Last post I talked about the uncertainty of “that time” between an agent submitting a manuscript to a publisher and when a writer gets a response from the publisher in the form of a rejection or a contract.
Thing the First: A Conversation on Time on Cusp
I posed these questions to Marshall Ryan Maresca, a local Austin published author:
- Is there a correlation between the number of requests for a full manuscript and the possibility that it’ll get picked up?
- Are there months where publishers generally make decisions on contracting to publish a novel?
- How long would a publisher sit on a manuscript they’ve asked for before coming back with a decision? I’d heard a few snippets back at the last ‘Con, but… you’ve been through the grinder a few times now.
“Man, let me tell you, that interstitial period in a writers career, where you’ve made that massive level-up achievement of Getting An Agent, but still haven’t sold… it’s rough. And it is just because you’re in limbo. You’ve got people asking for it, so that’s good. But it can just take forever. I mean, it was about two and half years for me. [Author], I think four. As for months when things happen and when they don’t? I mean it all depends. I hear that a lot DOESN’T happen in the summer months, for example, because editors are often going to cons and such each weekend. I know that it was about a year between when my agent sent Thorn to [publisher] and when she started reading it, and she really didn’t read it until I went up and said a polite hello at WorldCon. And my agent was just telling me a story of one editor who kept going, “Yeah, I know, I’m going to read that soon” on someone else’s manuscript for years. I think Martha Wells made the joke of “glaciers honk at the publishing industry to move faster.”
“(But, on the flip side, you get something like [another author], whose agent sold his manuscript a week after signing him.)Thus, the big unhelpful answer is, “Who knows, man?”