POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Polk County resident is topping bestseller lists and taking over the internet with his fantasy novels.
Will Wight is a graduate of the University of Central Florida. He has several novels, from “Traveler’s Gate”, “Elder Empire” and “Cradle”. Many in the series have reached the New York Times Bestseller list in addition to topping the Kindle Store.
Wight has exploded in popularity over the years after self-publishing his first novel on the Amazon Kindle store in 2013.
His passion for creation lasts throughout his life.
“As far back as I can remember I was probably 4, 5. We played a game in my family where we gave each other three things, we picked three things at random… a teddy bear, a plane and a crocodile “Wight explained. “And then we had to put them into a story, so we started doing that when we were little, so it’s nonsense stories.
He said his dad always told stories about his own life, but his love for fantasy content started early.
“To me, a story only gets better when it has supernatural elements in it,” he said. “It’s just better. It’s the same story, but better now. So I’ve always been very focused on the fantasy aspect.
After earning his master’s degree at UCF, Wight’s family pushed him to write that first book. He had previously only written short stories.
“So my family was like, ‘look, you gotta put your money where your mouth is and you gotta finish a novel.’ So I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll do it this time,'” Wight said.
Around this time, the Kindle Select Direct Publishing program was beginning to become popular. Wight figured that instead of trying to pitch his book to publishers right away, he’d put the book on Amazon to see if it would get reviews.
“I was going to try and put it on Amazon and see if I could create a sequel. See if people were into it enjoying the kind of stuff I wrote. My plan there was to try and get some fan comments, maybe make some money so I don’t starve,” Wight said. “I was really trying to make like $500 in a summer, so maybe I could hopefully- le, get a teaching job in the fall.”
“House of Blades” catapulted into popularity.
Then came its sequel, and two other collections of books. Wight has currently written 20 books in total, at the time of his next release.
Recently, he and his team created a Kickstarter to fund a book release in physical stores, or to order either in hardcover or in paperback. The fundraising goal has been set at $10,000.
It was far beyond that.
“Our minds were blown. So we set the goal at $10,000 and that was the minimum amount we needed to complete the project. [to do] a print of the books. We therefore expected to achieve this objective. We thought that was a reasonable goal,” Wight said.
The fundraiser went live, and by the time Wight knew it was posted, she had already raised $50,000.
When he concludeded, the Kickstarter had reached $760,462.
“The whole experience was really crazy, but it was crazy beyond anything I expected,” he said.
Wight said the most amazing thing about her experience was the fan community behind her books and watching her grow. There are various forums dedicated just to his books, where he said people are constantly discussing them.
Wight said it was rewarding to see people enjoying his books, like he does with his own favorite books.
He couldn’t say much about what will happen in the near future, but it will be a “hectic summer”.
You can follow him on his website and blog.