I was wondering how long it took to sell your book from the time your agent sent it out to when it sold. Also, how often were you talking to your agent during this process? Would you mind sharing?
Happy to share. Officially, it took ten days. Unofficially, it took a little longer. Why? Because my agent was savvy. The ms was ready to go toward mid-December, but she didn't want to send it out during the dead period of the holidays. So what she did instead was call all of the editors who were on her list a few days before they left for their vacation, telling them that it would land on their desks on Jan 3rd, the first day they were back. Her enthusiasm must have transfered over the telephone line because a few editors requested a sneak peek, which meant that they toted it home with them over the Christmas holiday. So by the time everyone got back to their offices and cracked open the ms, we already had a few requests for second reads and a lot of positive feedback. Which meant that all of the other editors, who might normally have tucked the ms at the bottom of their bags and gotten to it when they got to it, read it within a few days. Thus, we had four offers about a week later.
Keep in mind, however, that there really isn't a set timeline for how quickly a ms should or will sell. I remember reading that Meghan Daum's The Quality of Life Report sold in, like, a day (seriously!), and that James Frey's A Million Little Pieces (I know, I know) was rejected by 13 imprints before Nan Talese made an offer. Whatever you think of Frey and his book, it's still an example that it only takes ONE offer, and that offer might be the first or last one you get. Who cares, really? As long as it's an offer.
As far as how much contact I had with my agent during the submission process, well, I had a lot, which I think I've mentioned on the blog before. We emailed or spoke on the phone every day, even if it were only for her to calm my nerves. But again, this will vary. I chose my agent in part because I liked her collaborative approach: I'm a hands-on type of gal, so it was important to me that a) my agent knew this and b) she was cool with my involvement. She was and she still is. We still talk fairly often, whether it's about the cover art or film rights or whatever. If you're on the agent hunt and want to be more actively involved, ASK your agent HOW she feels about this. If you don't, and you find yourself shut out, you really can't complain much.
Any other authors out there want to share their own timelines? I really do think that each one is individual and will vary. So don't panic if your ms hasn't sold overnight!