Tuesday, January 24, 2012

There Are Two Stories In Every Book

If you're reading this, you already know how it feels to be absorbed in a great book. You love being transported to a cool world filled with magic, mystery, romance and adventure. You read for many reasons: to have vicarious experiences, to escape the stress of school or work, to care about something.

I'm so grateful I got the reading bug early on. I remember having this aha moment reading one of Anne McCafferey's Dragonriders books, when I said to myself, "Oh my god! This isn't a fantasy novel, it's actually science fiction!"

My mind was blown.

I remember getting teary-eyed reading The Hunger Games when Katniss sings to Rue. Just thinking about it still gives me a little lump in my throat. 

But you know what I remember more than the stories themselves? I remember where I was when I read them. For the Dragonriders it was summer of 1982 or '83, in my bedroom, windows open, the sounds crickets filling the air with their endless white noise. We didn't have AC, so to cut the humid heat I relied on a little oscillating fan. The thing was filthy with dust. At the end of each swing of its head, gears in its body clicked a few times before it figured out it was time to go the other way.

Next to my bed was a paper cup filled with ice water, a digital alarm clock, a bunch of guitar picks, and a reading lamp. Each night, I'd lie there reading, immersed in the fantastic world that sprang from Ms. McCafferey's mind.

There's one more detail. The smell of the pages. Actually all those paperbacks had that smell, didn't they?

I tried to start The Hunger Games at least three times before it took. I struggled with the present tense, the full immersion in a world with no explanation. The fact is, I always hate starting books. I'm never really into them until I've gotten forty or fifty pages in. But I made myself get that far, and once I did ... well, I just kept reading until the end.

And where was I when I read it? In bed, of course. But there was no oscillating fan, no crickets, no sweltering heat. I have my own house now. I had the cup of water, the digital alarm clock and the guitar picks. But I have AC now, and that old fan was tossed in the dumpster long ago. The only clicking came from the buttons on my Kindle. 

There are so many other books I remember in this way. I could go on and on. Maybe it's why I tend not to re-read books. Because I'm afraid I'll overwrite an already perfect memory.

For me, there are two stories in every book, and I remember them both.

Eric is the author of Undermountain, available from these ebook retailers.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Progress Report

I'm going to update my process report for book 2. I think I'm at about 40% with the outline. Yesterday I hit a bit of sticking point that required me to do some world-building, backstory development. If I do it right, most of that work won't show up in the books to bore you. It's kind of like drawing a person. You need to understand how the skeleton goes together, but in the final drawing you don't see the skeleton.

I've also completed another interview, which should be up next week. I'll be sure to post a link when that goes live.

Book one is getting good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Still only one over at Nook and Smashwords. I don't know if any have sold through the iBookstore or Kobo. The way that reporting works, I probably won't know for quite some time.

Several people have asked about a printed version of the book, and it's coming. I'm putting the whole manuscript through another proofreading pass. Several readers have kindly emailed me with the errors they've uncovered. I figure I'll give it another polish before committing any copies to paper. Once the proofread is finished, it'll only take me a day to make the corrections. Then I've got to figure out how to get it formatted correctly for print. I had planned to do it myself, but now that I'm so deep into book 2, I don't want to get distracted. I've got to find a skilled book designer and get into their schedule. Who knows, if the backlog is too great, I may end up doing it myself anyway.

Finally, one of my characters has somehow managed to set up a twitter account. I think it's kind of hilarious. Here are some selections:

"@ekedstrom Obviously, we don't think of ourselves as bigfeet."

"The US population has just slightly more women than men. If true, your civilization just might have a chance. http://t.co/2pZXDnFj"

"You should see the fleas we have on Ig. Not like these little ones here on Earth."

"Some things just make you scratch you ear and go 'hmm.' Idiots, for instance."

Eric is the author of Undermountain, available from these ebook retailers.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Insane Parkour

One of the characters in my book, Wa, is practitioner of the insane sport of parkour, or free running. Here's a taste (sorry about the ad at the beginning). Please do not try these stunts at home or anywhere else.

Eric is the author of Undermountain. The ebook is available from these retailers.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Eric's Songs

If you're looking for my songwriter stuff, I've moved it. At the top of this page are some tabs, one of them says "Eric's Songs." That will take you to my posterous site where you can listen to all my tunes!

Here are some shortcuts to the favorites:

Every Time You Smile

Fall or Fly

I'll Bring the Beer

You'll Get Me

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Follow @bigfootgrizz on Twitter

I'm kind of shocked by this, but one of that characters from my book, Undermountain, is now on twitter. The profile pic he's using cracks me up because Grizz is an eight foot tall "bigfoot," not a cute, fuzzy little bear cub.

His tweets are amusing, though. Follow him on twitter @bigfootgrizz.

Experiment to Spend $100 on eBooks on Twitter

Yesterday afternoon (central time) I did an experiment to test my twitter network. I called it My $100 eBook Shopping Spree. Over a seven hour period, I tweeted out this:

My $100 eBook shopping spree has begun: I'll buy your YA (adventure, sci-fi, fantasy) ebook today! bit.ly/wMWRQP please RT

It's true. I'm spending $100 on YA ebooks today. Will your ebook be one of them? bit.ly/wMWRQP

Have you written a YA adventure, sci-fi or fantasy novel? I'll buy a copy: bit.ly/wMWRQP No strings attached.

I'm looking to add to my to-read list. Specifically YA adventure, SF or fantasy. I'm spending $100 today. bit.ly/wMWRQP

it's amazing that I can't get anyone to pitch me their YA adventure, SF and fantasy ebooks. I'm ready to buy, buy, buy! bit.ly/wMWRQP

tap tap tap. is this thing on?

I'm shopping for ebooks. YA adventure, sf, fantasy. Tweet me your book! bit.ly/wMWRQP please RT

My $100 shopping spree has begun. Tweet me a buy link to your YA adventure, sf and fantasy ebook. kindle or nook. bit.ly/wMWRQP

I bought ZERO books. Why? Because I did not get even one response.

All someone had to do was tweet "@ekedstrom BOOK TITLE [book buy link] and [link to my original blog post]."

Why I didn't get a response? Well I can tell you. The URL shortener, bit.ly, keeps track of how many clicks each shortened link gets. The link I included in all my tweets got a grand total of TWO clicks. The blog post itself got nine, so seven were from random surfers.

The second part of the problem might be that I specifically requested YA adventure, sf and fantasy. This was really important because that's roughly where my book fits. I wanted to buy books in my genre, and at the same time pitch my book, get my twitter handle retweeted a bunch and hope to get more followers. So it could be that my followers don't fit my genre.

Lesson: I need to do more work cultivating relationships with authors in my genre.

So here I am putting out to twitter that I'm willing to spend $100 to buy books, and I can't spend even $0.99!

Across all my tweets, I got three retweets, expanding my reach to roughly 1000 additional people. But as any twitter user knows, no one reads every item in their tweetstream. So the true reach might be 10% of that, an extra 100 people. Don't misunderstand. I'm not upset that I didn't get more retweets. After all, most of my followers are polite follow-backers or pot shot networkers like me, they have no reason to RT me. Note: only two of my tweets included "please RT" and it was one of those that got RT'd twice.

The most important lesson I've drawn from this experiment is this: With only 86 followers—and most of them authors seeking to sell their own books—my social network platform basically does not exist.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My $100 YA eBook Shopping Spree [Updated: Spree Over]

UPDATE: Spree is now over. I bought a total of ZERO books.

Welcome! You might have heard that I'm on an ebook shopping spree today. Do you want me to buy your ebook? Just follow the directions below. Trust me, it's very simple and you don't have to buy or sign up for anything.

Today I've set aside a budget of $100 to buy ebooks. Why? I want to support other writers, for one. But the main reason is that I'm an author with an ebook to sell, and I want you to know about it. Please indulge me for a moment, and then we'll get to the part where I buy your ebook!

Six teens and a grizzled old guide embark on a ten day expedition into the wilds of the Canadian Rockies. Some came for adventure. Some came to learn. Some came to escape.

For sixteen year old Danny Michaelson the hike is freedom from his troubled home life.

For Breyona Lewis the hike distances her from a terrible memory—of an assault she denies even to herself.

But when Danny and Breyona encounter a creature out of legend—an enormous beast they immediately tag as "bigfoot"—the hike suddenly becomes a race for their lives.

Swept into a secret underground city and told they may never leave, the hikers find themselves in the middle of a war between the bigfeet and their rebellious servant race, the tangoga. In their desperate attempt to escape, Danny and Breyona uncover the terrible plans that both races have for Earth.

To escape, to live, to save the Earth—Danny must fight. Breyona must surrender.

You can find my book on Amazon, Nook or Smashwords.

Consider following me on twitter

If you feel moved to do it, consider adding my book to your goodreads list!


Now, on to the good part. I will buy any YA adventure, science fiction, fantasy ebook priced $4.99 or less from either the Kindle store or the Nook store. This is first come, first bought. (please note: I'll be picky about the genre, so don't tweet me your erotica, literary, adult thrillers, etc.)

1) Tweet (not DM) to me: @ekedstrom your book title and the link to where I can buy it! Also include in your tweet this link: http://bit.ly/wMWRQP (which links back to this web page). That's all there is to it.

2) I'll take each tweet in the order they come in and buy the book. I don't know how fast the budget will go down. I'll update this post when the budget is used up!

When it's all over I'll create a list of the books I bought with the purchase link you gave me!

Let the game begin!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Danny and Breyona Theme Song

I wrote a song that is the perfect theme song for Danny and Breyona from Undermountain. Danny is from Nashville, so naturally this song has a bit of country edge to it. You can download the song here: Every Time You Smile  or stream it here.

I hope you enjoy!

Words and Music by Eric K Edstrom

A Three Way Tie: Author Interview: Eric Edstrom

I was interviewed over on Larissa Hinton's blog: A Three Way Tie: Author Interview: Eric Edstrom: Please check it out! And check out her books while you're at it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: Writing Hit Country Song Lyrics

Writing Hit Country Song Lyrics
Writing Hit Country Song Lyrics by Eric Kent Edstrom

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I used to host a podcast called The Hit Hackers. In it, we'd analyze #1 hit songs in many genres. We spent a lot of time deconstructing country hits because that's the market I was writing for at the time. I also did occasional breakdowns of the top-50 country songs on the billboard chart, looking at things like tempo, duration, song structure, theme, number of co-writers, etc. In the process of all this, I wrote a lot of songs, demoed them and pitched them.

This eBooklet contains my learning. It's short and to the point, and it contains everything I'd wish I'd known when I started.

View all my reviews

Monday, January 2, 2012

IAMA Reformed Pantser

My first novel, Undermountain, started as a bit of a panster novel. That is, I wrote it by the seat of my pants. I had a general idea of where I was headed, but not exactly where I was going. World building? I had volumes of that. Story? Well, not so much.

There came a time, somewhere after NaNoWriMo ended, that I had to sit down and figure things out. It required some rewriting and a bunch of outlining. I outlined it several times. Once in Excel (dumb), once in Word (useless), and finally in OmniOutliner (brilliant).

Once I finally got the book written and published, I turned my focus to book #2 in the series. I envisaged the whole story being a trilogy, but I only had the most general idea of how things were going to wrap up. I had all the backstory and the super-high-level plot in mind, but not the nitty gritty of where my characters needed to go and what challenges they were going to face.

I've committed to outlining the next two books all at once. I also think I'm going to write straight through to the end of book three. That way the whole thing will fit together perfectly. At least, that's the plan.

I'm quite confident in where the story is going, and I haven't hit any real roadblocks yet. In fact, I've got some big action planned. I kind of feel bad for my characters.

Kind of.