Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Archive for the 'Social Media' Category

Where I Stand

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Several years ago I made the decision to avoid the subject of politics in my social media, in large part for reasons of self protection. For me, political discussion consumes emotional energy, and I continue to be distracted by the conversation long after it ends. I need to direct that emotional energy into my books instead, and besides, those books are full of politics.

So I’ve had very little to say publicly about this presidential campaign. After this past week, though, and all that has happened at the Republican National Convention, I am frightened for my country, and at this point I feel I have a moral obligation to say where I stand. I can’t imagine that anyone who’s read my books would think otherwise, but for the record, I’m voting for Hillary Clinton.

Is Hillary Clinton my ideal candidate? No, although I think she rates highly and I won’t have any qualms when I mark my ballot. As a general principle, I don’t approve of dynastic political families. Political dynasties are too close to the old aristocracies that this country fought a war of independence to be rid of. That said, Hillary Clinton is well-educated, smart, experienced, and rational. I don’t doubt that she has the best interests of America in mind, and that she’ll make a fully competent president.

Regarding her opponent, I freely admit that I have never liked or admired him (quite the opposite). I’m not going to go over all the objectionable things that were said and done at the Cleveland convention. You can find those all over the Internet, or go check out this essay at War is Boring: Doomsaying Speech Was Both Enormous and Empty.

For the life-long Republicans out there, I just want to say that a political party is not a football team. Unlike a football team, there’s no virtue in supporting a political party through thick and thin. A political party exists to represent your views. You do not exist to serve and support the views of those who have taken over your party. If you don’t like what they’re telling you? Be free and independent, and walk. Here’s a resignation letter from a thirty-year, politically active member of the Republican party, posted today.

In The Red trilogy I had fun using the term “mediot” which is a contraction of “media” + “idiot”. I first used this term way back in the late 90s in my novel Deception Well and it’s been one of my disappointments that no one else uses it! Cable news is where mediots are commonly found. My advice: Don’t watch cable news. Their coverage is incredibly poor, and much of it is click bait. Read instead, from respectable publications. Read The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Defense One. Read legitimate newspapers.

America faces problems and challenges. We always have and we always will. We can handle it. We are not a weak and fearful people.

Back from Japan.
Did anyone miss me?

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

This is a post about partially disengaging from social media—primarily Twitter.

Lake Biwa, Hikone, JapanYesterday I returned home from a nine-day trip to Japan. We had Internet while there, but I didn’t post anything on Twitter or Facebook, and only briefly checked what others were posting — and it was nice to take a break.

Twitter can be fun, and it can be a fantastic source for links to cutting edge science, technology, politics, or whatever you might be interested in. For writers like me, with strong hermit tendencies, it’s also a means to interact on occasion with fellow humans…or perhaps just to lurk and observe the interactions of fellow humans.

But for me, more and more, Twitter has gotten to be about what it shouldn’t be about: measuring my own popularity — or lack thereof! 😉

Welcome to Insecure Writerland!, where the brain becomes absorbed with such critical questions as:

* Who’s following me?

* Who’s not following me and WHY? (Always the more important question!)

* Why has no one responded to my beautiful sunset picture? It’s been five minutes …. ten … thirty. Not even a like? WTF? I have over two thousand followers! Clearly I’m not on any special pay-attention-to-these-people lists! I’ve been filtered out! Maybe even muted!

* Should I take that sunset tweet down? (Yes, I have taken down sad and lonely tweets.)

Aside from social validation, the other great illusory promise of Twitter for hermit writers like me is that it offers a means of influencing the course of a career. Back in the old days, a book was published and either magic happened and sales took off or, more likely, magic didn’t happen and the book quickly went out of print. Sure, you could go to conventions and try to push the book to target readers and maybe that would get you some momentum, but from a return-on-investment perspective, money spent on conventions will never be made up in book sales, unless you are already a big-name writer. (This is especially true if you live in Hawaii, and have to fly to the mainland.)

So social media feels empowering because it’s a way to promote your work, and maybe survive as a writer, without emptying the bank account. I do think social media is helpful. For writers with skills at this social stuff I think it helps a lot. But you get what you give. (Maybe. Sort of. If you’re lucky.) In any case, growing an audience takes time and talent that might otherwise be spent writing.

So yesterday when I reappeared on Twitter and asked:

…it was something of an experiment, a means of checking my Twitter footprint — and at first it didn’t look like I had one! 😉

In the end though, I got some likes and some responses, and it’s all good.

Still, I am a hermit writer. I do better work when I’m focused on the work, rather than on whether or not I’ve managed to get a response out of Twitter.

So I’m going to try to blog a little bit more and check in on Twitter a lot less. My time away taught me that it’s at least possible to disengage from social media. We’ll see how it goes long term.

Oh, and expect a couple of brief posts on Japan!

The Pushy Woman

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Cover rebranding-- The Red: First LightThe meme
There’s a meme circulating among women writers like me who grew up in traditional publishing, and it goes something like this: If a man promotes his own fiction, that’s seen as good business sense. If a woman promotes her own fiction, she’s seen as pushy and self-important, and is likely to be criticized, ostracized, and ignored.

Is this true?

My experience
I promote my own work. When I decided to go indie, I knowingly and willingly took on the task of being my own publicist. With my latest novel, The Red: First Light, this meant that I:

• wrote my own happy announcement of the upcoming book, which I sent to several other writers, asking if they’d like to see an early copy and perhaps provide a quote
• approached John Joseph Adams at Lightspeed Magazine about getting an excerpt included in a spring issue
• put myself forward for a spot on the SkiffyFanty podcast
• did a gradual “build up” via twitter, using descriptive announcements and the cover art to garner interest and build up my mailing list
• co-launched the novel at Book View Café for additional exposure
• sent out newsletter announcements
• in the book’s acknowledgements, asked readers to help out with a review or a tweet if they should feel so inclined
• after publication, did ongoing “getting the word out” tweets, as well as G+ and facebook posts
• on a writers list, asked for guest blogging opportunities and happily accepted the two I was offered
• took out paid advertising promoting myself and the book
• wrote nonfiction posts like this one that will hopefully be of interest to others while getting the word out.

Not everything I’ve tried has produced results. I’ve gotten no reponse at all several times, but so what? People are busy and not everyone shares the same tastes. Overall though, I’ve been amazed and very, very grateful for all the help I’ve received and the opportunities I’ve been given in this strange new world of promoting my own book.

But have I been criticized, ostracized, and ignored?

Criticized? No, not to my face anyway.

Ostracized? Well, doubt does creep in, and it’s easy to wonder if some people have had about enough of me…but if so, it’s subtle. I keep in mind a revised version of an old adage: Don’t attribute to malice what can be explained by diverse interests and extreme busy-ness. We all have our own concerns, our own interests, our own obligations, our own careers. No one is obligated to be my promo-buddy and I hope no one feels they are obligated.

Ignored? Writers get ignored all the time! Well, the golden ones might not be ignored now that they are golden, but it’s a safe bet that they were ignored plenty at some point. Yes, I’ve sent queries that were never answered; review copies that never got reviews; and have failed to hear so much as an “Enjoyed the book!” from friends who seemed interested. That’s life. We’re all busy — and no one is obligated to be my promo-buddy, or to shore up my withering ego. (Though hey, it’s awfully nice.)

Have I got it worse because I’m a “pushy woman”? I have no evidence whatsoever to support that claim. I wouldn’t have even considered it except that I keep hearing the meme repeated.

But what if I am being ostracized and ignored by some elements of the writerly world or social media? Honestly…so fucking what?

The alternative: nothing?
Because the alternative is to do nothing, and where is that going to get me? People can’t buy a book they’ve never heard of. And in a world where millions of books are being published, what are the odds that potential readers will just happen to stumble onto mine? After having invested months, sometimes years, in a novel, it would be kind of crazy to do nothing at all to promote it. “Build it and they will come”? Only if you tell them it’s there.

(Reminder: I’m speaking from the perspective of an established, traditional writer. If you’re just starting out, the best advice probably remains “write the next book.”)

This meme must die: “Shameless Self-promotion”
I hate this term. I cringe every time I hear another writer use it. It always makes me frown and wonder if I should be ashamed of my work. I’m not ashamed of my work, because my work doesn’t go out into the world until I’m pretty confident it’s a good read.

Striking a Balance
All of the above does not mean that I am free to be an annoying asshat of a promotional machine. Twitter is the easiest and the cheapest means I have of “getting the word out.” Anyone who follows me closely certainly knows I have this new book called The Red: First Light and that it’s a near-future military thriller, and that it’s gotten an awesome review from Kristine Kathryn Rusch. (See how I did that?) Still, it’s called SOCIAL MEDIA for a reason, and the majority of my tweets are just that: social chit-chat, announcements, and retweeting other people’s stuff. The getting-the-word-out tweets are repeated though, because each tweet is ephemeral, and it’s entirely possible that would-be readers who follow me have still not heard of the book.

Here is the thing about marketing: most of your shots will miss, so you have to keep shooting, and you have to keep shooting at new markets. The hard reality is that a lot of people who are or might be interested in my work are not on twitter. Go figure. But it’s true. So…

Try new stuff
This. Try new stuff. In this rapidly evolving world, success means learning, growing, changing—trying new things. Deal with it. Don’t hide behind tired old memes.

A couple of posts ago I used a quotation from Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon. It’s one of my favorite guidelines for life, so I’ll repeat it here:


But also don’t forget that your real job is writing the next book–which I need to go do right now.

My First “Mind Meld”

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

SF Signal is a website devoted to covering the science fiction and fantasy field, with articles, book reviews, and other contributions from people across the genre.

Each week features a piece called “Mind Meld” in which several writers, editors, fans, or others active in the field are asked to respond to a question. No one gets to see the other answers until publication day.

Today was my first time participating in Mind Meld.

The question:

Q: As a reader and as a writer, how do you feel about the practice of revising books after they have been published (or at least have reached the ARC stage)? How much revision goes into your writing process? (How clean are your drafts)?

Find everyone’s answer here at SF Signal.

Whining On Twitter Can Pay Off

Saturday, August 25th, 2012
Whining on twitter can pay off

Newsletter #2

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

And I just sent off my second author newsletter!

My first newsletter went out last October, so as you can see, I don’t email often. So if you’d like an easy way to keep up with my work, I encourage you to add your name to my email list. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever send out an email more than once a month, and very likely it will be less than that–and of course if you ever want to be taken off the list, just let me know.

Follow this link for the sign-up form, and to see what both newsletters look like.


Blog Roundup

Monday, August 29th, 2011

I saw three great blog posts this week on writers and publishing.

First, Tobias Buckell explains why writers are crazy, and makes a few suggestions on how to hold on to what sanity remains to us.

This failure to pay attention to what we can control as authors and what we can’t leads to a form of Cargo Cult neuroses in writers out of a desire to recreate milestone successes that were never in their primary power to recreate.

If you’re a struggling writer (and how many of us aren’t struggling?), read this post. It will give you an entirely new way to look at things.

Second, Chuck Wendig has some very useful thoughts on social media.

You are not a brand. Social media is not your platform… see it instead as a place where you can bring all the crazy and compelling facets of your personality to bear on an unsuspecting populace your audience. People want to follow other people. People don’t want to follow brands.

I’ve come to this conclusion too, mostly because there’s no way I can “act” as a “brand” no matter what social media gurus tell us we should do. Read the rest of the post if you have a chance. We all need to do self-promotion, and Chuck has a lot of suggestions that make sense to me.

And finally…

A few people have asked what I think about the “agency model.” This refers to a requirement by certain large publishers that their ebooks shall not be discounted by retailers such as Amazon. So if a publisher specifies that a new ebook by a big name author shall be priced at $14.99, that ebook will be sold for $14.99 and not a penny less.

So what do I think of the agency model? I love it! Because it’s surely helping to keep ebook prices from dropping through the floor. Mike Shatzkin feels the same way. Here’s part of what he has to say on the subject:

All writers, whether they’re among the fortunate ones that have a publisher pushing them or whether they’re trying to do it themselves, should be grateful that publishers are doing their damnedest to maintain prices and the perception of value for writers’ work.

Very, very few writers will ever make a living selling 99-cent ebooks. Personally, I want to make a living writing so I can keep writing–and the agency model makes my books a really good deal, while still allowing me a reasonable profit on each sale, as well as “a perception of value.”


Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Yes, I’m there. Are you? So far, I kind of like it.

I came to facebook very late, so it’s fun to be getting in early on this one.

And I just made a great discovery about Google+: We are allowed to edit our comments! Because when I notice that I’ve mixed up “too” and “two,” the writer in me really, really wants to fix it.

Find me here:
It’s not a pretty link, but it’s me.


Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Living in the Uttermost West, we operate on Hawaiian Standard Time (HST). Since we don’t do daylight savings in Hawaii, we are five hours behind the eastern USA in the winter, and six hours behind in the summer. The time difference with the west coast is two and three hours, depending on the season.

We are, for practical purposes, the last. There is another time zone beyond us, though I’m not sure if anyone lives there. Move just a little bit farther west and you cross the International Date Line and jump a day ahead.

One drawback of living here is when government or corporate reps forget there is a time difference and call at 5:30 in the morning. Business people will often have to be up for conference calls at 5:00am. And I’ve always thought stock traders must be challenged when they have to get up everyday at 3:30am for market opening.

One cool thing about living here that I’ve only recently become aware of is that our day overlaps in interesting ways with the days of other people around the world–something that’s become obvious to me by using twitter.

By the time I get up in the morning, generally around 6am, my twitter streams are full because people in the mainland USA have been awake for hours. It’s midday on the east coast and things are slowing down a bit. The Brits will soon be winding up their day.

Activity is pretty steady for hours after that. Very distracting! But towards evening here things can get very quiet as the mainland USA winds down. People from Hawaii seem to post a lot at this time. Ultimately, the Brits start showing up again. I follow a couple people in southeast Asia, but not closely enough that I’ve figured out their schedules yet.

Anyway, I enjoy the daily rhythm. And yes, I spend too much time online.

Twitter Fact #1 RTs & Retweets

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

I spend a lot too much time on twitter, generally via a hugely popular app called Tweetdeck.

Tweetdeck is handy because it allows me to sort people I follow into columns. I have about three columns of writers, one of family, one of Maui people, one of Hawaii people, etc. Without these columns it would be impossible for me to keep track of what people have to say.

The odd thing about Tweetdeck, though, is that if someone retweets a post using the “retweet” link on the website or the “retweet now” option on Tweetdeck, that retweet will NOT show up in their column. This is important.

I focus my attention on three or four columns. Since your retweet will not show up in those columns, it’s almost certain I will never see it.

So to improve the odds that I will see a retweet (and that other Tweetdeck users will see it too) don’t use those retweet links!

If you use Tweetdeck, instead select the “Edit then Retweet” option. This adds an “RT” to the tweet, but it also makes the tweet yours. Now it will show up along with all your other tweets. Yes, this can be a pain because the tweet will often need to be edited for size, but if your goal is to help someone get the word out, this is the best way to do it.

If you’re still using the web interface (and why are you??) the only way I’ve figured out to do it is to manually copy and paste the tweet you want to retweet. Preface it with an “RT.”

And that’s it. One little step to help your tweeple get the word out.