When No One Turns Up To Neil Gaiman Or Stephen King's Book Signing – Bleeding Cool News

I have only done one book signing in my life, for the release of the Royal Wedding comic books that I wrote. Held at Forbidden Planet in London, I was under no illusion that anyone was actually there to see me. But this week, social media was gripped with the story of one Chelsea Manning who did not have the book signing she was hoping for. She 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.” Which was a cue for many creators to talk about their experiences. which should make Chelsea – and everyone – feel better.
Stephen King: “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?””
Neil Gaiman: “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… We were meant to have been there for 2 hours. After an hour of nobody in the store we told the store manager that we were going back to our hotel and that we would be in the bar, and if anyone came to get a book signed to send them there to us. Nobody came.”
Margaret Atwood: “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. :)”
Paul Fischer: “For my first book my publisher flew me out to the US — from England — for events. First one, in Boston, the only two people there were my chaperone and a man looking for shelter from the weather. Last one, in LA: almost identical except no one in LA needs shelter from the weather”
Tony Lee: “I did a signing in LA for a MacGyver comic with the actual creator of MacGyver. One person came, and they were meeting me for a drink after. Since then my bar for all signings has been ‘one friend’. 😉 Two is good! That’s two people who really care, and got to spent more time!”
Mitch Gerads: Been there! It’s not a great feeling. Did a Barnes and Noble signing for the debut of my first Marvel book and the only people that came to the table were my parents. For lack of a better phrase, the glow up as you keep moving forward feels pretty AMAZING! Onward!
Gareth L Powell: I did a signing in Cambridge and only one person showed up. He didn’t buy a book; he just wanted to tell someone that he’d had a dream about being a wizard.
Linwood Barclay: “Once sat out front of mall bookshop for a signing. No one stopped, until the very end, when an old guy paused, looked at me, looked at the books, looked at me, approached and asked, “Do they sell flags here?””
Mark Harris: “I worked on my first book for 4 years. Six people came to the first reading. One person was someone I knew who foresaw the worst and brought 4 family members. The sixth person came in out of the rain. When you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, laugh. And congrats on your book.”
Gillian Lazarus: I was working at WH Smith when Edwina Currie came in to do a book signing, accompanied by a police officer. No one approached, bought her book or requested a signature. I hope the policeman got a signed copy anyway, for his trouble.
Karin Celestine: I sat alone and one person came in and walked up to me and said excuse me can you move out of the way please so I can get to Peppa Pig. I asked the bookshop if they wanted me to sign stock and they said no don’t worry we will be sending them back.
Jonathan Coe: “I was once invited to a crime writers’ festival. Colin Dexter was on at the same time. Only one person showed up for me. We chatted for a while and I told him how glad I was that he’d come. He said, “Actually I’m Ian Rankin and I was supposed to be introducing you.””
Jenny Colgan: “I had to sit at a signing table once in Stansted Airport. For TWO HOURS. Nobody came to buy a book but a zillion people came to ask me their gate numbers. In the end I just memorised the gate numbers and helped them out. Do not be downhearted. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”
Joanne Harris: “I once did an event for CHOCOLAT in Glasgow, where the only person who turned up was an old man who had come in out of the rain.”
Jodi Picoult: “I have sat lonely at a signing table many times only to have someone approach…and ask me where the bathroom is.”
Sarah Freligh: “I did a reading attended by the bookstore employees and two unhomed men, one of whom fell asleep and snored. The other one listened and nodded and smiled through the reading and came up afterward to tell me he really liked the poems but couldn’t afford a book so I gave him one.”
Monica Byrne: “Zero people came to my first reading (for The Girl in the Road, at Malaprops in Asheville). I ended up drinking a glass of wine with the events coordinator and trying not to cry. It’s a rite of passage many of us have been through”
Soman Chainani: Three books in and I did a signing at Costco with… crickets I spent most of the signing telling shoppers I had no idea where paper towels or bacon was
Min Jin Lee: I did a book reading where only my husband’s cousin showed up. One person. I’ll never forget that reading.
Iris Rainer Dart: Think nothing of it, Chelsea. I once showed up at one of my speaking engagements and the only person who was there was an ex boyfriend who was delighted to point out the very empty auditorium. It happens. Keep writing.
Enjoy the rest and hope it gives you a boost to know that if you get one person at a signing, it is more than Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and Terry Pratchett have had – and Jodi Picoult plenty of times!
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