The Miami International Book Fair concluded last weekend with its three day street fair on the Miami Dade College’s Wolfson campus. While more than 250 publishers and book sellers were present, one particular book stood above the rest.

Richard Cook, who goes by the name Chevy Alden, offers help for new writers seeking to get their work in print through his second book, “How to Get Published- Guaranteed”.

Cook’s first book “Black Falcon”, which chronicles drug smuggling out of the Opa Locka Airport in the early 1980s, was rejected by New York publishers 84 times before getting published. Now in its fifth printing, the book receives excellent reviews.

“Publishing is not an art – it’s a business,” Cook said. “The reason most authors fail is because they look at writing as an art – which it is when you’re writing the book – and then you’ve got to have a business plan.”

“How to Get Published” teaches readers how to write, edit, publish, promote and market their own book, as well as how to start their own publishing company. It also includes example copies of some of his rejection letters, both form letters and personalized, from various publishing houses.

“Don’t take no for an answer,” Cook said. “A lot of rejections come and you think ‘Well, my book is bad.’ “Black Falcon” proves that means absolutely nothing. I got rejected by all the largest publishing houses and small publishing houses, but yet all the magazine reviews and newspaper reviews seem to be excellent.”

“The first thing I did was I changed my name for my book. It’s just like a lot of movie stars and musicians,” Cook said. “Richard Cook is a very common name. I needed something that stood out and I chose Chevy because I’ve always liked Chevy’s and Alden starts with an A – it’s from the classic sailboat designer Alden sailboats – and so when my book is listed under alphabetical order under the author’s name I always end up first. So your name is part of a marketing tool.”

“How to Get Published” is a step-by-step guide for all authors, young and old, who want to break into the writing industry. However, getting published as a young author often proves to be slightly more difficult.

“There are people getting published now in their teens, I’ve got an article in [the book]about that,” Cook said. “That’s rare, and the reason why is because author’s write from their experience and a person that young doesn’t have life experience yet.”

But don’t be discouraged. While it may not be easy, getting published out of college still happens.

“Start by sending to all the major publishers, knowing that you’re most likely going to get rejected,” Cook said. “It’s rare that they take somebody that’s not already famous or who hasn’t already been successful publishing- but still try. You may go with the small presses and there’s also self-publishing.”

Ashley Guistolisi can be contacted at a.guistolisi@umiami.edu.

November 21, 2006


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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