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Brandon Sanderson Reddit AMA

Brandon Sanderson dedicated quite a bit of time to answer reader submitted questions the other day on social news website: Reddit. The Q&A's reddit hosts are called AMA's - "Ask Me Anything". Here are the highlights and link to the entire AMA...

Q:  Hey Brandon, You've got a reputation for pumping out tons of content. How much time do you spend writing every day?  Do you have any tricks for keeping yourself on task?

Brandon:  I write about 2,500 words a day, writing at around 500 words an hour. My production is more about being consistent than about being fast. I do tend to write around ten hours a day. Don't know if I have any tips other than to perhaps turn off the internet or go outside and write for a while. 

Q:   If you had to pick one of your worlds to live on, which would it be and why?

Brandon:  Probably Scadrial. Allomancy would be my chosen magic, and the technological progress appeals to me.

Q:  The initial plan for Mistborn was three trilogies, with Alloy of Law being a spin off. With Alloy getting a sequel, has the Waxillium portion become the second trilogy?

Brandon:  No. The second trilogy will still happen. (As will more Wax books.)

Q:  Hey Brandon! Any news/updates on the Mistborn movie? Can't wait for Stormlight 2!

Brandon:  Mistborn Movie is still rolling along. We've had some great interest from a few studios and production companies lately. So our fingers are crossed. But I still think we're kind of a long shot.

Q:   Given how George R.R. Martin got Game of Thrones to come out on a TV Format, if you had to choose one of your series to receive a similar exposure to television, which would you choose and why?

Brandon:  I would most certainly pick the Wheel of Time. I've been very straightforward with Universal in stating my preference that WoT be adapted for television, as opposed to the big screen. Both could be awesome, but I think the long form of a season would be better for the books.

After WoT, I'd pick Legion, which I envisioned as a show even as I wrote it.

Q:   Do you have any regrets about the Wheel of Time? 

Brandon:  I do wish I'd managed to either get it all into one book, or managed the split between TGS/TofM better. Also, I might have tried to work Fain in more if I'd had more time. Also, there are some little continuity errors here and there that I wish I would have caught.

It's hard to say. For example, would I have written Mat differently in TGS if I'd had the time? Perhaps. But it was writing Mat the way I did that helped me understand him, so perhaps not. There are mistakes in the books I did, as there are in all the books I've done, but I'm not sure if the right thing to do is change them. Otherwise, we get into a Lucas-style revision-fest.

Q:   I have a technical question here re: gemstones in The Stormlight Archive. How are the lines drawn between different types of gem? Emerald and Heliodor are both varieties of the mineral beryl. Emerald can get its color from trace amounts of chromium, vanadium and/or iron. Heliodor gets its color from iron combined with microscopic crystal defects. So, is the line between these two defined by color? If so, would a heliodor lose its usefulness if it were heated (which would turn it colorless or pale blue). Is it defined by trace elements--in which case, how do you deal with emeralds, or with aquamarine (the blue variety of beryl, which can also contain chromium or vanadium in small quantities and is mostly colored by iron). Sorry for getting so technical, but this gem nerd needs to know!

Brandon:  I actually spent a long time working on this while building the world. You'd probably be amused by how long I spent on it. Chemically, many of them are actually very similar, as you pointed out. I tried doing the book originally with them all being different, not using any that were basically the same crystal with different colors, but it didn't work out. There weren't enough, and so I had to stretch to make it all work.

So, I went back to the original, and decided that color was enough to differentiate them. Just as steel and iron are very similar in the mistborn world, Emerald and Heliodor can be very similar--but produce different effects. The idea here is that the physical items (like the metals or the crystals) provide a key by which magical interaction occurs.

So, in a long winded answer, a gemstone with an impure color would be considered like a bad alloy in the Mistborn magic--it either wouldn't work at all, or would work very poorly. The chemical and color signature needs to be of a specific variety to provide the proper key to accessing the power of transformation.

Q: What fantasy or science fiction authors do you consider underrated? Got any recommendations for us?

Brandon:  Wow. Lots. I doubt many of these are truly underrated on a place like /r/fantasy, but they sometimes don't get the sales I feel they deserve.

- Guy Gavrial Kay is one of these. (He has a new book out, and did an AMA recently.) You're probably familiar with him, but I would put him and Pratchett as the best two things in fantasy right now.

- Melanie Rawn's sunrunner books are some of my classic favorites, and not as well known by many modern readers.

- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and its sequels are just plain awesome.

- Daniel Abraham's works are very good. He's more well known now than he once was.

Q:  I've always wondered this, what is the best way to support you as an author? Do you make more money if we buy an ebook, off of amazon, or at Barnes & Nobles? As a fan of yours I want to make sure you're receiving as much of the money as I can give.

How do you feel about those of us that buy your hardcover, then go and pirate the ebook?

Brandon:  I get this question on occasion, and always feel the best thing for me to do is emphasize that I prefer you to buy the format that makes you the most happy. That way, you are encouraged to keep reading, and that is really what is best for me.

Most authors makes something around the following:
Hardcover, 15% of cover. (Regardless of store, unless it's a bargain book.)
Paperback, 8% of cover. (Regardless of venue.)
Ebook, 17.5% of the list price. (Unless they are self-published, and then it's usually 65-70% of list price.)

So, the best way to get money to an author is to buy the hardcover, preferably during launch week. (That influences how high the book gets on bestseller lists and how much in-store support it gets.)
However, I don't think that is something a reader needs to worry too much about. To be honest, rather than thinking about this, I think most authors would say that the best thing you can do for us is just read the books. Second best is to loan your copies to a friend so they can enjoy the books too.

I've got no problem with [buying HC and pirating e-book]. I wish I could actively give away the ebook to everyone who bought the hardcover. I can actually do this on books like Legion and the Emperor's Soul, where I retain rights to the ebook. (So I do.)

I'm not encouraging this, mind you. But I'm also not going to complain or make anyone feel guilty. If you've paid for the content once, I feel you should have access to it into the future, whenever you want, in any format you want. (With the exception being audiobook, where the voice actors deserve to be paid for their work above and beyond me getting paid for the writing.)

Q:   Now that you're done with the Wheel of Time series, could you update us on your writing plans going forward? I know about the three books coming out this year, but it would be great to see what your thoughts are on the multi-year plan, including the scifi Mistborn trilogy. Are there any plans for sequels to Rithmatist or Steelheart?

Brandon:  Current plans are as follows:

2013: Rithmatist, Steelheart, Words of Radiance 2014: Shadows of Self, Steelheart 2 2015: Stormlight 3, Rithmatist 2

Usually, in the past, I've done one smaller book and one larger book a year. This is what I'd like to get back to doing. (As opposed to last year and this year--where last year had no novels, and this year has four, including AMOL.)

SOURCE: reddit AMA

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