Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Summer Book Lists!

June 1st, 2017

It’s June 1st! The Last Good Man publishes later this month — and it’s already showing up on some lists of summer books.

Barnes & Noble has included it in their “NOOK Press Presents” collection for June and July.

The Verge has included it in a list of thirty-nine science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels coming out in June.

Kirkus has listed it among a dozen science fiction and fantasy titles to “Kickstart Your Summer Reading.”

Both the ebook and print editions are available for preorder. Find links and more information here.

Demographics of Disdain

May 31st, 2017

Twitter can be a rough-and-tumble place. People have opinions and most do not hesitate to share them. I don’t claim innocence and I do recognize that nuance is often lost with 140 characters.

But what is it with the grand sweeping condemnations?

Grand sweeping condemnations –– that’s my term for when people choose a demographic characteristic common to a large and otherwise diverse group — and accuse all of being guilty of some shared sin. In my Twitter timeline white men and baby boomers are common targets. It will be different for you depending on who you follow — and who you unfollow. Damn right I’ve unfollowed people for excessive GSCs.

(Yes, #notAllMen is either a legitimate dissent or an ironic comment. Hard to be sure in all cases.)

I don’t understand the logic of GSCs. What do people expect to gain by using them? Shore up the perceived tribe by casting disdain on others? Maybe.

As a baby boomer, it’s hard not to notice how the baby-boomer hate routine has become increasingly common. Otherwise fine folk who would not for a moment consider themselves bigots are happy to play this game. No big deal if you want to insult me. I know how to unfollow.

In the abstract though, when baby boomers are held up as the worst generation, reprehensible in all aspects and particularly in their regard for the environment, I get offended on behalf of people like my husband.

Ron devoted his career to Haleakala National Park. He worked long hours for limited compensation because it was his goal to protect the park’s unique and fragile natural areas from the ravages of invasive species, and when he retired from the park service he left those wilderness areas in a far healthier condition than they’d been when he started. The ecological recovery has been amazing.

In essence, Ron picked one place in the wide world and poured his heart and soul into making it better. That might be a strategy to consider, for those of you who want to point fingers at his generation. Better to act, do something, than to accuse and complain and alienate those who actually have contributed to the betterment of the world.

And one more bit of motherly advice from the old lady: Don’t determine your tribe by simplistic demographic dividers. There is more diversity in any group than many of us care to admit. Yes, even those heinous baby boomers.

Here are four baby boomers, celebrating the completion of a fence to keep feral goats and pigs out of Maui’s amazing national park:


Left to right: Ross Hart, Ron Nagata, Mike Ing, Ted Rodrigues
photo credit: Dallas Nagata White

Tracking Preorders – May 26

May 26th, 2017

I’m publicly tracking preorders on my forthcoming novel The Last Good Man. The novel has already earned a Publishers Weekly starred review, and several glowing endorsements from other writers. But how is it doing in a crowded marketplace? Well, it’s not setting any records…

My goal is a modest 500 preorders before the June 20 publication date. Right now I’m closing in on the halfway mark. Here are the current statistics:

Date Total Preorders Events
May 5 31 Social media announcement of preorder links
May 12 84 Email to 1800+ newsletter subscribers**
May 19 164 New review by Michael Patrick Hicks + Amazon(?)
May 26 225 New review at Barnes & Noble blog
June 2
June 9
June 16

I can’t see preorders at iBooks, but I had my distributor check and they reported five copies sold there as of last Monday.

The print edition became available to preorder during the past week. It’s listed at both Barnes & Noble and Amazon. (BN has a 23% discount as of this writing.) But I haven’t seen any record of print preorders yet. It’s possible I won’t see these until they ship and the purchaser is billed. At this point, I just don’t know.

Find all related posts here.

Find preorder links and info here.

**Around 350 subscribers have been long-time subscribers. The others are mostly new to my work, having signed on during recent promotional events. Only 39% of emails sent track as having been opened.

Round-up of Recent News

May 25th, 2017

Barnes & Noble
A new review of The Last Good Man has gone up at the Barnes & Noble SFF blog. Read it here.

And, perhaps not by coincidence, Barnes & Noble is offering a 23% discount on preorders of the print edition. I have no idea how long this discount will last, but here’s the link.

Giveaways
On Twitter, I’m doing a giveaway of The Last Good Man. All you need to do to enter is retweet this tweet — and by doing so you’re helping me get the word out to potential new readers! So if you’re on Twitter, I’d really appreciate some more RTs:

Don’t forget, there is also an ongoing Goodreads Giveaway.

New Arrivals
Two new arrivals have shown up recently in my mailbox. Here, Xena is keeping an eye on the Polish edition of The Trials, translated by Mirosław P. Jabłoński, and published by Rebis:

Here are print copies of Cosmic Powers, a short story collection that includes my contribution “Diamond and the World Breaker.” Cosmic Powers is available in simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback editions:

Tracking Preorders – May 19

May 19th, 2017

I’m publicly tracking preorders on my forthcoming novel The Last Good Man. The novel has already earned a Publishers Weekly starred review, and several glowing endorsements from other writers. But how is it doing in the marketplace? Not all that well, honestly.

My goal is 500 preorders. Here are the current statistics:

Date Total Preorders Events
May 5 31 Social media announcement of preorder links
May 12 84 Email to 1800+ newsletter subscribers**
May 19 164 New review by Michael Patrick Hicks + Amazon(?)

(?) Over the weekend and early in the week pre-orders were moving along slowly but steadily. My guess as to why is that Amazon may have begun including the title in their daily emails to potentially interested customers. But the pace slowed considerably after Tuesday.

**Around 350 subscribers have been long-time subscribers. The others are mostly new to my work, having signed on during recent promotional events. Only 39% of emails sent track as having been opened.

Find all related posts here.

Find preorder links and info here.

My Science Fiction Moms

May 14th, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

My two children are adults now, but I’ve always loved being a mom and still do. Perhaps as a consequence, moms have often been prominent in my fiction.

My children were quite young when I wrote my first novel, The Bohr Maker. In that story, Phousita, one of two main protagonists, is not technically a mother but she’s a mother-figure for many. In Tech-Heaven the solo protagonist is a widowed mother with a close relationship to her own mother, her mother-in-law, and her daughters. Deception Well is a bit short on mothers, but Vast makes up for it, I think. Limit of Vision doesn’t directly explore motherhood, but in Memory one of the driving emotional themes is the strong relationship between the protagonist, Jubilee, and her mother. The Red trilogy is lacking in motherhood — it’s Dad who gets the focus here. But in The Last Good Man motherhood returns as a powerful emotional force behind a fast-paced plot.

True Brighton is the protagonist of The Last Good Man. As a forty-nine-year-old mother of three adult children, she’s not your usual action hero–but then she’s not your usual forty-nine-year-old mom, either. True is an army veteran, working now as a military contractor. She’s seen her share of battlefield action and she understands all too well the pain that parenthood can bring. In this opening scene, True encounters a father desperate to hire the services of Requisite Operations to rescue his kidnapped daughter:

Lincoln returns his gaze to Yusri and says in a soft rasp, the result of more scarring in his larynx, “The United States government does not pay ransoms, Mr. Atwan. Ransoms only encourage more kidnappings. As a military contractor licensed to work with the federal government, Requisite Operations is required to abide by that policy. So we cannot help you pay a ransom.”

Yusri’s voice grows plaintive. “She is not political. She only wanted to help people, to do some good in the world.”

“I understand that, sir.”

True confronts the photo of Fatima Atwan. A bright-eyed young woman, the prime years of her life still ahead.

Yusri’s reserve slips. “She doesn’t deserve this!”

True looks up to see tears shining in his eyes.

Yusri Atwan is a Seattle native. He owns a small but prosperous company that manufactures chemical sensors. His daughter, Fatima, is a young medical doctor and an idealist, dedicated to helping those less fortunate than herself. She committed to a year of overseas service with a charitable foundation. And her father is right: She doesn’t deserve what happened to her. But then, most people overrun by the firestorms of chaos and anarchy don’t deserve their fates.

It takes Yusri only seconds to recover his composure, and when he speaks again to Lincoln, it’s in a hard, determined voice. “I’ve talked to people, Mr. Han. They say you, your company, can help when no one else can. I understand it costs money. I can pay. I can get six hundred thousand dollars in cash within two business days. It’s all I have and I know it’s not enough, but she’s with El-Hashem.”

As these words pass his lips, Yusri’s face flushes dark. He looks away; he looks at the wall. True watches him intently, sure that he is contemplating what that fact means for his daughter. Is there anything worse than knowing the brutality your child endures and being helpless to affect it? No, she thinks. There is not. Breathing softly, shallowly, she schools herself to stay focused.

Read the entire first chapter of The Last Good Man here.

Best wishes for the day, whether you’re a mother or not. 🙂

Tracking Preorders

May 12th, 2017

Over the years my books have won a devoted following and that’s been so very gratifying. Still, they’ve never sold well. Not when I’ve put them out myself and not when they’ve been New York published. Of course, there has never been a real publicity campaign behind any of my work.

With my forthcoming novel, The Last Good Man, I’m doing the publicity myself and I’m doing what I can, but this time around I’ve decided to stop pretending. A friend of mine once said that even if a writer isn’t doing well in the market, it’s important to try to maintain “the illusion of momentum” — that is, to give the appearance that one’s career is steadily improving. I’ve tried to do this in the past, but I’m not going to anymore. I’m going to share facts instead.

To start, I’m going to chart preorders here on my blog. I’ll update weekly. Keep in mind that my net on each ebook is at most 70% of the list price (exact amount varies by vendor and country) and that I’ve spent more than a year working on this novel while paying out-of-pocket for the services of editors, a copyeditor, and a cover artist. I’m not complaining about the expenses. A business requires investment, after all. But a business also requires enough income to cover expenses with something left over for profit.

So here are the current statistics:

Date Total Preorders Events
May 5 31 Social media announcement of preorder links
May 12 84 Email to 1800+ newsletter subscribers**

My goal is 500 preorders. The publication date for The Last Good Man is June 20, just a little over five weeks away.

Visit this page to learn more about the novel. You’ll find a link to the Publishers Weekly starred review, blurbs from early readers, and the opening chapter.

More discussion of the reason behind this do-or-die push is here.

**Around 350 subscribers have been long-time subscribers. The others are mostly new to my work, having signed on during recent promotional events. Only 39% of emails sent track as having been opened.

Short Story Art

May 9th, 2017

Coming in July from Tor.com, “The Martian Obelisk.”
Illustration by Victor Mosquera.
Acquiring editor is Ellen Datlow.

The Last Good Man:
Read the opening chapter!

May 5th, 2017

Or should I say, “Read the opening chapter and preorder!”

Yes, yes, I’m pushing this book AND I’m pushing preorders. I’ll be blunt and say that I’ve come to see this as a do-or-die novel for me. (See my “On Promotion” post.) Either New York publishing was right in deciding that my work cannot earn a reasonable return on the investment, or they made a big mistake when they gave me the opportunity to publish The Last Good Man on my own. All of you, the readers (the potential readers), get to decide which it is.

Do you want to talk numbers? We can. So far — five days after preorder links went up — I’ve pre-sold thirty-one ebook copies. Thank you, THANK YOU, to everyone who has preordered.

Can I persuade more of you to do so?

Visit this page to see what early readers have said about the story and then scroll down to read the opening chapter.

Does The Last Good Man strike you as a story that would appeal to you? If so, please consider a preorder. And please mention The Last Good Man to your reading friends.

Thank you.

Building the Cover

May 4th, 2017

Artist Philippe McNally posted this photo showing some of the preliminary work preceding the final design for the cover of The Last Good Man. I repost it here with permission. (click the image to see a larger version)

Philippe was a pleasure to work with. Here’s a post on the cover design process.

Contact him if you’re looking for book-cover art.