Debut author Chelsea Banning was excited to publish her fantasy novel titled Of Crowns and Legends. After working on the story for over 15 years, the only thing left was to attend a book signing to which 37 people had RSVP'd. It was perfect until... only two people showed up. Taking her frustrations to Twitter, Chelsea's story went viral, and it turns out her experience is much more common than you might think, no matter who you are.
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.— Chelsea Banning Author (@chelseabwrites) December 4, 2022
Garnering thousands of likes and replies, some of the most successful writers in the world were quick to reply to her tweet and share their own stories of sparsely populated book signings. Stephen King, the celebrity best-selling horror author with over 400 million books sold, shared his own experience.
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?"— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 5, 2022
This woman shared a different Stephen King signing experience. Let's just hope she's not the person from the first one.
I went to a signing for Stephen King in 1978 in downtown Minneapolis. I was the only one there.— BarbaraJMay3 BarbaraJMay@mstdn.social (@StPaulgirl3) December 5, 2022
Iconic author Margaret Atwood also shared her book signing story.
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. :)— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) December 5, 2022
Peter Sagal, the host of the popular NPR game show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! had double-digit attendance, but couldn't escape something memorable.
1st reading, 1st book, a bookstore in Milwaukee. Maybe 15 people show up. I do my reading, answer some Qs. Then, the very nice bookstore clerk says, “Peter’s book is available for purchase at the register.” Guy sitting at the front yells, “Well, how much does it cost?”— Peter Sagal (@petersagal) December 5, 2022
With such an outpouring of support, it is clear that this is an experience shared by just about every author everywhere.
We’ve all been there Chelsea. Truth is, unless you’re a “celebrity” author you’re lucky to get more than a few people at a signing. Usually I just sign some stock at the store and leave! Bit at least they’ll advertise the signed books. Good luck— Sheila O'Flanagan (@sheilaoflanagan) December 5, 2022
Chelsea as you must now be aware, you are not alone! For my first book the publisher held a media event and three came - two friends from my newspaper and a journalist from another paper who wrote a gossip item about what a loser I was ??— Dr Julia Baird (@bairdjulia) December 5, 2022
I worked on my first book for 4 years. Six people came to the first reading. One person was someone I knew who foresaw the worst and brought 4 family members. The sixth person came in out of the rain. When you don't know whether to laugh or cry, laugh. And congrats on your book.— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) December 5, 2022
I did a book reading where only my husband’s cousin showed up. One person. I’ll never forget that reading. ?— Min Jin Lee (@minjinlee11) December 5, 2022
For my first book my publisher flew me out to the US — from England — for events. First one, in Boston, the only two people there were my chaperone and a man looking for shelter from the weather. Last one, in LA: almost identical except no one in LA needs shelter from the weather— Paul Fischer (@tencents77) December 5, 2022
With this outpouring of support, I'd say Chelsea Banning's book has received more exposure than she had originally hoped for. Good luck to her, and all the authors out there putting their heart and soul into their work.