Thursday, May 08, 2014

How to write a novel - - Other Stuff Like Promotion

James O. Born

Pl ease allow me one more week to talk about the release of my latest novel in relation to writing your own novel.  Next week we really will continue our discussion of dialogue with input from our own Jacqueline Winspear and Patricia Smiley.

In terms of writing, I've had a pretty good couple of weeks.  It's not often you can say that.  Over the weekend I finished a rough draft for a novel that will come out way in the future.  But I realize I have to stay ahead of the curve and one way I can do that is working every day.  I don't even generally take time off between books.  But it just happened that this week marked the release of Border War and I was asked to do several things by the publisher.  One of the most interesting was appearing on my co-author’s TV show, Lou Dobbs Tonight. I even had to dress up for it.


The first week of a release is an exciting time with friends sending you e-mails and texts as well as editors rushing around with last-minute ideas for promotion.  This is really the first book I've had come out since I had a Facebook account.  It's interesting to see who contacts me through Facebook and some of the comments they leave.  It makes me realize how much has changed in the ten years since my first novel came out.  I couldn't begin to predict what it will be like in ten years.

But once again I returned to my central thesis of all of my posts since January.  The most important thing is to write the best book you can.  It doesn't matter if it takes extra months or even years of editing and revision, a book that's put together in a sloppy manner and doesn't hold the reader's interest will probably not go anywhere.

A book release is fun, a milestone and marks accomplishment but it doesn't do anything to help you write.  In fact it is a huge distraction.  Just ask Jackie after her last book tour.  I'm not even sure she's back in the country yet.  I hope that is her decision and not the US government’s.

As I said, in the coming weeks we will talk about dialogue, and other issues related to story and in the future we’ll talk about such practical things as proper use of time and even technological issues.

For my quote this week I was beaten to the punch by Patty on Monday.  I really did have the EL Doctorow quote and I’ll use it in the future.  Instead, I just have a cartoon I like.


  1. As I watched your interview I had two thoughts (a record for me):

    1. You clean up nice.
    2. You acted like an adult. What happened?

    Seriously, I'm so happy for you. Fair winds and smooth sailing.

  2. You didn't say much. You interviewed him. LOL. A sequel already, they have faith in you.

    Lisa Blount

  3. James O. Born5/08/2014 3:44 PM

    Thanks, Patty.
    Lisa, I didn't think that at all. He bailed me out.

  4. Hi James, if you don't mind me saying...
    (1) why is the other guy's name bigger than yours?!
    (2) blimey that picture's out of date :-)
    all the best,

  5. James O. Born5/09/2014 4:23 PM

    I'm surprised my name is as big as it is. The photo in the post is from Monday night. Four days out of date. Or do you mean on the masthead? In that case, you're right.


  6. Yeah, always pictured you as a fellow beardy :-)