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Texas Man Selling Debut Book At Grocery Store Becomes Best-Selling Author, Thanks to a Stranger

Shawn Warner credits one act of kindness for the success of his book, which is currently a best-seller on Amazon
Cover Image Source: A 'lone man selling books' became a best-selling author and an internet sensation | @internetfamouslol | TikTok
Cover Image Source: A 'lone man selling books' became a best-selling author and an internet sensation | @internetfamouslol | TikTok

When the TikTok video of a man from Texas selling his first book at a grocery store received over 17.5 million views, he became a best-selling author almost immediately. After losing his job, Army veteran Shawn Warner, who had previously worked in pediatric mental health and then as a software engineer, chose to follow his passion of writing. Shawn Warner, 58, authored his first book despite being told often that he couldn't support himself as a writer.

Over the Fourth of July holiday, Warner was seated at a table at a Texas Kroger, his books on display, as seen in a now-viral video. He was sitting alone when two men came to him. “This new author seemed really down when I first walked by him. So before I left the store, I decided to go back,” the video’s text read. Warner, seated in a foldable lawn chair behind a white cloth-covered table, explained the plot of his novel, "Leigh Howard And The Ghosts Of Simmons-Pierce Manor," to the men.

“It’s about a teenage girl who teams up with a ghost with multiple personalities to solve the mystery of her parents’ murder,” Warner said. Swearenjin (@internetfamouslol) was the man behind the camera filming the interaction.

Image Source: @internetfamouslol | TikTok
Image Source: @internetfamouslol | TikTok

Warner's spirits brightened as they conversed and he grinned when the men expressed interest in his novel. Jerrad Swearenjin, the man filming, revealed to Warner that he was active on TikTok. "TikToking or whatnot. So I think I’m gonna get a second one, I’m gonna gift it and see we can get you a little love on there(sic)" said the man. "If you could sign it, that way it’s a little more personal for whoever gets it," Swearenjin asked Warner.

In a follow-up TikTok, Swearenjin shared, "Yesterday, he had two reviews on Amazon for his first book, and now he’s a number one best-selling author." Swearenjin explained his motivation for recording Warner: "I imagined all the times I worked hard without recognition. Here was a neighbor struggling, and I wanted to help him out," he told WFAA.

@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 - Internetfamouslol

Warner credits one act of kindness for the success of his book, which is currently a best-seller on Amazon. There were just two reviews for the book before Swearenjin's video. Warner is astounded by the amount of love and support. "Simply by being kind to a lone man selling books, you have shown incredible kindness. It chokes me up," Warner said tearfully. "They gave me a chance. It’s beautiful."

Warner has since created his own TikTok (@shawnwwrites) account to thank those who supported him and to share updates. "Hi, I want to thank everyone for the love and kindness in the video posted. It was totally unexpected," Warner told his 117,900 followers. "I’m in shock and trying to wrap my head around it."

The comments on this video were pure love! Many users shared their excitement to see Shawn as the best-selling author on Amazon.

Image Source: @shawnwwrites | TikTok
Image Source: perry | TikTok

Many viewers left such heartwarming messages on Shawn's videos, saying they purchased the book and the plot was amazing!

Image Source: @shawnwwrites | TikTok
Image Source: That one weird bug | TikTok

Shawn had been working on the book even before his daughter went off to school and his daughter had seen him work so hard throughout the year to get his book up and going!

Image Source: @shawnwwrites | TikTok
Image Source: Gloria Isabelle | TikTok

Warner revealed in a new video that his book would be available in hardcover and as an audiobook with Theresa Bakken narrating. The father of two, Warner intends to keep signing books at neighborhood bookshops and Dallas-area Kroger locations. His book's new cover, first released in November 2022, highlights his recent success by describing him as a "Worldwide #1 Amazon Bestseller and TikTok Famous with Millions of Views."

@shawnwwrites 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 ♬ original sound - Shawn M. Warner

Follow Shawn M. Warner (@shawnwwrites ) on TikTok for his journey toward becoming a bestselling author, and other content.