Eldon had the following to say about his first solo book-signing event:
"Given all the horror stories that authors bandy about regarding these events, I went into this with more than a little trepidation. In the end, however, it wasn’t nearly as scary as it could have been. Granted, I am an unknown author, and unknown authors don’t draw crowds, no matter how well publicized an event may be. Therefore, there were no fans lined up when I arrived, and only one person who made the trip specifically to see me. Nevertheless, I had expected as much, and was not concerned. My only concern was in doing my best to make the event worth the effort of those who had organized it.
To that end, I greeted pretty much everyone who walked in the door. It was pretty easy to do, given the positioning of my signing table. The store’s community relations manager, Cecilia Yung, placed me near a giant stack of Harry Potter books, right near the entrance. My first question to any potential reader was always, ‘Do you read fantasy?’ It seems to me that those who tend to read fantasy do so with great zeal, while those who don’t are often bent against doing so. Since I’m not much of a salesman, I didn’t want to annoy those in the latter category with further questions if their response to my first was a negative one.
That said, there were in fact a small number of non-fantasy readers who picked up a copy for a spouse or child, proving that it never hurts to ask. And there were some pleasant conversations with others who didn’t. I’ve always been told that the purpose of these events is not necessarily to sell books, but to get to know bookstore employees and help to create a friendly atmosphere for their customers. So that’s what I tried to do.
Still, no one wants to leave behind a great big pile of unsold books for the store to return to their warehouse. While I don’t know what the store’s expectation was, I think we did pretty well. We didn’t come close to selling out, but we could have done much worse, by my estimation. Hopefully, I’ll be invited back, and will be able to do even better next time.
My thanks go out to Jim Urbanovich, who brought his wife Rene and their four children in to pick up a book and say hello. And a great big thanks to my youngest brother, Billy, who made the drive from Pasadena and helped out the entire time. I also enjoyed meeting bestselling author Rosalie Maggio, who was there to sign and promote her newest book, The Art of Talking to Anyone. Rosalie was incredibly kind and professional, and set a great example. Finally, my sincere appreciation to Cecilia Yung and all of her fellow employees who contributed to this event. Thanks for taking the trouble, and for proving my early fears to be unfounded."