The Slow Pace of Publishing
Written by
K.L. Gore
December 2011
Preparing to Publish
Written by
K.L. Gore
December 2011
Preparing to Publish

I think one of the most difficult aspects of being a writer in a traditional sense is the slow pacing of the publishing world. I say traditional sense because if you decide to self-publish your work, turn-around time can be quite swift. But if you are waiting for acceptance of your work (or rejection letters to come forth), it can stretch to months.

Email has helped quicken the pace, and I am beholden to this not-so-new technology because so many agents and editors are embracing it. Many moons ago I snail-mailed query letters to agents and had either rejections or offers to see partials snail-mailed back to me, and it could be eight months before I received a response. A stage play that I sent out to a theater took three years (and two addresses) to get back to me with its rejection letter.

When I began the time-saving method of emailing agents, sometimes I'd get a response within the hour. My naivety in this matter caused me to make my very first agent-author relationship error. I queried my manuscript before it was *gasp* ready. Of course the agent wanted me to email it to him, and I spent the next 48 hours editing my work. Let's just say I advise against doing this. Ever. The agent ended up being too busy to read my work (to which I am ever grateful), and I learned my lesson. Much later I found the right agent for me.

In talking to friends whose agents have submitted their novels, response time from editors can be six months or more. (I cannot relate my own experiences here; I would rather not shoot myself in the foot, thank you very much.) Meantime, my friends try not to think about the fact that their manuscripts are sitting on editor's desk somewhere. Instead, they spend their time writing their next novel. A good thing since sometimes that first novel doesn't sell, even with an agent behind it.

I will say that a well-known children's magazine had my story in their possession for a year before recently accepting it. I'm not complaining...I'm thrilled it was accepted! I realize the editors at these magazines are busy. I'm sure they put all us writers to shame with how hard they work. But I think it's important for people starting out in writing to realize that decisions take time. You may be waiting months before you receive a bite from an agent. Longer if you are waiting out the attention of an editor.

Yes, publishing is a slow business. But it is, after all, an amazing thing. When you receive that first acceptance letter from a legitimate source, be it an agent or an editor, there is nothing like that feeling of success that follows. Someone likes you. They really like you.

It's truly worth the wait.

Let's be friends

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  • Thanks, Regina, on the congratulations. That's very sweet of you.

  • Sorry it's taken me so long to reply, Melanie. I've been knee-deep in revision work, so I haven't checked on this site in a while. :) Queries that include queries for ALL the novels I sent out would probably hit over 100. On the last one, I had many close-calls, but in all, I'd say maybe 35?

  • Melanie Conklin

    Out of curiosity, how many queries did you send out before securing your (first) agent?  I've been reading author blogs and stories in bulk lately, and am constantly amazed by how many queries can be sent out before an agent even requests the MS!

  • Regina Y. Swint

    Congratulations on getting your agent and having your work accepted.  That's all very exciting, I'm sure.  I agree that the process seems to take forever, even just to get rejections.  I admire anyone who sticks to it long enough to get a good agent and traditional publisher.  Continued success to you!