Search icon


06th Jul 2023

‘Defeated’ author becomes overnight best-seller after viral video of empty book signing

Steve Hopkins

‘I don’t even know what to say, other than at the moment I’m trying to wrap my head around it’

An author has been left in “shock” after a video of his empty book signing went viral on social media leading to him becoming a best-selling-author overnight.

TikToker, Red, who goes by the handle, @internetfamouslol, posted a video of him quizzing author, Shawn Warner, about his debut novel.

Warner was at a book signing at a store, and seemed to be the only one there.

The influencer explained on the video that Warner “looked super defeated when I first walked past. So before I left the store I decided to go back.”


I was just shopping when i noticed this man trying to promote his new book. I honestly dont even read books nowadays. But something just told me to get a couple. #booksoftiktok #booktok #newauthor #showlovenothate #fyp #newbook #murdermystery #murdermysterybook #bookgiveaway

♬ original sound – Red

He then recorded himself asking Warner about his book, which the author explained was his debit and is about a teenager girl that “teams-up with a ghost with multiple personalities who solved the mystery of her parents murder.”

The pair then chat, with the author revealing he’s from Arlington, Texas, and the influencer saying that he will spread word about the novel as he does “a bit of TikTok”.

“We all appreciate that,” Warner says.

A caption on the video then reads: “I imagined all the times I worked so hard and never got any recognition.”


I have no words aside from Thank You supporting Leigh Howard and the Ghosts of Simmons-Pierce Manor! @internetfamouslol, @giwarnertamuedu. #booktok #booksoftiktok #newauthor #newtotok #yabooks

♬ original sound – Shawn

Red’s original video has now been viewed almost 17 million times and prompted over 20,000 comments, many of which encouraged people to buy Warner’s book.

One user wrote: “Awe I’m gonna have to get this book. That’s so awesome that you took the time to promote him!!!”

Another wrote: “Everyone buy this book! Let’s get this guy some sales.”

A third commenter said they’d met Warner at a thrift store a few weeks back and he was a “super sweet guy, just seemed so sad.”

Within 24-hours, Warner became a best-selling author on Amazon.

Reflecting on the support he’s received since the TikTok video went viral, Warner thanked “everybody for the love and the kindness”.

He said: “It was totally unexpected. I’m in shock. I don’t even know what to say, other than at the moment I’m trying to wrap my head around it.”

Warner has since posted a second thank you message.

In April, an author sparked and outpouring of support after writing that they had “cried all the way home” after no one turned up at their book signing in Phoenix, Arizona.

Author ‘cries all the way home’ after no one shows up to her book signing event

TikToker bursts into tears after strangers refuse her offer to pay for their groceries

Influencer furious after being ‘forced to hold five-month-old baby 12 hours’ on flight