Last year I got an e-mail from a major publisher about my first novel, a science fiction adventure, asking me if it was still available, because it had been sitting on someone's desk for 3 years, because this editor finally got around to reading it and wanted to kick it up to upper management. I was about to submit it to another publisher, but decided to agree to let the editor move it up the food chain.

Well, it's going on a year since it was "kicked up" and I'm still waiting.

Which brings me to my question.

How long does it take for "upper management" to make a decision?

I know publishers are slow, but this publisher has a rep for usually taking around a year at most, but it seems my novel will be historical fiction instead of science fiction by the time I get a decision.

Maybe I'm just being cranky because it's the anniversary of brief period of what appears to be false hope, I've got a bad cold, too much to do, and too little time. But if anyone can give me a clue as to how long publishers can take, I'd love to know.

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Comment by lovelylj on October 13, 2009 at 12:04pm
What is the normal waiting time for a publisher to get back to you?
Comment by Neil Nyren on May 12, 2009 at 2:39am
There's no excuse for any publisher to sit on a manuscript that long -- none. Submit your book elsewhere now.
Comment by Benjamin Sobieck on May 11, 2009 at 2:28pm
Don't even wait for that. Three years is long enough.
Comment by D.R. MacMaster on May 9, 2009 at 6:37am
I sent the editor who contacted me an e-mail asking if there are any developments. If I don't get an answer soon, I'm moving on. It's getting ridiculous.
Comment by Dana King on May 9, 2009 at 4:58am
Don't wait any longer. I have a personal horror story from several years ago, with a well-known and well-respected smaller house I will not name here. (Neither will I ever query them again.)

They asked for a full manuscript and an exclusive. After six months I sent an email to my contact person. A couple of days later he got back to me, saying they liked the book, but had some suggesitons. Would I make them? All seemed reaosnable, so I busted ass and sent it back to them.

Another six months passed. I pinged my guy again. They liked the changes, and the book had gone to three readers. He'd light a fire under them. I got comments back in a week. We were moving to the next step.

Another six months passed. Some scenario, higher level. Finally, after two years, they finally passed by sending me a one-sentence, barely legible, grammatically incorrect note.

The more astute among you may have noticed I'm still a little bitter toward these bastards, no matter how well thought of they are in the industry.

Don't let these guys string you along. Take some kind of control.
Comment by I. J. Parker on May 9, 2009 at 4:09am
Did you promise an exclusive? If yes, ask for an answer now because someone else is interested. If no, send it out.
Comment by B.R.Stateham on May 9, 2009 at 4:04am
How long can they take? When was Lincoln President? They really have their own pace and worry very little about 'unknown' writers. I'd say screw'em and start sending it out again.

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