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From Brainstorm to Bookstore: Getting Your First Book Published

Reunions '10 Alumni College

Posted June 22, 2010
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Have you ever wondered what goes into getting a book published? Three published authors from Hamilton’s Class of 1985 shared their wisdom and experience on what it takes to do just that. 

Panelists Amy Biancolli (Fritz Kreisler: Love's Sorrow; Love's Joy), Fred Zalatan (The Clinton Comets–From the Chenango Canal to National Championships) and Chuck Miller (Warman's American Records 1950-2000, Ghost Signs of the Capital District) spoke about the challenges and joys of writing and publishing a book.  

Miller gave the following advice to the budding writers in the audience: “Write a minimum of at least one page a day, every single day,” joking that by the end of the year, the writer would have a 365-page book. He also encouraged Hamilton Alumni who were interested in writing to “write about something that you are interested in learning more about. It will drive you to continue working on the project.” 

Amy Biancolli agreed with Miller; she noted that she completed her biography on Fritz Kreisler because the violinist connected her to memories of her parents. Biancolli expressed her love for journalism, noting: “One thing I’ve always liked about journalism is that you are not just paid to write- you are paid to learn.” She provided inspiration to the audience when she said, “If you have an urge to write, you should. You are unique, and therefore, your book will be, too.” 

Of course, there is more to writing and publishing a book than just coming up with a great idea. Fred Zalatan commented on many of the logistics of turning an idea into a published book. He advised the audience to “make sure you control your copyright for your text and the photos you use in the books.” Zalatan also suggested that writers be careful to always check their work after editors and proofreaders work on it to ensure that their voices remain in tact. 

All three panelists noted that, while publishing books are not always easy, the writing journey could be fun, and ultimately, rewarding. 

by: Melissa J. Kong

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