Interview: Eric Smith

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Eric smith headshotEric Smith will be one of the “speed date” agents attending the Push to Publish conference. Click HERE to read more about the kind of work Eric is looking for.

Eric is an author, blogger, gamer and publishing geek living and writing in Philadelphia. He is co-founder of the blog Geekadelphia as well as Philadelphia Geek Awards, a ceremony honoring local geeks. He recently transitioned into Young Adult fiction with the January publication of the novel, Inked.

Congratulations on your latest publication, Inked. Can you tell me about this project? 

Thanks Jon! Sure! Inked came out back in January, and is a YA fantasy novel about a world where tattoos are mandatory, magic, and determine your destiny. The story focuses on Caenum, a teenager who doesn’t want to be ‘inked’—and told what he’s going to be for the rest of his life—and his friends as they take off from their hometown in search of a place that’s safe from the ruling power of the Citadel. Along the way they discover the origins of the magic Ink, revealing a huge secret that threatens to tear apart their realm. It came out with Bloomsbury Spark, a digital imprint of Bloomsbury. It’s the first in what I’m hoping will be a series. The second novel is done and I’m fixing it up with my agent right now. The audiobook is due out sometime this year as well.  

As a frequent blogger and writer of essays and articles, what inspired you to branch out into the realm of young adult fiction?

Well, a few years ago I had to work on the marketing for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, a YA novel by Ransom Riggs. But before diving into promoting it, I wanted to get familiar with the genre. As I read and read and read… well, I fell in love. 🙂 And I wanted to give it a shot. I’ve always wanted to write novels and that book helped steer me in the right direction. Thanks Ransom!

How might your promotion plan differ from this book as compared to your other projects?

It differed a lot. As a digital book, it’s kind of tricky to get attention and traditional publicity. So I worked with bloggers a lot. Bloomsbury sent out digital galleys everywhere and I put together a blog tour, pushed out an excerpt, etc. I suppose it’s a lot of the same kind of publicity that a physical book gets, just with a heavy emphasis on the Internet.  

As Social Media & Marketing Manager of Quirk Books, what advice do you offer to your authors? What are the most important things authors should do to help their books get discovered? 

Having an online platform is important. It’s a home base where your potential fans, current fans, and people that will be interested in selling or sharing your book (booksellers, teachers, librarians, bloggers!) can find and interact with you. It won’t sell your books, but it’ll help endear you to the community. Being part of the community is important.

You are also the co-founder of the blog Geekadelphia, as well as co-founder of the Geek Awards, a ceremony honoring Philly geeks. What is it about geek culture that you love and find most interesting?

I love how passionate the Philly geek scene is, and how… maybe helpful isn’t the right word? Altruistic? We’re a caring bunch. We all work together to help one another. Sure, you’ll see some people competing for attention in the same space quite frequently. But that never stops us from helping each other out and I just adore that.  

What’s next for you? Any projects in the works?

Fussing over a sequel to my YA book, and writing for some new places!

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