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It would be nice if this weekend's London International Bookfair were just a slightly larger version, (well an Olympia-sized version at least) of the "Green Ink" Irish bookfair which took place in Camden last weekend. Writers and poets dropping in for the crack, some browsing and gentle bartering. Alas, no. It's the book trade's big bash, and the air will be thick with the stench of filthy lucre. Multimedia demos, seminars on Internet bookshops, "tax-saving strategies for the Book Trade" - a lot of that sort of thing. Mercifully for humble readers, members of the writing community will be reading, signing and mingling, but for would- be writers, it presents an unmissable opportunity to suss out how to get their "product" off the ground and into the marketplace.

The Michael Ridpath of tomorrow may be sitting in the audience, tomorrow, of a day-long seminar entitled "An Insider's Guide to Getting Published". Tips from the published, among them Maeve Haran (Scenes from the Sex War), travel writer William Dalrymple, Sue Townsend (left) and the people from Rough Guides. "It won't be the Ten Commandments, just tips and experiences," says Elizabeth Buchan, ex-senior editor at Random House, author and one of the seminar's leaders. "There are lots of classes on childbirth, but not very many on what to do with the bloody thing once it's arrived." She admits that the fair will have its share of "crashing bores" but watch for "the old lady sitting at the back, she may be hiding a sexually startling prose style."

London International Bookfair, Grand Hall, Olympia, W14 (081-910 7910) Sun-Tues.

`An Insider's Guide to Getting Published', Sat, Dillons, Gower St, W1, (071-915 6613), £35 includes entry to fair and lunch.

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