How Kickstarter Is Promoting Self-Publishing

Just last week fantasy author Brandon Sanderson was able to raise $19 million on Kickstarter to help publish new novels, leaving some to question how this affects the publishing industry.

Community Publishing

Plenty of authors make their way in the world by going about both routes of traditional publishing and self-publishing, but a recent event in crowdsourcing has made massive waves in the world of what it means to self publish. Brandon Sanderson, a fantasy author well known for his work on the final books in The Wheel Of Time series, recently raised a total sum of nineteen million dollars in under two days last week towards the creation of a number of new novels. This amount smashed his original goal of one million, and astonished even the author, who described it as “incredible, overwhelming, and a little unbelievable” in an update on Kickstarter.

With this in mind, it seems like self-publishing could become much easier for those interested by using such crowdsourcing techniques. Is it really all that it’s hyped up to be though, or is Sanderson’s incredible amount raised just a one-off event?

Crowd Funding Doesn’t Really Change Publishing

As nice as it would be to be able to fund millions of dollars to self-publish, realistically this isn’t going to happen for everyone. Even with the enormous amount of coverage Sanderson is receiving for the incredible amount of money raised, he still was already an acclaimed author before setting out to raise a million. As nice as it would be to publish a novel or series of novels this way, it unfortunately isn’t that simple. Even with the help of Kickstarter to help fund his latest project, Sanderson already has a huge fanbase which is what gives him an edge in the process.

Sanderson is Not Just Self Published

Despite this endeavor to quickly fund four new novels, Sanderson is traditionally published by a number of publishing firms including Tor Books. He also simultaneously publishes his own work through his company Dragonstone Entertainment which these four “Secret Projects” should be published through.


This mix between traditional and self-publishing seems as if it may be the way to go, particularly for beginning authors who don’t have the same kind of fanbase and recognition as Sanderson. Kickstarter certainly has its own appeal, but based on how Sanderson has progressed as an author it might be best to follow this hybridized format of publishing.

Landing a traditional deal means more will be taken care of for you in terms of marketing and publicity, but for more niche projects that would have a hard time finding a home in a large publishing company, crowdsourcing the project may be the way to go. Even if it isn’t a gigantic $19 million sum like what Sanderson made, Kickstarter seems to have proved itself a valuable tool in terms of self-publishing.