Happy Birthday, Geeky Book

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On December 3rd of 2013, Quirk Books published The Geek’s Guide to Dating (pictured above in a lovely photograph by Lauren Reads YA), a fun little hardcover book packed full of 8-bit art, geek references, and (what I hope is) useful relationship advice. It was my first traditionally published book, and it came out during what might have been the best year of my life.

I mean, seriously. In 2013:

  • I got engaged.
  • I signed with a literary agent.
  • Inked sold to Bloomsbury Spark.
  • My niece was born.
  • I officiated a wedding for two of my best friends.

And a whole string of other lovely things happened. The list seriously goes on and on, and I’m a very lucky person.

A lot of authors that I follow post one-year anniversary entries for their books, so I figured, hey, why not. What’s happened with The Geek’s Guide to Dating? Well, a lot. Read more

New York Comic Con 2014: Quirk, Signings, And Cory Doctorow

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So New York Comic Con is this week, and I’m really excited.

I head to NYCC every year with Quirk, and I’ve been going there anyway for… well, years. I went a few times with Tim for the ol’ Geekadelphia, and I’ve gone plenty of times just for kicks. But this New York Comic Con is extra special.

Because it’s my first New York Comic Con signing books and hosting a Q&A. Saturday is going to be incredible.

SIGNING: On Saturday at New York Comic Con, from 11:00am to noon, I’ll be signing copies of The Geek’s Guide to Dating at the Quirk Books booth. I’ll be joined by my friend (and upcoming Quirk author) Sam Maggs, who will be signing The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy posters.

I’m really excited about this, particularly because Sam’s book is going to be incredible. We wrote together on Geekosystem for a while, before it was absorbed into The Mary Sue. She’s a talented gal, and I’m thrilled Quirk is publishing her. And we get to do a signing together!

The Quirk booth is at #2236.

CORY DOCTOROW Q&A: In October of 2012, I was thrilled to help bring Cory Doctorow to Indy Hall for a talk about his YA novel Pirate Cinema. It was an awesome event that I still talk about. And now, two years later, I’m hosting his Q&A at New York Comic Con.

From 1:00pm to 1:45pm, you can attend the Spotlight on Cory Doctorow in Room 1A10. I’ll be moderating the Q&A, and I’m just absolutely thrilled and honored. We’ll likely talk a lot about his latest graphic novel, In Real Life, which you might have seen me ramble about over on BookRiot in the Best of August 2014 post. You should seriously check it out.

And that’s my Saturday morning. I’ll likely be found sleeping in the Quirk booth right after the Q&A.

I’ll also be there the whole convention, Thursday through Sunday, doing my thing and talking to people at the Quirk booth. Come by to meet plenty of other awesome Quirk authors, including Ransom Riggs, on Friday.

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

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.

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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.

Fun News: Reading at the Chilltown Literary Festival, INKED on Goodreads, & Wedding Plans

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Truly, this has been one amazing summer.

I signed books at Book Expo America (a dream!) and Wizard World Philly, I saw one of my essays published in an actual anthology, and the translated editions of The Geek’s Guide to Dating have been popping up all over Instagram and Twitter.

Things are lovely. And hey, they’re only getting better. <3

A bit of news! First off, I’m going to be reading at the inaugural Chilltown Literary Festival in Jersey City in July. It’ll be at the WORD Bookstore in Jersey City on Saturday, July 12th. All of my friends from Jersey City (hi Darlene!) and in Brooklyn (hi Preeti!) know that when I visit those areas, the WORD Bookstores in those neighborhoods are MUST VISIT PLACES for me. And I’m just so thrilled that I get to read at one.

Here’s a bit about the festival from WORD’s website.

We’re throwing a day of literary programming all around downtown Jersey City, culminating with an evening drinks mixer into nighttime panel featuring New Jersey authors and New Jersey stories. Current authors throughout the day include Emma Straub (The Vacationers), Eric Smith (The Geek’s Guide to Dating), Emily Croy Barker (The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic), Murray Carpenter (Caffeinated), Ed Lazellari (Awakenings, The Lost Prince), and John Gomez (Legendary Locals of Jersey City).

Okay. So I LOVE Emma Straub’s books, I absolutely adored Emily Croy Baker’s magical novel, and I recently picked up Ed Lazellari’s Awakenings.

Is it weird to bring a giant stack of books to an event you’re part of, you know, for autographs? Asking for a friend.

Anyhow, I hope to see a few of you there! You can RSVP for the event here on Facebook.

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Second bit of news, my YA novel, INKED, finally popped up on Goodreads! And I just love the short description my awesome editor (hi Meredith!) managed to put together for it. Because seriously, I am TERRIBLE with the elevator pitch for the book.

You can add it to your shelves here. It’ll be out in November. Keep an eye out for a cover reveal and some pre-order buttons soon! It’s almost here!

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And in non-book news… the fiancee (check out her blog at Beauty and Britches) and I picked out our wedding venue for the Spring of next year. That’s her scoping out the view from the space.

Life is good, kids. <3