, and so I found the sample chapters on your site and now I'm REALLY wanting more of it, so I'd like to know when I should start looking again...)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sigh. I really want to do something with Scribbler, but I can't justify it right now. I'm doing the fourth Alcatraz because I can't put it off any longer because of contracts, and Kings because Tor really wants a solo Brandon book next year. But I can't justify working too much on a project that hasn't been sold and which—if published—would end up pulling me into another side trilogy. I have to leave the WoT with the space it needs and deserves. Until it is completed, I have to shelve side projects. That, unfortunately, includes Scribbler. For now.

    There are some things in the works with it, and I'm very excited about the possibilities. But there's nothing tangible I can give you now. It's coming. Maybe sooner than I've made it sound, but best to be careful as nothing is set yet.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7795 Copy

    Jeremy_Carroll

    Can you give any history on Denth? I don't know what he did as one of the Five Scholars. What was his roll during the Manywar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Boy, you know, I'd rather leave the history of the Five and the Manywar for the sequel. Denth was there, and at first he tried to stop it, work as a peacemaker, and eventually took Vasher's side. Until the death of his sister.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7796 Copy

    Jeremy_Carroll

    How could Vasher become Drab, since he would have to give up his Big Breath to do so?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Divine Breath can be hid. Essentially, you have to view yourself NOT as a god at all, using a very specific bit of mental gymnastics. As a Returned, your body changes based on how you see yourself. (This, by the way, is an indication that Lightsong was more pleased with himself than he ever let on.)

    You don't lose your Divine Breath, but it does go into hiding, making you look like a normal person. But you're still Returned, and are consuming a Breath at one a week. If you give away your other Breaths, you retain this hidden one, but your body will still consume its own spirit if left to do so. So you still need a Breath a week to survive, and will die the week you don't get one.

    I left this as an intentional place to explore the magic in the sequel, which I had planned to be writing (and posting on my website) by the time Warbreaker was out in stores. The WoT has diverted me, and so I feel bad, since this ends up being a confusing question that a number of readers have had. The hints toward how this is working are very difficult to find. (The biggest one is probably in the opening, where Vasher thinks about how he could reach the Fifth Heightening instantly, if he wanted to.)

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7799 Copy

    GypsyKylara

    My question is about writing, kind of.

    As an author, you have achieved moderate success. People like you and have heard of you within the genre and you have established a relationship with your publishing company that lets you get a lot of books published.

    This is the level of success I want as a writer and I am just wondering how financially viable this is. Like, can you write only or do you need a so-called day job? Are you able to support your family with your writing alone? That kind of thing.

    Sorry if that is kind of a personal question. I've just always wondered how much money a writer makes once they've "made it".

    Brandon Sanderson

    I had a lot of questions like this myself during my days trying to break in. Everyone told me it wasn't possible to make a living as a writer—that, like an actor or a musician, I'd spend my life poor and obscure.

    One of the big turning points came when I met and talked to a professional writer who had had modest success. Not a huge name, but a person who had done what you hope to do. Publish a book every year, never be a household name, but well-known enough in-genre that a large portion of the readers had seen his books on the shelves, though many still had no idea who he was. (The author was David Farland, by the way.)

    I wish I could give you that same experience, though it's going to be harder while not face to face. The main tone of the meeting and his encouragement was this: IT IS POSSIBLE and YOU CAN DO IT!

    Not everyone can make a living at writing. But it's very within reach, and for the dedicated author willing to practice and learn, it's not as difficult to make a living as many make it out to be.

    I do make a living full time at this, and have for several years now. In the early years, it wasn't what many would call a 'good' income, but it was enough for me. Now, it is an excellent income. Not "Fly to Europe every week" income, but certainly "Take your friends out to eat once in a while" income.

    A standard royalty for an author would be to 10-15% on a hardcover, and around 8% on a paperback. Usually, the percentage gets better the more copies you sell.

    Now, books don't sell the huge numbers that people usually think they do. If you sell 2k hardcover copies in your first week, you can get on the NYT list. (Though it's not certain—it depends on what week it is and what other books came out. 3k is a pretty sure bet, though.)

    Elantris—an obscure, but successful, book—sold about 10k copies in hardcover and around 14k copies its first year in paperback. I've actually sold increasing numbers each year in paperback, as I've become more well-known. But even if you pretend that I didn't, and this is what I'd earn on every book, you can see that for the dedicated writer, this could be viable as an income. About $3 per book hardcover and about $.60 paperback gets us around 39k income off the book. Minus agent fees and self-employment tax, that starts to look rather small. (Just under 30k). But you could live on that, if you had to. (Remember you can live anywhere you want as a writer, so you can pick someplace cheap.)

    I'd consider 30k a year to do what I love an extremely good trade-off. Yes, your friends in computers will be making far more. But you get to be a writer.

    The only caveat here is that I did indeed get very lucky with my placement at Tor. It's the successful hardcover release that makes the above scenario work. If you only had the paperback, and everyone who bought the hardcover bought that instead, you'd have to be selling around 60k copies to make it work. That's very possible, and I know a lot of midlist writers who do it.

    Anyway, numbers shouldn't be what gets you into this business. If you have to tell stories, tell them. To be a writer, I feel you need to have such a love of the process that you'd write those books even if you never sold one. It's not about the money, and really shouldn't be. (And sorry to go on so long. I just feel it important to give aspiring writers the same kinds of help that I got.)

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7800 Copy

    Sensitivemuse

    Also, was there an inspiration for Vin and if so who/what was it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vin has been hard for me to pin down, inspiration wise. I tried so many different variations on her character (even writing her character as a boy) that it's hard to pinpoint when I got it right. There was no one single inspiration for her. (Unlike Sarene, who was based on a friend of mine.) She's a mix of my sisters, a good writer friend of mine, and a dozen different other little bits of people.

    The time when I got her character RIGHT was when I wrote the scene that became her first in Mistborn, where she's watching the ash blow in the street, and envies it for its freedom. That, mixed with Kelsier's observation that she isn't a bad person—she just thinks everyone else is—were the big points where her character took form.