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Surprise book series smashes previous Kickstarter record by more than double

Editor’s take: Fantasy and sci-fi author Brandon Sanderson has smashed Kickstarter’s most-funded campaign record by a large margin. The final tally from 185,341 backers is $41,754,153, or more than double the previous record. Considering how long Pebble held the top spot, Sanderson’s record could go unchallenged for a while.

Pebble Time generated $20,338,986 from 78,471 backers when its campaign wrapped up in March 2015. The color e-paper smartwatch has reigned supreme as the most-funded Kickstarter campaign ever since… that is, until last month.

Sanderson launched a surprise campaign for four novels he wrote in secret during the pandemic. It took less than four days for his campaign to dethrone Pebble Time, leaving more than three weeks for backers to pad the new record.

To celebrate the campaign’s overwhelming success, Sanderson decided to give back to the community by backing every other safe-for-work project in Kickstarter’s publishing category.

Sanderson will start seeding the new books to backers in early 2023 in eBook, audiobook or physical format depending on pledge level. Higher-tier backers will also receive eight themed swag boxes over the course of 2023 as an added bonus for their support.

Those who missed out on the campaign can still purchase goodies through BackerKit for a very limited time. Sanderson said he expects the books will eventually be available via standard publishing channels, but the swag boxes won’t return.

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Image credit Jeffrey D. Allred, The New York Times

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