I’ve been updating my main post about the best Cosmere Reading Order with all the news that’s coming out about Brandon Sanderson’s secret projects. But I figured it would be better to summarize it all here instead.
So let’s dive in and start from the top.
Brandon Sanderson’s Secret Announcement
On Monday, February 28th, Brandon Sanderson posted a video on YouTube as he always does, but this time, he ended on a serious note. He said “there’s something I’ve been putting off that we have to talk about.”
Based on the tone of the video, many regular followers were worried something was wrong. This cryptic announcement had them (us?) all on edge.
Here’s that video:
Of course, unless you’re hiding under a rock, you now know what that was all about. He followed up with this video on Tuesday, March 1st, 2022:
In the above video we learned a lot of information. He asked us not to say what the content was about, but at this point, I think it’s moot so here goes.
Brandon Sanderson had been struggling with his work-life balance schedule and something had to give, when the pandemic happened. He suddenly found himself with 120 more days a year than he previously had.
During that time, he wrote five more books. He didn’t tell his publisher. He didn’t tell his agent. He didn’t tell his own employees. Only his wife was aware of what he was doing.
Three of those books are Cosmere standalones, one is “something totally different,” and the fifth is a middle-grade story that Brandon is thinking about making a graphic novel.
Brandon is self-publishing four of the five novels, and the only way you’ll be able to purchase these novels at the outset is through his kickstarter that ends on March 31, 2022.
At some undisclosed later point in time, they will become, in his words, “traditionally published” and you can purchase them.
We need to define Brandon’s use of the term though.
To most people, “traditional publishing” means through a big box publisher like Tor. But Brandon made it clear in his live stream later that same day, which we’ll link to shortly, that he intends to make them available on Amazon only as 90% of his audience buys through that platform.
What he is talking about is indie publishing, and he will likely place the books in Kindle Unlimited to take advantage of the high royalties the program offers.
But for now (and by now I mean like the next 2 years), the only way to get these books is if you back the fundraiser.
Here’s a sneak peek and some concept art for all four Brandon Sanderson secret project covers:
Brandon Sanderson Kickstarter Project Details
There are a variety of options available. Some as simple as purchasing only the ebook. And then there are the options that allow you to get not only the books, but also a monthly subscription box.
Brandon said in the video above that he hates the idea of subscription boxes because “you’ll eventually run out of things to put in them and start repeating yourself.” But the concept of a limited subscription box that only runs for 12 months intrigued him.
So what we have are a book only option in three formats: ebook, audiobook, and hardcover.
These books will be delivered quarterly in 2023.
Yeah, you’ve got to shell out your hard earned cash now, and wait a full year to even get anything for it.
If you opt into the subscription box (like I did), then you’re going to get a monthly box, but 8 of those boxes will only have goodies in them. No book. Just candles, and shirts, and pins, and stuff like that.
The Brandon Sanderson subscription box will include things from all of his books, not just the Cosmere. He specifically cited that we’ll see some Cytoverse merch. I hope to see some Reckoners stuff, too, if I’m being honest.
As a reminder, you only have until March 31st, 2022 to sign-up to get these books. If you miss that deadline, you’ll have to wait until 2024 at the earliest to read the Brandon Sanderson secret project books.
Introduction Live Stream
A few hours after the initial announcement dropped on March 1st, Brandon Sanderson hosted a live stream to share more details about the project and what exactly all went down that made this happen.
You can watch it here:
No details about the actual books themselves were revealed during these live streams. But one important question was asked that stuck with me.
A viewer asked: “What about the Right of First Refusal?”
This is a clause in almost all traditional publishing contracts that gives the publisher the right to publish any book that the author writes before the author is allowed to self-publish or go through a different publisher.
In a sense, it’s Tor insurance that if they want to publish the next Brandon Sanderson novel, then it’s their right to do so, and Brandon can’t go around their backs.
In the video, Brandon skirted the issue by saying that his relationship with Tor is not like other authors.
That is to say, that Brandon Sanderson is big enough he can do pretty much whatever he wants.
Since these books were not part of his contract, nor were they even planned to be published (Brandon says he wrote them for his wife only), it’s not like Sanderson is robbing Tor.
Brandon hadn’t faltered on any of his Tor deadlines, and his relationship with them remains strong.
That being said, he did express an interest in seeing how this works out, and hinted that he could be stepping away from the traditional publishing model in the not too distant future.
In fact, another takeaway from the videos is that Brandon Sanderson hates how traditional publishers handle ebooks. Brandon believes that if you have purchased the hardcover, that you deserve to have access to the ebook for free.
After all, an ebook is only a line of code. You’ve already paid for the book in the hardcover. Why should you also have to pay for something with no physical expenses?
He said this does not apply to audiobooks, as there is a significant investment (paying the narrator) that is involved with the production of an audiobook.
Secret Project #1 – Tress of the Emerald Sea
On Thursday, March 3rd, Brandon Sanderson posted another YouTube video revealing the title of the first Secret Project and a reading of the first five chapters.
You can watch it here:
The video spends only about 2 minutes talking about the details of the book. The rest of the time is the reading.
In the time that he did share, Brandon Sanderson revealed that Secret Project #1 is called Tress of the Emerald Sea. It is a part of the Cosmere.
He explains that the book is told in a story format as a “certain someone” is recounting the events to an audience. Brandon says the story is “canon” meaning that it did happen, but the story is overly dramatic as the storyteller shares it in “his own special way.”
This led me to believe that the certain someone is most likely Hoid.
This theory was confirmed on Brandon’s website where he explains his influences in writing Tress of the Emerald Sea.
If you recall some of Hoid’s stories from his other Cosmere books, there are quite fanciful. Brandon says Tress of the Emerald Sea is a 100,000 words, full-length Hoid story.
The story is being told to someone, and you might be able to figure out who it is by looking at the clues, but it’s not important to the overall universe, and it’s not being told to you.
I won’t actually talk about the book, in case you don’t want to know. You can watch the video or read the first five chapters on his website yourself.
Tress of the Emerald Sea – Live Stream
On Tuesday, March 8th, Brandon Sanderson hosted a live stream to talk more about Tress of the Emerald Sea. The first part of the video talks about printing and cover textures for the premium Hardcovers.
The question was asked on why Brandon did not have Stretch Goals for his kickstarter, and he mentioned that they didn’t feel right since Swag was built into the various tiers.
He did mention that due to the success of the kickstarter, they are going to offer a “thank you” gift. This bonus feature is two-color printing, meaning that in addition to black and white pages, there will be one additional color splashed on pages like the map and chapter headings.
Secret Project #2 – The Frugal Wizard’s Guide to Surviving Medieval England
On Thursday, March 10th, Brandon Sanderson announced that Secret Project #2 would be titled The Frugal Wizard’s Guide to Surviving Medieval England.
He also announced that this was the non-Cosmere book of the 4 releasing as part of the Kickstarter.
The idea for this project came about as a cross between interdimensional time travel for tourism purposes (not changing the future) and the Bourne Identity. Two very unrelated things, but this is what inspired Brandon for this novel.
If you’d like to listen to Brandon read the first few chapters, you may do so through the video below.
The Frugal Wizard’s Guide to Surviving Medieval England – Live Stream
I didn’t watch the live stream for Frugal Wizard that aired on Tuesday, March 15th, because nothing new about the project was shared last week. Sure, they talk about fun things but I felt like we didn’t get any crucial info about the projects like when they fall in the timeline.
And I’m avoiding the spoiler portion of the livestreams as I really don’t want to know. I like to be surprised by Sanderson because the man is a genius and I want that genius to unfold for me on the page.
If you’d like to watch the live stream, here it is:
Secret Project #3 – Yumi and the Nightmare Painter
On Thursday, March 17th, Brandon shared important details and did a reading of Secret Project #3 which he revealed is titled Yumi and the Nightmare Painter.
Yumi and the Nightmare Painter is in the Cosmere and Brandon reveals that, like Tress, this is another Hoid story.
Brandon explains that his inspiration for the novel comes from the Manga story Hikaru no Go. It has Japanese and Korean cultural influences. He also mentions that Yumi is named after Yuna from Final Fantasy 10 and that game also influences the book.
You can watch Brandon read the first 7 chapters below.
Yumi and the Nightmare Painter Live Stream
On Tuesday, March 22nd, Brandon hosted a livestream to discuss more about Yumi and the Nightmare Painter.
Secret Project #4 – The Sunlit Man
Brandon mentions this one is connected to the Cosmere more than any of the other novels. You can watch Brandon read the first few chapters below.
This book was a long time in coming. At the end of the above video, Brandon explains how the story came about and how it has been floating around in his mind since the very beginning of the Cosmere.
This is Sigzil’s story. Sigzil is the Azish bridgeman from Bridge Four, part of Kaladin’s crew in The Way of Kings. He becomes one of Wit/Hoid’s apprentices, and this his story. He is “Nomad” at the beginning of the book, but will come out with a different name by the end.
The Sunlit Man Live Stream
On Tuesday, March 29th, Brandon hosted a live stream to talk about The Sunlit Man. The first hour is spoiler-free, and the last hour contains heavy spoilers.