Having patience

I think I’m safe in saying that the publishing industry is the slowest moving business there is. If there’s anything out there that moves any slower please let me know. I’d love to hear about it.

SO, how slow is the publishing business, you might ask?

A year ago I sent out a synopsis and sample chapters to a publisher I’d dealt with in the past. I don’t like to appear impatient so I’m usually content to wait for word to come.—would they like to read the whole manuscript or do they want to pass. My patience really doesn’t grow thin because I’ve been through this so many times that I know it doesn’t help to impatient. But now that all the work is done on my novel I can concentrate on some of my other submissions. A year seems extremely long for a synopsis to be gone  although I believe I did wait eight months to receive word that Nimbus wanted to read the entire manuscript for “Bitter, Sweet.”

Today I decided that I’ve waited long enough. I sent a quick email off to the editor asking if my submission is still under consideration and I also asked how they would feel if I sent out queries to a few other publishing houses since I hadn’t mentioned in my initial query that it was a multiple submission. Now of course I know I’m free to send queries off to other publishing houses (it is my work after all) but I figured it couldn’t hurt them knowing this. Perhaps that way they’ll let me know one way or the other— sooner rather than later.

I promptly received an apology from the editor telling me that he’d look into it and that I was free to send it to other publishing houses because it was their fault for taking so long. So a day off work today has proven to be very productive for me. I’m going to do up a proposal for a few other publishing houses sometime this week. At least now I’m moving forward again!

Leave a comment


  1. Wow. Thanks for this post. I’m not really at the submissions phase yet, but I really liked reading this to hear the perspective of someone who has been there, and is in the midst of it now. Your experience is a good example of just how patient I may need to be once that time rolls around. I’m so glad that editor responded quickly to your email! That’s encouraging to hear, too. Best of luck with the new people you contact this week!


    • Thanks Owl and Sparrow. I sometimes take a slow response time as a good sign. Sometimes when a publisher isn’t interested at all they will respond quickly with a no but even that does not always hold true.


  2. newtowritinggirl

     /  September 10, 2009

    Wow. I had no idea it could take that long – there was me be slightly naive and thinking you would hear back within a month or so. Good luck with the next submission(s).


    • Hearing back in a month would be a dream come true. But to be fair, editors are very busy people who do much more than read submissions. And just so you know some publishing houses will respond sooner than that. If you check out different publishing houses on line they might indicate what their response time is although it doesn’t always happen within the time frame they give.


  3. Do you have an agent or do you submit directly to publishers? That has nothing to do with your post but I’ve never seen you mention an agent and I just wonder if that’s the norm in Canada. It’s harder in the US to bypass the agent and work directly with publishers.

    As for slow, I sent a story to a magazine in February. They haven’t responded at all. I’ve called but they said they have no tracking system and I’ll get word eventually. This is a magazine that accepts hard copy only, so I went to a little extra trouble and expense to send it to them. For now on, I’m only submitting stories and/or queries to entities that accept online submissions.


    • Things are a bit different in Canada, I believe. There are some larger publishing houses out there that someone like me wouldn’t be able to submit to without an agent. But most publishing sites will tell you if they accept submissions or not and what their requirements are. I haven’t yet considered an agent but may consider it in the future. I know a few writing friends who now have agents after the publication of their book so maybe it is time. For years I submitted to literary magazines and you don’t need an agent for that.

      Yes, magazines are sometimes very slow as well. It’s only been this past year that I submitted much of my work online. You’re right postage costs a fortune especially when you have to add return postage. Usually, I now just ask them to contact me through email or provide a business size envelope and ask them to recycle my material.


  4. Dear Laura,

    It is _crazy_ how long things take in this business, and you’re right: adopting patience and long suffering as your attitude is the only way to survive it. 🙂

    Good luck on your latest round of submissions!


  5. I used to think that you queried, got a response right away and within a month could be published. You can stop laughing. After years of research I agree with you, publishing is the slowest industry ever.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 240 other followers

  • Follow Laura Best on WordPress.com
  • Laura Best

  • Blog Stats

    • 77,122 hits
  • Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: