Eric Smith is a man of many hats, both literally and figuratively. He’s a literary agent with P.S. Literary Agency AND author of the popular YA novels Inked, and The Geek’s Guide to Dating which was named an Amazon 2013 Best Book of the Year (Humor). I met Eric recently at a writers’ conference in Michigan and was fortunate enough to drive him to the airport after the conference. Eric really does rock.
Me: Eric, thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Eric: Sure! Question away!
Me: First, a question to give us some insight into what makes you tick. What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?
Eric: By favorite do you mean, the one I had to wear all the time and had no choice in the matter? Because if that’s the case, it was this M&M costume my parents bought me one year. I wore that thing like five years in a row. Sometimes added sunglasses to be a “cool M&M.”
One year my parents bought me this crazy shark costume, that like, cover my entire body. My head stuck out of the mouth, and the nose shot up in the air. It had rained that Halloween, so I just hid inside my costume when it got bad. That thing was definitely my favorite, but was quickly retired after the storm.
Me: Do you always wear a newsboy hat or do you change hats with seasons?
Eric: Hahaha, I do! It’s my thing. I have a couple different flatcaps, but ever since my good friend Jess bought me my first cap for a “tweed ride” in Philadelphia (where folks dress up in old-timey clothing and bike ride around the city), that’s been it. I wear one always.
Me: Which is easier agenting or authoring? Why?
Eric: Oooh, that’s tough! Both involve a lot of waiting and anxiety, for that yes or no. In my case, I think I’ll say authoring is easier. Mostly because hey, those are just my books. Not someone else’s. And it’s actually more heartbreaking for me when a client’s book gets a no. I just care about my authors so much, and want to see them get out there. At least when someone says no to one of my books, I have my dog here to cuddle.
Me: What’s the biggest misconception about your career as an agent?
Eric: Hm, that I have a big office in a building someplace, or a bunch of colleagues working around me? I’m basically solo in my apartment and/or the local Starbucks, while Gchatting with my amazing coworkers. It’s a pretty solitary gig. Thank goodness for social media and Internet toys.
Me: What is your most memorable (good or bad) moment as an agent?
Eric: Signing my first client, Alan Orloff. He’s an author I’ve actually read before, so it was mind blowing that he wanted to work with me, this total newbie. He’s been great throughout the whole submission process, and constantly has new ideas.
Me: If you could hijack the Tardis, where and when would you go?
Eric: Hahah, oh man. Amiens, France in the late 1800’s, when Jules Verne was living and writing there. His books had a huge influence on me, and France is awesome. I would have loved to hang with him for a week.
Me: Where’s your favorite spot to read?
Eric: My hammock. J I’ve got one setup in my backyard. Hop in there with my dog and a soda? Life is perfect.
If it’s raining though, or it is way too cold or hot out, I’ll just go to my favorite local coffeeshop. There’s a place called Coffee Bar here in Philadelphia that I’m constantly in. I also like visiting the Barnes & Noble for their café, and then browsing books afterwards.
Me: What’s something you should have gotten in trouble for, but didn’t get caught.
Eric: Probably the liquor my roommate and I kept in a rotating bookcase in college? Ah, those were the days.
Me: Favorite way to let your hair down (figuratively speaking).
Eric: Video games, hands down. Few things relax me more than either jumping into an awesome story (ie: Dragon Age, Final Fantasy type games) or just blasting away at bad guys with some pals (ie: Halo, Destiny).
Me: What do you want for Christmas?
Eric: Is it cliché to say nothing? I started agenting this year, my first YA novel came out in January, I got married, my wife bought me a dog… I’m good. If any of my friends read this, instead of gifts, donate a book someplace. ❤
Me: What’s on your Manuscript Wish List?
Eric: You can check out what books I’m looking for over on my blog! Bam. http://ericsmithrocks.com/mswl/
Book High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
Music Anything by Jimmy Eat World, Third Eye Blind, or the Gin Blossoms.
Superhero Constantly changes, but maybe Gambit?
Ice cream flavor Mint chocolate chip.
Beverage Root beer.
Subject in school MATH KILL IT WITH FIRE
Food Sushi. Sorry.
Candy Raisinettes. Get outta here with your raisins in my chocolate.
Me: Thanks for stopping by, Eric. It was fun getting to know you better.
Eric: This was fun, thanks!
Eric Smith is an associate literary agent at P.S. Literary, with a love for young adult books, sci-fi, fantasy, and literary fiction. A frequent blogger, his ramblings about books appear on BookRiot, The Huffington Post, and more. A published author with Quirk Books and Bloomsbury, he seeks to give his authors the same amount of love his writing has received. Which is a lot.
Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and nonfiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in Young Adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), New Adult, and Literary and Commercial Fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of nonfiction, he’s interested in Cookbooks, Pop Culture, Humor, essay collections, and blog to book ideas.