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Brandon Sanderson Newsletter for January 2015

Happy New Year, everyone! Brandon here, thanking you once again for supporting my writing. You’re getting this because you signed up for the newsletter on my website. We send around three or four of these a year. If you’d rather not get the letter, just send a reply asking to unsubscribe.

In this newsletter:


Last year was a pretty crazy one. As I wrote in my State of the Sanderson blog post (look here if you missed it), I’m worried that I’m touring too much. That said, it was exciting to get to meet so many of you around the world.

I’ve got some tours and convention appearances coming up this year as well. You’ll find those below, as well as some discussion of what’s happening around here at Dragonsteel headquarters. (Also known as my basement.) However, if you’re just here for the sneak peek, look to the bottom of the newsletter. I’ve pasted the first chapter of a certain long-awaited sequel.

Just let me reiterate here, however, my appreciation for you all. Over twenty years ago now, I got this crazy idea for an interconnected fantasy universe called the Cosmere, with an intricate timeline and dozens of stories happening on a multitude of planets, all building toward epic crossovers.

I thought back then that my dream of three dozen books all linked together into a massive uber-series was something no publisher or group of readers would ever go for. My first attempts to explain it to my editor were met with stunned silence, followed by the wisecrack, “Well, you certainly will never be accused of thinking too small, Brandon.”

Now that idea—once a farfetched dream—is actually coming together, and better than I could have hoped.

You make all of this possible. My dreams become reality because of you. You have my most sincere thanks.

Firefight is out!

Tuesday, January 6th, was launch day for my newest novel, Firefight (in the UK/Australia it’s Thursday, January 8th). This is the sequel to Steelheart, which is in turn a near-future science fiction / superhero mashup about a world where people start gaining super powers, but those powers corrupt the people who gain them.

As many of you already know, release week is the most important week of a book’s life. One oddity of the entertainment business is that week one often determines the entire life of the project. Whether it be a film, a book, or an album, the first week usually becomes a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy to reflect future sales.

I hope you all will take the time to check it out—or, if you haven’t read Steelheart, to look into that book. Sample chapters for both novels are just below.

If you liked Mistborn, I think you’ll like Steelheart as well, as they share a lot of stylistic choices. Also, I’ll be touring for Firefight these next three weeks or so. Come see me for a chance to get a die-cut figure from the books, like the one I did for Szeth on my Words of Radiance tour! (Or look below in this newsletter for a chance to win some sent to you in the mail.)

Legion: Skin Deep

Also, speaking of stories that have come out: just in case you missed it, I released a second Stephen Leeds novella a couple months ago, and this is the first newsletter since that time.

Though we do release limited edition print versions of these stories, they’re mostly intended to be ebooks. This is me experimenting with style as I read and incorporate other genres into my work, something I think is essential for a writer to grow. (And extra important in the types of epic fantasies I like to write, which require intertwining plots that make use of a variety of narrative structures.)

In this case, I was looking into contemporary detective narratives, and decided to mix that with one of my screwy Brandon magic systems. Stephen Leeds has a bizarre kind of schizophrenia (maybe) where his hallucinations help him solve problems. They’re fun, short reads, and are available on a variety of digital platforms.

Altered Perceptions anthology

In the May 2014 newsletter I spoke about the Altered Perceptions IndieGoGo campaign to benefit Robison Wells, who was crippled by debt caused by his mental illnesses. The campaign was successful, and backers should have received all or most of their perks by now. For those who weren’t involved in the campaign, the resulting anthology is available as an ebook. Sales of this ebook edition will go to charity, with 90% of the net proceeds benefiting Bring Change 2 Mind. The ebook is sold by the Waygate Foundation by arrangement with Fearful Symmetry.

My contribution to the anthology is six chapters from the original 2002 version of The Way of Kings, where Kaladin made a choice opposite the one he makes in the completely rewritten published novel.

For more information, see this page.

Welcoming Adam to the team

We’ve added another employee here at Dragonsteel, Adam Horne. It’s kind of ridiculous that a guy writing books needs so many employees, but we like to do weird things like release con-exclusive books and have die-cut figures to give away. I’ve kept Isaac and Peter so busy working on things like the Writing Excuses anthology and promotional material, that I felt it was time to hire someone whose entire job was to be my executive assistant. (Or, as my wife calls it, “executive minion.”)

Adam was someone we met through my sister, and he’s always impressed me with his “go do it” attitude. So far, he’s been awesome. You might see him joining me at conventions or on tours in the future, making certain I don’t get lost writing a book in my hotel when I’m supposed to be going to a signing or some such.

Just a quick rundown, then, here is “Team Sanderson” as it stands right now:

  • Brandon Sanderson: Yours truly, and writer of all the things.
  • Emily Sanderson: Business Manager and executive president in charge of making Brandon get his hair cut.
  • Peter Ahlstrom: Vice President and Editorial Manager. He does things like maintain continuity for my books, run beta and gamma reads, and edit stuff like this here newsletter. He also watches my social media, where you might see him responding to people’s questions when I can’t get to them.
  • Kara Stewart: CFO/Shipping Manager. Kara runs the store on our website, and comes up with most of the promotions and many of items we put up for sale. If your order wanders off, she’s the one to talk to.
  • Isaac Stewart: Art Director. Isaac is the brilliant cartographer who did the maps for Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive, and he also manages the other art projects we do. (Which are multitude these days.)
  • Adam Horne: Brandon’s Executive Assistant. He basically does whatever we need him to. (And does it very well.)

A big operation, all things considered, particularly when you add Peter’s wife Karen (who keeps my internal wiki sorted part-time) or Emily’s assistant Kathy. The whole idea is that anything I don’t have to do we give to someone else, so I can be writing. I think this is a good team, though, and I feel we’ve settled into the number of people we’re going to have for the near future. But who knows?

Conventions and tours for this year

I should be doing two tours in the United States this year—one right now for Firefight, and another for Shadows of Self (the new Mistborn book) in October. (If you’re wondering, Stormlight 3 comes in 2016.)

The Firefight tour is set, and that is posted just below. In addition, I’ll be doing international events in Taiwan in February and Sharjah (in the United Arab Emirates) in April.

Other North American convention appearances are listed below. For most, we don’t yet have details on the specific events I’m doing at the convention—so watch for details as they become available. Those of you who listed a city for us when you sent your newsletter request should get an email a few days before I attend a convention or do a signing near you. If you didn’t list a city, you can reply to the newsletter and let us know.

Firefight tour

Wednesday, January 7: Seattle
Thursday, January 8: Miami
Friday, January 16: Portland, OR
Saturday, January 17: Bay Area, CA
Tuesday, January 20: San Diego
Wednesday, January 21: Phoenix
Friday, January 23: Houston
Saturday, January 24: Atlanta (sort of)
Monday, January 26: Lexington, KY
Tuesday, January 27: Philadelphia
Wednesday, January 28: Boston
Saturday, February 21-ish: Chicago (details TBA)

Convention appearances

January 31: Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience
February 13–16: Taipei International Book Exhibition
April 2–5: Minicon 50, Minneapolis
April 22–May 2: Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, United Arab Emirates
May 22–24: ConQuest 46, Kansas City
August 19–23: Sasquan, Worldcon 73, Spokane
September 4–7: Dragon Con, Atlanta (tentative, I might end up not going)
November 13-14: YALLFest, Charleston (also tentative!)

Writing Excuses Master Class

Writing Excuses is on its tenth season! During that time, we’ve won a Hugo Award and released our own anthology, but for Season Ten, we wanted to try something new. We visualized the episodes this year taking a slightly different format, encompassing a year-long master class in writing a story.

So, instead of jumping topics in our usual random fashion, this year we’re going to be picking a general topic (like prewriting) and digging into it for an entire month. (Though one week out of the month we still intend to do a “wildcard” episode to shake things up.) The idea is that someone who wants to write a book, but doesn’t know where to start, could pick up this 52-week course and use it as a guide.

So if you’ve never listened to Writing Excuses, and you have a hankering to write a story of your own, starting now makes for an excellent entrance point to the podcast. Just go to the website and hit play!

Newsletter exclusive contest

As I mentioned above, I’m giving out die-cut character cards as part of my Firefight tour. (You can see a photo of them in this blog post.) I want to give newsletter subscribers a chance to get some, so: Surprise! You were all entered into a contest. Here are the first 5 winners, chosen randomly from subscribers:

  • Scott McVey
  • Keith Luck
  • Leland Hart
  • Amanda Wan
  • Mark Buckley

My assistant will contact you for shipping information.

Everyone else on this mailing list also gets another chance to win. Between right now and the end of Sunday, January 11th, follow these steps:

  1. Take a photo of yourself holding Firefight at your favorite bookstore.
  2. Post the photo on Facebook with a caption like “Here I am holding Firefight by Brandon Sanderson at my favorite bookstore, BOOKSTORE NAME.”
  3. Tag the bookstore’s Facebook page (if one exists, and if that’s possible) as well as tagging me ( — if you have trouble tagging me, send a message to my assistant Peter, and he will fix this).
  4. Mark your photo public.
  5. Don’t mention that you’re doing this for a contest or that you want to win character cards. (Unless you win—then you can mention it!)

On Monday, January 12th, Peter will randomly select 5 winners from among contest entrants, and then he will message you asking for your shipping address (anywhere in the world). The message might get sorted into your “Other” folder on Facebook, so be sure to check that folder on Monday.

Good luck! There will be a few other ways for people to get the die-cut cards, but this particular method is exclusive to newsletter subscribers.

Newsletter exclusive preview

Fiction for you! Note: this is a rough draft, and it could change substantially before it’s released! Thanks so much for subscribing, and have a wonderful new year!


(The preview was just for newsletter subscribers. Sign up for free.)

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