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    State of the Sanderson 2022 ()
    #151 Copy

    Kara Stewart

    Merchandise and Events: VP Kara Stewart

    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.

    State of the Sanderson 2022 ()
    #152 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Editorial Department: VP Peter Ahlstrom

    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!

    State of the Sanderson 2022 ()
    #153 Copy

    Emily Sanderson

    Emily Sanderson Update

    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.

    State of the Sanderson 2022 ()
    #154 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Part Seven: News from My Company!

    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.

    State of the Sanderson 2022 ()
    #155 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    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. 

    State of the Sanderson 2022 ()
    #156 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Part Five: Updates on Minor Projects

    Songs of the Dead

    In limbo, pun intended, for the time being. 

    The Original

    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.

    White Sand

    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!

    State of the Sanderson 2022 ()
    #157 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Dark One

    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!

    The Reckoners

    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? 

    State of the Sanderson 2022 ()
    #158 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Part Three: Updates on Primary Projects

    Stormlight Archive

    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. 

    State of the Sanderson 2022 ()
    #159 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    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. 

    State of the Sanderson 2022 ()
    #160 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.


    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


    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. 


    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 (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. 


    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.


    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. 


    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 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.

    State of the Sanderson 2022 ()
    #161 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    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. 

    General Reddit 2022 ()
    #162 Copy


    Man the way pattern is running never fails to crack me up.

    Ben McSweeney

    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

    Ben McSweeney

    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. ;)

    General Reddit 2022 ()
    #163 Copy


    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.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    There is a visual hint in White Sand.

    General Reddit 2022 ()
    #165 Copy


    Aight I always thought that shades mar was just the term used on roshar for cognitive realm. I guess it’s just a widely considered term used in the cosmere

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Yeah, I'm not sure how this idea got started, but Shadesmar is not just a Rosharan term. It's widely used.

    Miscellaneous 2020 ()
    #166 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hey, welcome to the Brandon Sanderson Frequently Asked Questions. We're going to take some of the questions I get the most often and record me answering them on YouTube. And our first one is, "What is the Cosmere?" This is indeed a frequently asked question. Most interviewers ask me this when I begin, though most fans have kind of figured it out by now. The Cosmere is my shared universe of epic fantasy stories. What happened is ... when I was 16-17 and was really getting into science fiction and fantasy, I read Isaac Asimov's later Robot books—later Foundation books, actually—he was combining Foundation with the Robot novels, and it blew my mind. I had never seen anything like this before. Now, granted, Marvel in comics and DC in comics had been doing shared universe for a long time with continuous continuity across multiple books. But in novels, Asimov was the first person I saw do something like this, and it really, really interested me.

    Meanwhile, as I'd been reading these books, I really got into Anne McCaffrey's books, one of the very first authors I read, and then I got into Melanie Rawn's books, and then I got into David Eddings, and I got into Tad Williams, and I got into—I was just reading a lot of books. And however my mind works, I started to add my own characters to their books. It's a very weird thing. I've found out that other people do it too. So, I guess it's not individually weird, but we are collectively weird, those of us who do this. I would be reading a book and imagine a backstory to this side character, because I wanted to add something to the book, put something of myself into it, I guess. And then later on I'd pick up a different book by a different author and I'd be like, "Ooh, this side character, that's secretly the same person in disguise." And I started imagining this kind of back story where characters that I had devised were jumping between these different worlds and were having this big adventure behind the scenes where they were slipping in and out of other people's epic fantasy worlds. And I thought that was just really fun. It's something I continued doing all through my teens and 20s as I was reading. I still do this a little bit with games and books I read. I'll rewrite the story to match how I want it to be for me, particularly in video games, which gives me volition over my character. So, I figure I should be able to change what the character says, even if the dialogue option isn't there. My canon version of various video games is very different from the actual canon version.

    Regardless, I had this character, Hoid, who was jumping in and out of books. When I started writing my own books in my early 20s, I started adding him as cameos to my books. I wrote 13 novels before I sold one. Book 6, Elantris, is the first one that got published, and it's the first time where I really sat down and said, "You know what? Epic fantasy is really what I want to do. Let's start building something here." And so, I wrote Hoid into that book. Then I wrote a book called Dragonsteel, where I jumped back, and I told his backstory on a different planet. Then I wrote something called Aether of Night a little bit later, where I delved into what had happened to some of those characters on a different planet far, far in the future. And I started building this thing that I called the Cosmere, which was an interconnected world of all these epic fantasy stories that people were moving around behind and jumping in and out of these worlds with different magic systems and different lore, but [which] all had some fundamental rules for the way the magic worked and where all these places had come from.

    Well, eventually I sold Elantris, and Hoid was in there as a cameo. And I'd been giving a lot of thought to the Cosmere at that point. So as Elantris was getting published, I sat down and did an outline for the Mistborn trilogy, which I expanded to nine books in the middle of that outline and said, "what if I made this backbone series to the Cosmere", as I was then kind of officially calling it in my head. I went to my editor. I pitched it. I talked about Adonalsium, this god who was shattered long ago and sixteen individuals took up pieces of that god, the intents of the god, like that god's honor, or that god's sense of entropy, which was called Ruin, or things like this, and then went out into the Cosmere and were kind of ruling over these planets, or involved in these planets, or sometimes just lightly touching these planets. These sixteen Shards of Adonalsium, as we call them. And I grew, out of Mistborn and Stormlight, this idea for this large, super mega series, so to speak, behind the scenes.

    Part of where this came from was me knowing that, as a new writer, pitching people on something that big was going to be tough. But if I could sell them a standalone novel like Elantris, they would be more likely to try that out, or a standalone trilogy like Mistborn. So, the whole goal was to have this hidden epic behind the scenes. And I wasn't even sure if I was ever going to get the chance to do more with it than just have it be cameos. You'll notice, if you watch for Hoid in the early books, they're just very cameo-ish. He briefly shows up here and there. In Mistborn 3 he's mentioned by name and you see him off in the distance. You don't even talk to him. This is because I wasn't sure if this was going to fly. One of the things that is difficult, particularly about storytelling back in the ‘80s and '90, was that you couldn't always rely on your audience being up to date with everything in the series. You couldn't expect them always to re-read everything. A lot of the books from the ‘80s and ‘90s will take a large chunk at the beginning to try to catch you up to speed in as non-annoying a way as possible. Well, that all changed once the Internet came around, and we were all able to just go look up summaries, or if we forget a character go to the wiki and find about them and things like that, which really is what I believe allowed something like the Marvel Cinematic Universe to actually exist and work, to have this deep and complex continuity.

    And I was writing books just by happenstance that was doing all of this at the same time that this became a viable way of telling stories, at least a more viable way of telling stories. And people really latched onto the Cosmere and gave me the opportunity to really launch into it deep, so that there's a lot of interconnectedness growing between the books, as I always dreamed that I wanted to do but I wasn't sure if anyone would go along with me in it. And people have.

    So, there's the long version of "What is the Cosmere?". The short version is it is my interconnected world of stories. But the long version is, it is the mega epic hiding behind the scenes, starring characters who make cameos in the other books.

    General Reddit 2022 ()
    #167 Copy


    When Zane is talking to Straff about Luthadel and whether they have the Atium, he is told by 'God' (Ruin) to kill Straff. Zane responds in his thoughts which we are told time and again that Ruin cannot read thoughts, even for spiked individuals like Marsh. However, Ruin directly responds to Zane's thoughts.

    The full quote is

    "Kill him!" God yelled. "You hate him! He kept you in squalor, forcing you to fight for your survival as a child."

    He made me strong, Zane thought.

    "Then use that strength to kill him!"

    How could Ruin have known what Zane thought? Was this just a mistake or do you think it was intentional (perhaps Zane murmering under his breath)?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Ruin is not always paying close attention and sending specific words into Zane’s mind. Sometimes Zane’s own mind supplies the words to go with the impressions that Ruin is sending.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
    #170 Copy


    Why won't Moonlight's stamp wear off by itself?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is an excellent question. The answer is—it might someday. But the other question is—it's been a spell. Depending on where I time these things, it's either been hundreds of years or decades since... Moonlight has had a lot of time to practice with powers and investigate what's possible in the Cosmere with magic and talk to some of the smartest people in the Cosmere about how it works. You should draw from the way the soulstamps work, the more mundane ones, that Shai has made a ton of progress in pushing forward the art of Forgery.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
    #171 Copy


    If an [attractor] fabrial is blocked by aluminum in a certain direction, will the attraction bend around the aluminum or does it work purely off line of sight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh man... *mumbling* *sigh* All right. This could bend around aluminum. I believe. So. CAN bend around aluminum. Which would allow you to do some cool things. Yeah. That is, I believe... the aluminum is going to set up a big patch of... an interference pattern. Like, imagine it's going to make a shadow. How about that. That's a really good example. It'll bend around the corners like light is going to bend around a corner to a similar extent. Hopefully that helps in your theorizing.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    In The Lost Metal, we find that Sho Del have four arms, making six appendages. In the [sample] chapters for The Liar of Partinel, we find that a fain deer has six legs. Is this pattern important?

    Brandon Sanderson



    Further, how relevant to this is [it] that if you count four legs plus two wings, dragons have six limbs?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep, that is the exact correlation that I would like you to draw! Dragons are fain, if you're wondering. If that's what the question is, yes, dragons are fain.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
    #173 Copy


    Could one negate the negative effects of wielding Nightblood with an aluminum gauntlet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *hesitantly* This is theoretically possible, but you also wouldn't get some of the benefits. But many of the benefits are not being utilized by people who draw Nightblood. So to some of them, it would be... you wouldn't be able to notice the difference.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
    #174 Copy


    Was Wayne in fact the best lay MeLaan had ever had?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. She wasn't lying. Let's just say MeLaan spent a lot of her youth very sheltered.

    Adam Horne

    Is it not as big of a compliment as Wayne thinks it is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I mean, you know. She is immortal. But maybe he imagined it as bigger compliment. But it's not a not-big compliment. How about that.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    Do the scholars in Silverlight understand the Realmatic difference between a Shattering of a Shard and the unique hypercompression of Devotion and Dominion's Investiture in the Selish Cognitive Realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They do. Do they fully understand? No. But do they understand better than anyone else in the Cosmere who is not a Shard? Yes.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    Seriously, what was going with Bloody Tan? Was he controlled by Autonomy? How did he move with what appeared like atium so Lessie died? It feels like there are a lot of open questions regarding him that we never addressed.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, there are a whole bunch, aren't there! I'm not gonna answer those right now, but I'm glad you're still asking those questions.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    Does the dead body of a Shard pull at time and space, thus causing time to pass slower in that place of the cosmere, almost like a black hole?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It could go either way in the Cosmere, depending. But the answer is yes. A large amount, like a deific amount of Investiture will... any amount of Investiture will cause a bit of time dilation, but the amount you're getting from even a Shardpool is not enough to be noticeable. I mean, it is, you can notice it even on our planet if you take a jet that goes fast enough, so it is noticeable but not relevantly noticeable. We're talking about a slippage of a day or so in a year even off of a Shardpool (don't canonize me on that one, I don't have the actual numbers). But that's what we're talking about. There are are chunks of Investiture of deific nature that can cause amounts of time dilation that would be virtually impossible in our universe, without you becoming one with a black hole. There's a story I want to tell, and I don't know if I'll ever get around to telling it, about an entire society that rises and falls in several seconds of time dilation to everyone else. I want to be able to tell stories like that, and you couldn't do that in our universe, but that's part of the reason we have the Cosmere!

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    Joseph Sorenson

    Is Adonalsium a God Metal and not a person?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO! Lot of people... I have been deliberately cagey. So you should assume that if I ever answer a thing where like they're saying Adonalsium - person and stuff like that, I have NOT canonized this and don't intend to canonize it. I try to take people's questions and deal with them and give them a good answer. But you shouldn't take it like, if they ask "When Adonalsium did this was he this?" and I answer it, be like "oh, he's canonizing the HE!" I have not really canonized other than there are plenty of people who refer to Adonalsium that way in the world.

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    During an interview recently you said you have been writing down one-liners for Wayne for the last ten years. Are there any one-liners or quips from this cast of characters that didn't make it into the book that you particularly enjoyed or wanted to share?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here's one that I didn't end up using, 'cause I thought I was using too many penis jokes. Wayne, after someone says something about a penis, sighs and says "Ah, it's the little things in life that bring us so much happiness."

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    In Edgedancer, Lift refers to Hoid as "Ol' Whitehair". Was Hoid not in disguise at the time? Did Lift and Hoid have any encounters between Oathbringer and Rhythm of War?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lift has seen... how about this. Lift knows what Hoid is. Maybe not intellectually, because Lift doesn't know a lot of things intellectually, but she's connected dots that others have not connected and indeed she has seen him without his disguise on. She is another weird one. She pops in places she's not supposed to.

    That was done deliberately, I shall say.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    How does Roshar keep its rocky terrains? Wouldn't corrosion and vegetation break down the rocks outside of [Shinovar]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes! Good question. This is why I built the crem from the beginning. That was my first question to myself, and you will actually find that on a geological timescale, that Roshar has drifted! Meaning been worn off on one end and is shrinking a little bit, and then different pieces are growing that way off of different parts. Very slow-scale. The existence of Roshar is not so long that you'd be able to tell much, but you know there've been inches if not feet lost from the eastern portion of Roshar but the dumping of the crem is my perhaps-fantastical science answer to "what happens to erosion". Plants grow, they do crack the stone, they do start to break it down, even Rosharan plants whose roots aren't meant to go deep or things like this, and then crem gets in those cracks, fills it in, sticks the broken pieces back together, and you end up with stone, still. That was my devised answer to having a world that is hit by storms but is also stony. 

    This is the same reason coral reefs continue to exist. There's got to be a growth mechanism after things are being weathered a way to make sure that they continue to perpetuate. An above-water coral reef was one of my touchstones for Roshar.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    Far in the future, after all the people in The Lost Metal are dead and gone, does someone maintain the ritual of changing Wayne's hat every year? Does it become some sort of civic custom like the ceremonial lighting of a Christmas tree?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *laughter* Absolutely. That's what I imagined.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    Cultivation, Ruin, and Preservation seem like aspects of Adonalsium's cosmic nature rather than personality traits like other Shards. Is there a fourth Shard that is cosmic in nature?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think they all are cosmic in nature. Even Honor, like you could say that's a personality trait, I don't think it is, I think it's a cosmic sense of justice and order, if that makes sense. We're phrasing it as a personality trait but that's not really what it is. There are those who would argue that the Shard of Honor is what makes things fall to the ground when you drop them and obey natural laws.

    Ben Epic

    Assuming the Dawnshards each represent four Shards, and considering their Intents seem to be similar, are Endowment, Cultivation, and Ruin all from the same category? Are they all Change Shards?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, I get what you're saying. I'm going to RAFO that for now.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    Now that we know a bit more about the connection between Trell and Autonomy, can you explain who exactly the person named Trell in White Sand is, and how they connect to the Trell, the avatar of Autonomy, that we see in The Lost Metal? Was this Trell just another person who acted as the Trell avatar after being Invested by Autonomy in a similar way to Telsin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is the way I want you theorizing.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    Who in-world named the Intents of the Shards? Is it possible that they misinterpreted the name in any case, and that the Intent is not fully in line with the name we know?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is possible. Right, this is absolutely possible. I mean you have context for this with Odium kind of claiming that it's not the right name for Odium. Others would disagree, but Odium has tried, aggressively, to change that name. I will say, you could make the argument, well, Odium just is bucking the trend and this is actually who Odium is. It is possible. Which is why Odium would try to get that name changed. These are imperfect definitions of ideas, as most words are. Those ideas could be misinterpreted.


    Could a Deception Shard be out there calling itself something else, and none would be the wiser?

    Brandon Sanderson

    None being the wiser would be real hard. The other Shards knowing but other people not knowing could happen. It would be pretty hard for the Shards to not know, but it is within the realm of possibility. How about that?

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    We know a bit about the Pathians and the Survivorists in Era 2, but almost nothing about the other major religion of the Basin, Sliverism. Can you share a bit about it and about Marsh's role in it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd rather not right now. So we'll RAFO that.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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    In The Lost Metal, MeLaan is said to be the first kandra Harmony sent off-world. Does that mean that the kandra on Roshar are not in Harmony's employment?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes! Good way to connect the dots. That is exactly what that means.


    Brandon, you previously said the kandra on Roshar WAS an agent of Harmony.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Did I? *sounds uncertain* Well... I'm changing my mind. Yeah. No. I... uhh... Nope, not an agent of-

    I know exactly who this kandra is and what they're doing and yeah. I'm going to say I don't know why I said that before, but now, no.

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    We've always understood Elantris to be one of the earliest books in the Cosmere, but we see Kaise as Codenames in The Lost Metal, one of the latest books. Has the timeline contracted significantly, or are we just looking at the typical Shadesmar time dilation tricks?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, here's thing, Argent. I'm not going to be able to give you strict timelines until I write Elantris 2 and 3. So my plan, originally, which might have been a bad plan, was Elantris 2 to take place some ten or fifteen years after Elantris 1. Maybe a little less than that. But years have passed. It was called Dakhor, in my notes. And then for 3 to be hundreds of years later. I don't know if that's the right move anymore, and if 3 isn't hundreds of years later, then where we slot Elantris in is going to change because of where I need certain characters to be in some of these things, and certain things to happen. We are getting really close to where this is going to be nailed down and locked down, and I'll get locked down. Probably right when we start Era 3 is when all of this is just gonna start... I've promised you guys a timeline. Once we've released that, we don't want to retcon it, does that make sense? So that's why we're waiting to release it.

    But Kaise does have some time dilation going on, though. Though I say her name wrong because I'm not from Sel. But yeah, she has time dilation going on, she is... yeah. More time has passed than the ten or so years that... she's like what, 7 in Elantris? And she's like young 20s now, visibly, the age that she appears. I believe, something like that. So yeah, there you go. There's some information for you on that. I'm playing loose and free with this until I really get down to writing these. My loose plan is still write Mistborn Era 3 book 1, Elantris 2, Era 3 book 2, Elantris 3, Era 3 book 3. Five years of writing there that I can't even really think about until I've got Stormlight 5 in Tor's hands, if not your hands.