What is an editor’s normal response time to a submission? I sent in my manuscript ten months ago and haven’t heard back. My critique partner received a response within a month. Just curious how this all works.
First of all, I’m sorry that you’ve been waiting ten months for a response. It is our intention to respond in a timely fashion, but sometimes, time gets away with us. There are no fixed rules about turnaround, but here is what we aim to do:
Respond within three months
Different editors have different response goals (beyond the three months), so you have to consider this. But I would venture that three months is a good benchmark, especially if you don’t have an agent to nudge the editor to evaluate the submission sooner.
What should you do if you don’t hear anything after three months?
Don’t be frustrated. Be active.
Contact the editor. I wouldn’t ask openly on Twitter, but a polite, private email works and it’s a reminder that your submission needs to be evaluated. But don’t contact the editor every day or a week after you’ve sent the submission.
In the meantime, work on a different project. This will lessen the anxiety of hearing back.
What does our response time mean?
Usually nothing. Our reading of submissions can be very random. We might have more time-sensitive projects to read before yours. Often editing, meetings, administrative issues will delay reading. Many of us read submissions on our commutes, at night, on weekends. If we respond sooner, it’s just because we read it sooner.
But ten months is a long time to wait and you have a writing career to manage. You should start to ask about the status of your manuscript.
Editors love to read. It’s why we’re in this profession. We want to read your work and, more than anything, we love finding new authors.
Harlequin publishes over 100 books per month. Not only do we want to read your work, we always need new authors. And this involves a lot of reading on a daily basis. Bear in mind that we juggle many projects, all of which go through the phases of production. This takes time.
While we have our constraints, you do have your writing to consider, so we understand your wanting an answer. We appreciate your patience with us and always thank you for your submissions! Keep them coming!
Patience & the SYTYCW Team
Ps. If you have a question for Dear Editor, please feel free to write to Patience.