Sitting down and writing a book tends to be the hardest part for many authors, but the art of publishing said book and promoting it isn't something many speak about. It can be difficult to connect with readers as authors travel from state to state and city to city to promote their books. Unfortunately, this can lead to a less-than-stellar reception from the reading public. While readers might think that only happens to lesser-known writers, even celebrated writers have experienced failed promotional appearances, as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood and more shared funny promo stories.
The renowned authors were prompted to share their sad promo experiences after independent author Chelsea Banning took to her Twitter account to share a recent story about a promotional stop for her debut novel. The up-and-coming author revealed only two people showed up out of 37 whom RSVP’d to the event. Banning explained in the tweet below how the lack of support made her feel.
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.December 4, 2022
Banning’s feelings were completely valid after thinking she was going to meet her readers in person for the first time. Book promotions require a lot of time and money to pull off, so only having two followers show up was just disappointing for her. It’s already hard for lesser-known writers to put themselves out there, so the lack of support can be a major blow to them.
But Banning’s unpleasant signing story found its tribe as her tweet went viral. The story connected with some notable authors who spilled about their failed promo appearances. The King of Horror himself, Stephen King, was up first, as he hopped on his Twitte page to comfort the young author with a recount of his first signing for his classic novel Salem’s Lot.
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?"December 5, 2022
Some customers mistake authors for bookstore help. Not to be outdone, The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman didn’t hold back talking about a New York signing experience with fellow author Terry Pratchett on his Twitter account.
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.December 5, 2022
Even someone as renowned as Gaiman can miss a time or two with readers. The Handmaiden’s Tale author Margaret Atwood had the same experience as the Coraline author as she spilled on her Twitter that she was mistaken for store help.
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. :)December 5, 2022
The theme of being mistaken for a store worker continued, as The School for Good and Evil creator Soman Chainani responded to Banning’s post with his lonesome book signing at a Costco.
There’s nothing more humbling than directing customers to toiletries and meat products. But it wasn’t just fellow authors who comforted the independent author, as legendary rap hype man Flavor Flav got on his Twitter to reply to her post with a promise for her next signing appearance.
YO,,, Here to hype up ya next signing!!!December 6, 2022
If getting a shoutout from Flavor Flav wasn’t enough, Banning got another boost from another legend – beloved Barry star Henry Winkler. Winkler took to his Twitter account to lift her spirits as he replied to her story.
That is the beginning .. then word gets out and they come ! https://t.co/SA4hCI5BYLDecember 5, 2022
There’s nothing like an inspirational word from the Fonz to keep you going! He gave Banning the fatherly love viewers have seen from Winkler in his interviews.
Having the interaction between Banning and these notable figures can only help raise her profile and help her sell more books. All she had to do was look at these famous authors' careers to see where her future could go. In King's case, he has countless movies and TV projects based on his best-selling novels with a Salem’s Lot remake on the horizon.
Just like King, Gaiman has numerous films and TV adaptations, with the recent success of the Netflix series The Sandman proving his staying power as Season 2 has been confirmed. Atwood’s work followed the same path as the Emmy-winning The Handmaid’s Tale just aired its fifth season finale. Chainani got his just due as Netflix plans on adapting The School for Good and Evil series into a film franchise, with the first movie currently available for Netflix subscribers. If you want to see what other book adaptations are on the horizon, check out our 2023 movie schedule.
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