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Shawn Warner has become a best-selling author overnight after a TikTok video showing him looking “super defeated” at his book signing due to a lack of attendees went viral. The clip was shared by Jerrad Swearenjin a.k.a. Red (@internefamous) on the Fourth of July weekend.
In the viral video, the 58-year-old was seen sitting alone at a table in a Krogers store in Fort Worth, Texas, with a pile of his murder mystery novel, when Swearengin and his friend approached him for a conversation. Warner abstracted his Young Adult (YA) novel, titled Leigh Howard and the Ghosts of Simmons-Pierce Manor, in the following manner:
“It’s about a teenage girl who teams up with a ghost of multiple personalities to solve the mystery of her parents’ murder.”
The TikTok soon went viral, boasting over 17 million views and 3 million likes, taking the novel to the top of Amazon’s best-selling list. The news was shared by Shawn Warner himself.
Before Warner had just received two reviews on Amazon but after Swearenjin posted the video his book made to the top of the retail site’s best seller list.
“So yesterday on Amazon, he had two reviews and it’s his first book and now he’s a number one best-selling author on Amazon,” Swearenjin said during a phone call in a second TikTok.
Swearenjin said the reason he recorded Warner was because he “imagined all the times I worked so hard and never got any recognition.”
“Here’s a fellow neighbor that’s just struggling and I just wanted to help him out,” Swearenjin told WFAA after posting the video to his TikTok account “internetfamouslol.”
While Warner’s book remains top of the list on Amazon, he can’t believe the fame that has come from one person’s small act of kindness. 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,” Warner said tearfully. “They gave me a chance. And that’s just beautiful.”
The overnight success led Warner to create a TikTok account of his own where he has thanked people who have reached out and purchased the book and has even given updates about his future.
“Hi, I want to thank everyone for the love and the kindness on the video that Red posted, it was totally unexpected,” Warner told his 117,900 followers. “I’m in shock I don’t even know what to say about it at the moment, I’m trying to wrap my head around it.”
In a follow-up video, Warner announced a hardcover interpretation of the book.
Warner’s book, originally published in November 2022, was given a spruced-up cover with his recent commendations featured at the top noting him as being “Worldwide #1 Amazon Bestseller and TikTok Famous with Millions of Views.