Just Because: Win a Bundle of YA Books & Graphic Novels!

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One of the many joys of working in publishing AND blogging about books, is that I get a lot of free, awesome books. But what do I do with all the ARCs afterwards? I either dish them out to friends, colleagues, or put them on the Internet. Which is what I’m doing right now.

Behold, a giveaway of these amazing titles.

Let’s Get Lost (Adi Alsaid): I love a good road trip book, and this one was no exception. A wonderful read, and well deserving of all the hype surrounding it.

In a Handful of Dust (Mindy McGinnis): Without a Drop to Drink is one of my favorite YA reads. Seriously. I couldn’t believe a sequel came out. I devoured this book, and it’ll definitely end up in a Best of the Month post on BookRiot in the coming weeks. It was the cause of many, many tears.

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone (Adele Griffin): When Adam Silvera and Meredith Barnes both tell you that you absolutely need to read a book, you read it. End of story. And I did. And it was absolutely glorious. A genre twisting book that just blew my mind. I WISH I could YA like this.

The Girl Who Never Was (Skylar Dorset): I pretty much need to have every single book Source Books puts out. This is a series I’m going to be watching closely!

Since You’ve Been Gone (Morgan Matson): My pal Jamie, who happens to be one of my favorite book bloggers, wrote a glowing review of the book on her website. Read her review. It’ll give it way more justice than my couple of sentences here.

The Wrenchies (Farel Dalrymple): I wrote about Farel coming to Philadelphia fairly recently on the ol’ Geekadelphia. First Second puts out amazing comics, and this graphic novel was just brilliant.

We Are Pirates (Daniel Handler): Hey it’s that guy who wrote the Lemoney Snicket books! And this one isn’t out for a while!

The Shadow Hero (Gene Luen Yang): One of my favorite graphic novelists, Gene Lueg Yang never EVER disappoints.

So! Want to win a bundle of these books? Enter the Rafflecopter below! You can enter by following me and some of the people I mentioned here in this post, all of whom are pretty damn great. I’ll send the books out next week. Thanks!

Oh, and all my geeky desk decor is NOT included. Sorry. Read more

Stuff Every Geek Should Know, And What Happens When a Seven Year Old Writes Her Own Version of My Book

For some bizarre reason that the world’s top scientists are still investigating, earlier this year the team at Quirk Books trusted me to help curate an eBook sampler. Stuff Every Geek Should Know.

We try to publish these themed samplers every season, with excerpts from our various books. Here’s one with cute activities to do with your kids and here’s another with fun party planning ideas.

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However, for the Stuff Every Geek Should Know eBook, we tried something a little different. There were excerpts from our geeky books (including mine), but we tried pulling in original pieces from geeky writers around the Internet. I spent a few weeks working with writer pals near and far, getting their awesome articles and essays into the free eBook.

This included bloggers like Kristin Hackett, Glen Tickle, Melissa Kay, Elizabeth Vallish, and Chris Cummins, as well as authors like Susan Dennard, Kyle Cassidy, Johnny Zito, and E.C. Myers. I linked to all their Twitter profiles, so go follow them. Thanks you guys, for being part of the project!

But the biggest thrill for me showed up via email, when my good friend (and super talented artist) Krystine Lopez sent me an email featuring her adorable daughter’s take on my book. She had written her own Geek’s Guide to Dating on her Nook tablet’s journal, and when I sent it around the Quirk office, the editorial team insisted we put it in the sampler.

You can download the Stuff Every Geek Should Know eBook here on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the iBookstore. But the edited excerpt of Kaia’s take on my book can be found below. Give it a read, and enjoy. I look forward to her upcoming books, How to Train a Pet and Dogs are Mostly Good and Bad. Read more

Bees, Bots, & Bits: My Favorite Summer Books of 2014

This Summer was a season of unique young adult books, awesome sequels better than the first books, and conclusions to book series that I’ve adored. And that’s okay. I can deal with that. I’ve had a good cry (or eight), and I’m recovering.

Now that September is here, I figured I’d ramble a little bit about some of my favorite reads this Summer. These are all books that came out during the Summer, mind you. I read a lot of amazing YA novels that didn’t, like The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson, Dueled by Elsie Chapman, and The Well’s End by Seth Fishman. I highly recommend you pick those three up ASAP.

In the meantime, check these Summer reads out, and add them to your to-read lists. Read more

Accidental Marketing: Learning To Love Instagram As An Author

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I’ve never really used my Instagram for anything other than making my photos look pretty.

I’m super active on there, sure. I take a lot of pictures. As of this post, I’ve got about 1,700 pictures on that thing. And I follow a few good friends on there, but I seldom comment on stuff. I never use hashtags on my photos, and when I see my photographer friends going crazy with them, I’ll usually troll them by leaving comments like #hashtag” on their pictures. Sorry, Conrad.

I am an adult.

However, towards the end of the spring, I started to notice a shocking bump in my followers and people were starting to tag me in pictures. Suddenly I had 1,300 followers. Why? Were people really that into pictures of my overweight chinchilla or lazy rabbit? Pictures of squirrels eating Doritos? What was happening?

Well, all of this started around the time the Portuguese version of The Geek’s Guide to Dating came out in Brazil. And when one reader tagged me in a photo with a series of hashtags, I did a little clicking.

And was pretty surprised.

Readers and bloggers in Brazil were using my name (#ericsmith), the title of the book (#geeklove), and the original title (#thegeeksguidetodating and #geeksguidetodating) while sharing the review copies they received. I spent a lot of time flicking through numerous photos and then, started commenting on them. Saying thanks, telling them how I couldn’t wait to see blog posts, etc.


This blogger took a screen cap of me saying hi on her blog, and she also wrote one amazing entry featuring a playlist from inside the book, which I might have never caught otherwise.

A lot of these bloggers subsequently found me on Twitter, mentioned me while tweeting their reviews, emailed me for bookplates and/or posters, started following me on Goodreads, liked my Facebook page, etc. I responded to everything, loving every minute of it.

Was this… was I accidentally marketing on Instagram? Was this photo sharing toy suddenly something more?

The interesting thing here, is that thanks to Instagram, a social networking tool that’s almost entirely visual, I was able to connect with readers (and still am connecting with them, I check the hashtags once a week) in a way that isn’t effected by the language barrier. Not a lot of authors get to connect with their international readers, but with a tool like Instagram… I was suddenly able to.

So, here’s to taking it a bit more seriously. And author friends, I really encourage you to hop on there, search for your books (in all editions, foreign or not) and your name. I think you’ll end up being pleasantly surprised.

Just take a look. Here are a few authors I’m friends with / work with at Quirk, that are great examples, just off the top of my head:

Awesome, right? Get to searching.

Giveaway: The Asteroid Belt Almanac

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Back in May, The Head & The Hand Press’ Asteroid Belt Almanac came out. This was (and still is!) a pretty big deal for me. It was the first time one of my essays appeared in an actual book.

Not sure if I’ve ever said it here, but I’m a little obsessed with essay collections.

I own almost all of the Best American Essays… collections, pulling random essays from them for the courses I teach at Peirce College. I also own a bunch of the Travel Writing, Nonrequired Writing, and other Best… books. What can I say? Essays make me happy. So it was a real thrill to see one published in print for the first time.

The other day, Nic Esposito (founder and publisher at The Head & the Hand) and I grabbed a cup of coffee, and did some catching up. He also dropped off a couple author copies of the Almanac.

Since I already own two copies and sent one to my Mom, I figured I’d run a little giveaway. To introduce you guys to the book, some of the contributors (yes, even my faux nemesis Christopher Wink), and this fun local publisher.

You can enter to win a copy by entering the Rafflecopter below. You can follow / like the publisher, the contributors, etc. to enter. Good luck, and I’ll send out THREE copies at the end of the month. Read more