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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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:
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.
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.