Fantasy author Chelsea Banning expressed disappointment on Twitter for a pretty understandable reason. Only two people, out of several who RSVP’d in the affirmative, attended the in-person signing for her debut book.
Banning published her first book, a twist on Arthurian legend titled “Of Crowns and Legends.” To celebrate, she scheduled an author signing at a local book store, with 37 people digitally RSVP-ing to the event. Despite these humble but promising numbers, only two people showed up to the event. Banning, disheartened, expressed her frustration, noting that she was “kind of upset, honestly, and a little embarrassed.” That’s when something incredible started to happen.
Other authors shared their rough first-time experiences. Sometimes two people show up. Sometimes only your mom shows up. Sometimes no one shows up. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but the sympathy from those who have traveled down this same road can help ease frustration.
Except it wasn’t just the smaller authors. As the tweet gained traction, more and more noted creative people began to turn up in the replies to reveal that these rocky starts are not the death knell for a career.
Cartoonist Liz Climo:
Even the Fonz himself, Henry Winkler, dropped by to offer some words of encouragement:
The outpouring of support drove Banning’s book to the Number 1 spot in Arthurian fantasy on Amazon. Banning has been tweeting about other new authors people should lend their support to while offering as many direct and heartfelt thanks as she can manage.
This is exactly the kind of inspiring story we like to see come out of the writing community. It can be really difficult to put yourself out there creatively. Especially when the initial response can seem lackluster, or less than we had initially hoped. The important thing is to stick with it and trust that your work will eventually find its audience.
And that it never hurts to complain on Twitter, every now and then.