Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Waiting is The Hardest Part

I know you recently sold a novel, so I hope you'll have some insights for me. My agent is sending out my novel to a portion of his list today and the balance, next week. I wondered if you could tell me how long it took to hear back from publishers when your book went out. Did some get back to you in days? Weeks? What's the shortest, longest, average response?

Happy to. But keep in mind that how quickly you hear back really isn't an indication of whether or not you'll get an offer. I know plenty of folks who have sold after two months or three - or longer. It all depends on how busy the editors are, if someone else shows interest in the ms, and your agent's relationship with the editors. (I.e, trusted confidantes might get quicker reads.)

That said, here's my story:

I finished my tweaks for my agent in early December 2005. Obviously, we didn't want to send it out then, but my agent (smartly) called everyone to say that it would land on their desks first thing in January, and several editors requested a sneak peek. Which was a really good move for me. Because when folks got back into the office on Jan 3rd, we already had feedback - namely, that it was getting second reads at most of the places that had gotten sneak peeks. So from there, the remaining editors madly rushed to read, and we held an auction the following Friday - ten days later - in which we received four offers.

So for me, it was very quick. BUT, a lot of that was a result of the early reads over the holidays and the fact that we got initial interest right away. I'd wager that most sales don't happen this quickly, and you only hear about the ones that do happen overnight or so because they're so unusual.

The waiting period sucks. It just does. Try to distract yourself by working on your next project. And remember, you only need ONE editor to fall in love with your work. That person might read the first night or the might read three months later - it really doesn't matter. It just matters that eventually, he reads it.

So readers, how long did it take you to sell your ms? What's the fastest sale you've heard of, and what's the longest?


MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

I think I know who submitted this question to you Allison (shout out to K.S!)...

You do only need one editor to fall in love with your ms, but sadly, as I've been experiencing, all the others in the office have to love it too! If that doesn't happen, and the editor can't champion your book, it may not get published.

Still, I'm staying hopeful.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

I know authors whose work was sent out as long 3 years, others who received offers on a Monday after a Friday submission. Allison is right, it will take as long as it takes. And best of luck to you!


Amie Stuart said...

Manic is right--My fourth ms. got as far as committee and got shot down. An Executive Editor trumps two Sr. Editors in the game of publishing poker. When I finally did sell it was five months with no agent.

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Susan Johnston Taylor said...

Pardon me for beating a dead query horse if you've already covered this, Allison. Do you think you get better results submitting queries by email or snail mail? My inclination is to save time and money by emailing, but I've heard of successful writers who swear by snail mail.

Allison Winn Scotch said...

MM-hang in there!! Susan - I'll pull this out and answer it on the main blog. Thanks!