There are lots of lawyers who base their entire careers on rights issues. IANAL, just saying what I know. I would either make friends with other published photographers, get an agent, or talk to a lawyer if you feel you need to when the time comes. Nobody will fault you for wanting to know exactly what it is you're signing.
That said, publishing isn't scary. It's a people business, like any other. And the entire business is built on the backs of the artists, so don't take shit from anyone who wants to act like you aren't needed. Just find someone who does appreciate what you do. Look at all the calendars and photo books and posters and mousepads out there. Somebody had to take those pictures. Why *couldn't* it be you? You know you're just as good.
Good luck and happy shooting