Next Friday, I’m giving a two hour workshop on how to self publish your book and then how to roll up your sleeves (or pick up your skirt hem to show a bit of leg) and promote it. The workshop’s taking place as part of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature taking place in Dubai next week and costs UAE Dhs200 to attend, none of which, tragically, sticks to my hands. However, if you’re serious about publishing your own book, I can pretty much guarantee to save you that money in wasted research, mucking about and spending time waltzing up quite as many blind alleyways as I did as I worked things out.
Self publishing in the UAE is slightly different to anywhere else in the world, in that you can’t really solely rely on the online platforms that have revolutionised publishing elsewhere. You can’t get paid-for content from Amazon or any other major e-book retailer in the region, simply because none of them have ‘switched on’ the Middle East (it’s not a rights issue, I know this because I opened world rights to ‘Olives’ on Amazon and they still won’t sell it to people from the UAE).
So you really have to go the traditional route to serve the home market and print a book, which is something of a mission in itself, from finding printers through to gaining permission to print and getting an ISBN number issued. I have documented much of this journey over at the Fake Plastic Souks blog.
Should you self publish at all? Why not hold out for an agent and a publisher to come knocking down your door and make you rich beyond your wildest dreams? When you wake up and get that whiff of coffee, how can you take matters into your own hands? What are the pluses and minuses of self-publishing? Which e-book platforms to pick? What formatting requirements are there for different e-book types? What about editing? What does self-publishing cost and what, if anything, should you be paying for? What are the pitfalls and highlights? What lessons have I learned the hard way in deciding to self-publish Olives?
Once we’ve gone over all that, it’ll be on to promoting your e-book (and your self-published book). How can you stand out among the many – and exponentially increasing – voices out there in the wilderness? I can't claim to have all the answers to this one, but again I can certainly share some hints and tips from my own well-travelled road!
One thing I can tell you about the workshop. It’s going to be fun!
How to Get Noticed and Sell Your Book with Alexander McNabb
Self Publishing and Promoting Your Book in a Digital Age
Friday 9 March 17:00-19:00Al Waha, InterContinental Hotel
Tickets are available by clicking on this here handy, rinky-dink link.