Author Jamar Perry Turns Disappointing Book Signing Event Into Positive Experience

“I’ve decided to focus on being grateful that I get to do this work.”

Author Jamar Perry felt a “wave of embarrassment” come over him when not a single person showed up to his book signing in Decatur, Georgia, last month. 

Instead of sulking, Perry turned to gratitude and shared his thoughts on social media, leading to a reaction no one could’ve predicted. 

Dr. Jamar Perry With His Book

Dr. Jamar Perry

The young adult novelist was on a book tour at the Little Shop of Stories bookstore promoting his second book of the Cameron Battle series, Cameron Battle and the Escape Trials.  After two successful events at schools earlier in the day, he arrived ten minutes early to the bookstore signing and began chatting with the event’s moderator while he waited for the audience to show up.  

He lost track of time. At 7:15 p.m., he wondered where the people were but he was having such a good conversation with the moderator, he kept talking.  

It wasn’t until 7:25p.m. when bookstore employees came upstairs to fill the empty seats and listen to the conversation he was having, did he realize, “oh, wait a minute, no one is coming.”  

For Perry, the disappointment was twofold. He was embarrassed, but he also felt bad for the bookstore who had invested in him. 

“They bought these books, and no one came to buy the books,” he said.  

When Perry got back to his hotel room, he channeled his disappointment in a positive way by writing down, “all the stuff [he’s] grateful for.”  

 On his list: two published books that resonate with people, an opportunity to go on a book tour, even the hotel room he was staying in. 

The next morning, Perry shared his experience on Twitter.

“Kinda embarrassing to admit, but not one person came to my Atlanta tour event. Instead of being bummed about it, I’ve decided to focus on being grateful that I get to do this work.”

He closed his phone and hopped on a plane to his next tour stop.  

When he arrived at his next stop, he was shocked when he opened his phone to find that his tweet had garnered more than 10,000 likes and retweets, as well as responses from authors who have sold millions of copies.  

Among them, author Philip Pullman, who said, “I've had that experience too. Don't worry about it - just tell yourself that the world has no choice but to recognise your genius. It might need time, but it has no choice.”

In addition to tweets of support, Perry’s post led people to the Little Shop of Stories website to buy his books - in the hundreds.  

Perry retweeted his initial post days later with a comment, ”Y'all are awesome! The bookstore just let me know that y'all sold over 500 copies of my books since this post went up. What a dream!”

Overcoming the disappointment of no one showing up for his book signing is similar to Perry overcoming the struggles of his childhood to become an author.  

Writing the Cameron Battle series was a “way for me to work out the emotions that I went through as a child,” Perry said.    

Perry said he was a “lonely child” growing up, in part, he says, because he was “a black boy who loved to read. 

“I write for middle school kids - specifically black boys,” Perry said, “Seeing them get the representation that they’ve been searching for has made the journey so worth it.”

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles