TikTok video of US author sitting alone at book promotion goes viral, turns him into Amazon bestseller

Shawn Warner, a debutant YA murder mystery writer, has thanked TikToker Jerrad Swearenjin and "everyone who helped make this dream come true"

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Screenshot: TikTok
Screenshot: TikTok

Trends Desk

Published: Fri 7 Jul 2023, 6:53 PM

Last updated: Sat 8 Jul 2023, 2:58 PM

It was nothing short of a fairytale for US author Shawn Warner, a debutant YA murder mystery writer. For a viral video, which captures him sitting alone at a departmental store to promote his novel, has catapulted his book to the number one on the Amazon bestseller list in a matter of days.

Warner, a 58-year-old army veteran, was at a Kroger store in Fort Worth, Texas, behind a pile of his book — struggling to sell copies — when TikToker Jerrad Swearenjin bumped into him.

In the now-viral video Swearenjin posted last week, two men walk up to Warner, who then explains the premise of his debut novel, “Leigh Howard And The Ghosts Of Simmons-Pierce Manor”.

@internetfamouslol 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

Warner tells them the book is "about a teenage girl who teams up with a ghost with multiple personalities to solve the mystery of her parents’ murder”.

The men keenly listen to Warner. Swearenjin, whose TikTok username is Red, then buys two novels and also asks Warner to sign them.

“If you could just sign it, that way it’s a little more personal to whoever gets it,” Swearenjin says. “I won't say no," Warner replies, smiling.

In the video, Swearenjin mentions that Warner looked “super defeated when I first walked past him. So before I left the store, I decided to go back”.

The video soon caught the attention of many on TikTok, and — guess what! — Warner’s debut novel became the no.1 bestselling book on Amazon in no time.

“Amazing! Red posted a video of my book signing Saturday and the internet exploded! Amazon #1 Best Seller in YA, in top 5 books overall. Thank you Red!” Warner, who has taken to writing to fulfil his childhood dream, wrote in a tweet shared on July 3.

In another tweet, Warner shared that his book became “#1 Best Seller in all categories. Huge thanks to everyone who helped make this dream come true”.

@internetfamouslol #1bestselling Author Shawn Warner has dropped a reaction video! Go check it out @shawnwwrites also i miss spoke and his daughter is in Fact @Gloria Isabelle #booktok #booksoftiktok #newauthor #fyp #loveall ♬ original sound - Red

On filming the video, Swearenjin told WFAA that he felt inspired by Warner’s dedication to sell his novel. "It was just supposed to be, hey, here’s a fellow neighbour who’s just struggling and I wanted to help him out,” Swearenjin said.

For Warner, he said the support made him emotional. "Just to be nice to some guy sitting alone selling books...the generosity that poured out of that was just amazing, I get choked up,” he said, calling the gesture “beautiful”.


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