How long does it take to get published?
I came to the publishing business from the retail side of the equation. The biggest adjustment was understanding how long the process takes. In retail there is instantaneous gratification. But book publishing is a process business.
There is no question the timeline varies from person to person and project to project. In the world of major publishers the diversity can be quite extreme.
I know of one major publisher that can move from making an offer on a book proposal thru the contract process to sending the advance paycheck in a little more than 30 days. But that is the exception.
In one case we accepted an offer for a client’s book. Two full months later the paperwork for the contract was created by the publisher. There were errors in the contract that needed to be discussed, negotiated, and revised…add another six weeks. Yet another month went by before an advance payment was received. From acceptance of a deal to paycheck was 4 1/2 months.
What is average?
In my experience:
From idea to book proposal to your literary agent: 1-3 months
From agent to editor and book contract offer: 2-5 months
From contract offer to first paycheck: 2-3 months
From contract to delivery of manuscript to editor: 3-9 months (sometimes longer)
(From delivery of manuscript to editor actually working on it: 2-5 months)
From editor to publication: 9-12 months
Total time from idea to print: approximately 2 years
Your mileage may vary.
What has been your experience? Please do not mention specific publishers, agents, or editors by name. The industry changes every month and what may have been a challenge may no longer be the case.