However, she was shocked to discover for herself what that isolation could look like.
After spending years working on her first novel, Of Crowns and Legends, she was excited to launch it at a book signing—only to be met by just two people.
But Banning, who began work on the fantasy novel while still in high school, was amazed at what happened next, as bestselling author after bestselling author came forward to console her with their own experiences of book signing woes.
“I sat alone at the autograph table a few times only for someone to approach … and ask me where the bathroom is,” said chart-topping writer Jodi Picoult.
Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” tweeted: “Joined the club. I signed up and no one came to it, except for a guy who wanted to buy some scotch tape and thought I was the help. :)”
The Handmaid’s Tale may be a worldwide phenomenon now, but even its author, Margaret Atwood, has faced a blank book signing. attributed to him: Monika Skolimowska / picture-alliance / dpa / AP
Another Canadian author, Linwood Barclay, wrote, “Once he sat in front of the Mall bookstore to sign. No one stopped, until the end, when an old man stopped, looked at me, looked at books, looked at me, came near and asked: Do they sell flags here?”
Banning, 33, was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of responses. Her original tweet has been liked more than 75,000 times and has received nearly 4,000 responses from around the world.
Speaking of his experience with the late fantasy author Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman writes: “Terry Pratchett and I signed in Manhattan for Good Omens no one ever came up with.
We’ve all been there, said Mallory Blackman, former British Children’s Laureate and author of Noughts & Crosses. I once spoke in a library and five people showed up, including her mother who planted her two infant children at the school in front of me and then strategically ‘pulled out’ To have some peace for a while.”
Several others tweeted their support, while Banning — who lives with her family in Ohio — was interviewed by an array of international media.
Pioneering book author Jodi Picoult has had many similar experiences. attributed to him: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
In an email to CNN, she said, “I am absolutely blown away and so shocked about all of this. I also feel so loved right now too! I’ve been inundated with supportive comments and messages. My favorites are from writers who say they’ve found new inspiration to continue writing and / or sell their business.
The social media storm also helped boost sales of Banning’s 390-page book.
“Sales reports climb by the hour and so does the ranking on Amazon. It’s number one and number two between digital and paperback in the Arthurian fantasy genre,” she told CNN.
She added, “I feel so optimistic and so excited about my future writing endeavors!”
Top Photo Caption: Stephen King at the 2017 “IT” show in Bangor, Maine. King was among a group of authors who shared their book signing experiences.
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