Edward Zahniser interview with David Alan Binder

posted Aug 15, 2019, 5:56 PM by David Alan Binder

Edward Zahniser interview with David Alan Binder


About Edward from the Adirondack Almanack: Ed Zahniser retired as the senior writer and editor with the National Park Service Publications Group in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. He writes and lectures frequently about wilderness, wildlands, and conservation history topics. He is the youngest child of Alice (1918-2014) and Howard Zahniser (1906–1964). Ed’s father was the principal author and chief lobbyist for the National Wilderness Preservation System Act of 1964. Ed edited his father’s Adirondack writings in Where Wilderness Preservation Began: Adirondack Writings of Howard Zahniser, and also edited Daisy Mavis Dalaba Allen’s Ranger Bowback: An Adirondack farmer - a memoir of Hillmount Farms


How do you pronounce your name? 



Where are you currently living?

Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA — 70 miles NW of Washington DC


What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

That there is always more to learn about writing, and you should try to have fun.


What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

Situational humor combined with wide references/sources.


Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?   

For most poets — and there are millions of us — self-publishing or variations on subsidy publishing are almost a must today.


Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located?

I have been published by several publishers, most recently Red Dashboard Press, Princeton, NJ.


Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

For poets with a small audience, print books are still pretty much the way to go, now that you don’t have to print a couple hundred books just to make it economically feasible.


Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?         Look for new presses. Many don’t last, but they are more prone to bite than more established publishers.


How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?

A poet won’t get an agent unless and until they become nationally established—or are extremely lucky.


Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)?

Don’t write for publication at first. Write for why you must write. Then try to get that published.


What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating? Often it’s your own writing that surprises you that is the writing someone else might want to read.


How many books have you written? S

even books of poetry, about 10 chapbooks and e-chapbooks of poetry, 1 book of humorous prose, several prose books for my former employer, The National Park Service Publications Group, and I’ve edited several prose books.


Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)?

It’s all been said many times.


Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?



What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

I don’t think there’s any one thing. So many books are vastly different. The Godfather was turned down by a dozen or more publishers. ‘Who wants to read about the Mafia?” they said. Then Puzo’s book made all the publishers want a book about the Mafia.

[highlighted due to the importance of the statement]


What is one unusual way in which you promote your work?

I am very poor at promoting my work, unfortunately.


 What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

 Not sure.


What saying or mantra do you live by?

“Just Write!” (Then edit with great care and respect for the reader.


Anything else you would like to say?

Thanks for asking!