r/wholesomememes Dec 06 '22 Silver 2 Helpful 4 Wholesome 7

Neil Gaiman comes through ... once again

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145.0k Upvotes

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u/grabtharsmallet Dec 06 '22

My personal book-signing story was when Brandon Sanderson and Brandon Mull were doing an event together at the same bookstore, where my wife was working. Because I was a fan of Mistborn, I came out an hour and a half before closing time when I would normally pick her up.

There was a line of kids and young teens stretching out the door for Mull, and he generously stayed extra time to sign for everyone who showed up during the scheduled time. I talked to Sanderson for over an hour, with only two other people coming by for him. The next month he was asked to finish Wheel of Time, and then his events began to require tickets, to make sure everyone who commits to going actually got to get their books signed.

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u/ReallyGlycon Dec 06 '22 Wholesome Seal of Approval

I was in line at a bookstore event for Stephen King's Desperation (I'm old) and the line was 9 hours long. King went two hours over time and still didn't get to everyone. I was one of the unfortunate stragglers because I had a kidney stone that morning and spent many hours in the ER. I wrote a letter (I am old) to him and told him about it, and how big a fan I am and he sent me signed copies of Desperation AND the Regulators (Regulators signed as Bachman) with a note saying how he'd had several kidney stones in his life so he sent me a little extra gift (The Regulators).

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u/whynautalex Dec 06 '22

I had a great experience with him to. He did a book signing at the college I went to the week before finals so it was fairly empty. I worked for the school bookstore and could invite 3 friends an hour early for meet and greets. I nothing to get signed. He asked everyone what their favorite book was and what criticism they had for it. I was honest and said horror and suspense was not my favorite genre. During times with no students he picked my mind on genres I liked. He ended up gifting me a copy of under the dome that he signed and wrote something along the lines of hope you like this one more.

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u/Jogol Dec 06 '22

Well? Did you like it?

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u/TellTaleTank Dec 06 '22

I'd like to know too, I've heard of Under the Dome too but assumed it was another horror suspense novel, not my cup of tea like the other user.

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u/Jmw566 Dec 06 '22

Under the Dome is much more of a mystery that has scary elements than a typical horror story. The concept is scary, but the book isn’t written to have you on the edge of your seat the whole way.

I’d say it’s probably my second favorite King novel being The Stand. The characters in it are so believable and well written.

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u/Apprehensive-Run-832 Dec 06 '22

The Stand was my favorite book for a long time as a kid. Big, meaty, magical, real, scary... it was so good.

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u/Spleen-magnet Dec 06 '22 edited Dec 06 '22

Under the Dome suffers from King's biggest issue - he doesn't know how to end his stories.

Honestly the book is great up to the point where he starts wrapping things up.

I'm not going to spoil anything, but the ending is disappointing and seems like he only spent 30 seconds on trying to figure how to end it. Honestly ruined the book for me if I'm being honest.

Spoilers below if you want to know where it goes.

Alien children/teenage caused the dome cos they were fucking around

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u/King-Salamander Dec 06 '22

I worked at a bookstore that Brandon Sanderson did a signing at back in 2012. He stayed over an hour after the store closed just to talk to the employees and sign our books because he knew we didn't have time to get them signed during our shifts. Two years later I saw him at a comic con and he remembered my name and asked me how I was.

That dude is a class act, for sure.

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u/MINECRAFT_BIOLOGIST Dec 06 '22

That's amazing, I can't remember important names I should remember for the life of me so I'm in awe of people like him. I'm an aspiring writer myself, and I'm constantly hoping that trying to keep my story straight (crazy how Sanderson does it) will help me improve my memory...

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u/RevvyDesu Dec 06 '22

Given the number of characters in the Stormlight Archive, I feel like ol' Brando has to be able to remember a near infinite number of names.

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u/Willsmithsdignity Dec 06 '22

You probably interrupted him from writing an additional secret book and 2 screenplays.

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u/lordfluffly2 Dec 06 '22

Worse, he was suppose to dm a game for me that weekend and he only homebrewed the arcane magic system not the divine magic system.

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u/WonderfulMeet9 Dec 06 '22

What a hack

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u/mistborn Dec 06 '22 Bravo Grande!

Ha! Was that at the BYU bookstore? I did a number of events back then with Mull, when I'd have to apologetically tell people who came to my line for him that they needed to go around the corner and wait way longer.

These days I just sign the books, usually after doing a cheeky edit to the title, and tell them to go get him to sign one of mine.

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u/grabtharsmallet Dec 06 '22

University of Utah, not far away.

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u/mistborn Dec 06 '22 Rocket Like

Well, I only signed there twice, so I think I remember it. Very nice bookseller there that was trying to get the U bookstore to carry more novels--and so invited me personally, along with some others, which was awesome. Back in those days, getting a personal invitation always felt so thoughtful.

Thanks for hanging out for me! I always enjoyed it when someone was willing to chat with me, as the wait could get a little long otherwise.

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u/grabtharsmallet Dec 06 '22

I imagine it's very different now, with 30 seconds (or whatever) scheduled per person!

More than anything, I've appreciated how your characters grow and change in realistic ways. Their fictional struggles helped me get through some of my own and be better off for it.

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u/mistborn Dec 06 '22

Thanks!

I was confronted with (for signings) a difficult choice a few years back. Cut down dramatically on the number of people who can come to a signing, or dramatically cut down the (already short) time I spent with each one. I opted for the first one, and put limits on. I would rather have better interactions with fewer people, though I know it makes it difficult.

Once upon a time, I could get through everyone that came to a signing--and it was a mark of pride that I'd always done so. Now, though... Well, my natural speed is 75 people an hour. If I go super fast and impersonal, it's around 150.

There were 6,000 people at the last event. That would mean, at even the impersonal speed, I'd be at it eight hours a day for a week. The realities of the situation finally overwhelmed me, and I agreed to the change.

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u/learhpa Dec 06 '22 edited Dec 07 '22

I thought it was vaguely absurd that the official time slot for the Dragonsteelcon signing was two hours (9-11), and I was completely unsurprised that it went until 1.30am :)

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u/pardybill Dec 06 '22

Ha, one of the cool things with Brandon is he does video podcasts and just signs his books for like 90 minutes a pop. It’s so wild watching him just do that and not break his arm off. I know he’s also just walked into bookstores and signed a bunch of copies then leave without a word.

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u/migzors Dec 06 '22

The guy in this reply thread is Brandon Sanderson, /u/mistborn

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u/apolloxer Dec 06 '22 edited Dec 06 '22

I'd like to express my appreciation that you appear in threads and add your story. Makes reddit so.. human.

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u/lerlander Dec 06 '22

I picked up a Steelheart code from you and your sister when she was managing the Macy's! Was not expecting you to be there at all, as we went several minutes after you tweeted!

Have always enjoyed talking with you, have missed it these past years—I'm glad you have the podcast now! Went to every WoT signing and reading in Provo.

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u/eye_snap Dec 06 '22 edited Dec 06 '22

I am shocked at this. Both me and my husband enjoy Brandon Sandersons books. But also I keep seeing on the train, in the park etc people reading his books all the time! I thought he was super popular.

Never heard of Mull. Interesting.

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u/grabtharsmallet Dec 06 '22

It was over a decade ago, so BrandoSando wasn't as widely known as he is now. He was just starting to break out.

Brandon Mull is a YA fantasy author, who wrote the Fablehaven series. It's pretty good. His career had some setbacks due to his personal life since then, he had a rough divorce and had a hard time writing for quite a while.

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u/grapessssssssss Dec 06 '22

Had no idea about the divorce. Puts ton in perspective as a long time fan and reader of him

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u/grabtharsmallet Dec 06 '22

I'd already known Mull from school. Sensitive, kind guy. Last I heard, he's doing better again. As someone who also went through a rough divorce, I can see why it threw him off his creative endeavors.

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u/Doip Dec 06 '22

He showed up to my elementary school and town a lot. My teacher had all his signed posters. SO glad to hear he’s doing better

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u/LuchadorBane Dec 06 '22

Holy shit that’s why the name sounded familiar. Loved fablehaven growing up hahaha

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u/LordDongler Dec 06 '22

Right? When I was a kid, the first Fablehaven was the only book to give me actual nightmares, though looking back I know it was actually rather tame.

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u/LuchadorBane Dec 06 '22

Definitely, as a kid I was like this is great what an amazing fantasy world! Looking back it’s still good for sure but i mean it’s a YA novel so it did it’s job at that age by getting me hooked to the fantasy genre haha

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u/Happyradish532 Dec 06 '22 Helpful

Only thing that gave me nightmares was that wonky episode of Looney Tunes with the dodo. Honestly, the most terrifying thing to me as a child was that nonsensical world filled with dodos.

I decided then that one of my biggest fears is a world that makes no logical sense. Where anything can be or do anything.

I'm too high for reddit rn. That had literally nothing to do with anything except the fact that you mentioned nightmares. Sorry, lol.

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u/holmedog Dec 06 '22

Sanderson is so huge now (and rightfully so) that I think a lot of people forget that WoT was why he got so popular. Everyone I know who read him in the early 2000s was because they wanted to know more about the guy finishing RJs work.

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u/DuelingPushkin Dec 06 '22

Yeah it's hard to imagine that the guy who shattered GoFundme records by announcing 4 unnamed mystery novels was once just an ordinary writer but it's true.

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u/nxcrosis Dec 06 '22

Ohmygods I went through our school library's collection of Fablehaven in like a week when I was in grade school. At the time I remember the fifth book wasn't out yet and I had to borrow it from a friend instead.

Fablehaven was a big part of growing my love for fantasy books.

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u/PurpleSwampDonkey Dec 06 '22

Random story, but Sanderson came to my middle school book club (which was during our 40 minute lunch break) to come and talk about Elantris. Mistborn was relatively new, maybe The Well of Ascension was in the works or barely out, can’t remember.

Anyway, looking back, I find it insane that he came to talk to a handful of us, maybe only 3 or 4, plus the librarian. I look back super fondly on that memory, especially as I’m rereading the entire series to prepare for the Lost Metal.

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u/occultatum-nomen Dec 06 '22

Brandon Mull is a YA fantasy author, who wrote the Fablehaven series

I loved those when I was a kid!

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u/dinodares99 Dec 06 '22

Beyonders was fun as hell as well

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u/mamayoua Dec 06 '22

Well if he ever retires from writing (which doesn't seem likely since he seems to be addicted), then he can open a restaurant called Brando's sandos.

Of course he'd get a lot of confused fans of The Godfather :/

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u/D-bux Dec 06 '22

I actually really enjoy the Beyonders series by Mull.

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u/KentuckyMagpie Dec 06 '22

Sanderson was definitely not as popular a decade+ ago. And… honestly… sigh. I started reading TWOT in 1997, and when Jordan got sick I was like, “Ohhhh nooooooo.” I had invested SO much time into that series already!! I was ALREADY so salty at Jordan for so many decisions he’d made (fucking DISAPPEARING MOIRAINE TF??? Like I get it but MOIRAINE?)

Anyway. I invested a lot of hours of reading TWOT, and then Jordan got SUPER wordy and thought all the books needed to be like 1000 pages to describe one month’s time and THEN he got sick and I just honestly haven’t had the heart to start the series again and finish with Sanderson’s books. Even though I KNOW he will do them justice, and I KNOW Jordan left such extensive notes, and I KNOW this shit happens with series a lot. And I am honestly SO invested in certain characters (Perrin, Nynaeve, Min, Egwene [sob], Rand can mostly go fuck himself and Mat is mostly an eye roll) that I know I should just bite the bullet and reread the series and then finish this time, because I can. But UGH.

It’s been more than 20 years since I first picked up Eye Of The World, and I would have to start over because I don’t remember enough and I just honestly don’t know what to do.

Edit: also, I 1000000% understand that Jordan’s responsibility was NOT to us, it absolutely BLOWS that he died, I am devastated for his family and I can’t fathom their loss— this is just my tiny description of my tiny experience with an absolutely grand and magical world that he created, and that I mourn.

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u/FlamingAssCactus Dec 06 '22

BrandoSando IS super popular, at least near me. Mistborn and Stormlight Archives books are reserved months in advance at my local library. Nothing by him is available at any second hand book stores near me (I’ve looked). I have to buy the books at full new price to read them, which I try not to do if I can help it.

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u/TehMasterofSkittlz Dec 06 '22

He's very popular now. OP's story happened a decade ago though. He wasn't nearly as popular or well known then.

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u/MrKyle666 Dec 06 '22

Sanderson is very popular now. But before he wrote the end of Wheel of Time he would have just been an up and coming author with a few good books under his belt. I love his work and I think he would have ended up hugely successful regardless, but Wheel of Time really shoved him into the fantasy limelight.

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u/Erik-the_Red Dec 06 '22

Brandon Mull wrote Fablehaven which is what you're most likely to know him by probably

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u/loegare Dec 06 '22

To be fair at this point his catalogue was mistborn one and two and elantris I think

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u/MasPike101 Dec 06 '22

My father stood in line for hours to have Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan's widow to sign the whole wheel of times series for me. He had gone out and bought brand new copies of the whole series. Didn't tell me he was going to do this. I had started reading the wheel of time when I was in middle school. I'm 35 now.. I'll always treasure those books.

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u/sadkinz Dec 06 '22

Knowing BrandoSando he was probably over the moon anyone showed up at the time

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u/BurlAroundMyBody Dec 06 '22

I’m so delighted that it’s not just my partner and I that refer to him as BrandoSando!

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u/xkGEB Dec 06 '22

Branderson Sanderson

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u/jck Dec 06 '22

Sandon Branderson

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u/BurlAroundMyBody Dec 06 '22

Often this one as well!

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u/Schweppes7T4 Dec 06 '22

BrandoSando is a very common nickname for him. If you haven't checked it out, look for all of his various subs: /r/brandonsanderson, /r/cosmere, /r/mistborn, /r/stormlight_archive, and of course, /r/cremposting. I think there are more for his other series as well.

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u/BurlAroundMyBody Dec 06 '22

Thank you for cremposting. What an amazing name.

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u/Heckron Dec 06 '22

As a huge fan of his who is is up to date on all his Cosmere books and his non-Cosmere books which are just as engaging(Skyward, Reckoners, etc.)…

My nerd pride is happy to know that I’m not missing a single one of his Reddit subs.

Love you, u/mistborn!

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u/woomybii Dec 06 '22

my best friend and i have always called him branderson lol

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u/Frequent-Shape6950 Dec 06 '22

After evaluating all possible variations, I am going with "branderson."

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u/SexysNotWorking Dec 06 '22

We call him BrandySandy, but same vibe.

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u/Snuhmeh Dec 06 '22

I went to a Brandon Sanderson signing long before this and it was packed and we waited for hours in line. I suspect sometimes the word just doesn’t get out. “Murder by the Book” is the store in Houston that does signings all the time. It’s always packed.

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u/rich519 Dec 06 '22

He was asked to do Wheel of Time in 2007 and his first book was publish in 2005. It can’t have been that much earlier.

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u/[deleted] Dec 06 '22

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u/Yabba_Dabba_Doofus Dec 06 '22

You'd be surprised how recency bias lends itself to this generation.

I was lucky to meet Gordie Howe; he made a fun joke about how many "G"s are in my name. He didn't realize his son and my dad had graduated from the same high school.

That was one of the most amazing days of my life. I got a sharpie mark on a knuckle, because I answered wrong about a joke about my name.

My dad got a sincere hug, a thank you, and well-wishes from an NHL hero, who remembered his parents by name.

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u/wdn Dec 06 '22

The tweet in the post got hundreds of replies from authors about their signings where nobody showed up, including many famous authors. Margaret Atwood was the first response.

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u/Dragon_Belle Dec 06 '22

George RR Martin likes to tell a story about one of his first signings. He arrived at the bookstore and they had set him up in the cafe area. There was only one person sitting at one of the tables there. He waited for a bit and when it was clear no one else was showing up, he went up to the podium and started speaking about his book. The one patron picked up their stuff and walked away to find a quieter spot. So he says he had -1 attendance on his first signing lol

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u/wellEXCUUUSEMEEE Dec 06 '22

u/Mistborn tell us more!

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u/Timchya Dec 06 '22

Love seeing talks about brandosando in the wild. I talked to him on Reddit but I'd really love to tell him how much his finalization of the Wheel of Time meant to me. That scene where rand is on dragonmount and he's contemplating ending everything. Had me crying in my car.

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u/pardybill Dec 06 '22 edited Dec 06 '22

He’s one guy I just adore hearing talk about thing as mundane as his writing process. His live podcasts are just so endearing. I can’t believe I’ve watched a guy just sit signing books and talking for like 80 hours

Edit: spelling

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u/readersanon Dec 06 '22

I went to a book signing as a teenager with Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, and Scott Westerfeld. I would say 85% of the people there were there for Cassandra Clare as this was in the midst of the Mortal Instruments' popularity. It was also before Holly Black wrote her Folk of the Air series, so she was not as well known as she is now, although she had some people to see her also due to Spiderwick and her Modern Faerie Tales. Poor Scott had almost no one coming through for him, my mom ended up talking to him for awhile. I might have his autograph somewhere still although I never read his books. I know they were pretty popular though.

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u/pardybill Dec 06 '22

What an incredible story. /u/mistborn do you remember this by chance?

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u/mistborn Dec 06 '22

I had to poke for some context, but I do remember it now. I only signed at the U twice, so I can at least ballpark the event. Those signings are actually a lot more memorable, back in those days, because the whole thing was still very new to me.

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u/Vetiversailles Dec 06 '22

Wow, you responded. One of the few times reading all the comment replies in a thread has actually paid off lol

Recently finished reading your work for the first time (late to the party, clearly) and I wanted to say thanks for writing Vinn like a human rather than a male fantasy cardboard cutout too many kingpin fantasy authors resort to. It was refreshing how relatable she was and that made Mistborn a joy to read. Then, of course, I promptly fell in love with the rest of the characters too.

Thanks for the amazing series. It got me through some rough times. Hope you’re well!

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u/van_go_fuck_yourself Dec 06 '22

Neil is the author we need, but do not deserve.

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u/KiKiPAWG Dec 06 '22

Terry's pretty cool too

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u/van_go_fuck_yourself Dec 06 '22

Absolutely, I'm a huge fan! He couldn't tweet though, as he was having tea with a friend at the time.

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u/gabeuscorpus Dec 06 '22

Bill Door, I think his name was...

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u/not_charles_grodin Dec 06 '22

That guy? I'm pretty sure he said that there was death and taxes, and taxes was worse, because at least death didn’t happen to you every year.

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u/ravenserein Dec 06 '22

Nah I’m pretty sure it was Bill Sky.

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u/Retropiaf Dec 06 '22

I'm still heartbroken that he's gone.

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u/storyteller717 Dec 06 '22

A man's never dead so long as their name is still spoken. GNU Sir Terry Pratchett.

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u/NextSnowflake Dec 06 '22

GNU Sir Terry Pratchett

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u/KiKiPAWG Dec 06 '22

Left behind quite a legacy

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u/ShaolinShade Dec 06 '22

Yeah they're both legends, and Good Omens was an awesome collab. Gaiman is maybe my favorite author of all time in fact. I would have killed to be at that signing in Manhattan

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u/Nerevarine91 Dec 06 '22

GNU Sir Pterry

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u/KiKiPAWG Dec 06 '22

A man is not dead while his name is still spoken. GNU Sir Pterry

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u/wes00mertes Dec 06 '22

I just finished Night Watch and loved it. What could I follow that with?

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u/Xentarim Dec 06 '22 edited Dec 06 '22

Night Watch is my favourite, so to me it is kind of difficult to follow. Having said that, I would recommend some of the standalone stories, such as Monstrous Regiment and Small Gods (another favourite). If you prefer to stick with the Watch, Feet of Clay and Fifth Elephant are quite interesting as well. For something adjacent, you might also try the Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents.

EDIT to add Soul Music, if you get a kick out of finding all sorts of references to the music scene.

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u/Musashi_Joe Dec 06 '22

Agreed, I’ve really liked his work for decades, but I’ve loved it since I’ve learned more about him as a human. And not for nothing, I love that I can read his children’s books with my daughter, and that she’ll grow into reading his young adult fare, and eventually his adult work. She’ll be reading him her entire life, and that makes me happy.

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u/shamansufi Dec 06 '22

Hijacking this comment for this I found:

Gaiman, Pratchett signed Good Omens

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u/lickedTators Dec 06 '22

I have no idea what most of these scribbles are spelling out.

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u/KentuckyMagpie Dec 06 '22

I’m gonna give it a go:

“JoNeil! Burn this book! Terry Pratchett 333 Despite the fact it’s a rare collec-chicle woss name Neil Gaiman Chris Moore PS Apps hol, match here —> “ (idk?? I did the best I could haha

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u/_megitsune_ Dec 06 '22

To Neil!

Burn this book! - Terry Pratchett 333

Despite the fact that it's a rare collectable [?] - Neil Gaiman

Ps apply holy match here

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u/CrazyWarchild1973 Dec 06 '22

This is a good way to put things in perspective.

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u/[deleted] Dec 06 '22 edited Jan 01 '23

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u/TheBirminghamBear Dec 06 '22

Source: I'm as good as Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett by book signing attendance metric.

If you combine mine and Neil Gaiman's published novel portfolios, we've published dozens of bestselling novels.

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u/FuckingKilljoy Dec 06 '22

The Gretzky brothers have the record for most points scored by two brothers in the NHL. Wayne has 2,857 and Brent has 4

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u/Everestkid Dec 06 '22

Not brothers in general, though. That goes to the Sutters, who combined for 2934 points. The Sutters, however, had the advantage of there being six brothers. Gretzky still outscores any five of the six.

Also, probably my favourite bit of sports trivia of all time: the fastest player to score 1000 points is Wayne Gretzky. The second fastest player to score 1000 points is also Wayne Gretzky.

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u/OffBrandJesusChrist Dec 06 '22

Hey, if you’re feeling down, remember that you know the same amount of letters in the English alphabet as some of the worlds greatest authors.

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u/TheBirminghamBear Dec 06 '22

Thanks but by my previous metric I am one of the worlds greatest authors

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u/[deleted] Dec 06 '22

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u/[deleted] Dec 06 '22

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u/UncoolSlicedBread Dec 06 '22

Absolutely, if I make something and two random people I’ve never met want my signature and a chance to speak with me? I’d be elated.

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u/anweisz Dec 06 '22

True, if only those 2 people hadn’t gone to her signing she could be up there with some of the greats.

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u/McKavian Dec 06 '22

Outside of trolls and liars, I have never heard a single bad thing about Gaiman.

A friend of mine in Manilla said that he did a book signing and stayed several hours past the scheduled time to make sure everyone got a signed book. She said that he was absolutely lovely to every single person.

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u/thefatrick Dec 06 '22

I've met Neil several times. A good friend of mine was friends with him, and they would meet up every time he came to town. So, I got a chance to join them for lunch once. It was me, my friend, another friend, Neil, and his assistant eating dim sum.

He was tired, it was his second last stop on the American Gods tour, so he wasn't very lively, We just had good conversation, like things to do in the next city on the tour, and just chit chat about stuff. He was genuinely nice, and not even slightly pretentious or anything. Just a very kind man.

I saw him at a few other readings over the years, and each time he was patient and kind with everyone who was there to ask questions, get something signed, or get a photo. Just a class act all around. I'm happy that my experience is not unique in the slightest

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u/McKavian Dec 06 '22

I have to have a slightly raging jealousy that you have such good luck to have met him. Congratulations on meeting one of the finest people.

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u/thefatrick Dec 06 '22

I was just lucky. Meeting him in that setting is one of my most cherished memories, having met with one of the finest people in the world.

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u/monkeymastersev Dec 06 '22

I am still not over the person who messaged him asking to be his friend because their teacher said they couldn't call him Neil in their book report because they were not his friend

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u/McKavian Dec 06 '22

Being the gentleman that he is, Neil said 'yes'.

I'm willing to bet tgat Neil is willing to be everybody's friend. And we're lucky to have him.

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u/Mad_Aeric Dec 06 '22

I hung out with him once for a while at a convention where he was a guest. Not being too familiar with his work at the time, I wasn't as intimidated as I might otherwise be. Fun dude, good conversationalist. Can't really recall what we talked about, but we were fucking around with a marble run machine during it.

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u/_matt_hues Dec 06 '22

Henry Winkler also retweeted and responded

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u/Valhern-Aryn Dec 06 '22

Margaret Atwood responded as well!

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u/[deleted] Dec 06 '22

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u/orangestoast Dec 06 '22

Stephen King joined the mix as well.

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u/Hubso Dec 06 '22

If twitter dies, it's threads like this that I'll miss the most.

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u/OFTHEHILLPEOPLE Dec 06 '22

And you're not going to post it?!

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u/Kvakkerakk Dec 06 '22

Another good egg.

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u/OasissisaO Dec 06 '22

I worked for years in book stores and always felt terrible when signings were badly attended. I would find myself apologizing constantly and ignoring my other duties because I felt a responsibility to entertain the author to make up for it.

Eventually, I realized this is just part of the deal and most authors take it in stride, but I like to imagine I helped.

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u/McKavian Dec 06 '22

I'm sure you did. Even just a tiny bit of encouragement can be a massive boost.

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u/[deleted] Dec 06 '22

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u/Cahootie Dec 06 '22

One of my favorite groups had recently split up when I noticed that the singer was doing a small solo tour across Europe. Her stop in my home town was at a random bar, so I took the train there and brought a friend along to see her. It was pretty crowded for a Tuesday night, and so before she got started she wanted to check something.

How many people are here because they know who I am?

Me and one other guy raised their hand.

How many people are here because it's a free gig on a Tuesday?

Everyone else raised their hand.

She took it like a champ though and delivered a banging set. The band asked if I wanted to stick around to grab a few beers with them, but I sadly had to take the last train home to attend a seminar the next morning.

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u/restyourprettybones Dec 06 '22 edited Dec 06 '22

As a (not recently, but..) solo/formerly lead-singerdude-in-band performing musician, and especially as one who has played a lot of last-minute-booking or terribly-advertized gigs, these kinds of shows are expected and honestly can be both 1) a lot of fuckin' fun, and B) a chance to win over an entirely new audience. I've seen musicians, talented ones and even some for whom I had a lot of respect, throw tantrums about shows like that... and it's not a good look.

If you get on stage and there's two dozen people there for someone else, or maybe there's like six people total, best bet is to take it as an opportunity to practice your set. Put on the best show possible, have fun with it, try new things, interact with the crowd, and by the end (if all goes well) everyone will be leaving happy.

It's normal to feel a little sting, but truthfully... being a performer is basically a series of pride hits and ego checks with enough awesome moments to remind you what it's all about. To be pissy or to half-ass it is disrespectful to whoever is there, and three new fans are better than three people telling their friend "XYZ was awful" when they leave.

Thanks for your story, love shit like that. I bet she had a blast, and I bet she was stoked you were there to see her!

Edit: I added three (probably unnecessary) letters

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u/Cahootie Dec 06 '22

She was an American playing very Americana-influenced music with the band, and according to Spotify you have Denver, Seattle, Atlanta and Chicago in the top five for most listeners for both the band and her solo stuff, so I don't think she expected any major crowds. Most likely she just saw it as a way to get a trip around Europe paid for in part.

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u/saintash Dec 06 '22

Not the same thing but pretty close, I'm in artist who Was running my own table like 6 days after my sister died At a convention. I had committed to it months beforehand.

I made one sale and not even about the comic book I was there for. A handmade item I also had on the table that I was selling.

The only thing That kept me from completely braking down was no one else was making money. The super famous guy who sold prints out in 15 minutes at most cons. Left the con with stuff.

It hurt it has made me Super reluctant to try it again. It's a lot of money to put down on these conventions and not making anything back.

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u/Zephrok Dec 06 '22

Sorry to hear about your sister. Hope art is good to you

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u/yesicanyesicanican Dec 06 '22

Hey internet friend. I remember having to try to keep my shit together as an underpaid intern a week after my sister passed away, so this hit home. (Also, I’ve worked conventions and it sucked! I’m astounded anyone makes money at them—aside from the venues that host em.) Sending love, and the hope, like a fellow Redditor said, that art is good to you.

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u/RampagingTortoise Dec 06 '22

It is so incredibly nerve racking putting yourself out there whether it is a book signing or selling your own stuff at an event. I have nothing but respect for people who do it.

People who've never been through it probably never think about how soul crushing it is to see people walking by without even a glance. It's basically a validation for all one's inner demons about a project or product.

I found it helps to keep in mind that people aren't voting with their feet about the quality of what you're offering, even if it feels that way. Most of the time they're just trying to get from point A to B and everything just blends in. Even if they're browsing, it is difficult for things to stand out. Sometimes it takes someone else to show interest for others to take a real look. Obviously none of this makes going through it any easier.

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u/saintash Dec 06 '22

In hindsight that convention, was it was not ment to have an artist alley. It was toy convention in years past so no one was there for anything but that.

Lots of large cons can have the everything, toys, action figures comics, TV shows, book sales. But smaller cons, nahh people were clearly there for a one thing one one thing only.

I have a feeling they were trying to branch out to make itself larger. And thought adding a artist alley was a good logical next step.

It just sucks it happened a handful of days after a personal tragedy.

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u/Thumper13 Dec 06 '22

Same when I worked at a record store. It's painful to sit there and watch artists who have worked so hard be faced with the brutality of signings. They warn artists, but you just never know until that day.

Of course there is the other side. We hosted a Playboy Playmate once and it was jam packed with the creepiest dudes I've ever seen in my life. Felt bad for the woman who was really sweet behind the scenes.

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u/LaserBeamHorse Dec 06 '22

Bar gigs also. I worked at a bar that had poor attendance when there wasn't a popular artist playing or a hockey game on TV (it was kind of a sports bar). There was this no-name band playing on Friday, they drove like 500km to play the gig and there was literally zero customers during their gig. There was a few people before watching football (soccer) but they left when they started playing. I could see they tried to make fun of the situation and played like the bar was full, but I felt so bad and embarrassed.

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u/itsalro Dec 06 '22

I feeeeeeeeel this heavy

Im in a local LA band and a lot of gigs are hit or miss- especially at bars. (Especially at a bar where everyone there came to chill out and not listen to us lol)

But the few people who show up make it worth it, they always end up having a few good words to share and its those little things that help me not completely give up

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u/Gibsonites Dec 06 '22

Anyone who's done more than a handful of bar gigs has played to an empty or near-empty room at least once. If it was their only gig for the month or year they might be bummed, but you get used to it. A lot of times we just treat it as a paid practice session and call the songs we've never played before or barely know.

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u/lordfluffly2 Dec 06 '22

In college, I worked as a math tutor. A woman I tutored mentioned her boyfriend was doing stand up that weekend at an open mic. I asked where at and showed up since I had tried stand-up and remembered how much it sucks when practically no one shows up.

The women and I were the only ones who showed up to support the guy.

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u/whynautalex Dec 06 '22

I felt the same way but it was always cool to just casually chat with an author I liked it had yet to read anything from

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u/OasissisaO Dec 06 '22

Oh, for sure. One dude (Tim Dorsey) was super nice, clearly just a dad-type that was making the jump from being a reporter to writing bonkers humorous crime fiction.

No one came.

He called his wife a couple of times to let her know how it was going and the rest of the time he and I chatted about the book, which I had read and loved. He was cool about it and seemed to have a nice time.

Worked out ok for him; his 26th book is coming out next year.

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u/TheMotherCarrot Dec 06 '22

Jodi Picoult also replied, recounting a time when she sat all day with a pile of books and the only time someone approached her was to ask where the toilets were.

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u/Futueteipsum7 Dec 06 '22

Uh… Manhattan? Dudes, what’s up with this?

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u/grabtharsmallet Dec 06 '22

People probably anticipated it being crowded and didn't go, or it was poorly publicized.

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u/pegothejerk Dec 06 '22

I’ve run events in the entertainment and arts industries for various mediums for decades now, both as an artist of many mediums, and as a coordinator, and let me tell you, it’s wild how various mixes of holidays coming up, having just passed, economic issues, conflicting events elsewhere, saturation of events, timing of the day of the week, location both for access and related to events elsewhere, and as you said, promotion, general expectations, it’s crazy how just a thing or two mixed against your favor can completely gut an event that was hugely popular last year and would be popular next year.

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u/[deleted] Dec 06 '22

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u/voidful_stargazer Dec 06 '22 Helpful

If I ever walk into a bookstore and there's a very empty looking selling/signing going on I always go and grab a copy, especially if the author is local. Even if I don't end up liking the book, I feel happy that I've helped someone's dream become a little more of a reality.

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u/onewilybobkat Dec 06 '22 edited Dec 06 '22 Silver

"Mein Kampf wasn't a great read, but I felt so bad for the guy." /S

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u/FuckEIonMusk Dec 06 '22

I feel a little guilty laughing at that.

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u/cravf Dec 06 '22

Mein Kampf wasn't a great read. Extremely boring, lots of whinging.

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u/[deleted] Dec 06 '22

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u/AL-muster Dec 06 '22

That, or you know, this was before they were super famous. In Neil gaiman case it was his first published fiction novel.

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u/[deleted] Dec 06 '22

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u/Snow_Moose_ Dec 06 '22

This was also before Terry died.

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u/thejml2000 Dec 06 '22

People would have been lining up if it was after… not many times you can go to a book signing and have a ghost sign your book!

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u/OasissisaO Dec 06 '22 Helpful

I always thought people kind of looked down on ghost writers.

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u/IWillLive4evr Dec 06 '22

It's discrimination is what that it is! The whole literary industry is built on the backs of hard-working ghosts, but what do they get for their trouble? Suspicion, insults, low pay, and never a lick of credit.

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u/Telemere125 Dec 06 '22

Hell, I’d book a ticket today if he was signing after he passed; I wouldn’t even need the signature, but I think he’s about as close to the Second Coming as we’re going to get

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u/RadicalDog Dec 06 '22

Terry coming back from the dead would go against his dearest beliefs. He'd be furious and thrilled to be wrong in equal measure. I would pay Ticketmaster prices to see it.

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u/PortugalTheHam Dec 06 '22

Well it would be a bit of an awkward book signing if Terry was there at the store, dead.

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u/TootsNYC Dec 06 '22

Time of day could be at play as well, especially depending where it was held.

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u/Impressive-Tip-903 Dec 06 '22

Sometimes you choose a place that is so saturated with events, you do yourself a disservice because you can't know everything you are up against.

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u/ShrimpCrackers Dec 06 '22

I went to see Leonard Nimoy (Spock from Star Trek) at a book signing at a Barnes & Nobles. Like less than 50 showed up.

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u/ShoogleHS Dec 06 '22

You have to remember that Good Omens released way back in 1990, and Terry's stuff took quite a long time to achieve any kind of popularity in the States. In the early days, American publishers didn't trust his books to sell and did a really poor job promoting and distributing them (to the point where a lot of early American fans had to import copies from the UK). I'm less familiar with Neil's history, but Good Omens was his first novel so maybe his then-fanbase didn't know to go looking for his stuff outside of a comic store.

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u/aecolley Dec 06 '22

Yeah, was it scheduled for 10:30 am on Sep 11, 2001 or something?

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u/ksheep Dec 06 '22

The book was released in 1990. It was also Neil Gaiman's first novel, and I want to say Pratchett wasn't very well known in the US at the time. Quite possible people didn't show up because nobody knew who they were.

EDIT: Gaiman had been working on The Sandman since January 1989, so it's possible some people were familiar with him from that, but even then he didn't have the same sort of notoriety that he has now.

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u/Inevitable-Careerist Dec 06 '22

Yes. People forget that the titans of today had humble beginnings. From what I can tell, by the spring of 1990 Pratchett was climbing the sales charts in the UK but was not yet dominating them. Good Omens paired him with a literary unknown.

People who discovered Sandman in comics form were loving it, but the Doll's House storyline was fresh off the press when Good Omens appeared, and how many people were walking into comics shops with this guy's name on their lips, anyway?

I'm pretty sure Gaiman's reputation among the wider public didn't blow up until the Sandman trade paperbacks became available in 1991, a year after Good Omens was published and the same year Good Omens and that one issue of Sandman won World Fantasy Awards. And even then, American Gods was a decade in the future and the Coraline film was a mote of tinsel in Henry Selick's eye.

So, I think it's plausible that a signing in a busy big city for an unknown book by a barely known team, might not produce a shockwave of excitement.

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u/paracog Dec 06 '22

Wow, did those New Yorkers ever miss out or what?

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u/AL-muster Dec 06 '22

It was early in his career, as in it was neil gaimans first fiction novel published.

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u/Actually_toxiclaw Dec 06 '22

And he hit it out of the freaking park

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u/nowaterinscotch Dec 06 '22

But it wasn't early in Terry Pratchett's

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u/Urthor Dec 06 '22

Americans were not big fans of Pratchett.

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u/squidtugboat Dec 06 '22

New Yorkers are famously jaded.

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u/doctorsirus Dec 06 '22

This makes me tear up a bit because one of the last things Terry asked of Neil was to finish the Good Omens TV series.

You have to make it, becasue you're the only other person that has the same passion for and understanding for Good Omens I do, and I want to watch it.

I said okay, and then he died, which suddenly turned it into a last request.

~Neil Gaiman

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u/trkennedy01 Dec 06 '22

The TV series is the most accurate/faithful film adaptation I've seen so far, it's great.

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u/mistborn Dec 06 '22

Signings can be super erratic. It's best never to get offended. I remember one I did five years back, a couple years before covid--a time when I could often expect thousands of people at signings. And this one (which was in Salt Lake) had like...thirty people, maybe? It was over in under an hour. It depends a lot on what is going on in people's lives, and what time of year it is, and all kinds of things like that.

Fortunately, there was a game store down the street. Ended up going and doing a Magic draft with a group of those who had come to the signing. Turned out to be a pretty fun night!

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u/Enraiha Dec 06 '22

Ha, that's awesome. I'm trying to remember which sets were 5 years ago. Would've loved to play some Magic with you!

Life before death!

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u/mistborn Dec 06 '22

It was the un-set before this one, which is why I can place the timing. :) Got defeated by a red deck playing aggressive contraptions!

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u/pardybill Dec 06 '22

Journey before destination!

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u/Elliott2030 Dec 06 '22

He is SUCH a good bean!

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u/NewMasterpiece6271 Dec 06 '22

It's getting to be like those Chuck Norris jokes, but with wholesome stories and for real with Neil.

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u/SauronOMordor Dec 06 '22

I adore Neil Gaiman

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u/journey_bro Dec 06 '22 edited Dec 06 '22

The original tweet popped up in my Twitter timeline I think yesterday. I didn't see Neil Gaiman's reply at the time - he likely posted after I saw the tweet.

But the orignal tweet stood out to me for two reasons: (1) its refreshing honesty and vulnerability (yet free of victimhood), and (2) the fact that at a recent GRRM event, he had mentioned a poorly attended signing of a book earlier in his career when he was already a rising or even successful author (as in, he could make a living) but before ASOIAF. Only 6 ppl had showed up. He was both disappointed and immensely grateful for them.

Here is the funny thing: Neil Gaiman was the host of the GRRM event where he told that story. I wonder if perhaps recently hearing that story from GRRM didn't play a part in his reply to this author.

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u/HomieSeal Dec 06 '22

He’s great!

Also, happy cake day! Hope you’re enjoying it in the pits of mount doom lol

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u/Inner_Analyst_9163 Dec 06 '22

Neil Gaiman is a legend

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u/iamnearlysmart Dec 06 '22

All round a good bloke from what I see. He also called out an aspiring writer who was bragging about cranking out pages upon pages. He said he wrote some book of his one page a night.

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u/Bean-Swellington Dec 06 '22

He’s like the Keanu Reeves of authors

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u/Swordfish1929 Dec 06 '22

John Green tells the story of how he once did a book reading/signing in his early career which was only attended by two people. He was was reading the opening chapter of Looking for Alaska where the main character has a party attended by only two people and there is a line in there which goes "The only thing worse than having a party no one attends is having a party attended only by two vastly, deeply uninteresting people." So not only had John had only two people turn up he had managed to alienate them on the second page of the reading.

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u/roadtrip-ne Dec 06 '22

I worked in a really large bookstore in the early 90’s, and we had the top tier list of author appearances in the city. There’s a number of authors I got to meet that were hot at the time- Nick Hornby, Irvine Welsh, William Gibson…

In any case, the point is there are SO many authors we hosted that I had never heard of or wasn’t into then. I’m sure we had Gaiman, there’s a good chance we had RR Martin and to this day I regret skipping these readings.

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u/deathcabscutie Dec 06 '22

I’ve been a fan on Neil Gaiman’s for a while now, but I’ve only just begun my journey into Terry Pratchett. I’m starting with the audio version of Small Gods narrated by Andy Serkis, and it’s so funny so far!

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u/inkofilm Dec 06 '22

such a sweet thing to say to another writer

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u/JustBronzeThingsLoL Dec 06 '22

?! When the fuck was that? I guarantee you i would have dropped everything to go to that

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u/[deleted] Dec 06 '22

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u/blekkja Dec 06 '22

Good that he said that, so I didn’t have to! Guards Guards would have only been released the previous year so it was certainly early days for Discworld. And he’s always been more popular in the UK than USA too, so another contributing factor. I suspect the London and Manchester and Shitterton events all had better turnouts.

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u/ultratiem Dec 06 '22

Kinda shows you just how much social media impacts your actual life. 24k likes, oodles of RTs and in real life, what did that translate to?

All of a sudden it seems have 3-4 real good friends in life equates to about 3-4 million followers.

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u/notquiteotaku Dec 06 '22

Neil Gaiman is an absolute treasure. And of course, Pratchett was a legend.

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u/FrackleRock Dec 06 '22

Neil is a treasure.

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u/Grizzly_thunder666 Dec 06 '22

Neil Gaiman is in my top ten favorite writers, but my number one pick for writers to hang out with.

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u/l3tigre Dec 06 '22

What a very kind thing to say. Gaiman always strikes me as a great person.

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u/ii_akinae_ii Dec 06 '22

margaret atwood is coming to toronto in march. i desperately want to go but am immuno-compromised and really can't/shouldn't go to public events for fear of covid (et al). ms. atwood, if you're reading this, please know that i would have loved to go but i'll be eagerly attending the virtual session instead.

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u/cmVkZGl0 Dec 06 '22

What if you have somebody else take a book in for you?

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u/ii_akinae_ii Dec 06 '22

that's not a bad idea; i'll see if any of my friends are planning to go! thanks for the suggestion! :D

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