Tuesday, March 1, 2011

There's a Signpost Up Ahead

A well-known agent sent out my novel to 9 publishers 3 months ago and says she has not heard a peep since. How long does this process normally take? 
1. There is no "normal".
2. Forever.  Or at least it seems like it.  If your agent is well-known, then he/she should be able to tell you what's normal for the editors he/she submitted to.
I know things things vary, but realistically, wouldn’t I have had at least 1 rejection by now?
You're traveling through another dimension -- a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call "Publishing".


Yossi Mandel said...

No! Awesome use of the twilight zone. I'm going to steal that and exchange "publishing" for "writing".

nw said...

Substitute "in a reasonable world" for "realistically" and the answer is yes. My agent sent a project out four months ago and not a peep.

Christine Tripp said...

In my ignorance of the process of manuscript submission, I also would have thought an agent would have had some response after 3 months. I don't know though if some of that time period was around the holidays?

A question, 9 sounds higher a number of Publishers to send to then I would have expected. Is it?

Nancy Coffelt said...

Get thee busy on a new project, eat lots of cupcakes and try not to dwell. That's usually kept the waiting demons at bay for me.

Channeling Rod Serling? Hmmm. Worth a shot, I guess. And unlike eating cupcakes doesn't require switching to elastic waist pants.

Tatum Flynn said...

Thank you for that, the last paragraph made me laugh *very* hard :)

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Melinda Szymanik said...

Genius - that was a coffee snorting moment. The waiting is indeed the equivalent of being trapped in a black hole having left your sanity behind out in space.

Cindy Paul said...

I often feel like I am caught in the "dimension of imagination." I can imagine many reasons why there is no response and none of them are really any good. I do like the advice of Nancy and can now imagine a wide variety of cupcakes to get lost in.

Okay, back to reality, those books aren't going to sell themselves.

Anonymous said...

Too long. When I was out on submission I heard back from everyone within two weeks.

Melinda Szymanik said...

Sometimes a longer wait is a good sign? - an indication perhaps that there is interest, the ms is having multiple reads and costs and projected incomes are being calculated??

widdershins said...

12 weeks is time for a politely worded email to the publishers for an update.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:08 -

"Too long" in what universe?

I can assure you that your experience, while certainly nice for you, is very far from normal.

You also don't indicate if your book ended up published.

In my experience, the only books that get responses from everyone as quickly as two weeks are either hugely commercial projects in which there is a ton of early interest, which leads people to read very quickly, and either a pre-empt or auction (or else everyone drops out...)

... OR they are the manuscripts that everyone can tell at a glance they don't want.

Either way, that is not the norm. Two weeks is not enough time for an editor to read the book, get a second read, take it to editorial board and take it to an acquisitions meeting, which is the process that most books have to go through at most publishers in order to happen.

- Agent Anonymous

Literaticat said...

It does seem odd that NOBODY has rejected it.

I'd say 12 weeks is time to nudge, for sure.

Have you spoken to your agent yet?

Anonymous said...

Can't speak for anyone else, but this author has just about had it with waiting on editors et al for months on end. Life is short, my ideas are abundant, my patience is wearing thin...

Now that so many interesting venues are popping up for ebooks and apps, a lot of us are exploring the alternatives. We're hiring freelance editors and designers to ensure a professional product, and testing the waters. Can't wait to ditch several layers of middlemen who currently receive a far larger cut than we do.

working illustrator said...

Get used to it: the longer you stay in publishing, the more of this you'll see.

I turned in final art for a book almost two months ago; it was immediately and enthusiastically approved.

I'm still waiting for them to cut me the final check, however.

And no, it's not some fly-by-night little house; it's one of the big ones.

Basic take-away: Your convenience is not their convenience.

You are not important.

They are.

The sooner you recognize this fundamental paradigm and surrender to it, the... well, I won't say 'happier', but the more at peace you'll be.

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Damian Dougherty said...

I read somewhere that most of us write most of our stuff mainly for ourselves. You may agree or disagree with this statement.

If we accept it as a given, though, for those RARE (lol) times when no publishers get back to us, it might be good to give your agent one more manuscript copy, have them write a love letter about your book and gift and fancy wrap it before choosing a random time to send it to YOU. you know. When a pick me up is in order.

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