The Secret to Surviving First Publication (Plus, Get Your Fiction in WD!)

Publish date:

There it sits: everything you’ve wanted, in one hub. Everything you’ve dreamed, in bouts of caffeinated madness. Important-looking editors bustle back and forth within, but you’re stuck on the outside of your new publishing house, peering in through double-buffed windows, eyes wide.

How do you set foot in that hallowed place?

As it turns out, it’s just another rung in a ladder. And like every rung in every ladder, you merely have to know how to climb it.

And to do that, you have to …

(Today we continue our Top 20 Lessons from WD in 2009.)

No. 17: Ask. Ask!
“The moral of the story is not to tremble in awe at the entrance doors of the publisher. Ask, ask, ask, even if you don’t know what to ask. Ask them what you should be asking. Ask for a publishing schedule; ask what you can help with; ask for their publicity plan so that you can compare it with yours. Start your publicity plan long before you’ve finished the book, long before it’s published.”
--Author and WD reader Jeanette Salerno, as featured in our July/August 2009 Publishing 101 package.

Have an excellent weekend, and consider taking a crack at our magazine’s Your Story prompt. In 750 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring, post your stories in the comments section of my blog, and they’ll be entered in the contest, or e-mail them to (There’s only one entry allowed per person, and you have until the Nov. 10 deadline.) Should your story win and you posted it here, I’ll contact you for your name and mailing address when the time comes. Good luck!


WRITING PROMPT: Your Story Contest No. 22
Suffering from a mid-life crisis, a 50-year-old businessman quits his job and goes on a quest to “get the band back together.”
—From The Writer’s Book of Matches by the staff of fresh boiled peanuts: a literary journal