Many authors wonder what an appropriate response time is to hear back from a publisher regarding their manuscript submission. A response time is the average length of time for the publishing house to determine whether they are going to accept (or reject) a submission. This can vary and can be a long wait indeed. You may or may not hear back from the house depending on whether you attached a self addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to request a reply.
When requesting Writer’s Guidelines from a publisher, these will most likely include information on the amount of time it takes to receive a response. They might write something like, “Responds in 6 – 8 weeks. Publication in a year.” Every publisher will have a different response times depending on their size. The average wait can be anywhere from 3 – 6 months.
I recently received a response back – a hand written letter, a scrawl mostly, begging forgiveness for keeping my manuscript for over 2 years. The editor suggested I send it elsewhere. I did not choose to wait to hear from them over the two year period. I assumed they just hadn’t chosen to respond back with a reply. During this time, I went ahead and sent it on to other publishing houses after about a 3 month period.
It is unnerving to have to wait, especially with a singlemmc996 submission. These are the type where the publisher wishes excusive right to review your submission, without worrying that you may have sent it elsewhere. These are not popular amongst submitters, as it holds up the manuscript and if the publisher takes many months to review it, you are not able to try and market it elsewhere. In these circumstances, to speed the process a bit, you could always explain in your query that you are sending a single submission, but that if you have not heard from the publisher within a set period of time (say 3 months), then you will seek alternative submissions.
Some publishers will accept simultaneous submissions (or multiple submissions – a manuscript submitted to more than one publisher at a time) if you state that in your query to them. This at least gives you the option of sending your manuscript to several publishers at a time. Electronic Submissions (sent via email) do not always guarantee a quick read either and can take just as long as posting a manuscript.
When you are researching markets for your manuscript, the choice is yours as to whether you wish to submit to multiple markets or wait it out with a publisher only accepting a single submission. In the meantime, while you patiently await exciting news, try working on another project.