Former engineer now top-selling author on Amazon due to selfless act of kindness

B.R. Shenoy

“One guy saw another sitting there, bored and alone trying to sell his stuff, and he just came over to say hello out of an act of kindness…And that one act by one person triggered a tsunami of generosity after.” — Author Shawn Warner, per NBC News

In today’s digital world, social media has a tremendous impact on people’s lives.

It can change fortunes and launch careers, as we witnessed with Shawn Warner, a new author whose first book quickly became a bestseller on Amazon.

Per an excerpt from People:

“Warner, 58, a former army veteran and engineer, said he decided to pursue his “childhood dream” of becoming a writer despite naysayers telling him throughout his life, “you can’t make a living out of doing that,” according to his website.”

An Act of Kindness and the Power of Social Media

Shawn Warner was promoting his debut novel, “Leigh Howard and the Ghosts of Simmons-Pierce Manor,” at a Kroger store near Fort Worth, Texas.

On that day, Jerrad “Red” Swearengin came by, noticed Warner looking downcast, and stopped for a chat. Warner shared a bit about his murdermystery story, where a teenage girl teams up with a ghost who has different personalities to solve her parents’ murders.

Swearengin was genuinely interested and bought two signed copies of the book, one for himself and another as a gift.

“He looked defeated. You could tell he spent so much time working on it and he wanted to share it with the world,” Jared Swearengin told Inside Edition.

Little did they know that this encounter would change everything.

@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

Swearengin, an active TikTok user, recorded the heartwarming interaction and shared it on the platform. The video gained traction and quickly spread beyond Fort Worth.

Readers from all over the internet, particularly on BookTok, came together to support Warner.

In just a day, their enthusiasm catapulted Warner’s book to the number one spot on the Amazon Best Sellers list.

Gratitude and New Opportunities

Warner was overwhelmed with gratitude and took to social media to express his astonishment and appreciation. He reposted Swearengin’s video, thanking everyone for their love and support.

The response from readers across the country deeply moved Warner, reminding him of the power of storytelling and personal connections.

The overwhelming support led to new opportunities for Warner.

Building on the momentum, Warner revealed that his publisher was planning to release a hardback edition and an audiobook of his debut novel.

He also mentioned that he was already working on his second book, set to be published in a few months in an interview with The Dallas Morning News.

@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

Per NBC News:

“TikTok has proved itself a powerful tool for smaller authors in the past. In February, Lloyd Devereux Richards’ novel “Stone Maidens” became the top-selling book in the serial killer-thriller genre on Amazon after his daughter posted a TikTok, which went viral, about it.”


Shawn Warner’s remarkable journey, from unknown author to best-selling sensation, highlights the transformative power of social media.

TikTok played a crucial role in catapulting Warner’s book to literary stardom, demonstrating how platforms like TikTok can amplify underrepresented voices and discover hidden gems in the literary world.

This success story underscores the importance of community support and individual actions in shaping the careers of aspiring artists.

It reminds us to actively support emerging authors by sharing recommendations and attending book signings, contributing to the enrichment of our literary landscape.

Let’s harness social media’s power to celebrate talented authors like Shawn Warner and shape the future of literature.


What are your thoughts on the power of kindness? Let us know in the comments.

A version of this story originally appeared on Medium.

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A seasoned content creator with an M.S. in Toxicology, specializing in unique narratives, heartwarming animal tales, and local news.

Texas, State

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