A couple of weeks ago I received a query from a young lady in England who had finished a book, had submitted it for publication, and who wanted to know how long she should expect to wait for a reply from the American publisher.
Here's what I told her: Forget-about-it!
The worst thing a writer can do is wait unproductively for a publisher to receive, read, and respond to a manuscript. This could take months-years-lifetimes! I know. I'm still waiting on publishers to respond to submissions I made in 2009 (they tell me they are "thinkin' 'bout it"). I am also expecting the publication of a new book in December that has been in the publication process for nearly four years. FOUR YEARS!
No, make a record of your work, jot down the particulars, and keep writing.
Or, like me, you could just completely forget about what you've written, or when you wrote it, or who you sent it to . . . and when you do get a response it will be like Christmas in July.
"Holy, Guacamole!" I often find myself saying. I don't even recall writing that! When did I do it? How did I find the time?
Last night I spent a few hours perusing my submission note cards (which number in the hundreds . . . yes, hundreds) and I learned a few things. For example, I discovered three short stories I'd forgotten about (don't even remember writing them) and I noted the publishers who are still considering them. I discovered a whole trove of forgotten poems. I also sent out three book proposals that were gathering dust, but which had made the rounds of rejection and were doing me no good sitting in a floppy disk.
Now . . . I can forget-about-it.
Although, if memory serves, I did send one of these proposals to a publisher in Canada. Isn't that the suburb of England where people eat maple syrup with their grits? Or am I just way off in my geography?