Friday, 1 February 2013

The Umbrella Series At The Archive

The Umbrella Series - four workshops on the creation and distribution of words - takes place at The Archive on Wednesdays throughout February. They're being held by The Archive in conjunction with The Emirates Literary Group, with the intention of providing information and guidance for budding writers on the process of collating words into complete works, how to create books out of them (either through the 'traditional' process or self publishing) and how to sell and distribute them. With that in mind, the four workshops feature a known idiot, a poet and the head of a book distribution and sales company.

The idea is that attendees will walk away from these with a reasonable basic understanding of the whole process that will stand them in good stead as they undertake their own journey to publication. It's the workshop I wish I'd had being held in a funky work/art-space around the corner from me as I started out myself.

By the way, in doing these I'm not claiming I'm Stephen King or that I am anything other than a marginal, self-published writer selling handfuls of books. I'm just sharing some of the lessons I learned the hard way, so you don't have to.

Each workshop session will last a couple of hours and take place from 6-pm. Attendance is free, but The Archive would appreciate if you register to guarantee a place.

How to write a book 
Alexander McNabb
February 6th
I'll be looking at the miraculous process of arranging 26 letters variously into 100,000 words and how you go about doing that without wasting time, effort and money. We'll look at things like plotting, dialogue, structure and editing.

How to write poetry 
Frank Dullaghan
February 13th
Published and widely respected poet Frank Dullaghan will be guiding attendees through the world of poetry - looking at different poetic forms and styles and how to use language to create evocation, to bring rhythm and metre together on the page so the words create an emotional experience for the reader. He'll also be looking at finding outlets for your poetry.

Routes to publication (How to find an agent or self publish your book) 
Alexander McNabb
February 20th
Luigi Bonomi gave an excellent - and popular - workshop at the Emirates LitFest last year and will be repeating it this year. He is a top London literary agent and a very nice chap indeed and his excellent advice is well worth heeding. So do book for that session, but feel free to come along to this one as well. I'll be giving an author's-eye view of the agenting and publishing process, from how to format your manuscript through creating a stellar synopsis, blistering blurb and killer query. I'll also be looking at how you can chuck all that up and do it yourself, from picking platforms through to getting reviews and promoting your work.

Book distribution and sales in the UAE 
Narain Jashanmal
February 27th
If you want to understand how publishing 'ticks', who better to talk to than an industry 'insider'? It's amazing how many of us set out to put 100,000 words on paper without ever thinking about what's actually going to happen to them at the end of the process. Narain Jashanmal is GM of Jashanmal Books and will take you on a roller coaster ride through the worlds of distribution, sales and retail. What do the public want? How do they get it? What makes people buy (and not buy!) books? What can you do to maximise your chances of success and give his sales team a nice, easy job when it comes to actually getting your books out there into peoples' hands? And where is publishing going - and where should we as writers be going as a result?

So there you have it - a series of what promise to be enjoyable evenings for anyone interested in writing and publishing as we embark on the run-up to the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature - the link will take you to my sessions at the LitFest. :)

For the Umbrella Series Workshops, please let Librarian Sarah Malki know which sessions you'd like to attend. You can drop her a mail at or phone The Archive on 04 349 4033. If you want its location, pop over to or this post if you want to find out more about The Archive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh how I wish I could do that scene from Snatch,
"Do you hear that Alex, I'm comin' to Beirut"
Slams down phone. Slams Taxi door. Knocks back in-flight drink. Whirr of jet engines as plane passes overhead. Passport stamp. Screech of tires and the "ding" of a taxi announcing availability following completion of a fare.

I'll have to content myself with whatever crumbs I can find on the web. I hope someone records the sessions and uploads them to You-Tube (hint, hint)

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