The horrific book signing where Stephen King smeared his own blood on 15,000 pieces of literature.

Written by Cole Schafer


Before I tell you this horror story, I first have to tell you that Stephen King has rules.

Allegedly, due to Stephen King’s cult-like following, he has rules that must be obeyed before he agrees to do a book signing.

These rules are as follows:

  1. The venue must hire bodyguards.
  2. The venue must hold five thousand people, comfortably.
  3. Each person can bring a max of three items to be signed.
  4. Someone must stand beside the signing table and hold an ice pack to King’s shoulder for the entire signing (this last rule might sound like you’re working with a pre-madonna but when you consider his signings can last upwards of 8-hours and can require him to rep out 15,000 signatures… well, it’s understandable).

Now for the horror story.

Once upon a time, Stephen King was doing a book signing at a venue that was abiding by all of the above rules when something went terribly wrong.

An hour or so into the signing, King looked at the woman doing the job of #4 and said…

“Can you get me some bandages? I’m bleeding on the stock.”

Writers of King’s fame develop calluses on their fingers from decades of these mass signings and one of these calluses cracked, sending a fissure deep into his flesh that began to bleed like a stuck pig.

Before King had the chance to get a bandage on the leaking wound, the next person in line had heard that King had bled on someone’s book(s) and demanded that he bleed on his, too.

Within minutes, everybody in the venue wanted a drop of King’s blood on their manuscripts.

And, for whatever reason, he couldn’t bring himself to turn them down.

By the end of the day, King had bled on every one of the signed books and he was so weak that bodyguards had to hoist him up by the armpits and carry him to his car.

I’m not sure what the conclusion is here.

Perhaps, it’s that you give the fans what they want because, in a way, they make you.

Perhaps, it’s that fame isn’t all that it’s made out to be.

Perhaps, it’s that you’ve got to be willing to bleed for your work.

Perhaps, it's that you've got to get good at saying "no" otherwise the world will kill you.

But, I digress.

By Cole Schafer.

P.S. I first read this strange gruesome story about Stephen King in Chuck Palahniuk’s book on writing, Consider This.