In case you missed Brandon Sanderson started a Kickstarter campaign for his new book and pledged $20,300,000+ by the time we are writing this article (03/04/2022).

03/07/2022 UPDATE: $23,100,000+

No doubts we love Brandon Sanderson we featured his books many times (like here or here) on our website. Without a doubt he is one of the most talented epic fantasy writer of our days.

But let me show you another side of the story here, because self-publishing and also traditional publishing book industry is a joke at the moment.

There are two main reasons why people choose self-publishing:

  1. They have no money and traditional publishing houses would never accept their story
  2. They are famous and they think they could get more money out of self-publishing their book, since the biggest royalty rates after book sales is 7-15% maximum after book sales (which is definitely low)

Or a publishing house behind the author just want “Free” money and want to found book(s) without taking any risks, even profit without making any real efforts (except creating a Kickstarter page with a video).

Traditional publishing houses like Tor Books, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan and also new publishers like BookBaby — which state themselves “Self-Publishing agency” wrongly — grew big in the last decade hence less and less people are reading physical books.

Their real strength is marketing. If you self-publish a book on Amazon using KPD (the biggest real self-publishing platform) your book will sale 0-20 copies per year. Yes, you read it right basically a newcomer author's books will be purchased only by friends. Why? Because 90% of self-published authors have Zero marketing strength!

A newcomer self-published author has

  • 0-1,000 followers on all social media platforms combined (Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok)
  • 0 articles on the web that connected to his or her authorship
  • 0-20 book reviews on Amazon 

Now let's see a successful, established author like Brandon Sanderson:

  • 299K followers on Twitter
  • 333K subscribers on Youtube
  • 146K followers on Instagram
  • 100K organic visitors from Google to his website
  • 48,900 results in Google news his name is searched up to 200,000 times on Google
  • On average 10,000 reviews on Amazon for his books

Brandon Sanderson could thank his marketing strength mainly because of the traditional publishing houses (Tor Books, Macmillan, Penguin Random House) he has been working with in the past years. All the marketing activities they did ended up somehow in the growth of Brandon Sanderson personal brand and later in following base.

And now

Brandon Sanderson raised $20,300,000 and counting. Good for him.

Well deserved? (Answer this on your own discretion)

Is book selling more about marketing? Definitely! You can't reach such a fame with only a well written story or book, not even with a series.

We meet talented writers every day! 90% of them just started their writing career. Of course there are a lot of success hunters with low quality 40 pages books, but among the huge number of self-published books there are some gems.

Did you hear the name of Michelle G. Stradford (writing poetry), Kirill Klevanski (writing LitRPG) or S.C. Monson (writing YA fantasy)? Probably not. They are self-published authors and excellent writers. But after they wrote their books they all faced the fact:

If I won't market my book, nobody will buy it.

But they don't had any resources or a publisher behind them. They invest their own money to give their book a chance!

I personally think they all deserve much more fame as they did so far! They are really talented writers. But

  • their books haven't been picked up by big publishing houses,
  • they have no huge marketing budget,
  • they had to cover all the costs creating their books including cover, edit, formatting,
  • they have low following on social media.

As book marketeer we try to help affordable marketing micro (something like $15) services for these new authors to find their audience, but we can't combat with Penguin Random House or Brandon Sanderson's Kickstarter campaign.

Just in comparison

 $20 million is more than 20,000 self-publishing authors' yearly royalty income combined!

Also if people figure out how controversial these campaigns are, the author just puts certain percentage of the money into charity (for example sends to the Ukrainian refuges) and everything is solved. The fans will just reply how respectful Brandon is. Well played.

So, this is the future? Big publishers or famous authors open “Secret” Kickstarter campaigns and they pull down millions of dollars from fans, before even putting the book on the shelves?

The book industry and this whole business is just about greed. What a shame…

We are dedicated here to support small authors, because they have big stories to tell.

If you want to help real, first time publishers and indie authors (like Michelle G. Stradford) check out our Kindle Deals section where a lot of new books from self-published authors are present. They usually use KDP Countdown Deal or Free Ebook promotion, because it is a free and effective way for them to promote their works.