Day 17: What To Do When No One Shows Up (Appearances Pt 2)

I’ve been to many appearances where there are between one and three kids in the audience. Or even zero kids! This has nothing to do with me, and it will have nothing to do with you if it ever happens to you. A huge Caldecott winning author/illustrator once told me it even happened to her, and that is a great thing to remember when you are sitting there feeling like an idiot. A rejected idiot!
What do you do when no one shows up to an appearance?
If “no one” actually means one or two children, then you alter your presentation to be more intimate. You sit on the floor, criss-cross applesauce and read to those two kids as though they’re the most important in the world. And right then, they are. You are going to be tempted to feel awkward. Don’t. Take your cue from them – they have no idea you were hoping for a big crowd! They’re loving whatever you’re doing!
And how do you act if literally not a single person shows up?
You smile! Be gracious. Do you think your host feels good about this? NO! He or she feels worse than you! There are so many competing events these days, between soccer practice, work-related obstacles for parents, school events … so it’s no one’s fault. Make ‘be gracious’ your motto. And frankly, it’s a golden opportunity to connect with people who love books as much as you do! They will remember your visit as a success after you get to have an in-depth conversation about why you love or hate The Giving Tree or why you couldn’t put down The Hunger Games. Sometimes the appearances when nobody shows up can turn out to be the best!”
Here I am at an event where not a soul showed up. It happens to everyone!

A signing where no one showed up!

Recent Comments

    • katie
      April 6, 2011 - 9:17 am · Reply

      When I pull you out of a burning building, THEN I’ll be your hero! 😎 This is just stuff we all need to be reminded of from time to time, right? And you know what – those posters I had printed up and I mounted them myself with spray glue which got all over everything – I spent days constructing little mini “autobiogra-strip” comic books for the throngs … that never came. OH WELL!

  • Greg Benjamin
    April 6, 2011 - 10:16 am · Reply

    Katie you are a inspiration! we had a few events that nobody came to but me and my sister had a great time anyway! and you story just gave me that extra push! THANK YOU!

  • debbie
    April 6, 2011 - 4:38 pm · Reply

    You know, I think sitting on the floor and reading to a couple of kids can actually be more “fun” than performing in front of a crowd, once I’m over feeling like an idiot. But this is why it’s also nice to do signings with other authors, instead of going solo.

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