Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.

Publication Anxiety: How do you deal with it?



Image by Rickydavid via Flickr ~///~ Writing is a journey.

Publication. A word foreign to many and one many long to reach.

That’s the easy way of explaining it. What isn’t instantly explained is the process in getting published. It has more steps than many realize and takes a lot more effort and persistence – maybe even a little luck.

Of course, no writer wants to believe in the latter.

So, you’ve written that wonderful short story, novel or poem and polished it until its shine makes the sun look dim. Great! You have successfully completed the first five steps.

Five, you may ask? Why, yes. The previous paragraph holds the five steps within it.

  1. The idea. So, you have the tiny bud that can blossom into something beautiful. Now what?
  2. The empty page. You open the document or grab your notebook, ready to write it all down – and then stop. Fear, anxiety. Can I really do this?
  3. The words. Finally, the words flow like a beautiful fountain spewing from your fingertips and on the page. I can do this!
  4. The horror. You read what you wrote and suddenly, everything does a complete one-eighty. Did I really write this?
  5. The trial. You put your mind to the task at hand. The first draft sucks – even Ernest Hemingway said so about first drafts. It’s time to give it that well-deserved shine. It will be great!

There you have it. A simplified version of the process every author is bound to go through. Intrigue, fear, excitement, disgust, and finally determination. Sometimes – often, really – authors go through steps four and five multiple times before they get that brilliant sparkling that indicates the perfection. The same goes for steps one and two. It takes authors multiple tries to finally get to step three and have the words release themselves.

Now, you have a finished, polished draft ready to see the world. What do you do with it?

For this, I have another list of steps as followed:

  1. The search. If a short story or poem; which anthology or magazine do you want to submit to? If a novel; which publisher is for you? How can I choose? There’s so many!
  2. The details. Narrow down your options. Focus on the genre of your short story/poem/novel and find publishers who specialize in it. Okay, that’s easy enough.
  3. The query. Once you’ve chosen a handful, start querying. There’s no problem in querying multiple publishing houses at the same time – just make sure to check their guidelines about it. What happens now?
  4. The wait. This is essentially the worst part of the entire process. Waiting weeks, maybe even months, for the letter or email stating “yes” or “no” to publishing your wonderful creation. I can’t take the stress!
  5. The finalization. You might be asked to make a few edits. After that, the view of the publishing world will greet you. Just one step remains.
  6. The joy. That’s it! You’ve just gotten the piece you’ve labored over for weeks, months, or even years into a book or magazine. Bask in it and don’t be afraid to show your family and friends that you’re happy. I actually did it!

Those who receive the dreaded “no” must simply rinse and repeat the querying. Maybe do a little extra editing. Sometimes publishers will say why they rejected something, but don’t count on it. Whatever you do; don’t give up!

Of course, the publication itself is only one step in a bigger picture, despite the many steps it took to reach it. Advertising plays a large role, particularly after the release of the book. But that, my friends, is a topic for another day.

Do these steps sound familiar, or do you have an entirely different set of steps? How do you deal with the wait for the “yes” or “no” answer?

Author: Natasha McNeely

I'm a writer, reader, gamer and a dreamer. I love losing myself to thought and considering possibilities. That is how I create my stories and weave the erratic tales into readable ones.

8 thoughts on “Publication Anxiety: How do you deal with it?

  1. Honestly, your list is very accurate. The only thing, having been on the editing side of the fence, that I would add is that the editor might make major changes as well, depending on what the publisher wants. Also, Duotrope ( is a great place to find small publishers and magazines for your short stories or novels.

    • I’m glad you think so. I think that, for the most part, the list is similar for most writers. That’s partly what I meant with “The finalization”, that things could be changed.
      That is definitely a great website; thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  2. You nailed it, Natasha! I can’t wait for the joy stage πŸ™‚

  3. After my first acceptance, I’ve discovered that there are amazing, weird, scary things that come after the Joy stage. XD


  4. Pingback: Writing Process: What’s yours like? | Natasha McNeely's Guide to The Beyond

  5. Pingback: The Journey: Dealing With Rejection | Natasha McNeely's Guide to The Beyond

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