Chelsea Banning was disappointed when only two people showed up at a signing event for her debut fantasy novel — but not for long.
The book, Of Crowns and Legends, leapt to No. 1 in its genre on Amazon after Banning’s tweet about the low turnout at Pretty Good Books in Ashtabula, Ohio, on Saturday, went viral.
“Only 2 people came to my author signing yesterday, so I was pretty bummed about it,” Banning tweeted Sunday morning. “Especially as 37 people responded ‘going’ to the event.
Kind of upset, honestly, and a little embarrassed.” She considered deleting the post later, she told NPR, but changed her mind when she saw an amazing response on Twitter, which included comforting words from some of the most successful authors in the world, as well as her favorite writers like Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb and Jodie Picoult.
“I stayed up until 1 a.m. in complete shock,” she told NPR, “just watching it happen.”
“At my first SALEM’S LOT signing, I had one customer,” Stephen King replied. “A fat kid who said, ‘Hey bud, do you know where there’s some Nazi books?’ ”
“Join the club,” Margaret Atwood responded. “I did a signing to which nobody came, except a guy who wanted to buy some Scotch tape and thought I was the help. :)”
Henry Winkler also got into the action, writing, “That is the beginning … then word gets out and they come!”
Flava Flav also offered to make sure her next event is a success. “YO,,, Here to hype up ya next signing!!!” he tweeted.
New Novelist Gets Support from Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and More After Sad Tweet About Book-Signing https://t.co/QNgNtmcKnu
— MSN Entertainment (@MSN_Entertain) December 6, 2022
Of Crowns and Legends is the first book in a trilogy about the children of the legendary King Arthur.
According to NPR, she worked on it for 15 years before it was published in August. With all the support she has received, it’s now in the top spot on Amazon’s best-sellers list for Arthurian Fantasy.
“I shared my vulnerability, which doesn’t happen a lot on social media,” Banning told Insider of the overwhelming response.
“Especially with how rampant imposter syndrome is with writers, sharing the downs with the ups shows that we all go through them and we share similar struggles.”
Banning, who now works as a librarian in Ohio, started writing flash-fiction in the 10th grade, according to her website. adding that those stories “bloomed into novels.”
The experience of going viral for her tweet and the attention it brought to her novel has taught Banning a lesson.
“It’s okay to have feelings,” she told NPR, “we’re not alone in this, but don’t let them hold you back.” Which means, of course, she hopes to hold another book signing.