'Defeated' author becomes best-seller after book signing footage goes viral

'Defeated' author becomes best-seller after book signing footage goes viral

A “defeated” author has become an unexpected best-seller thanks to a viral TikTok of his empty book signing.

Army veteran Shawn Warner self-published his young adult murder mystery book Leigh Howard and the Ghosts of Simmons-Pierce Manor in November 2022 and recently had a book signing to promote it.

A TikToker, who goes by the name Red, happened to be out shopping and noticed Warner looked “super defeated” at his rather quiet book signing.

In a clip, that has since been viewed 17 million times, they revealed that they went back to talk to Warner about his book and purchased a couple of copies.

Text overlaying the video read: “This new author seemed super defeated when I first walked past him. So before I left the store I decided to go back.”

Warner could be heard explaining: “It’s my debut novel. It’s about a teenage girl who teams up with ghosts with multiple personalities to solve the mystery of her parent’s murders.”

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter


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

In a matter of days, the viral TikTok has led to Warner’s book, Leigh Howard and the Ghosts of Simmons-Pierce Manor, becoming an overnight best-seller, sending sales through the roof.

The book is currently the number 1 bestseller on Amazon and is the top-ranked book in the world.

In a video on his own TikTok account, Warner said: “I want to thank everybody for the love and the kindness on the video that Red posted.”


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

“I'm in shock,” he added. “I don't even know what to say about it at the moment. I'm trying to wrap my head around it.”

One person commented: “Sometimes I love the internet.”

Another book customer wrote: “Just started reading it!!”'

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)