She Was Disappointed by Turnout at Her Book Signing. 'Join the Club,' Authors Said

Margaret Atwood, Stephen King were among many who shared their experiences
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2022 8:12 AM CST
She Was Disappointed by Turnout at Her Book Signing. 'Join the Club,' Authors Said
In this June 1, 2017, photo, author Stephen King speaks at Book Expo America in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

After the first official book signing for her debut novel was a bust, fantasy author Chelsea Banning shared her disappointment on Twitter—and was surprised when numerous best-selling writers, including Steven King and Margaret Atwood said, "Welcome to the club." The Saturday event at a bookstore in Ashtabula, Ohio, followed largely unsuccessful efforts to promote Of Crowns and Legends, the first of a planned trilogy about the children of King Arthur, on social media, NPR reports. "Only 2 people came to my author signing yesterday, so I was pretty bummed about it," Banning tweeted on Sunday "Especially as 37 people responded 'going' to the event. Kind of upset, honestly, and a little embarrassed."

Atwood was one of the first authors to reply. "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," she tweeted. 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?" The many other authors to respond included Linwood Barclay, Min Jin Lee, Jodi Picoult, and Neil Gaiman, who tweeted: "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." Henry Winkler offered words of encouragement and Flavor Flav offered to "hype up" her next signing, the Guardian reports.

Banning, who works as a librarian in Ohio, spent 15 years working on the book. After the celebrity attention, she sold hundreds of digital copies, enough to put it at the top of the Arthurian Fantasy category on Amazon, CBS reports. She tells NPR that she was "discouraged and bummed" after the low turnout on Saturday and had planned to delete her Sunday tweet within a few hours. Instead, she says she "stayed up until 1am in complete shock, just watching it happen" as author after author replied. (More uplifting news stories.)

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