Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Recommended Links and an Update

Monday, August 14th, 2017

Links
If you were interested in the technology and ethical questions behind The Last Good Man, you might enjoy this article by Andrew Apostolou, which presents a good real-world overview of these topics: “Get Ready for the Silicon Military”.

And because mercenaries are part of The Last Good Man, I’ll also recommend David A. Graham’s piece “Are Mercenaries Really a Cheaper Way of War?” (Hint: the answer is almost certainly “no.”)

And on an entirely different subject, Alastair Reynolds fans should head on over to Audible where you can download a free interview with him, wherein he talks about his novel Revenger. And if haven’t read Revenger I highly recommend it. I loved the world building in this one.

An Update
As for me, I’ve been making progress on a novel, and am itching to work on a couple of other projects as soon as I can get myself organized enough to juggle more than one project at a time.

There’s not much new to report on The Last Good Man. I had hoped to get a couple more professional reviews, but those didn’t materialize. I’m not sure what I can do for more publicity at this point, though I’m always looking for opportunities. Honestly, I’m spending too much time worrying over publicity when I should be focused on writing. It does get frustrating though. I always feel like I should be doing more to promote the book. Sales have been better than any indie book I’ve published before, but not good enough yet to call it a success.

That said, reader reviews have generally been terrific. THANK YOU to everyone who’s posted a review at Amazon. It’s really appreciated. If you’re wondering if additional reader reviews are needed, my answer is “Yes!” and not just for The Last Good Man. If you enjoyed the books in the Red trilogy, those could use some new reviews too.

Giveaways Upcoming
If you haven’t done so already, do signup for my newsletter. I’m going to be holding giveaways for audiobook codes for The Last Good Man and paperback sets of the Red trilogy — starting very soon!

Friday News Roundup

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Podcast!
Over at New Books Network, I talk to Gabrielle Mathieu about The Last Good Man.

Also, don’t miss the podcast with The Three Hoarsemen that posted a couple of weeks ago.

Review:
The Verge is a popular technology and science magazine. Last week editor Andrew Liptak reviewed The Last Good Man calling it “a fantastic, lightning-fast thriller that hits all the right notes: an engaging story set in an all-too-plausible future, advanced technology, plenty of action, and fantastic, well-rounded characters.” Read the full review here.

Goodreads Giveaway:
This is my second Goodreads Giveaway for The Last Good Man. You have until July 31 to enter.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Last Good Man by Linda Nagata

The Last Good Man

by Linda Nagata

Giveaway ends July 31, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Audiobook of The Last Good Man is here!

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

I’ve been waiting for the audiobook to release — I was hoping to include an announcement in a newsletter I sent out yesterday — but I’d had no word on the release date and when I last checked Audible it wasn’t there. I guess I missed it by a few hours, because in an email last night someone told me he had picked up the audiobook.

So it’s available! Narrated by Liisa Ivery. The sample sounds good and I’m looking forward to listening to the full story.

Click here to find it on Audible.

Click here to find it on Amazon.

Still here…

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Yes, I’m still here.

I should probably be blogging more, given that my newest novel came out just last week, but I’ve been caught up in promotional tasks along with a major — although unexciting — backend project.

The print editions of many of my books are printed by a company called Lightning Source. There is some advantage to also having them printed by Createspace, an Amazon company. So I’ve been converting and updating the books for that purpose. It’s a task that requires detail work, and time, but I want to get it done as soon as I can so I won’t have to continue paying for a monthly subscription for the layout program I’ve been using.

Anyway!

What’s going on in the world of The Last Good Man?

Not enough, to be honest. The launch itself went well, and sales continued at a reasonable pace for the next few days, but have been dropping off alarmingly since then. I have a few small publicity ventures ongoing, and a few more in mind, but nothing major is on the horizon, so I’m concerned that sales will continue to lag. That’s what happened with The Red, despite the good reviews, so it’s starting to feel like “déjà vu all over again.”

On the positive side, y’all are fantastic! Reader reviews at both Amazon and Goodreads have been terrific! Thank you, and I’m so very pleased to know that so many of you have enjoyed The Last Good Man.

Of course, not everyone agrees. I did get a 1-star review at Amazon a few days ago, although the customer’s ire is directed at the price of the ebook’s kilobytes — one kilobyte being as good as another, I suppose — rather than at the story.

Two more online appearances since my last post:

Jeffrey A. Carver, author of The Chaos Chronicles along with many other novels, recently finished reading The Last Good Man and posted his thoughts on it. In short, his advice is, “Don’t miss this one.”

And over at Marie Brennan’s blog, I posted about the “Spark of Life” — that moment during the writing of The Last Good Man when the story felt as if it finally came alive. TL;DR — a technical change, likely of interest only to other writers, is what made the difference for me.

Onward.

Friday News Roundup

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

First, thank you to everyone who’s helped with this week’s launch of The Last Good Man! Social media posts, shares, retweets, and comments all make a real difference in getting the word out. And a special thank you to all who have posted reader reviews on Goodreads and Amazon! The novel is off to a great start in both places, but if you’ve got the time to post a review of your own, please do! It really does help.

Here are some recent events:

The newest review is from Jerry D. Lenaburg at the New York Journal of Books, who very kindly says, “Nagata is rapidly assuming her place among the greats of military science fiction.” Check it out here.

On Wednesday I was over at John Scalzi’s blog talking about the not-exactly-market-savvy Big Idea behind The Last Good Man.

Also on Wednesday, DJ interviews me the blog “MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape.”

On Thursday I got to visit Chuck Wendig’s blog, TerribleMinds, where I talked about “Five Things I Learned Writing The Last Good Man.” Stop by for some insights on the writing process.

Now Available: The Last Good Man

Monday, June 19th, 2017

I’ve been talking about it for months, and now The Last Good Man has launched. Print and ebook editions are available now. An Audible audio edition is on the way; I suspect it will be out around the end of the month or the first week of July. I’ll let you know!

Thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word.

If you read and enjoy The Last Good Man, I hope you’ll consider posting a review at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and at Goodreads if you’re active there. It really does help!

Here’s the back-cover description:

Army veteran True Brighton left the service when the development of robotic helicopters made her training as a pilot obsolete. Now she works at Requisite Operations, a private military company established by friend and former Special Ops soldier Lincoln Han. ReqOp has embraced the new technologies. Robotics, big data, and artificial intelligence are all tools used to augment the skills of veteran warfighters-for-hire. But the tragedy of war is still measured in human casualties, and when True makes a chance discovery during a rescue mission, old wounds are ripped open. She’s left questioning what she knows of the past, and resolves to pursue the truth, whatever the cost.

And here are some blurbs to help persuade you:

“A new novel by Linda Nagata is always an event. The Last Good Man pulls us into next month’s headlines with a conviction and energy that makes for an extraordinary tale.” —Hugo and Nebula award-winner Greg Bear, author of War Dogs and Darwin’s Radio.

“…a thrilling novel that lays bare the imminent future of warfare.” —Publishers Weekly starred review

“…if you want a novel with pulse-pounding action, in which soldiers square off against the futuristic machines — a novel that you won’t be able to put down once the action heats up — [The Last Good Man] delivers with the precision and firepower of a tactical missile…not only a cracking good read, it is a novel driving first, and fast, down the road we are seemingly already set upon.” —Paul Weimer, Barnes & Noble SFF blog

“The Last Good Man is a compelling and subversive novel, told by unique characters, especially True Brighton: sympathetic, prickly, determined, all too human. Linda Nagata has impressive insights into technological advances and their potential effects. Not to mention some very cool invented AI critters…. It was a privilege to read TLGM before its publication.” —Hugo and Nebula award-winning author Vonda N. McIntyre, author of Dreamsnake, Starfarers, and The Moon and the Sun.

And vendor links:

☆ Amazon

☆ iBooks

☆ Barnes & Noble

☆ Kobo Books

You can also ask your local bookstore or library to order the print edition. Here’s the ISBN: 978-1-937197-22-3.

Well, I guess I should get back to work on the next book.

Imminent Release + Review Roundup

Monday, June 19th, 2017

JUST A FEW MORE HOURS TO GO!

That’s right! The ebook edition of The Last Good Man releases at midnight tonight — midnight wherever you are … I think? The print edition is already on sale at Amazon, and soon will be at other vendors — and of course you can still preorder it.

In the meantime, some new reviews have appeared:

Sharon Browning writes for the review site LitStack. I blush to quote it, but she says, “The Last Good Man excels on so many different levels, there is simply no reason for you not to go out and experience it, regardless of your reading preferences. Honestly, it’s that good.” Read the review here.

“Reading Over The Shoulder” is a review blog with a unique setup. It’s structured in the form of series of letters between two brothers currently living thousands of miles apart. Robert is the elder brother. He describes The Last Good Man as “a unique experience in all the right ways and I definitely recommend this book. Not much left to say, so go out there and get it!” Read the full review here.

Dolly runs the review blog “Just Talking About Books” where she and associate reviewer Marta cover many genres. Read Dolly’s review of The Last Good Man here. She says it’s “Highly Recommended.”

The Business of Writing

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

In my last post I promised to take a look at expenses versus income for my newest novel, The Last Good Man. The novel has been on preorder for several weeks. As of yesterday, preorders had been placed for 542 copies. I estimate the net income from those copies will be roughly $2,415, which I’ll receive in two to three months.

So what about expenses?

As the saying goes, time is money, and time is by far the biggest expense incurred in writing any novel. Suffice to say, this novel took most of a year to write. Other expenses include editing, cover art, copyediting, software fees, setup fees for the print edition, advertising, and postage. Right now the partial total of stuff I actually paid for stands at $3,627. Some of the postage was paid on a different card and I’m not going to track down the amounts right now. I’ll just note that the actual dollar figure for expenses is a bit higher.

Not all indie writers spend this much. I didn’t spend this much when I indie-published The Red. For that book, I had only one round of paid editing, I had a free copyedit, and free cover art from my daughter. But I’ve had a few years since then to realize the value of good editing, so I indulged this time, wanting to make this book the very best I could. I also wanted a copyedit consistent with standard practice in the American publishing industry. And I wanted a specific sort of cover art. I definitely got my money’s worth there.

I believe that The Last Good Man is well written and well laid-out. I believe it compares favorably to most traditionally published books and it’s already earned some enthusiastic reviews. But as you can see from the figures above, it’s got a long way to go before I can call it profitable.

Why am I publishing these figures? In part because it’s a glimpse into the industry that might be useful to other writers planning their careers, and in part because it’s an explanation of why I’m doing so much promotion. But it’s also because most articles about writers and their incomes focus only on the very successful, and that’s not most of us.

I’ve been in this business a long time, I’ve had many novels published, both traditional and indie, I’ve won awards and been short-listed for more, and my books have been well reviewed — yet my sales have always been tepid. Maybe The Last Good Man will change that. I hope so!

If you’d like to help out, buy the book! (I know most of you reading this already have. THANK YOU.) Ask your local library to order it. Post a reader review at Amazon and Goodreads. And do the same for any other author’s books that you’ve especially enjoyed. Writing is an art but it’s also business — and readers get to decide if we stay in business.

Tracking Preorders – June 16

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Just a few more days until publication!

To review for those new to my blog, 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 it’s a crowded marketplace…

My goal was a modest 500 preorders before the June 20 publication date. And you know what? I made it! The print orders did it. There were a total of 153 as of this morning — VERY small potatoes in the grand scheme of things — but enough to let me reach my goal. Thank you to everyone who preordered a copy, whether ebook or print!

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
• probable inclusion in targeted Amazon emails
May 26 225 New review at Barnes & Noble blog
June 2 285 • Email to 525 newsletter subscribers(++)
• Included in a list of summer reads at Kirkus
• Included in a list of summer reads at The Verge
• Included on 3rd pg of “NOOK Press Presents”
June 9 377 Includes some print preorders
June 16 542 Figure includes 153 print preorders.

So what does this mean in dollar terms? After all, I need to contribute something to the family income…

The ebook is priced at $7.99. For most copies sold, I earn 70% of the list price less a few pennies, so let’s say $5.55 per copy. That’s a nice cut, much better than I’d get in traditional publishing. If all preorders go through, I’m looking to net around $2,175 from the ebooks.

By contrast, print — specifically print-on-demand — is expensive. So despite the $18 cover price, I’ll be netting only about $2 a copy for the preordered print books.

Adding estimated income from ebook and print preorders gives me a total of $2,415, which I won’t see until two or three months after publication. Not exactly high finance, eh? But it’s a start.

I’ll write more on income versus expenses in another post.

Find all related posts here.

Find preorder links and info here.

Details:
++ The 525 newsletter subscribers are a separate list, newly signed up via a recent promotion. It should be assumed that most are unfamiliar with my work.
**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.

Tracking Preorders – June 9

Friday, June 9th, 2017

To review for those new to my blog, 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 it’s a crowded marketplace…

My goal is a modest 500 preorders before the June 20 publication date — only eleven days away! This is the first week print preorders have shown up. Only 36 so far, but it’s a start. Thank you to everyone who ordered. This number has been included in the total below.

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
• probable inclusion in targeted Amazon emails
May 26 225 New review at Barnes & Noble blog
June 2 285 • Email to 525 newsletter subscribers(++)
• Included in a list of summer reads at Kirkus
• Included in a list of summer reads at The Verge
• Included on 3rd pg of “NOOK Press Presents”
June 9 377 Includes some print preorders
June 16

Details:
++ The 525 newsletter subscribers are a separate list, newly signed up via a recent promotion. It should be assumed that most are unfamiliar with my work.

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.