Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A Dubai Writer's Workshop - Book Writing, Editing And Publishing

The Brand Spanking New Bookshop at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)

Last session tonight - 28th October - at 6.30pm sharp! So far it's been busy but there have generally been enough seats/tabletops to go around. Tonight (more below) is about how to find a publisher or, alternatively, do it yourself!

So you think you might have a book in you and you want to let it out, a little like the icky scene in Alien. You know, that one. A book is born! Pop! Squelch!

Well, I might be able to help. Then again I might be of absolutely no use at all. It's one of those gambles you have to take in life.

On Tuesday 14th, 21st and 28th October 2014 respectively, from 6.30pm until 8.30pm, I'll be running a series of workshops at Bookshop - the funky new book sales outlet in DIFC from those lovely (if perhaps just a little potty) people at BrownBook.

We did a vaguely similar series of workshops at Archive early last year at which people appeared to have fun, but then they were maybe just being polite... And if you miss this lot, you can pay good money to come along to the writing and publishing workshop I'll be holding at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature next year.

But these ones are... shhh... free!

How to Write a Book

Tuesday 14th October
Bookshop Dubai (DIFC) 6.30pm

I've written blog posts on this very topic if you want to mug up or just avoid having to spend two hours glued to a seat with me screaming abuse at you. At the actual workshop, we're going to look at the history, nature and purpose of narrative, and then delve into what makes people write books, how you can save time by thinking through some key stuff beforehand, structures of narrative and why you need to mull six honest serving men before you ever tap a key. Then we'll be lurching into how to structure your book and tell your story in the most compelling and exciting way. We'll look at nasty stuff like POV and characterisation before we zoom into writing techniques to help you make the most out of your story, including stuff like crafting dialogue and building brilliant exposition that flies rather than plods. If you survive that lot, you might make it on to...

How to Edit a Book

Tuesday 21st October
Bookshop Dubai (DIFC) 6.30pm

Editing is a vital skill for any writer, not least because the less work your editor has to do on correcting your sloppy manuscript, the more quality of thought and deed you'll get from the edit. Trust me. We'll be looking at the power of words, at the importance of word choice in various situations and then getting all down and dirty with different types of edit, from the big picture right the way down to the line edit, where all those commas are left quailing in the dark corner of a dank cellar as you wave a shotgun at them. We'll review techniques for creating a synopsis and a book blurb before wandering around the (huge) range of common writing errors you can purge from your work before anyone else gets a chance to see 'em. And then it's on to...

How to Publish a Book

Tuesday 28th October
Bookshop Dubai (DIFC) 6.30pm

We're going to take a look at your two most likely routes to publication: traditional publishing (finding an agent and a publisher who want to invest in your work) and self publishing (finding an audience who might want to buy and read your book). We'll look at how to prepare your manuscript for both eventualities, the process of publishing - from how to construct query letters through to how to find your audience online. We'll look at appointing an editor, getting an ISBN, printing, creating ebooks and all sorts of other stuff, including online book sales platforms and how you can promote yourself as an author - whether you're traditionally published or self published.

Who the hell am I to be doing this?

Nobody, really. I'm a publishing, digital media and communications consultant by day. By night, I'm the self-published author of three Middle East-based spy thriller novels: Olives - A Violent Romance which caused quite a controversial kerfuffle; Beirut - An Explosive Thriller which landed me a literary agent in London whom I finally dumped and Shemlan - A Deadly Tragedy, a novel I'm deeply proud of, but which has so far left the bestseller lists untroubled. I'm currently working on my fourth serious novel, A Simple Irish Farmer. Like I say, yer takes yer risks...

If you'd like to come along - or have a friend who's interested in writing and thinks they might just have a book in them, there's no money or registration or anything involved - but if you'd like a seat, I'd suggest you RSVP by leaving a comment on the blog, hitting me up on Twitter (@alexandermcnabb), facebook (/alexandermcnabb), using the contact form on or emailing me at I'm sort of easilyreachable...

For location and so on, you can hit up Bookshop here.

I'm also at the excellent ExpatWoman Family Fair on November 8th AND co-hosting a 'Literary Lunch' at Dubai World Trade Centre on the same day. I am clearly in the process of cloning myself...

Tata for now!


Sahil Banga said...

I'd like to attend the enlightening sessions :)

anisa jama said...

I want in :)

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