Eric Weddle weekend mini book tour in Utah a success

The book captures Weddle’s drive and determination to become an All-American for the Utes and a second-round draft pick in San Diego, where he’s entering his seventh season. — Kurt Kragthorpe, Columnist, Salt Lake Tribune

For the last three years I’ve looked forward to a weekend like this one. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was fun, fulfilling and exhausting.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain.

In June 2010, I started writing a book about former Utah all-American and current San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle. This process involved a lot of phone calls, interviews, some travel and countless hours of writing and editing at all hours of the night. Then earlier this year, Shadow Mountain agreed to publish the manuscript and a release was planned for the spring. “No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story” is an authorized biography.

The University of Utah got the first chance to sell copies at the Red and White spring game, and from there the book has been distributed to Deseret Book and other LDS books stores along the Wasatch Front, as well as Wal-Mart, Costco and Barnes & Noble.

Getting Eric to help promote the book was part of the plan from the beginning. After the Utah spring game, we targeted Father’s Day to launch the promotional campaign. That campaign started this past week of May 13-17, 2013.

Here is a little recap of what happened.

First came the mad media tour. Starting Monday, May 13, my employer, the Deseret News, began publishing a 5-part series of book excerpts that ran through Friday, May 17. Here is link to the first excerpt in the series, “Eric Weddle the punk freshman.

Before coming to Utah on Thursday, Eric did a series of interviews in the San Diego area. On radio interview was with Darren Smith of Mighty 1090. Another was at NBC 7 in San Diego, where his son stole the show. Watch this video:

The Weddles flew into Utah on Thursday night and started Friday morning with a visit to ABC 4 “Good Things Utah.

Eric, accompanied by his wife, Chanel, and agent David Canter, then hit interviews with ABC4 Sports and Dana Greene;  KUTV news and “Talking Sports” with David James (Part 1 and Part 2); and KSTU Fox13’s Jer Banks. They group also hit KSL 5 to visit with Rod Zundel in the afternoon. I was able to watch the interview from the back of the studio.

Eric and Chanel Weddle discuss "No Excuses, No Regrets" with KSL TV's Rod Zundel on Friday, May 17.

Eric and Chanel Weddle discuss “No Excuses, No Regrets” with KSL TV’s Rod Zundel on Friday, May 17.

After hitting all the TV stations in Utah’s main market, they did the sports talk radio circuit.

They started with Scotty G on 1280 The Zone. Then came ESPN 700, the home of the Utes, with Bill Riley and Hans Olsen. Finally they were interviewed by Kyle Gunther and Kevin Graham on 1320 KFAN. Eric also did an interview with Rod Zundel regarding the book on April 23 on ESPN 700.

This May 20 article by Kurt Kragthorpe, a columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune, recapped Eric’s legendary act of sportsmanship against BYU in 2006.

Jennifer Wardell wrote this generous article for the Syracuse Islander, a weekly newspaper affiliated with the Davis County Clipper.

Patrick Green wrote this review for www.boltsfromtheblue.com. This is my favorite quote from his review:

Trent Toone, the book’s author, brilliantly details Weddle’s athletic career from Pop Warner to the Chargers, intertwining the high and low moments of Weddle’s personal life along the way. Although the stories about him in the athletic setting are neat to read about for obvious reasons, the stories about Weddle in the personal setting are the most powerful. Those were the parts that left me wanting to be a better person.

Then came the book signings. The first was from 6-8 p.m. at the Deseret Book Flagship store across from Temple Square. While Eric and I signed book, I found it interesting to watch Eric admit he liked ice cream manufactured by BYU Creamery. Eric loves ice cream.

While Eric gives a hug, I sign a copy of the book.

While Eric gives a hug, I sign a copy of the book.

After signing what seemed like a hundred books, we walked through City Creek to have dinner at Texas de Brazil.

The next day we met at the entrance to Costco on 1800 South and 3rd West around noon. Despite some rain and a packed parking lot, there was a line and we got to work. It was fun to interact people. Many expressed how excited they were to read Eric’s story. While I individualized and signed, Eric would stand for a quick picture with the person(s) and then add his name. We got to be pretty efficient, actually.

Eric Weddle and I sign books at Costco with the line in the background.

Eric Weddle and I sign books at Costco with the line in the background.

I acknowledge the people were there to see Eric, no question about that, I was just along for the ride. Occasionally a person would go straight to him with their book, but I appreciated that he would make sure they knew I wrote the book, and the majority seemed genuinely excited to have me to sign. “You want the author’s signature, right? Sign that T-Dog,” he would say. Once in a while though people would mention how much they like my articles in the Deseret News, or say that they had already started the book and were really enjoying it. I appreciated that as well.

Before the Barnes and Noble signing at 3 p.m., I was fortunate to accompany Eric, Chanel and David on a quick tour of Utah’s new athletic facility. As a big-time Utah fan, it was fascinating to see the new facility, which is costing $32 million and will open this fall.

Eric, his agent David Canter, Chanel and I before taking a tour of the new Utah athletic facility.

Eric, his agent David Canter, Chanel and I before taking a tour of the new Utah athletic facility.

Eric Weddle flashes the "U" from Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham's future office patio with Rice-Eccles Stadium in the background.

Eric Weddle flashes the “U” from Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham’s future office patio with Rice-Eccles Stadium in the background.

They were counting on me to get them to the Barnes and Noble in Sugarhouse, and I almost did it, but took a wrong turn. They gave me some grief by saying I had lost my “leading privileges,” but we were only minutes late. Again there was a big line. Many were buying books, while others brought memorabilia for him to sign, including helmets, jerseys, hats and other items.

A poster at Barnes & Noble.

A poster at Barnes & Noble.

Chanel, Eric, my cousin Bree Toone and me at the Barnes & Noble book signing.

Chanel, Eric, my cousin Bree Toone and me at the Barnes & Noble book signing.

We had some time before the Utah Blaze game, so we dropped in at Cafe Rio on 400 South. While I downed a Chicken Burrito enchilada style, I listening with fascination to David, Eric and their friend Brian Johnson, Utah’s co-offensive coordinator, as they discussed current issues in college football. There is a reason I am not going to elaborate on that. Hearing what they discussed would have been a huge story for any sportswriter, but I know better than to betray that trust.

Despite an on-coming headache and mental fatigue, we proceeded to 100 South and into the parking area behind EnergySolutions Arena for Eric Weddle night at the Utah Blaze game. We signed books for another hour and beyond.

Signing books at the ESA.

Signing books at the ESA.

We were allowed to sit right next to the field and in the second quarter, Eric was invited onto the field to accept a jersey and get a round of applause from the crowd.

The Utah Blaze honored Eric with a game jersey at Saturday's game.

The Utah Blaze honored Eric with a game jersey at Saturday’s game.

Then we returned to our seats where we signed more copies intended for big donors of the Utah athletic department. They only wanted Eric’s signature on these 100 copies, so we all took a stack and wrote “Thank you for supporting Utah athletics” before passing them to Eric for his autograph. We were all pretty tired at that point, and after Eric did an interview with Alema Harrington during halftime, we left.

Eric rests his right hand before signing more books at the Utah Blaze game.

Eric rests his right hand before signing more books at the Utah Blaze game.

There will be more book signings scheduled for San Diego, but I’m not expecting to be invited down. But it seems like book sales are off to a good start. I was told Saturday night that about 500 copies were sold within the 24 hour period of the signings. We are just getting started. As we continue on through father’s day and into the fall, if Eric can have a good year and lead the Chargers into the playoffs, I have high hopes that sales numbers will increase.

 

 

 

 

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Trent Toone

My name is Trent Toone and I’m a journalist for the Deseret News, where I write for a variety of feature sections. I was raised in Northern Utah and graduated from the University of Utah in 2003. Since then I have worked for several newspapers and received various awards over my journalism career. I am the author of “No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story,” the sports biography of San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle. I served an LDS mission to Santiago, Chile, and spent a year teaching seminary. Like my father before me, I am a proud Eagle Scout. My wife Lisa and I have four children and live in Northern Utah. Feel free to contact me by emailing to trent.b.toone (at) gmail (dot) com.

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1 Response

  1. Pearl Mickelsen says:

    Great going, Trent. We are so proud of you.

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