Jenny Xu of Harper and Ecco Recommends...

You don’t have to sign with the first agent who reaches out, or take the first offer that is sent to you—if one door opens, it means other doors are available. You don’t have to be a 30 Under 30. Find supports within or outside of the industry, like grants or fellowships, that can give you the opportunity to develop your project until it’s where you want it to be. Ask for the writing and revision time you need. Take the time to understand the traditions and conversations that you want to publish within or subvert. 

In a historically white industry, for creators who are not cis, white, or able-bodied, a path towards publication and success might feel like it could fall out from beneath your feet at any moment. Publishing does not value time fairly—the industry tries to wring as much labor out of its workers as it can, pay the lowest advance possible. But advance money, borrowed against your earning potential, gives you some power and control—claim or reclaim what you can, when you can. 

And ultimately, look for the people who will take the time to guide you and your work towards the shape it needs, and the audience who needs it.  

Jenny Xu, editor, Harper, and poetry editor, Ecco