The Drexel Barnes & Noble bookstore hosted a “Dream Course” April 28 that was led by local author Eric Smith, who wrote “The Geek’s Guide to Dating.”
“I’m very excited to talk to you about my book, passion projects and general geekery,” he told the audience.
He gave five “tracks” of advice about successfully doing what you love to the audience, peppered with his self-effacing style of humor.
“I’ve spent my entire life as a very proud geek,” he said. “Because of starting ‘Geekadelphia,’ and working for Quirk, I can be a geek full-time.”
His first tip for success was to be patient. “[Following your passion] doesn’t always equate to profit right away,” he said.
He noted that writing for free spread awareness about his work. He said, “My job actually found me.”
However, he cautioned aspiring individuals. He said, “Don’t get up and quit [your job] once you get a great idea.”
The next suggestion was to “do it yourself,” and “just f—ing do it.”
The third piece of advice was to get focused and stay focused. “Your passion doesn’t always gel with a career goal,” he said.
He gave an example of his desire to be a book editor. However, he could never will himself to turn a book down because he liked them all, so instead he became involved in book publicity.
Track Four was about taking every opportunity. “Building those connections and networking that way really helps you in your career,” he said.
Finally, Smith said to learn and share with your peers.
Following the advice, he opened the floor to questions. One topic he tackled involved timely releases of content, “With me, every Sunday is ‘write all day’ day. … Once you give yourself some sort of itinerary, it gets easier,” he said.
Afterward, he read an essay of his that had been published on “The Bygone Bureau” website. The selection, titled “Secret of Momma,” discussed his experiences as an adopted individual and how the individuals who raised the adopted heroes in video games are the true heroes.
“Everybody wants to take their hobby more seriously and maybe make it profitable,” Drexel alumnus Joe Tedesco, a partial-care counselor for a nonprofit, said. “When I heard about the event, I found it had a lot to do with [a video review series I was doing].”
When asked if he had been inspired by the talk, Tedesco said, “I have some ideas; I was curious about networking … and I would maybe like to find a community of film critics.”
Smith works for the social media division of Quirk Books, a Philadelphia-based publishing company behind books such as “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” He also runs the “Geekadelphia”blog. He writes for news sites such as Boing Boing and the Huffington Post, as well as literary magazines such as APIARY Magazine.
“The Geek’s Guide to Dating”has been translated into five languages, and he is currently working on a young adult novel with Bloomsbury Publishing about children with magical tattoos.
Barnes & Noble College partnered with Togather, an event-planning site, last fall. Togather contacted students at 70 colleges, asking them to suggest and vote for ideas for their dream mini-class. In the end, 25 schools were chosen. Favorite class suggestions were nominated on Facebook; listed interest and “likes” also generated further suggestions. Suggestions included “Late Night Alternatives to No-bake Food Munchies,” “Dorm Entrepreneurship” and “Surviving Your 20s.”