What is a long time for a writer? Agent? Publisher?
On a writing forum I recently replied to a post about response time from an agent. You could almost hear the hopeful, pleading tone in the message, asking if anyone, anyone had ever signed with an agent after taking “ages” to respond.
My response was “define ages.”
I was recently called out by an agent for “unprofessional” behavior for having submitted to a single publisher after hearing nothing — nada — after five months of an exclusive submission. This including a nice nudge letter two months in, letting the agent know that I’d received a contract for another novel aimed at the same audience. This agent swore he was about to read my full manuscript that very week. He went on and on about how egregious my behavior was. And here I was hoping he’d ask me sign on since I’ve got other projects and could use the help with any contract that should arrive. Not after that blow up.
Today I got an email from a small press editor who had requested a full manuscript from me in April. In her original request she’d said to expect a response in May. I shot her an email this week –six months after subbing, assuming that the book had been long forgotten. Instead the editor asked if I’d be willing wait another month. Or so. I said sure.
The book I did sell, IN REAL LIFE, is scheduled to come out from Tuttle Publishing in the Fall of 2014. It’s a young adult novel about a computer gaming prodigy. I originally submitted my proposal to Tuttle in April of 2012. If it comes out on schedule, that means it will be two-and-a-half years from sub to pub.
So what is a long time for a writer? Weeks. For an agent? More than six months, from my experience. Publisher? Hope it encompasses your natural lifespan. And be careful about including too many pop culture or high tech references. By the time they appear in print, they’ll be so yesterday.