Meet Eric Smith.
Eric Smith is an author, blogger, and literary agent from New Jersey. By day, he works as an associate agent with P.S. Literary, mostly working on YA with a bit of non-fiction and genre fiction in the mix. At night, he can be found working on his own books. His books include the non-fiction humor book The Geek’s Guide to Dating (Quirk, 2013) and YA duology, Inked, (Inked , 2015, Branded, 2017, Bloomsbury). He lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and legion of small furry animals.
Now onto the interview!
The big question of the day… *drum roll* how do you balance work with… everything else?
I don’t? Hahah. I try my best, but it does get hard sometimes. When it comes to managing my own writing with the work of my clients as an agent, I always put their work first. I have a really hard time even thinking about my own projects when I know I have their writing sitting on my computer or my tablet or waiting to be sent out someplace.
Oddly enough, it makes me work harder. If I really want to work on some new personal project, I absolutely have to be finished working on everyone’s various projects and needs. Keeps me accountable.
How would you describe your job to non-publishing professionals?
I pretty much have to do this every day when explaining my job to my parents, so, I’m used to this. Literary agents work to discover authors and get them published. We spend a lot of time polishing up manuscripts with our clients, researching the right editors for those books, and negotiating the best deals when they are presented.
But, it goes a little further than that. We help manage careers, dish out advice, and guide through the publishing process. We watch over contracts and terms, make sure the author is getting what they are promised. We handle rights for things, selling books to foreign markets and the like.
There’s a lot that goes into it, making it way more than just “selling books for people.”
I like to focus on the marketing end of things, as that’s what I did at my previous publishing job. I work with my authors on their online presence, when they want help with it. We talk about marketing tactics they can tackles for their respective books.
Using only one word, describe yourself to your followers.
Tell us a little bit about your process as a writer turned agent?
Not much to tell, really! I worked in publishing before I jumped into agenting, at Quirk Books. I worked on a bundle of wonderful titles with some really great people, and wanted to branch off and work on my own kind of books. And here we are.
I learned a lot there though. About the market. What sells. What readers look for. I was lucky enough to work on books like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. It was a good time with some wonderfully talented folks. Working there really prepared me for agenting.
What is the hardest thing you encounter as an agent? It can be anything from queries to time management, etc.
Hm, maybe when a book doesn’t sell? That hurts. Not just because you’ve put a lot of work into it, your time and what-not… but because there is someone depending on you. Getting an agent is a step in the direction of getting that dream book published, and when it doesn’t happen, well, that’s devastating.
My authors aren’t just clients. They become friends. And letting them down is pretty heartbreaking. But, there’s always the next book.
What is your most anticipated read for 2017? If you can pick one that is.
Oof, that’s tough. I’m lucky enough to get a lot of review copies thanks to writing for Book Riot, Paste, B&N, and other cool places, so picking one… argh. *passes out* that’s rough. I’ll talk about one I’m reading right now, how’s that?
Want by Cindy Pon. It’s a cyberpunk thriller coming out with Simon Pulse later this year, and my goodness, it is fantastic. Pon is really great at crafting gorgeous worlds, and this one… I just want to spend a ton of time in it, no matter how dark and scary it gets.
Is there anything else you want to share?
Well, a few clients of mine have books coming out this year! Ya’ll should keep an eye out for them.
These Things I’ve Done by Rebecca Phillips comes out in August with HarperTeen. It’s about a teen girl who accidentally causes the death of her best friend… and consequently falls in love with her friend’s younger brother, who witnessed the whole thing. It’s told in this shifting timeframe, and is really moving.
Luminator by Laurel Amberdine comes out this Winter with REUTS. It’s a YA novel set in a world where people battle with light, and a mounting war that’s set to engulf the world. Lots of magic and a really swoony couple you’re sure to ship.
The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis comes out in November with Sky Pony. This is actually the FIRST BOOK I ever sold, and it’s about a teen addicted to porn, and how that effects the relationships in his life. There’s music, a gang of friends that you’re sure to love, and just a really beautiful redemptive arc that pulls at my heart whenever I think about it.
Big thank you to Eric Smith for stopping by for a chat!