I started sending my synopsis and cover letter out for my first novel about a month ago. In that time, 3 publishing houses responded that they were interested in reading my manuscript, and will get back to me "in due time." 1 publishing house said that they are "full" at the moment but that they still want to look at my manuscript. And the last house read two sample chapters and requested the full manuscript.

My question is, how long does it take for publishing houses to respond to the ACTUAL manuscript? I have had fast turn around for the cover letter and synopsis, but just wondering what I should brace myself for in terms of response to the whole manuscript. I definitely don't want to get my hopes up, expressing interest in a manuscript and liking it are two entirely different things. But I am thinking if they responded quickly to my query, won't they respond just as quickly if they actually liked my manuscript?

Thanks as I have never done this before.

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    You sent it out to five publishers and got back three yeses and two maybes? You should post your synopsis here because that is a really impressive result. Aug 6 '14 at 0:17

It depends upon the house that requested the completed manuscript. Did you check Writer's Market for the information? Most houses listed in Writer's Market give a general time frame for response to both queries and full manuscripts. Check that first. Most houses worth anything will provide that information up front. But, after waiting the time frame in Writer's Market, it is certainly not bad form to send a note to the publisher requesting an update on the manuscript status. By all means, continue to market your manuscript. Don't wait on a response.


Here's my own experience so far. I started sending off queries and requested sample chapters to small but reputable presses (without an agent) less than a month ago.

So far, using both mail and email, I contacted roughly 20 houses. Out of those houses, 6 have read and approved my proposal, and requested/confirmed they will be reading my full manuscript. Another house said they do not publish works over 90 000 words, and if I ever chose to reduce my manuscript (nearly an impossible feat given my subject matter), they would be glad to review my full manuscript. And 1 more said they were full till 2017, but still wished me well and gave me a new list of publishers she thought might be interested in the manuscript.

I am still waiting on response from the other guys, but given how fast the first few responded, I am not holding my breath.I did look up typical response times, but even they time the houses said they would take to process my proposal (6 months plus) was reduced to 2 days to 2 weeks to tell me they were considering my full. So, now I feel like if the houses like your work, they won't be sitting on it. Which makes me all the more anxious when I check my inbox and mail everyday to see if someone has read my manuscript yet!

  • Is this meant to be an answer to your own question or an update on the question? There's nothing wrong with answering your own question, but if it's an update, it should be edited into the question. Aug 8 '14 at 2:51
  • Also, welcome to Writers! Aug 8 '14 at 2:52
  • Oops, I am so sorry. New to this. Thanks, Neil. I will do this in the future. Aug 8 '14 at 5:11
  • It'd probably be best to clean this up too. Which way should we handle it? Aug 8 '14 at 5:55
  • Cleaning up a bit in response to a flag. I'll trim this down to just your new experience with response times; if there's anything you'd like to rescue from the original post and put in as a comment, then you'll find your original text in the edit history for this answer :)
    – Standback
    Sep 7 '14 at 6:55

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