Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Submission Wait Time

How long does a writer have to wait before they hear back from an editor or agent? Well, it varies. Many publishers (and agents) will list the average wait time. Some say 2 months, others say 6. Some say 2-4 months. Others say 6-9. Some say 3 months if interested. When they give a range, I always go by the longest time.

Submission Wait Time || How long does a writer have to wait before they hear back from an editor or agent?

Over the last 23 submissions I've sent out, the guidelines said anywhere from no response to 9 months. Here's the breakdown of how many (and the %) for each:
  • (any number of months) IF INTERESTED (this usu. equates to a "no response"): 5 = 21.7%
  • 1 month: 1 = 4.3%
  • 2 months: 2 = 8.7%
  • 3 months: 3 = 13%
  • 4 months: 1 = 4.3%
  • 5 months: 2 = 8.7%
  • 6 months: 8 = 34.7%
  • 9 months: 1 = 4.3%
The most popular listed wait time is 6 months and "if interested." AND...the response times I actually received were:
  • within a week or less: 4 = 17%
  • 1 to 5 months: 6 = 26%
  • no response: 13 = 57%
SO...the most popular response is "no response". Sorry, that's just the way it is. Three of the four responses that I received in a week or less were e-mail submissions. The fourth one was an e-mail in response to a MAILED submission, AND it was THE OFFER!!! It makes all the "no response" responses well worth the wait!

So, if you have something out there, don't worry about it. Just WRITE THE NEXT BOOK and keep on submitting.

TODAY'S QUESTION: If you have (a) manuscript(s) out there, how many? And are you working on your next book? (I have 5 things on submission. Soon to be six again. And working on my next seven books (revising) as well as new drafts for the shiny 4+ ideas next up on the list.)

Keep on keepin' on...


  1. Nice breakdown. Waiting on waiting on waiting... LOL

  2. I like your stats! I don't submit too many at one time. I'm slow about the process. Sometimes it takes me an entire year of revisions before submitting. I have sent 2 out last year and haven't heard from any of them yet. It's only been 3 months and they both respond only if interested. They never say when they will respond, but I usually stop holdong my breath after 6 months. But I did submit one this year and got a rejection in a week! That was a record.

  3. You are a record keeper extraordinaire!! I submit constantly and write constantly. I keep an old fashioned loose leaf notebook with lists of what's out and where. That's as close to record keeping as I come.

  4. Oh, yes. Writing=just do it. Publishing=WAIT. Romelle, I've been writing/revising for about 4 years now, so I'm pretty slow, too. Genevieve, I think I'm half right-brained (the creative writing side) and half left-brained (the record keeping side). I don't think it really matters whether or not you use notebooks or digital. I use everything.

  5. Nice stats! Some will respond even after their stated window. I've gotten both rejection and acceptance 9 months to a year after submitting to agents/publishers with a 4-6 month response time. I was really surprised that the publisher even bothered with the year-late rejection!


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