Famous Authors Are Sharing Stories About No One Showing Up for Their Book Signings

Viral Tweet Over Books

Photo: Jessica Ruscello (background image)
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Author Chelsea Banning spent 15 years working on her first book, a fantasy novel Of Crowns and Legends. So when nearly 40 people RSVP’d to her first official book signing, she was expecting a full house. But when the doors opened, only two people showed up. Dismayed and humiliated, Banning took to Twitter to express her feelings. “Only 2 people came to my author signing yesterday, so I was pretty bummed about it,” she tweeted. “Especially as 37 people responded ‘going' to the event. Kind of upset, honestly, and a little embarrassed.”

Banning had been working hard on social media to get the word out about her debut novel. It felt futile, and the book signing incident was the last straw. Her honest tweet ended up going viral as famous writers commiserated about how they too have had poorly attended events. Not intending to keep the tweet up for more than a few hours, Banning was shocked when authors replied with their own stories of low and no-turnout signings. Even the most famous names, it turns out, have endured the painful experience of planning a (book) party and no one showing up.

Jodie Picoult, the author of popular novels like My Sister’s Keeper and Small Great Things, shared her experience. “I have sat lonely at a signing table many times only to have someone approach…and ask me where the bathroom is.” She’s not the only writer who was approached like this. Margaret Atwood, the author of The Handmaid’s Tale, wrote, “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.”

The viral tweets offered solace for Banning and are a powerful reminder that everyone has to start somewhere. “You’re all amazing,” she said in a follow-up tweet. “I’m crying in a good way.”

Author Chelsea Banning was planning for nearly 40 people to attend her first official book signing, but only two showed up.

Banning expressed her feelings about the low turnout in a tweet, and to her shock, many famous authors replied and commiserated with her.

Some didn't have anyone show up at all.

The viral tweets offered solace for Banning and are a powerful reminder that everyone has to start somewhere.

h/t: [NPR]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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