Today we bring you a very special guest post from Zhanna Vaynberg, a second-year M.A.W.P. student. You may recognize Zhanna’s name from several Student News spots on Ex Libris because she’s gotten a few pieces published this past year. Now she’s here to tell us what she’s learned from these first forays into the wide world of publishing. Oh, and she just got another poem published in After Hours journal. Congratulations, Zhanna, and thanks.
During much of January, I spent quite a bit of time moaning to my professors about a short story of mine that was supposed to be published back in October and had not come out yet.
“Welcome to the world of publishing,” they all said, with a smirk. Welcome, indeed. I shouldn’t have really been surprised, considering I work in the publishing industry, but I’d never been on the other side of the chaos.
Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you that the lifetime of a story can be very long.
Professor Christine Sneed told me it took Glimmer Train two years to publish one of her stories, and I’m sure all the other authors on staff at DePaul have similar anecdotes. In the case of my story, “Do Not Leave Chicago,” its pre-published life spanned almost a year, not including the writing part, which was about five months start-to-finish.
In July 2011, the story got accepted for publication by Euphony Journal‘s fall issue. However, the publication date kept getting pushed back every month and it did not actually get released until February (if you are interested, the digital version of it is up on euphonyjournal.com). Besides the anxiety of waiting (it was my first publication, so I was a little excited), because it came out in February 2012 and not late 2011, it was not eligible for a collection that the editor wanted to nominate it for (Best New Stories from the Midwest).
What’s the moral of the story? Well, all I can say is this: Start sending out stories right now. I currently have about five different stories in the hands of thirty various publications. Sometimes it takes four to six months to hear back just from one magazine (and most of the time it’s a rejection letter). Many of my fellow students have told me they’ve yet to try getting published, even those at the very end of a MAWP degree. But if not now, then when? We’re not getting any younger.
So, start sending out stories to literary magazines today. Because it may be years before they come out.
Do you have an idea for the next Ex Libris guest post? Or have you gotten something published recently and want to share the news with your fellow English grads? Email Maria at firstname.lastname@example.org.