NEW YORK (AP) _ A state prison inmate serving a life sentence for a contract murder is trying to find a publisher for the exercise book he wrote outlining his keep- fit regimen behind bars.

Sebastian Ventimiglia, 29, an inmate at the Clinton state prison in Dannemora, says he wrote the book after his sister hurt herself trying to follow an exercise program in a celebrity fitness book.

He said from Dannemora that exercise had helped him mentally to deal with being in prison.

''Exercise truly helps one communicate with the self,'' he said, adding he has reformed and was ''trying to do something positive with my life.''

His manuscript is titled ''Physical Madness'' and his girlfriend, Salina Persiri, is trying to find a publisher.

Ventimiglia and a codefendant were convicted in 1977 of murdering motorcycle dealer Benjamin Mattana in June 1976.

Ventimiglia, on probation at the time after being convicted of a dozen armed robberies, was given a 25-year-to-life term.

The government said he had been hired by Victoria Ardito, Mattana's lover. She is serving a sentence of 18 years to life.