Question of the day: Here is a question I've been wanting to ask you... My agent recently sent my book proposal to publishers - that was about 3 weeks ago. I am going crazy waiting. Is this a normal time delay or should I ask her to check up on it and send to more publishers?
Oh geez, and here I kept you waiting for an answer for a week or so too. Apologies!
I hear you. I feel you. This wait is excruciating. It is enough to make a sane man (or woman) lose his marbles. But...three weeks isn't so long, I hate to say. I'd say that the average wait time (anecdotally, of course, I don't have concrete facts on this) is anywhere from six weeks to three months.
But that time frame is contingent on a lot of things, and certainly, you can hear back faster. I've heard back faster on all of my books (including the one that I wrote between The Department and Time of My Life, that we got offers on but decided to ditch and head back to the drawing board). It really depends on how much leverage your agent has with editors, how badly editors want to read the book (i.e., will they put it atop their TBR pile even if they have others that came in first), and of course, if you get a bite from someone else. In all of cases, this is what happened: my agent had good enough relationships with the editors to nudge the book forward and once we had interested from one publisher, she alerted everyone else who started reading asap.
So...the long answer to your question is that it really all depends, but NOT hearing by now doesn't mean anything! Don't fret. I know PLENTY of writers who sold after three or so months, and yes, I do know writers who sold after four days. It doesn't matter WHEN you sell, as long as you sell period. So, if you can (which you probably can't - I know from experience), try to find something else to occupy yourself with and trust that when there's news, you'll know. (Btw, if you do have the type of relationship with your agent in which you can check in, then do. If it helps assuage your anxiety, I say go for it.)
Readers who have sold books, how long did it take you to hear? What took so long or sped things along?