Tuesday, March 15, 2022

What you probably don't realize about the Brandon Sanderson kickstarter.

 So, as of this writing, the Brandon Sanderson kickstarter is currently at 29 million with over 2 weeks left to go.  He's been breaking all kinds of records, and he's been utterly shocked at the huge showing of support from his fans for these little projects he did on the side to help blow off the stress of the pandemic.  The left side of twitter is rather up in arms about a white man being successful from atop the platform he's spent decades growing.  Normal people don't really care all that much, and we Sanderson fans are just happy we're getting four new books next year on top of the one that was already scheduled.  I, personally bought into the $60 option for e-books/audiobooks.  $60 for 4 audiobooks from an author I like is a pretty good price, especially when you consider that the e-books are included in that.

Anyway, you may be thinking to yourself, wow, he just made 29 million dollars.

Except he didn't.  Not really.


What you're probably not thinking about is how much of that money is going toward costs.  First of all, printing tens of thousands of books is not cheap.  Especially with pandemic paper shortages.  This is why that pay option is so much higher, because it just costs a hell of a lot of money to print a set of 4 books.

Next, the swag bags.  All the T-shirts, plushies, jewelry, bookmarks, and whatever else they toss into those has to be manufactured and shipped to him.  He doesn't just have that all lying around.  Manufacturing costs are pretty high right now because of material and labor shortages, also caused by the pandemic.

He will also have to lease a warehouse to keep it in, which, again, is not cheap, especially in the current world.

On top of that, he's going to have to hire an army of full time employees to assemble these swag bags, box them up for shipping, and actually ship them.  Same with the hardcovers.  Something you may not realize if you've never run a business before is that running a business is not cheap.  Not only do you have to pay your employees, you are also required to pay liability insurance in case any injuries arise, and that is also not cheap, especially when you consider how many employees it is going to take to undertake such a huge task as what is ahead of them.  You're also required to pay into social security for each employee you have.  That's right, it's not just the workers who pay a social security tax, businesses do too. 

Packaging materials also cost money, especially in the quantities that will be needed.  So does actual shipping, even if you're shipping by bulk rates and media mail.

And then, of course, the government will always take its share of the profits when all is said and done.


In the end, Sanderson is not going to pocket 29 million dollars.  He's probably going to take home 2-3 million tops after all of his expenses and taxes.  Which, for an author, is a very good paycheck, especially on top of all his other royalties and any advances he's getting for future books from his traditional publishers, which for an author of his popularity, will not be insubstantial.  But, I mean, the guy worked his ass off to build the following and platform that he has over decades, and he also worked his ass off to squeeze four unplanned books into his schedule.  He deserves to be rewarded for all of the hard work that he has put in to get where he is now.  All the twitter crazies whining about it can go to hell.

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