It turns out, misery really does love company!
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Chelsea Banning is a librarian who spent the past 15 years toiling away on her first fantasy novel. She was thrilled when it got published, but her first book signing event to promote “Of Crowns and Legends” turned out to be an epic fail. Almost 40 people had said they’d attend, but only two showed up at the Ohio bookstore.
Chelsea told NPR that the disappointing turnout, “felt like the last straw” after all those years of work. She was so discouraged that she took to Twitter to voice her feelings.
“Only 2 people came to my author signing yesterday, so I was pretty bummed about it,”she tweeted. “Especially as 37 people responded ‘going’ to the event. Kind of upset, honestly, and a little embarrassed.”
To her surprise, the tweet went viral. Not only that, but some of the most famous authors in the world chimed in to commiserate and share their own stories of similarly lonely book signings they’d endured in their careers.
1. Legendary Neil Gaiman was among the first to empathize with Chelsea.
2. When Margaret Atwood shows up to comment, you know your tweet has “arrived.”
3. Even the uber-popular Jodi Picoult has a story about this topic.
4. Min Jin Lee has also been there, done that.
5. Jenny Colgan’s story sounds like something out of one of her romantic comedies.
6. “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed offered these kind words to the newbie author.
7. Bob Ortega once had to pay for the privilege of getting hugely upstaged.
8. Mark Harris knows what it’s like to spend years working on something, only to have no one appreciate it.
9. John Brubaker once got upstaged by a dog. It was a really cute dog, but still.
10. Joanne Harris got a chilly reception in Scotland.
11. Robin Hobb made lemonade from the lemons he was handed.
12. Someone only came to Rick Reilly’s book signing for the free snacks.
13. Oops, they forgot to tell Dr. Brian Goldman not to come.
14. This person didn’t come to meet Gareth L. Powell at all.
15. Hugo Rifkind realized that sometimes, people only say something to be nice.
Oof, some of these experiences are soul-crushing, to be sure! Yet each of these writers kept on writing, and kept on offering up their creative gifts to the world. We hope these words of encouragement help anyone struggling to keep putting their work out there to find the strength they need to soldier on!
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