• Top authors console downhearted debut novelist with their own tales of humiliation

Top authors console downhearted debut novelist with their own tales of humiliation

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Thuday, 08/12/2022 09:12

     Top authors console downhearted debut novelist with their own tales of humiliation




As a librarian, Chelsea Banning must have known the life of a writer is a lonely one.

Even so, she was shocked when she discovered for herself just what that solitude could look like.

After spending years working on her first novel, "Of Crowns and Legends," she was excited to launch it at a book signing -- only to be met by just two attendees.


Deflated, she took to social media to express her disappointment, writing on Twitter: "Only 2 people came to my author signing yesterday, so I was pretty bummed about it. Especially as 37 people responded 'going' to the event. Kind of upset, honestly, and a little embarrassed."


But Banning, who began work on the fantasy novel while still at high school, was astonished by what happened next, as bestselling author after bestselling author came forward to console her with their own experiences of book signing woes.

With reference to his second published novel, Stephen King tweeted: "At my first SALEM'S LOT signing, I had one customer. A fat kid who said, 'Hey bud, do you know where there's some Nazi books?'"

Chart-topping author Jodi Picoult said: "I have sat lonely at a signing table many times only to have someone approach...and ask me where the bathroom is."

Margaret Atwood, revered author of "The Handmaid's Tale," tweeted: "Join the club. I did a signing to which nobody came, except a guy who wanted to buy some Scotch tape and thought I was the help. :)"



Another Canadian author, Linwood Barclay, wrote: "Once sat out front of mall bookshop for a signing. No one stopped, until the very end, when an old guy paused, looked at me, looked at the books, looked at me, approached and asked, 'Do they sell flags here?'"

Banning, 33, has been overwhelmed by the huge volume of responses. Her original tweet has been liked more than 75,000 times and received almost 4,000 responses from around the world.

Speaking of his experience with the late fantasy author Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman wrote: "Terry Pratchett and I did a signing in Manhattan for Good Omens that nobody came to at all. So you are two up on us."

Malorie Blackman, former British children's laureate and author of "Noughts & Crosses," said: "We've all been there. I once did a talk at a library and five people turned up, including a mum who planted her two infant school children in front of me and then strategically 'withdrew' to get some peace for a while."

Many others tweeted with their support, while Banning -- who lives with her family in Ohio -- has been interviewed by a range of international media outlets.


In an email to CNN, she said: "I am completely flabbergasted and in pure shock about all of this. I am also feeling so very loved at the moment too! I've been flooded with supportive comments and messages. My favorite ones are from the writers who said they found new found inspiration to keep writing and/or selling their work."

The social media storm has also helped boost sales of Banning's 390-page book.

She told CNN: "The sales reports climb every hour and so have the rankings on Amazon. It's at #1 and #2 between the digital and Paperback in the Arthurian Fantasy genre."

She added: "I am feeling very optimistic and so much more excited for future writing endeavors!"


Thanks for reading!

Big Bill Rizer


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