I agreed to go and Emily, associate editor for Dell Magazines, set me up for the 1:00 - 2:00 hour. I arrived at the book festival early so that I could look around a bit and get my bearings. I ended up hanging with the Analog/Asimov's crew for a half hour or so before my scheduled signing. Asimov's author Jay O'Connell was scheduled to sign immediately after me. He arrived early and we spent some time chatting. When 1:00 came, Emily set me up at the table with a pen and a stack of Analog issues, and we were off! For what it's worth, the very first person to pick up an issue got a caption reading, "You have my first autograph." On the off chance that I somehow become famous, that guy might get a few bucks out of it!
At one point, a group of girls in their early teens stopped by to chat enthusiastically with Emily, Jay, and I. They love SF and were thrilled to get our autographs. Watching them fangirl over my signature was a surreal experience, to say the least. Mostly, though, it was rather calm, with people stopping to pick up their issues of the magazines and chat politely for a minute or so. Dell also publishes mystery magazines, and it seemed that there were more fans of mystery than SF at the festival. All in all, it was pleasant and not nearly as stressful as I had thought it might be.
After my signing, Sheila arrived and took over the reins from Trevor. He took Emily and I to lunch at a nice barbecue place nearby which served a delicious beef brisket barbecue. We talked for a while over our lunch, mostly sticking to SF industry talk. After lunch we went back to the Dell table, where I had the opportunity to talk to Sheila for a while. Soon, it was time to go. It was a nice afternoon, so I strolled around Manhattan for a while before heading back to the Port Authority Bus Terminal for the ride back home.
All in all, it was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I'll be back in NYC in a couple of weeks for the SFWA reception. I can't wait!