Fantasy author Chelsea Banning’s book signings are sellouts: Good news
Judging by the long line of readers down the block outside a small Ohio bookstore, you’d never guess that fantasy author Chelsea Banning’s first book-signing event flopped nearly two months ago.
The successful multi-author’s signing event on Jan. 28 – Banning’s second since promoting her trilogy’s first novel, “Of Crowns and Legends,” at Ashtabula’s Pretty Good Books in December – told an entirely different story.
“We have no official count, but there were hundreds (of people),” Pretty Good Books co-owner Joe Zinski told USA TODAY. “Not only was it the biggest event we’ve ever hosted, but I’m fairly confident it’s the biggest event Main Avenue (in) Ashtabula has seen in a long time.”
Banning, who released the first in her trilogy in August, went viral last year following her bummed-out tweet about her first signing’s low turnout. Only two of the 37 people who had RSVPed online showed up, she said.
Thanks to the exposure stemming from support of famous authors such as Stephen King, who also encouraged people to attend her latest signing, it was a sellout event this time around.
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“A lot of the other authors (also) sold out of books, and some said it was their best day of sales ever,” said Banning, who invited about 20 writers to “share the spotlight” with her. “It was a great day for everyone.”
Throughout the afternoon, hundreds filtered in and out of the cozy bookstore to meet authors including the group Ashtabula Writers of Fantastic and Uncanny Literature, Genevieve Gornichec and Caytlyn Brooke.
“It was a really amazing thing for her to bring the authors – and us – along with her in this whole journey,” Pretty Good Books co-owner Sarah Zinski said.
While King didn’t show up “like everyone had hoped,” Banning said, readers from as far away as Florida, Kansas and Colorado made the trip to support the authors.
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Some fans of Banning even dressed up as her book’s characters – an author’s dream, she said.
Since first going viral in early December, the independent author’s novel reached the top of Amazon’s best-selling Arthurian fantasy list and into the top 10 of its historical fiction novels, Banning shared.
Following the success of her second book signing, the author has a handful of upcoming appearance planned, including April’s Grand Rapids ComicCon in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with other debut authors.
On Wednesday, she tweeted an update that she sold 8,300 books last year thanks to the outpouring of support after her tweet of disappointment.
“I never would have expected this to happen at all,” Banning told USA TODAY. “I guess it goes to show that social media has definitely changed, where people really want to see real people and vulnerability, and to relate and to be human with each other.”
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