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"You Asked!" #34: Timing

stephsureads asked: How long did it take you to A) write your story, B) get an agent, and C) sell your book?

2K9 authors answered:

Megan Crewe: For GIVE UP THE GHOST, it took ten months to write (from starting the first complete draft to finishing the final revision before I queried agents--I had a false start several months earlier), six months to get an agent (from first query sent to offer of representation accepted), and one year to sell it (from manuscript first sent out to offer that we ended up accepting received).

J.T. Dutton: I wrote Freaked during my last year of graduate school. I had 8 short stories ready to defend as my thesis project, but I decided to hang out an extra semester and expand the one my workshop said would make a funny novel. After that, I poked at it a little, but life  intervened. I developed a semi-debilitating illness (menier's disease), embarked on my teaching career, married, had a couple of kids. Ten years slipped by. I pulled the manuscript for Freaked from the drawer, spent 4 months revising it and three months sending queries to agents. Once I found someone to represent me, the book sold in two days.

The ten year period of seeming nothingness in the middle was important to process. I was still reading and taking writing classes and writing sometimes.I applied myself to the last draft and was more confident about what I was doing and more open to the idea of rejection--because heck, life was good just as it was.

Donna St. Cyr: One year to write it – another year to revise it – another year to sell it.

Rosanne Parry: Like Jen, my book took a very long time. From first idea to sold manuscript was almost 8 years and at Random House we spent 2 and a half years on moving from manuscript to book on the shelf. If that seems dauntingly long, don't be discouraged. I worked on Heart of a Shepherd intermittently for those first 8 years. In addition to the book, I raised 4 children, worked part time and wrote 3 other novels and a dozen or so short stories and picture book manuscripts. Of the 2 and a half years my novel spent at the publishing house pre-publication, about 9 months was spent on revision and the rest on cover design, copy edits, proofing, distribution of advanced review copies and a thousand other unsung tasks that go into launching a book. In retrospect, I'm glad it took that long. I needed every one of those years to develop as a writer and to prepare my family for the somewhat chaotic work patterns of a professional wrier.

I found my agent at the beginning of my search process. I submitted my work to him on the strength of the recommendation of a person I've known for many years. He responded to my query letter in about a week. He asked for a full manuscript. About a week later he said he was part way through the novel and wanted a bio from me. It should include previously published work, my career goals and a list of other finished manuscripts. He offered representation a week or two later, and following a few phone calls, we had a signed agreement in a month. From there it was a little more than a year before we had a sold novel.

Joy Preble: One year to write first full draft.7 months from there - maybe 8?- to sign with agent. A full year after that to sell the novel because we revised for a long number of months. Sounds long when I write it out but I think I'm probably about average.

Kathryn Fitzmaurice: Three years to write it, (though I didn't work on it full time), then eight months to find my fabulous agent, Jen Rofe, then we revised it for another ten months, (I say we because she really gave me amazing input) then she sold it in one week!

Lauren Strasnick: First draft in six weeks, three months of re-writing, a month & a half 'til i'd signed w/ my agent, two months of rewrites, & sold in two weeks. HOWEVER -- this came after a year of querying on a book i'd spent two years writing... a book that went no where. And the reason i got read so quickly w/ Nothing Like You...? I'd re-queried an agent who had been very encouraging the previous year (ultimately, i ended up signing w/ her). Oh, and writing a draft of anything in 6 weeks? Completely atypical for me.

Lauren Bjorkman: It took me about a year to write my book...and another TWO to revise! My agent hunt was a rather circuitous process, so I can't really put a time line on it. My agent found a publisher for my novel in less than two months. And that felt like forever :D