Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


The Pursuit of Perfection

Monday, April 24th, 2017

“The pursuit of perfection is a cover for massive insecurities.”

I jotted this down in my journal this morning after loading my latest round of corrections into both the print and ebook editions of The Last Good Man. There were three corrections.

One was a spelling issue: “Acknowledgement” vs “Acknowledgment.” Both are acceptable, though supposedly the second is more commonly used in America. I’d used both versions, which is not acceptable, so I settled on the more-popular-in-America spelling.

Throughout the manuscript I’ve set text messages and emails in an alternate font. The second correction was to remove the use of that alternate font in one instance where it didn’t belong.

In the third correction I’d mistakenly typed “NGC” when I meant “NGO” (nongovernmental organization) so I fixed that. This one bugs me, though, because I failed to catch the mistake in all my read-throughs, none of my beta readers noticed, and neither did my line editor or copyeditor. Oops! Ron gets credit for discovering it.

“What’s an NGC?” he asked while reading through what I thought would be the final print version.

NGC?

In my mind I scrambled for an answer. NGC, NGC…that’s from astronomy. New General Catalog. Wait. THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT!

I took a look at the passage and finally worked it out. Oh.

I know I get way too worked up over these tiny issues. Refer back to the first line of this post.

On a more positive note, I’ve gotten some really kind blurbs in support of The Last Good Man, so all is not lost, even if the odd spelling error still awaits discovery.

I’m very grateful to Greg Bear for recently taking the time to read the book. He says: “The Last Good Man pulls us into next month’s headlines with a conviction and energy that makes for an extraordinary tale.”

Steven Gould and Vonda N. McIntyre have also provided advance praise which you can read here. I’m especially grateful for this support, given that I’m putting this novel out on my own.

Preorders Coming Soon
I’m hoping to be able to set up preorders in the next couple of weeks, but bear with me — I’ve never done preorders before and I’m sure there will be snags. The publication date remains June 20.

Early Reviewer Volunteers

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

An email has gone out to those early-reviewer volunteers who sent me their email address.

If you volunteered as an early reviewer of my forthcoming novel The Last Good Man but you haven’t heard from me, check your spam folder!

Otherwise, shoot me your email address again or let me know in the comments.

Cover Reveal: The Last Good Man

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

When I first contacted artist Philippe McNally about creating the cover art for my forthcoming novel The Last Good Man, I told him I was leaning toward a minimalist design rather than a full-cover painting, and that I wanted an illustration rather than photo manipulation because the cover needed the suggestion of a machine element to place it in genre.

And what genre is that? The Last Good Man is a crossover. It’s science fiction because it’s set a few years into the future and deals with technology that is just over the horizon. But it’s close enough to the present time that it works as a thriller too.

I am so pleased with the cover Philippe created!
Click the image to see it in a larger version:

Philippe was very patient during the design process. We traded several emails. I talked more about what I was after, and showed him book covers that I liked. He found more book covers that suggested different design options. We weren’t looking at explicit details of those covers, but at the use of space and the different styles they employed. We gradually converged on the symbolic rendition you see above. Not an explicit scene, but suggestive of the novel’s theme.

I have an advance copy of the print edition and the cover looks fantastic with its matte finish. It also looks great at small size in my e-reader’s library.

The Last Good Man will be published on June 20. It will be available in ebook, trade paperback, and audio editions.

So what’s it about? Here’s the back cover copy:

Scarred by war. In pursuit of truth.

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.

The Last Good Man is a powerful, complex, and very human tale.

And here’s what Steven Gould says about it:

I asked to see an advanced copy of The Last Good Man: with the caveat that I was very busy and might not get to it. I was just going to glance at the first few pages but looked up to find myself halfway through the book in the wee hours of the morning. Only an early morning appointment kept me from reading on but I finished it the following evening.

Welcome to the future of war. Soldiers on the ground depend more on their augmented reality visors, net connections, and hosts of robotic allies, than their rifles, but as long as they tread in harm’s way, certain things do not change, including collateral damage, ethical challenges, and the grief of a mother, a warrior herself, when her son dies in action.

Set where war’s bleeding edge of technology slams into people’s lives, this is a very human story, brilliantly told.

And from Vonda N. McIntyre:

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.”

If you haven’t done so already, please

[* * cue flashing lights * *]

SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER.

Through the newsletter I can let you know when The Last Good Man is available for preorder, and I’ll send you a reminder when it’s available to buy.

To see more of Philippe’s work and to view his resume, follow this link.

Progress Report #2

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Update on my forthcoming novel The Last Good Man

One of the challenging things, for me, about publishing a novel under my own imprint is maintaining my confidence throughout the process. In traditional publishing an author can always fall back on the fact that a professional editor thought enough of their book to pay an advance and to dedicate a chunk of the corporation’s financial resources toward publication, publicity, and distribution. That’s part of the reason writers — especially new writers — talk about the “validation” of traditional publishing. After all, if someone experienced in a for-profit business thinks money can be made off your work, then it is, by definition, worth something. Right?

But when I shift from writer to publisher, I lose the validation of that third-party professional opinion. It’s all on me to decide if the manuscript is ready, if the cover will work, if I’m justified in sending it off to reviewers and pro-writers… That’s when it helps to remember all the positive responses The Last Good Man has picked up along the way.

So where am I in the publication process? I’ve continued to send out review copies and, since there is a small demand for it, I’ve created a print ARC (advance reader copy). Those are still being printed, but I should have them in hand by the end of the month.

The manuscript is presently with the copyeditor. When I get it back I’ll need to input corrections to my master manuscript and when that’s done, I get to create the ebook and the print edition all over again. ::sigh:: 🙁 There are always a lot of chores in this business.

So, the big news: The cover art is done! One of my tasks for the upcoming week is setting up the cover reveal.

More soon…

If you’re a book reviewer and you’d like an e-ARC of The Last Good Man, please send me an email at linda at mythicisland dot com, letting me know who you are, where you review, and whether you prefer an epub or mobi (Kindle) ebook file.

Progress Report

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

This website is in danger of turning into a ghost town, so I thought I’d post a brief progress report.

I’d like to say that I’ve been writing, but it isn’t true. Since at least the beginning of the year my efforts have focused on getting my forthcoming novel, The Last Good Man, ready for publication while working on promotional strategies for all of my books.

So what’s the status of The Last Good Man? The pre-copyedit draft is done. I coded the manuscript to create ebooks for advance readers and I’ve begun to send out review copies. I also did a quick and dirty print layout to determine the likely page count and price of the print edition. And cover art is on the way! We’ve agreed on the rough design, and now await the finished illustration.

Promotion continues, as you’ve probably noticed from the events I’ve been participating in. I’m working on connecting with more new-to-me readers by encouraging people to sign up for my email newsletter.

By the way, if you already subscribe to my newsletter, do be sure to check your spam folders and if you find one of my newsletters there, please whitelist it. I’ll have a new story out in an anthology next month, I have several promotions coming up, and of course The Last Good Man will be released in June, so there will be a lot of news!

One thing I’ve learned is that book promotion really is a full-time job — and most of that work falls on the author, regardless of whether the novel is traditionally published or indie published. So, onward!

If you’re a book reviewer and you’d like an e-ARC of The Last Good Man, please send me an email at linda at mythicisland dot com, letting me know who you are, where you review, and whether you prefer an epub or mobi (Kindle) ebook file.

Almost done…

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

A few days ago, for the first time, I printed out a copy of The Last Good Man. It’s 499 manuscript pages.

I used to always keep an up-to-date printed copy of a novel as I worked on it, but that habit faded away and these days I don’t print anything out until the end. Then, as the last step in the process**, I read straight through the printed copy from beginning to end, ALOUD. I listen for clumsy bits and look for errors, fixing them (by hand) along the way.

It’s amazing how many little problem spots I still find. But simply viewing the novel in a different context — in this case printed, instead of on-screen — causes the brain to see/hear issues that were invisible before. Reading aloud means it’s going to be slow, but for me it’s an essential step. And the end is in sight!

Today I reached page 422 of 499. I should finish tomorrow. Then I get to enter all the handwritten fixes into the master file. After that the manuscript will be ready to go off to reviewers.

If you’re a book reviewer and you’d like a copy please send me an email at linda at mythicisland dot com, letting me know who you are, where you review, and whether you prefer an epub or mobi (Kindle) ebook file.

I’m planning to publish The Last Good Man in June.

I HOPE YOU LIKE IT!

** more accurately, the last step before sending the manuscript out to reviewers and to the copyeditor. Once I get it back from the copyeditor, I’ll have one more round of edits.

* * * Early Warning * * *

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

COMING IN JUNE 2017
FROM MYTHIC ISLAND PRESS LLC

Scarred by war. In pursuit of truth.

THE LAST GOOD MAN

A near-future thriller

This is not the cover art! It’s just a placeholder until cover art is acquired.

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.

THE LAST GOOD MAN is a powerful, complex, and very human tale.

Uh, the last line of that description was supplied by my agent. 🙂

The “cover art” I’ve posted above is just a placeholder. The back-cover description and taglines are preliminary and subject to revision. But the novel is real. It exists. It’s complete as is, though I plan to do one more draft before I send out review copies.

If you’re a book reviewer and you’d like a copy please send me an email at linda at mythicisland dot com, letting me know who you are, where you review, and whether you prefer an epub or mobi (Kindle) ebook file.

There’s no preorder option yet, but PLEASE DO signup for my newsletter. You’ll not only get news about The Last Good Man as the publication date approaches, but you’ll also get news about DEALS on my other books — including one that’s coming up very soon.

Looking Back, and Looking Ahead

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Here we are at the end of the year. It’s a good time to take stock of writerly things. This isn’t meant to be a whiny post. More of a looking-reality-straight-in-the-eye post — and looking ahead at what’s to come

~~~~~

Some writers have nicely ascending career paths. There may be a few setbacks, but overall the trend is up. For many of us – dare I say most of us? – that’s not how it goes. Oh sure, we enjoy the occasional triumph, but our careers are mostly a long, lonely slog through tough, soggy, mosquito-filled terrain, with only an occasional glimpse of snow-capped peaks rising in the distance—the Olympian heights! (This being a metaphor for bestseller lists, in case you missed that.)

For a while, it looked like The Red trilogy was going to be my path out of the fens — if not to the magic mountains, then at least to more solid ground. I mean, the critical response was pretty damn encouraging. Check out some of the crazy quotes here.

If you’re new to this blog and you’ve never heard of these books, here’s a brief history:

Back in 2013, I decided to self-publish the first of the trilogy, The Red: First Light, rather than trying to sell it to a traditional publisher. This was my first science fiction novel in ten years, and it went on to become a finalist for the Nebula award and second runner-up for the John W. Campbell Memorial award. It was picked up by Simon & Schuster’s Saga Press, given a gorgeous new cover, and in that incarnation was named as a Publishers Weekly best book of 2015. Saga Press published the second and third books in the trilogy in quick succession. Book 3, Going Dark, tied for first runner up for the Campbell Memorial award.

So I had reasons to get my hopes up, right?

These books had the most commercial potential of anything I’ve written. They are action oriented, and they extrapolate on real-world technology and politics. They are also heroic stories in which the actions of individuals do matter. Yes, they are written in a cynical tone (an amusingly snarky tone, I hope), but this was cynicism wrapped around a core of idealism. In other words, they’re culturally appropriate for a large swath of American readership. As evidence of that, they’ve had multiple inquiries regarding film and TV rights, and in fact were optioned for TV (an agreement now expired).

This was all far more than I’d expected … but the path peters out if potential readers miss those reviews, or if they decide for reasons of their own to skip the books, or if they never hear of the books at all because they don’t read reviews and rely instead on chance, name recognition, or word of mouth to choose their next read.

The trilogy garnered enthusiastic readers — and I’m grateful for every one of you! — but despite all the good omens, it failed to capture the attention of enough readers to make it a success. Sales languished. The books sank out of sight.

Hell, yes, this was disappointing. And I could write a long, disgruntled post speculating on the reasons why it happened — in fact I did — but I’ll spare you that. We’re here at the turn of the year and it’s time to move on, because…

I’VE GOT ANOTHER NOVEL ON THE WAY!

::cheers::

::confetti::

Hey, I’m excited about it. I hope you are too. I really, really hope you’re excited, because I’m going to need you’re support on this.

So what’s it called? What’s it about? That post will go up at the New Year. But here’s a hint:

In these crazy, frightening, rapidly changing times my focus has been captured by the near future. Where are we going? What are some of the implications of our rapidly developing technologies? What impact might they have on the way we see ourselves, and on what we value in ourselves, given that we are still operating under the templates of our ancient tribal minds? These are some of the themes behind a thriller that’s written on a very human scale.

So check back soon. And in the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, sign up for my occasional newsletter (see the form in the upper right column). It’s one more way to keep in touch.