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April 25, 2011



Wow, that's unbelievable! It's nice to hear about, though. I'm always afraid of the reception I might get if I try to publish. Thanks for sharing!

Also, I would stay to see your presentation if I knew you were in town. :)


I really wanted to attend the event in Logan. Too bad my parents insisted that we all come home for the holiday.
Your stories really made me laugh. At least you still have a healthy sense of humor.

Heather Moore

Did you take pictures of the 1000 people? :-)

Margie Allred

Thanks for being there Friday and for bringing the others. Our family had a great time hearing you speak and getting our books signed. We wondered if you got out before midnight.


Just one reason I love squeetus--because Shannon is so willing to share her writing failures. As a fan, it's shocking to hear that things didn't just work out perfectly. (The Goose Girl snagged me right away!) But it makes me feel a lot better about my own writing experiences. It's a tough job, even for super talented people like Shannon.


Oh my goodness!!! I can't believe these stories. I better not read too many of these or else I don't know if I'll dream of being a published author anymore!


I wish I could've come to the Logan even too. I live in California, and even though I considered driving out, it just wasn't going to work out.

I sent my mom, though, and she said (these are her words) that it was 'delightful.' She LOVED you guys and waited in your line to get some books signed for me.

So thank you! You made our family very happy.

If you ever come to the Bay Area I WILL BE THERE!

Bryan Beus



The Logan event was awesome and we loved being on the front row with unobstructed views of 5 of our favs! You kept everyone entertained for well over an hour! My 14 yr old daughter turned to me at one point and said "it's better than a comedy show!" She was right.
So glad we had to be up in Logan that day...serendipity! Thanks, Shannon!


I was so happy to be at the Logan event...one of the best nights of my life! You were so hilarious and so approachable. Thank you for a fantastic night!

I wonder if people at those other events ever look back at what they missed out on, because they missed a chance to hear a fantastic author!

Stephanie Black

Shannon, THANK YOU for posting these experiences. This will help me keep things in perspective every time one of those "humble author" moments occurs.


So what tips can you share with those of us who want to do this ourselves? What would make it easier to bear? Take a laptop? Always talk to the presenter that precedes you (so he knows you're coming)?

We set goals to get a certain number of query rejections--any similar goals for numbers of low-attended signings?

Awesome post--thanks!


After having heard stories such as these, I fear I could never handle a writer's life even if I could get past the writing-books part of it. But you make it sound not-so-horrible if one can just keep a sense of humor about it.

Louisiana Kid

Come to New Orleans or Baton Rouge! My friends and I love your books so much that we are all ready planning a Bayern Feast for Halloween! I know I would be there (dressed as Razo) waiting not only for just your signature but for a personal message as well.


Fun! I want to play:


THANK YOU!... for making me realise that I'm not the only one.
This was at my first book signing, and I was so embarrased.
Okay so, book signings rarely take place in my state. When I saw that there was going to be one by an author I really like, I begged my parents to drive me two hours to get there.
I got there early so the author was just talking to random people. I was too shy to talk/ look her in the face. My dad then goes up to said author and annouces that, "We just drove two hours to see you. My daughter is a big fan. She does a book review blog." We said hi. The rest of the signing I pretended to be busy taking pictures of the bookstore. Sigh...

Now it's just a good story :D


Well, I so LOVED hearing you at the National Book Festival! I think this is similar to your laminated rejection letters. If I ever do get published (an agent is looking at my full manuscript right now!), I am sure that these stories will encourage me hugely -- that even the brilliant, talented, and fabulous Shannon Hale could suffer such mortification, then maybe it's not such a disaster if it happens to me.


Is it better, do you think, if you're signing in a group? Maybe only one person sells something, but if you're all there, at least you don't FEEL so alone??

Bonnie Childress

Wow, I bet that makes what happened on Friday, even more sweet. Those experiences must have been really hard. Equally hard would be to share them. Thanks for sharing.


Wow. I've been looking forward to Friday for a month--it was my birthday and the best present ever (I'm 32 :-) I had no idea that everyone in the world and their dog didn't know who you are!!! After all, you are the queen of Logan! My husband and I had a wonderful time, and I think you are adorable. And awesome. I even blogged about it.

Linda G.

Oh, my gosh! My first book isn't coming out until July 2012, but suddenly I'm terrified. *grins*

Louisiana Kid

What is your book?

Holly Thatcher

These are horrible stories! And so surprising to me that things like that could have happened to you. But I have to admit I did think they were a little funny too. :)

Linda W

Wow. Sad!
Well, I was glad and privileged to see you when you came to Naperville one year!


Funny, funny stories! I wanted to come to your book signing so much! But, unfortunately, I am on semi-bed rest and wasn't able to get out that day. It did make me happy to know that some of my neighbors went and were able to meet you. Next time.....

Ruth Horowitz

Sad stories. And anyone who has ever done author appearances can probably tell at least one.

I was once part of a book-signing event at a library conference with several other authors. I was seated at a table beside a wonderful woman who had just won an award. Her line snaked all the way down the hall, and everyone who approached her had another story about how her books had changed their lives.

Five or six people came to me. When I had signed their books, I wasn't sure what to do, so I just sat there smiling gamely and listening to the testimonials people were giving my table mate. After a while, some of the other authors who had been signing their own books started taking pity on me and came over to buy mine.

That was many years ago. Then just this weekend my husband and I were in a bookstore shopping for a book of poems to send his mother for Mother's Day. A clerk eagerly approached us with a collection of political essays. The author was right there in the store! Her reading would start in five minutes!

We didn't go to her reading. But the poetry collection was right next to the place where the empty chairs were set up. Exactly one person had shown up for the reading, and as we shopped for just the right poetry collection, I could hear the awkward, embarrassed small talk between the author, the store people, and the one audience member. I knew exactly how they felt, and my heart went out to them. I even considered going over and helping to swell her audience. But I didn't.

What's the lesson there?


for the record, when I ask for just a signature, I don't give it away. I keep it... it seems egotistical to have a book signed to me!! For me, it's about the author, not about me.


Yay! I'm sooooooooo glad you shared those stories with us, Shannon! I almost DIED laughing!! It's really healthy to know this kind of stuff.

Alexandra Wood

Well, I guess everyone has their embarrassing moments. I would be so humiliated if something like that happened. Golly.

Laina Ru

For the record, the Logan event was the awesomest part of my week. I didn't expect so many people, but I was so happy to find out I wasn't the only one craving to listen to the genius of five, seemingly normal, yet obviously extraordinary people. Thanks again for coming! It was a much closer drive than I've made before. :)


I would love to come to an event where you would be signing! Even if I was the only one! (Which I wouldn't be because I would bring my friends too!) I hope your publishers send you to St. Louis! Or maybe Oklahoma would be better, since that's where I'll be next year for college...


I wanted to come to Logan so much, but my best friend was getting married in Portland! She knows I love you, but I don't think she would have understood me ditching that. :-) I would try to come any time I could to meet you (again). I'm sure some of cousins and nieces would, too! You're one of our very favorites. And I still brag about my autographed book from you--addressed to me! I can slightly understand your "pain." I'll put in all kinds of planning for library programs, only to have no one show up. I like the lessons you learned. Maybe I can apply them to me somehow.


Oh my goodness...published author-hood, here I come! I can't wait :)

shelley moore thomas

so nice to know I'm not alone in book event disasters!

This is just one of the reasons I love you so much, Shannon!



My kids and I had a great time at the Logan, "book concert" You guys are rock stars. Thank you for signing my books. My daughter got to play with your baby and was in heaven. I just needed $$$$ because I really wanted to buy a book form everyone. I hope one day to have friends like all of you.


I am so sad! We were not able to go to the Logan event and I have heard all about how wonderful it was. Will anything like this happen again? Me and my girls have read all but 2 of your books. You are fantastic!


Dear Shannon, You make me smile. If only our dreams came true like we planned them out! Humble is nice too though. I have often wondered what the life of an author is like, thank you for sharing a little glimpse. Love your work!!


Wow. Just reading those made me blush...


I think I would have caved and crawled in a hole. You are my new hero when it comes to perseverance. :)

Christy Grigg

This post just made me groan because I want SO BADLY to go to one of your events. Don't people know how lucky they are to live close to these places at which you present?? Grumble, grumble. I know these experiences happened several years ago, but I would have loved to attend then as well!!!

Tera Lynn Childs

Me too, me too! Following Wendy Toliver's fine example, my fiasco post is up at Books, Boys, Buzz... today. Funny how all these stories have common threads... I think that's the true lesson. :)

melissa @ 1lbr

I went to Markus Zusak's talk and signing last month and he shared a similar story about doing a reading for one person. And an event where only his rugby team showed up. If I ever publish, I hope I remember these things. :)

Loretta Ellsworth

I've had many similar experiences, Shannon. Thanks for sharing your humiliation - it makes me feel a little less like a loser to know that it's happened to such a talented writer like you.


Someone accused you of stealing his book idea?! God, what an nightmare! How do you even defend against that? What a kook.


We drove 200 miles from a little town in Wyoming to see you. Oh my gosh, it was super fun and my sister, who loves your books but is really shy, had a blast. Thank you sooooooo much. My whole family came and you inspired us all in our personal writing. My mom thinks it's so cool you write everyday. I went home and wrote a short story after hearing you. Thanks a ton.


Teeheehee...these are hilarious, Jessica Day George has funny ones too.

Amber Argyle

I'm just so glad YOU FINALLY CAME TO LOGAN. It was fun to meet you , Allie, and Brandon (I already knew Dashner and Jessica).

I got their an hour early so I'd have a good seat. Loved your panel. Then I waited in line for 3 hours (mostly I read and kicked my rolling luggage full of books along).

And BTW, I'm most certainly NOT reselling your books. I just didn't feel good about making you personalize that huge stack of books when the line was so long.


Well, clearly it's Alfred's loss. My 10-year-old daughter has read Rapunzel's Revenge probably a dozen times. She loves it!

Julie Barlow

Your Mortification Monday was well worth it. The students here at Mt. Logan Middle school feel like rock stars have visited their school. Almost as good as if Justin Beaber and Usher came. Thanks for sharing your "awesomeness" and your enthusiasm even with a babe-in-tow. Since I am the School Librarian here, we have been having book talks all week about your visit. Those who went love talking about their experience and those who did not still are benefiting from Brandan Mull saying his favorite fruit is pizza and James Dashner saying he bases his villans on his mother-in-law. Thanks for being our Queen and giving us such a treat. Yes, your visit is better than the Royal Wedding!


COME TO DALLAS! I want confirmation that I didn't buy almost all of your books, follow your website, and worship you for years, all in vain!

(Sorry for the melodrama. But please come, so I can tell you how my friend and I secretly read Princess Academy during class and passed notes to each other the whole time, like "OMG! Marda just broke her leg!!!" We were never caught...)

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