Thursday, January 15, 2015

Brandon Sanderson and 'The Book of Endless Pages', or my Throwback Thursday

Tomorrow, Brandon will be back in Portland (well, Beaverton actually, cause you know, suburbs) for his signing tour for 'Firefight'. Brandon is a great guy, and I appreciate his loyalty to the Powells at Cedar Hills, where he had one of his first signings. It was a pretty small group, compared to what he draws now, but he's always remembered that Powells gave the unknown guy a spot to meet his fans and maybe connect with new ones.
In March of last year, Brandon was in Portland at Powells for his tour for 'Words of Radiance', and I was there again. I'm pretty sure I've never missed a Brandon signing at Powells, cause I'm like a lazy stalker, and only show up when he's within a mile of my house and lets me know where he'll be.
A little background about 'Words of Radiance' that you may or may not know. When he was first writing it, it was called 'The Book of Endless Pages' a title that I particularly loved, as it showed a sly reference to the giant tome is was destined to be, plus it's relevance to the world. It was perfect.
Apparently Brandon's editor disagreed, and Brandon had never actually tracked the real-world implication of the name, and so 'The Book of Endless Pages' was discarded into the dustbin of rejected titles, and there it might have stayed forever, if I hadn't decided to do something fun, and not a little bit mad.
I decided to make a 'Book of Endless Pages'.
Not a full printed edition of the book of course, besides being amazingly expensive, there are some legal issues to printing a copy of a copywritten book, even for personal use. Inside it would be 'Words of Radiance', but outside it would be 'The Book of Endless Pages'.
This wasn't my first Sanderson uberfan moment. But it was the first intentional one. I also have a copy of 'The Way of Kings' signed by about 20 of the biggest names in the busines. Yes, the ones you're thinking of have signed it. Except George, he has not. Yet.I blame Brent Weeks, he started it. He usually does.
'The Book of Endless Pages' started, as many of my best ideas do, while mulling over fun things we could do next with my friend Kim. Next, I checked with a friend whos a comic book artist, to help out with a really kickass cover, unfortunately he was extremely busy with work projects at the time, and couldn't help out on the project, but we had a backup, which turned out to be for the good, as the final cover became amazing beyond my expectations.

The Next Step
I had a sort of rough idea of what I was thinking of, I just needed someone who's photoshop skills were superior to my nonexistent ones. So I talked about it with Venetia, assistant to my friend Lee Moyer, who is a brilliant cover artist, who's likely best known for his Charity Pinup Calendars for good causes like Worldbuilders, and Clarion Writer's Workshop (Check out his website here).

Lee was game (and shared his interview with Shawn Speakman about it on his blog here) , and so I went over and he asked me what I had in mind, and he immediately told me my idea wasn't going to sit on a shelf next to Michael Whelan's amazing cover of 'Way of Kings' very well, so we went in a different direction.
I won't tell you much about the process, because it's basically magic. Seriously, he took a handful of disparate things and brought it together, and emerged with Shallan in as alien a landscape as you can imagine, right out of the book. It was amazing.
It's an amazing cover, and with more time, I know Lee would have made it even more amazing. But it wasn't what I had originally had in mind, instead, it was a million times more amazing than anything I could have envisioned. All that remained was to print out the dustjackets, and to show it to Brandon.
The day of the signing, I had terrible anxiety, and I reached out to Shawn Speakman (from Suvudu, The Signed Page, and Terry Brook's webmaster, as well as an excellent author in his own right who has already written about my experience here.) and Peter Orullian (the author of 'The Unremembered') who reassured me that Brandon would love it. I printed off ten copies of the dustjacket, and gave them to my friends that went with me that night, plus ones for Lee, Peter, Shawn, and, of course, Brandon.
Below is the video of the unveiling to Brandon(thanks to the ever-awesome Joel for filming it):

Fast forward to this year:
I'm not going to have any fun things for Brandon this time, though I am mulling over some ideas for when book three of 'The Stormlight Archives' comes out. But it seemed like a good time to stop and look back on an awesome moment in my life, and to share it here with you guys.

I'll have a write-up about the event for you all on Sunday, and I hope you all have a great weekend!


  1. "The Book of Endless Pages" has a sequel: "The Book of Endless Knights." It's very dark.