I love your blog, and it was so useful for drafting the query that got me my agent. I was over the moon when that happened, but now I'm in the seemingly eternal doldrums of being on submission. Can you help answer some questions about the submission process in general? I'm not sure how much information you have about the nitty-gritty of what goes on during the acquisition process, but I figure it's worth a shot.
I've been on sub with a fantasy novel for 4 months and have only heard back from 4 out of 8 editors in the first round (all highly complimentary/reluctant passes). My agent initially predicted we'd hear back within 3 months from most, but it's been deadly quiet. What's a normal length of time for a round?
There is no normal. It varied by editor. It varies by season. The consensus among my drinking buddies is things are taking longer now. Is that because there are more submissions, or fewer editors, or editors have more things in their job description? I don't know. I know I've had books on submission for far longer than four months, and have gone on to sell them.
Is no news generally good news, in your experience? I'm out to an editor who I know already rejected someone who submitted 3 months after me, but I don't know if her silence regarding my book is positive or not.Again, there is no one answer here.
How often do publishing houses hold acquisition meetings? Do editors try to acquire multiple books at once or focus on one at a time?
Publishing companies acquire books differently. Some editors can buy with a simple OK from the boss. Some need to go to the acquisitions meetings. Those meetings get moved and cancelled like every other kind of meeting in the world.
Editors don't acquire seven books on a Monday morning (usually) but they often have several at acquisition stage at once. Again, no norm.
Seeing a pattern here?
I'm in a support group for writers on sub who all have the same questions, but since it's such a secretive process, it's hard to find answers. I know the advice is to keep writing and try to pretend you're not on sub at all (and I've already finished one new book and have a second one in progress), but it's difficult not to obsess when The Call could happen today or never.
What you didn't say is why you're not talking to your agent about this?
She's got the scoop on the specific editors and will know their patterns of reply.
Asking about this isn't bugging her, as long as you don't do it every day or every week.
Sometimes no news is so anxiety producing it can be a problem. It's totally fair to ask her to update you monthly on subs, and talk to you about how she thinks the process is going.
This is YOUR book, and your peace of mind.