Meet the Panelists: Eric Smith talks Geekadelphia, AUTOFOCUS & chinchillas

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Eric Smith.

Many bloggers are also aspiring writers. Eric Smith will be one of the speakers on Sona Charaipotra’s “Writing Meets Blogging” panel to discuss his experiences as an author and literary agent and how his use of the internet affects, helps, or hinders his writing.

Want to know a little more about Eric before heading into the panel? We asked him a few questions – what started his blogging, what his favorite books and bloggers are, and what his favorite animal is. Check out his answers below, then sign up and join us at the Jefferson Market Library on July 10th!


Tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you? What do you write / where do you blog? What’s your favorite animal? What one unexpected thing do you want people to know about you?
Oh hi! Well, I’m Eric Smith. I’m an author, blogger, and literary agent living in Philadelphia. I write YA and humor, and love blogging about books. You can catch me blogging on Book Riot, Barnes & Noble’s teen blog, Paste Magazine, on my hyperlocal blog Geekadelphia and on my personal blog. As for my books, my YA series Inked is out with Bloomsbury Spark.

My favorite animal… probably a chinchilla. And I have one! That would be the unexpected thing, I suppose. I also have a corgi and bunny.

When did you first start getting involved in the blogger/publishing world?
Well, I’ve been blogging since high school on a personal level. I had a photography blog, where I rambled about my life, college, and posted band photos. Eventually this led to a blogging job at a now defunct magazine in New York, and then a blogging gig in Philadelphia when I moved here for graduate school with Visit Philadelphia. I spent three years as a full time blog editor there, and during my time, launched Geekadelphia.

Now, it was through all of that, building Geekadelphia and my own lil’ online platform, that Quirk Books came knocking, looking for a social media / blog outreach guy. I was already applying for publishing jobs like a mad man in New York City, so it was really thrilling to find a place here at home. I got to stay in Philly, and spent five years at Quirk. They were very good years. <3

These days I work as a literary agent and spend time working on other peoples’ books, and sometimes, work on my own. And I blog for all those places I mentioned earlier.

You’re a panelist on the writing + blogging panel. What should we expect?
I’ll probably ramble a lot about the importance of having a platform, and how it can lead to bigger things. I got my start in the publishing world because I spent the time building myself up online. It’s a great way to show potential publishers what you can do.

What are some kidlit or YA books that you’ve read and loved in the past few months?
Oooh. I just finished The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, and it absolutely blew me away. I laughed, I cried, I felt an intense rage that I didn’t think of the idea first. It was just brilliant and wonderful. I can’t stop recommending it to people.

I also read and adored The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry. It’s a debut novel with time travel, parallel universes, and a love story that’s incredibly powerful. And speaking of love stories, I’m about halfway through Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods, and it’s a really sweet, charming book full of horoscopes and astrology. A really love contemporary read.

Oh, and I’ve been telling absolutely everyone I know to read Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi. It’s an adoption story that’s just oh-so-wonderful, and I wish I had been given that book as a kid.

Who are some kidlit or YA blogs that you love and read regularly?
There are a few run by authors that are just outstanding. I pretty much read and listen to everything Dahlia Adler blogs about on her personal site. Girl is a rockstar, and dishes out wonderful advice. Also, anything on Susan Dennard or Chuck Wendig‘s personal blogs are just golden.

In terms of group blogs, I love YA Interrobang, B&N’s Teen blog (not just cause I write for it), and everything Kelly Jensen has to say about YA on Book Riot. She’s brilliant and everyone should follow her.

I also adore the Cuddlebuggery crew, and anything Broke & the Bookish has to say.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to bloggers?
Remember how important you are. Publishing continues to shift and change, and you are so, so needed. Remember that though. YOU are needed. Publishers and publicists need you, not the other way around. It drives me crazy when I hear about bloggers feeling pressured to review this or that. Take your time, make sure you’re enjoying what you do.

Where on the internet can people find you?
I can be found at http://ericsmithrocks.com, where I blog about books, news, and run giveaways. I really should updated it more often. And of course on Twitter (@ericsmithrocks) where I frequently tweet about manuscripts that make me cry.