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View Full Version : How long did it take you? Are you still waiting?



Christyp
10-25-2011, 07:57 PM
I'm sure this has been discussed numerous times, but I was curious (received another form rejection letter), how long did it take for you to get published? Let me rephrase that into a couple of questions...

How long until you got an agent?
How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?
Are you still writing for a living successfully?
And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?

2011's dreamer
10-25-2011, 08:02 PM
Since I'm still unpublished, I can only answer one of these questions. *shrugs*


if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?

Never. When I run out of agents, I'll probably just trunk the novel and try with my next one, as soon as I can actually get around to writin it.

Jamesaritchie
10-25-2011, 08:04 PM
Ridiculously fast. All the stars aligned perfectly, etc.

How long until you got an agent? About ten days.
How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher? About two weeks.
Are you still writing for a living successfully? Yes.

kaitie
10-25-2011, 08:08 PM
Hm...do you mean since I started writing with the dream of being published and did my first novel and took classes and all that jazz, or since I started taking it really seriously?

If we're talking the former, it took 15 years to get an agent. I wrote my first book at 15, and found my agent right before my 30th birthday.

Now, in that fifteen years I wrote a lot, revised a lot, did a couple of novels (that sucked ridiculously), was told I couldn't tell a story and gave up for a little while, then started writing again and decided to really learn how to improve what I sucked at, and that process took about five years.

From the time I started actively querying to the time I got an agent was about a year and a month. I had two separate books, and by the time I finished querying the first, the second was ready to go. The second is the one that got the agent.

I'm out on sub now, so I haven't been published yet. Still hoping, though. If this one doesn't make it hopefully the next one will.

As for self-publishing, I won't. My goal in this is to be a commercially published author. I have worked my ass off for the past five years to get there, and it's been my dream for so long that I'm not going to give that up. If I don't make it, I don't make it.

I would consider self-publishing if I had a backlist that was out of print or if I already had an established readership.

Christyp
10-25-2011, 08:08 PM
Ridiculously fast. All the stars aligned perfectly, etc.

How long until you got an agent? About ten days.
How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher? About two weeks.
Are you still writing for a living successfully? Yes.

What's wierd is the first story I ever "shopped" I got replies and requests for partials and fulls within the first few days. I was offered a contract with an agent a couple of months later, but was in contact with her the whole time I was revising and rewriting.

Now, well, I finally got a reply (rejection) today...

Cyia
10-25-2011, 08:15 PM
How long until you got an agent?

3 weeks to the offer; tack on another week before acceptance.

I know of people who got one faster, and there are best sellers who were on the query-go-round a full year before they got their agent. Many of the members here have sold to publishers without an agent at all. There's no base line.

How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?

36 hours

Again, there's no average. A book can sell on the spot, or - like one of our own here at AW with a current mega-hit on her hands, it can take close to a decade.

Are you still writing for a living successfully?

Most people who publish don't write "for a living". They write for extra income.

And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?

If it didn't conflict with my publishing contract, I'd have SP something over a month ago. It's a serial I had started on my blog, and I wanted to put it together as a "real" novel for those who wanted to read it in one go, and maybe use it to start an audience. (I have fanfic readers who would risk $1-$2 on something if I put it up for sale, but I wouldn't recommend this if you don't already have a pool of readers to draw from.)

Self-publishing can work under the right circumstances, with the right mindset.

Miss Plum
10-25-2011, 08:26 PM
How long until you got an agent?
About six months.

How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?
Funny, my agent signed me the minute they found out someone else was interested, and the minute I signed they forgot all about me. It's been over a year, we're now out on round two of submissions, and I'm being pessimistic so as to save myself from disappointment.

Are you still writing for a living successfully?
N/A

And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?
I'm resisting it strongly.

Phaeal
10-25-2011, 08:58 PM
Agent? Nineteen months from the time I started querying. The novel went through a major (self-instigated) revision after the first four months.

Published? Not yet, but we have a bite and are crossing our toes. (Gotta keep fingers free to write.)

Writing for a living? If it happens, great. If not, I'll sock away any cash that comes in and keep writing for a life. ;)

Self-publish? I'm keeping my eye on this evolving possibility. I'd have to study up on the marketing end first, then develop a detailed plan before I'd jump.

SJAB
10-25-2011, 09:05 PM
How long until you got an agent?

For the book that caught me an agent, 12 months

From the time I started writing 10 years (It was book number 5 that made it)


How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?

Still waiting.


Are you still writing for a living successfully?

If I can make as much as my part time admin job then I will be very pleased.


And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?

Sorry, I am not going down that route. Nothing against SP, but it is not for me.

Rhoda Nightingale
10-25-2011, 09:15 PM
And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?
Still not published, not going the SP route, ever.

Two points to add to this however: I generally assume that if X number of agents pass on my query/partial/synopsis, it needs reworking, so rather than trunk or SP I'm more likely to let it rest for a few weeks/months and then try to make it better.

I don't know what X is yet. I think I'll know it when I see it.

Secondly, I do have a novella that I'm kinda, kinda considering going the SP route with, if only because I'm struggling with pushing the word count into a more publishable direction and I know novellas are a bitch to sell. But that's a very slim possibility.

KTC
10-25-2011, 09:23 PM
Took over a year to get an agent. I was published before I got my agent. I don't write for a living...but I am seeing a measure of success in it. My own opinion---self publishing was NEVER an option for me.

ghost
10-25-2011, 09:35 PM
I will answer this for this book. T

How long until you got an agent? One day. My agent, requested, read, and signed me within 24 hours. However, there were other books that never got offers.


How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher? I signed with my agent in March. We did revisions till July. I went into auction in Aug.

Are you still writing for a living successfully? Yes.

And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP? I am published but I'll add that I never would have SP'd. I really wanted to see my books in stores.

quicklime
10-25-2011, 09:40 PM
I'm sure this has been discussed numerous times, but I was curious (received another form rejection letter), how long did it take for you to get published? Let me rephrase that into a couple of questions...

How long until you got an agent?
How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?
Are you still writing for a living successfully?
And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?


to the last part, never.

SP is a fine model for folks who know what they are getting out of it and putting into it, but that isn't the route I was ever interested in taking. e-pubbing, maybe, but I wanted to do this to prove i can; self-pubbing because I got tired of waiting for traditional channels wouldn't be any different than just quitting then, for the bar I set for myself.

Others' mileage is sure to vary, but for me, I'm not interested in self-pubbing and hawking, I want to succeed in traditional pubbing but if I don't, I'm not losing any sleep about not having brought my stories out into the world

COchick
10-25-2011, 09:40 PM
How long until you got an agent?
About six weeks from the time I started seriously querying.

How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?
I'm out on my second book, and it's been out on submission for 6 weeks. Still no bites. I'm feeling pretty discouraged about it at this point.

Are you still writing for a living successfully?
N/A

And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?
I just SP'd my first book, which is the book that got my agent. It's been a good experience overall, and I like the freedom that comes with it. If the book on sub now doesn't sell, I'll probably SP that one too, and I have a few novels my agent has passed on that I'll SP.

However, it's always been my dream to be traditionally published, so I'll keep plugging away.

leahzero
10-25-2011, 09:42 PM
How long until you got an agent?
My answer is similar to Kaitie's--I've been writing my whole life, preparing for this. But from the time I actually queried my first book to accepting an offer of rep, 8 months. I write adult literary thrillers.

I think what you write plays a huge part in your publishing story. YA is white-hot right now, and most of the "omg stars aligned" stories currently seem to involve YA books.


How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?
We're st1ll 0n 5ub. Hasn't been very long.


Are you still writing for a living successfully?
Not yet.


And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?
I've actually got a SP plan in mind if the book doesn't sell. I'd prefer to be published traditionally, but SP doesn't have the same stigma and limitations it once did. It's empowering to feel like I got this far, so I know my shit is good enough--and if I can't make it through the final hoops, well, I've got options.

seun
10-25-2011, 09:43 PM
How long until you got an agent?
How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?
Are you still writing for a living successfully?
And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?

No agent.
About eighteen months after I started writing it. It was my tenth book so in terms of writing with an eye on publication, pushing fifteen years.
Not writing for a living. Not yet, anyway.
Wouldn't self publish. It's right for some, but not for me.

rainsmom
10-25-2011, 10:00 PM
Changing the order a bit, because I did things in a wonky way.

How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?

I shopped my first book, nonfiction for a sub-niche market, to my publisher directly. I think it took about a week to sell -- and only because the editor was on vacation when the proposal arrived.

How long until you got an agent?

I don't have one. I'm working on a novel now, and I plan to shop for an agent when I'm finished with it. Finishing that book just hasn't made it to the top of the priority list, though, so that's not happening in the near future.

Are you still writing for a living successfully?

I don't aspire to be a full-time writer. Well, it would be great, but I am extremely well paid in my regular job and can't really believe that fiction will ever replace that income on a sustainable, consistent level.

And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?

My novel is mainstream fiction, and I want it to be traditionally published. I have a couple of ideas for some paranormal fiction that I would want to publish under a pseudonym for branding reasons, and I would consider SPing that. Maybe.

Paranormal is a genre that is doing well in SP. Mainstream, less so. I wouldn't SP because I couldn't trad. pub; I would SP because I weighed all the options and believed I would be able to make more money. Different brand, different genre, different strategy.

Becky Black
10-25-2011, 10:05 PM
How long until you got an agent?
I don't have one - not required for the small presses who are the usual publishers of my genre.

How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?
It took about two weeks from submission to acceptance. Which amazed me, I was all set to wait for months!

Are you still writing for a living successfully?
Not for a living! I wish! But I've had a second one accepted and published and am getting regular royalties from the two of them. I got a rejection for the third one, but with an invitation to revise and resubmit, so I'm working on that now. So things are going generally okay. Could be worse.

And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?
I can't say for sure that if I was still trying to sell the first one I wouldn't have cracked and gone the self-publishing route by now. But I don't think I would. I'm not entirely against self-publishing, I'd happily do it if say in a few years the rights to sell my books had reverted to me and nobody else wanted them, since that's at least better than them not being available at all. And there are some other circumstances, none of which apply to me. But for new books, I don't think it's something I'd do.

AlwaysJuly
10-26-2011, 06:14 PM
How long until you got an agent?
How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?
Are you still writing for a living successfully?
And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?
Well, I can't answer the first three, but for the last -- I have a novel out on query right now. I have another novel that just needs (seemingly endless) revision. I have a new WIP. I have a fully outlined novel that I work on for "fun" when I'm not on another project because I don't think it's too marketable (but who knows). I have three other ideas I think are brilliant, just need to write them once I'm done with the current WIP.

If none of those once revised and polished and queried bag me an agent, I'll consider self-publishing. And at that point, I'll have a body of work to put out (which I think helps with building a SP 'career')... if I haven't lost all my confidence by then! :)

scarletpeaches
10-26-2011, 06:20 PM
How long until you got an agent?I haven't. Yet. :)

Mainly because I've been working with erotic romance epublishers for a year and a half, two years. I haven't subbed to an agent in that time, but I have an idea that, once written, will be my agent-bait book.
How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?I sold my first book to the first publisher I sent it to. After a month they asked for the full, and three months later -- after much prompting from me and pleading a 'staff shortage' from them with many apologies for the delay from them, it sold.
Are you still writing for a living successfully?I wish. I'm hardly poverty-stricken, but my savings account is looking a bit peaky, so it'll be back to part-time work outside the home for me, soon.
And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?Never. Never, never, never.

I'd stab myself in the face before I ever self-published. If it's not good enough for a publisher to invest in, it's not good enough for a reader to pay for.

DeleyanLee
10-26-2011, 06:28 PM
I got my first rejection letter in 1975.

I signed with an agent in 1983 and she never sold a book for me. That relationship ended in 1988.

A former beta turned publisher in 1999 and published my book, however she went out of business 3 months after the book was released, so nothing really sold.

I just last weekend sold a short story to the AW anthology, which I consider to be my first real sale. To date, I don't consider myself having sold a novel, though I've finished writing over 30.

No, I don't write for a living, nor do I expect to at any point in my life.

I'm not sold on self-publishing yet, honestly. Self-publishing requires me to do a lot of marketing and such things that I really hate doing. I'll continue watching how it goes for a while before I make a decision.

Libbie
10-27-2011, 07:01 AM
How long until you got an agent?

I got my first agent about two months after I finished my first novel and began querying. That was two years ago. Since then, I parted ways with that agent, teamed up with another, and parted ways with her as well. I am now gearing up to look for my third. In the meantime, I've written another novel and about 75% of a third.


How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?

I haven't sold a book to a publisher yet, but it's worth pointing out that I sold the first two short stories I wrote to the second or third markets I submitted them to. That's as good as immediate in writerland. I'm not saying that to brag, but to point out that there's a lot of variance in selling work. Some pieces might hit it off with editors spectacularly and sell right away. Others might be "not quite what we're looking for" for two years, in the hands of two different agents. There's no predicting how it will go for any of your given pieces.


Are you still writing for a living successfully?

I am not supporting myself with writing at the moment, although I have applied for several professional creative writing positions over the past week. (Game writing, creative PR, etc.)


And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?

Wait a really, really long time before you SP, put a ton of thought into it, and put more work than you think is necessary into your novel if you do decide to SP...and then put in a few more months' worth of work.

SP is very difficult to pull off with any measure of success. It takes a huge time investment (thought it no longer requires the enormous monetary investment it once did, thanks to Smashwords and Createspace.)

I've self-published one work because I'd exhausted all the worthwhile markets in that genre and got very encouraging feedback. The only "flaw" my book had was that it wasn't YA, and YA was the hot ticket item at the time it was on submission. I wasn't willing to rewrite it as a YA novel just to get the sale; I felt it wouldn't be my book anymore if I'd done that. So once I'd collected rejections from all the good publishers of historical fiction, I went on to SP that one book.

It's a lot of work daily to promote it, and though it's only been a couple of months since I made this decision, it still hasn't been coming close to paying off enough to compensate me for the time put into promotion...although great reviews are starting to trickle in. I'm still glad I SP'd this novel, since I was right, and readers are really enjoying it as-is, without my having rewritten it as YA. My goal is always to tell a good story to readers. But it's never going to make me as much money as it would have made through traditional pub, nor will it reach as many readers as traditional pub.

Think HARD and CAREFULLY and be FULLY INFORMED before you SP. It's an extremely difficult road with precious little payoff.

Kitty27
10-27-2011, 09:02 AM
[QUOTE=Christyp;6679003]I'm sure this has been discussed numerous times, but I was curious (received another form rejection letter), how long did it take for you to get published? Let me rephrase that into a couple of questions...

How long until you got an agent?

To be honest,I haven't really been trying. I sent out five queries and got two partial requests. Still waiting.

How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?

Not yet. I have too much editing and whatnot to get done.

Are you still writing for a living successfully?

Nope. I have two jobs,though.

And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?

SP looks good because I write multicultural fiction and that's a hard sell in mainstream publishing. But I just cannot do it. It is too demanding and I'd rather spend that time churning out novels. My goal is to get an agent and then a commercial publisher. I am not falling for the "It's easy and rah-rah" okey doke about self publishing. It is a very difficult thing to do.

Drachen Jager
10-27-2011, 09:15 AM
How long until you got an agent?

A year and a half after I started to write seriously.

How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?

Ask me again in a few months. I haven't quite been on sub a whole month yet.

Are you still writing for a living successfully?

Obviously not.

And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?

I don't see the point. It takes a real self-promoter to make that worthwhile. I know my books are good, and they can sell in a traditional market. They might need some work before they get there, but I'll revisit any that don't sell sometime in the future when I have a record.

blacbird
10-27-2011, 11:42 AM
How long until you got an agent?

a-gent n. Mythical creature, supposed by believers to have magical powers of facilitating vast public success in the commerce of selling written work. See also unicorn, centaur, griffin, manticore, minotaur.

Blacbird's Unabridged Dictionary, 2011 ed.

Shadow_Ferret
10-27-2011, 06:38 PM
And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?

NEVER! When I first started writing vanity press was the route for losers. I know a lot has changed in self-publishing since then, but for me, that would just be admitting I'm a failure.

Sunnyside
10-28-2011, 06:18 AM
How long until you got an agent?

About three months from the time I sent my first query to the time I signed. I initially sent queries to about 25 agents that I found on the AAR website who represented my genre. From those 25 queries, I received about 15 requests. From those 15 requests, three offers of representation.


How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?

It took a while -- about ten months. My agent submitted to about three publishers at a time.


Are you still writing for a living successfully?

Yes.

And to all of the above I would add at the end, "....and I consider myself extremely fortunate."

goldmund
10-28-2011, 02:42 PM
My situation is a bit different, because I'm already quite an accomplished writer in my country (3 novels and 1 short story collection published by respectable houses) and a n00b in the English-speaking world, with only 2 very short stories published (in Quick Fiction and Hobart Online.)


How long until you got an agent?

I don't have one, there's only 1 agency in Poland that I'm aware of, and it's main area is finding you jobs writing for magazines.


How long before your book was finally bought by a publisher?

I'm writing since early childhood (6-7 y.o.), so, quite long ;-)
I've published my first novel when I was 24.


Are you still writing for a living successfully?

It's extremely difficult to make a living writing fiction in Poland. 5000 copies sold is considered a very fine result. I'm happy to say, however, that my childhood dream that made me pursue the interest in the written world now gives sustenance to me, my family and my household -- as I write scripts for film trailers in HBO Poland and live off it pretty well.


And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?

I've SPed two of my most succesful short stories for Kindle just to see how it works. 2 months = 1 copy sold! :-D

But now I'm getting ready for the big task -- writing a novel in English from the scratch.

Isabella Amaris
10-28-2011, 10:41 PM
And if you haven't yet published, how long before you opt for SP?

Only answering the last question (no agent, and no publishing house for my books). Have two short stories published with non-paying markets, but I don't think that's what you have in mind re being 'published yet', so...

Anyway, I opted to SP some poetry and short stories in the middle of this year, just to have a rough idea of what went into the process. Having a blast with the experience, and as a result, am strongly considering SP'ing my longer pieces... if I ever get them down to a standard I can be happy about urrrggg:)

Will have to focus more strongly on promotion and marketing though if I do go down the SP route; that's been one of the more challenging bits about SP for me...