What Happens When No One Comes For Your Book Signing

Chelsea Banning Twitter Thread
An author’s worst nightmare comes true, I was all set, but no one showed up. The biggest fear perhaps for any creator, especially an author that they were on stage, but there was nobody to listen! This is the Twitter thread that recently got the entire community of authors worldwide together. And they all agreed on the sinking feeling, sweaty palms and beating heart. What if there is no one to cheer for you can you still go on?

It may be inspirational, cool and chic but being an author is not easy. Becoming a professional is doubly so. If you say you are a writer, nine out of ten will believe you, but to be a published author, you need to take it on your chin. It is not enough that you finished writing your story, a publisher took it up, the copy editor dissected it, and the reviewers added their two cents. Once you see your baby in flesh and blood, (read – hold the advance copy in your hand, and smell the book), it is time to let it go out on its own to the big bad world. 

So, on the Twitter thread, when author Chelsea Banning from Ohio poured her heart out about only two people showing up at her debut book launch, what happened was unexpected. Banning tweeted, “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 Twitter Thread

The author community and publishing professionals all came together to share their experiences and how this nightmare of not having an audience is not uncommon. How, against all odds, authors have not given up on the need to reciting the poetry piece, and reading a section of the book even if there was just one person present. Those cheering her on had famous names. Canadian author and Booker prize winner Margaret Atwood shared, “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. :)”

Author 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.” Authors like Sarah Maclean called it an “awful rite of passage.”

Closer home Neil D’Silva, wrote, “Cheer up. I had an event for my first book in 2015 where only one person showed up. And recently, I had these publisher-organised events for my recent books where I was literally mobbed. It will happen. Let’s just focus on writing great stories for our lovely readers.”

Banning works as a librarian, and her debut novel is titled Of Crowns and Legends. It is is a new adult fantasy novel.

This now viral Twitter thread is really heartwarming and puts a spotlight on how lonely signings is a reality for so many, and it definitely shows the light at the end of the tunnel. It reinforces how we need to keep pursuing your dreams and set backs are a part of every journey. The post is now getting discussed worldwide and most people would agree “this thread is pure love – must read for authors,” as the author of Sisterhood Economy Shaili Chopra shared in a tweet. 

The Guardian reported, “She has since had almost 500 orders placed for digital copies of her book, and it has shot up Amazon’s charts.”

The important lesson from this Twitter thread is, perhaps don’t hold yourself back when you feel emotional. And once you are ready to share your experience, you will realise that you are not the only one. Shared experiences make life more liveable, even if it is a virtual, stay connected, and it will make a difference.

The views expressed are the author’s own.