Saturday, January 06, 2007

FAQ #6: Why does it take editors so long to respond to manuscripts?

So you are a polite, mild-mannered children's book editor sitting at home on a Saturday evening, waiting to meet your boyfriend for a night out with some friends. You have 45 minutes to kill, and quite a bit of work you've brought home with you; so do you

A) Review the copyedit for the dauntingly long (but excellent) Fall 2007 novel, which will be due back to the production department within two weeks
B) Respond to the author under contract, who has written asking a few questions about your latest editorial letter, and who needs an answer to progress with her revision
C) Respond to an author who isn't under contract (but whom you like a great deal), who has written asking a few questions about a recent editorial letter and request for revision, and who likely won't move forward with full confidence until you write back
D) Read an agented manuscript, as the agent will need a response within a month if not sooner
E) Read an unagented requested revision
F) Read an unagented new manuscript
G) Work on your talk for April, which requires planning long in advance, and which has been retitled "Words, Wisdom, Heart, and Art: Making a Picture-Book Cookie"? (This title will make much more sense in practice than it does on the screen.)

Of course, if you were in the office, you would have even more choices/responsibilities, including:

H) Follow up on foreign projects
I) Respond to questions from the Legal department about contracts
J) Prepare materials for Acquisitions meeting
K) Line-edit a manuscript under contract (not right now, but a couple are coming in soon)
L) Write rejection letters
M) Write offer letters
N) Write editorial letters
O) Attend meetings
P) Basic office work: phones, mail, filing

And so forth. But because you're at home instead, the options include

Q) Read something for pleasure
R) Surf the Web
S) Talk to your sister
T) Procrastinate fifteen other enjoyable ways
U) Scrub the bathtub so you feel at least mildly productive, and
V) Write a blog post about your dilemma in deciding

So -- what would you do on a Saturday night?

I chose (U) and (V), because it is a Saturday night, so I didn't feel like getting deeply involved in work, and the bathtub was really water-stained. But I wanted to write this up precisely to illustrate the amount of work there is to do as an editor, and the number of choices and competing priorities I'm faced with when it comes to how to spend my time. So if you ever wonder why an editor isn't responding to your manuscript as quickly as you'd hope, it's not personal -- it's A-P, and the desire to preserve enough of a life for ourselves that we can have Q-V as well.

ETA: For more thoughts on this, from both me and many writers, please see the comments.


  1. If you were a teacher, you'd have to number your list of obligations, because 26 letters aren't enough to begin to sequence the demands of that job.

    Even on a Saturday night.

    And that boyfriend? He'd better know how to call grades because his hot date is sharing a pizza over a stack of 180 essays that have to be scored by Monday at 7:30 AM.

    You haven't lived until you've edited 180 essays on The Crucible. I've been a teacher, and I've been an editor. There's no comparison.

    Why did I bring teaching into the equation? Because it's job that many people think is easy. It's incredibly difficult, but teachers and the rest of the world are expected to proceed at a decent pace through their jobs.

    Publishing should, too. Yes, three months is too long to wait for a revision letter. Yes, six months is too long to wait for an editor to read a manuscript.

    You editors hold all the cards. Deal faster.

  2. And i sit at home as a writer, and procrastinate in a similar manner because the rewrite or new product looks so daunting and because, well, Cubis makes me feel so accomplished without having to really think!

  3. Enjoy your Saturday

    You deserve it!

    Meg :)

  4. Isn't it a shame that Anonymous #1 had to be anonyomous to write his/her comment? I don't blame him/her.

    Cheryl, you're a champ to not delete it. Eh, you're a champ even if you delete it, but I hope you don't. Lots of writers feel this way and it makes us feel good to see the opinion Out There.

    I'm not unsympathetic to either of you. Fact is, Everyone's too busy. I'm not a teacher or an editor, but I can list A-P or 1-1276, too.

    Here's the Big Difference between editors and writers as I see it:

    Eds get *paid* to do their book work, and you have some minimal time for Q-V.

    Writers get paid for unrealted A-P (we gotta eat!), then give up Q-V in order to write, and then don't get paid, or get paid very little for what we write. Add to that the fact that we are lambasted for complaining about the slowness of publishers, while eds/agents/Miss Snark are free to call us Nitwits for a variety of errors, from not including paper clips to mispelling "Sharyl."

    Writers should be given some room to complain, don't you think?

    In spite of all that, I think you, Cheryl, are a shining star. Positively brilliant. And I have to say that annonymously, too. At least until you accept my manuscript!

    Now would you hurry up, please? :-)

  5. Whoa! Miss High School Teacher, come sit next to me so I can put my arm around you and pour you a warm cup of bitterness. I’d like to talk to you about your angry little post. Sorry to hear about the 180 essays to grade. Working on a Saturday night? So sad.

    Poor you. Perhaps you can take solace in the fact that twenty years from now, if you have done your job right, your students will remember your name. I personally don’t think anyone remembers what I did at work twenty years ago. If that doesn’t make you feel better ponder the Noel Coward quote, “If you must have motivation, think of your paycheck on Friday.” And yes, it chaps because everyone thinks that they know more than the teacher and their job is all lollipops and rainbows, but you have to get in line behind photographers and graphic designers for that pity party.

    So, dang those slacking editors, sluffing off, washing their bathtubs when they should do nothing 24/7 but read your manuscript, yours and the thousands of others that get dumped on their desk.

    Cheryl, you should bath in slime. For shame, I say. (Honestly, I still worry about you taking the subway home from work after midnight.)

    Actually, Miss Anon. HS teacher, you owe Cheryl an apology big time. She works very, very hard and does amazing things to help writers with their craft. Shame on you for being so ungracious! Cream rises to the top. If your book is good, well written and fills a suitable niche it will get published. Stop being a bully about it.

    As to the question of what would I do on a Saturday night, well, I lead a charmed life. My Saturday was spent making a goofy YouTube video on how to make a valentine in less then thirty seconds. (Which you can see here:


  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Bathtub goo is ugly. You chose well. :)

    What is your current turnaround on Squids? I had a request for an exclusive but had already squidded you (is that a verb?). Not that I think too highly of exclusives in the first place.

  8. See, that's just it, Marilyn. You're lashing out at Anon because she complains at the long wait writers are often forced to endure.

    Editors and agents are free to complain about writers who make their lives difficult or unpleasant, and to defend themeselves for being slow. But you won't allow a writer the same courtesy. Anon is not allowed to complain about eds/agents who make his/her life difficult or unpleasant, or to defend himself/herself for being impatient.


    If ex-teacher-Anon owes Cheryl an apology, and I don't think s/he does, then I think you also owe Anon an apology for the double standard you're applying.

    I apologize to you now if I've hurt your feelings. I don't mean to. I just don't think you should be so harsh toward Anon. Writers deserve the same consideration and understanding that eds/agents do, and the same freedom to complain.

    Extending support and goodwill to all readers and commenters here. It's a tough, tough biz.

  9. I think [anony]mouse #1 is perfectly free to rant at the seeming injustice of having to wait for 3-6 months, and to lament the sorry lot of teachers by comparison to editors, in mouse #1's own blog. Here, it just strikes me as petty and ungracious.

    And that opinion's not coming from an editor or other publishing professional. It's coming from a writer who is currently working 18-hour days (and the rest on call) without a salary, who knows very well indeed what it's like to have approximately 26 things to do at any given time, and who has spent a great deal of time waiting for editors to respond to manuscript submissions.

    May your bathtub continue to sparkle, Cheryl. Now, would you like to come and clean mine? :D

    - RJA, signing as anonymous because Blogspot is refusing to recognize my password YET AGAIN.

  10. First, a request: If you're posting anonymously, would you mind signing your name to the bottom of your comments, as Meg and RJA do here? If you're brave enough to criticize me on my own blog, I hope you'll also be brave enough to take responsibility for your words, and any offense I take at the criticism will be offset by genuine admiration for your guts. :-)

    That said: Some elements of what my critics say are correct. Everyone, everywhere, is overworked. (My parents were both teachers, and I have nothing but admiration for the work teachers do and sympathy for the constraints under which they do it.) I am paid to do my job, and writers aren't (though I must note I am paid for only 40 hours a week, same as writers' day jobs; so when I work on evenings or weekends, as I often do, I am choosing to spend my free time working, the same way writers are choosing to spend their free time writing. No one gives either of us any credit for it.).

    And I *am* a slow responder, to my eternal regret, and I always feel guilty about that and wish I could improve upon it. (Though I also have to say here that much of the reason for my slowness comes from the thought and effort I put in to the letters I write, and based on the feedback I've received from the recipients, it usually pays off for them. And I can't quite bring myself to write letters not up to my usual standards simply to get a writer a response, though perhaps I should.)

    But the real point of my post was not that I am overworked, oh poor me (though I'm afraid it might have come off that way), but rather that I have to set priorities for myself, every day.
    And because Scholastic makes money off the books we publish, not the manuscripts we read, those books have to be my first priority.
    I always hope the waiting manuscripts *will* become books; I do my best to slot the manuscripts in when I can't work on the books -- reading on the subway, for example, or at the laundromat today. But just as a teacher has to grade this semester's essays before worrying about next year's curriculum, I have to edit this season's books before reading a manuscript that might be published five seasons from now.

    Classic example: My usual response time on SQUIDs is 4-6 weeks. I'm a little behind right now because I was editing a manuscript last month (trying to beat that three-month deadline) and that took priority. But I'm opening them tomorrow, so you can look for responses in the week to come.

    (All the authors of current SQUIDs say with trepidation, "Yes! A response at last!" And all the authors who already have ms. with me beat their heads against the wall, saying "No! You should respond to *my* manuscript before you consider any more!" Want to tell me who's right?)

    We all do the best we can. I'm sorry I can't do any more.

  11. "I think [anony]mouse #1 is perfectly free to rant at the seeming injustice of having to wait for 3-6 months, and to lament the sorry lot of teachers by comparison to editors, in mouse #1's own blog."

    In a perfect world, I'd agree. But it's not a perfect world. You can see the backlash Anon #1 is getting her; can you imagine what s/he would get on his/her own blog?

    The fact seems to remain: Editors/Agents can complain and receive sympathy. When a writer complains, s/he's labeled whiney, ungrateful, a "problem" client, and ostracized by editors and writers alike.

    Why can't understanding go both ways?

    Can anyone imagine a Miss Writer Snark? Editors and agents can be nitwits, too, but dog forbid we call them on it.


    Maybe the problem isn't that Cheryl isn't working 48-hour weekends. Maybe the problem is that publishing houses are understaffed. Maybe this increased focus on $$$ is giving editors more than they can do in a realistic workweek, while being disrespectful to writers and their time.

    I don't know. It does seem as though editors hold all the cards and get all the sympathy, too.

    Thanks for the place and freedom to discuss, Cheryl.

  12. Please don't feel badly, Cheryl. I don't think the criticism here is about *you* so much as the overall situation in children's publishing.

    You do plenty, and you do it with a thoughtfulness and sincerity that stands out.

    I'm currently revising a novel with the help of your ART OF DETECTION. Ohmygosh that's a great tutorial! I'm having such fun! Your web site holds a wealth of advice and information.

    Yes, you do plenty. No guilt, please.

  13. Sorry, Anon#3,

    (If you anonymous posters can’t use your names or initials could you at least use code names, like Typing in Tampa or something?)

    I am unrepentant. I’m cheesed at Anon.#1 HS Teacher, not because she is frustrated that the process takes so long, but because she implied that if editors only worked harder, as hard as a high school teacher, then the trains would run on time. Pffft!

    (As a disclaimer, everyone in my family, including my hub, are teachers. I have nothing but awe and admiration for the impossible job they have chosen to do. They are saints. However, today I was the poor punch monkey working on a Sunday, not them, so my sympathies are somewhat diminished.)

    I don’t see Cheryl as complaining, just trying to patiently explain what her job entails so we have a better understanding of the business and do our jobs better.

    I’ve been waiting for a work packet for four months from an art director. Is it frustrating? Well….kinda, but I wouldn’t for a minute think it was because someone “needs to deal the cards faster”. In the real world things get pushed around, meetings happen, other projects take priority.

    You are right, it is a tough, tough biz, meaning it is business…so instead of staring at the mailbox we creatives need to take on other projects, start the next book, and keep working. Come to think of it, C.S. Lewis and Tolkien never quit their day jobs, what does that say about our future?

    Editors get thousands of submissions a year. Many are kind enough to take unsolicited pitches and reply to them. If it takes what seems to be an excruciatingly long time, then, like RJA said, complain about it on your own blog; just don’t blame it on the person who’s taking the time to carefully look at your work. How would any of us feel if our precious child of a manuscript got skimmed over in two seconds just so an editor could get it off her plate? I’d rather wait for a year for a decent review than a nano second pass over.

    Write on!


  14. I think the teacher-writer makes a point, and I have to confess it is nice to see a writer "rant" for once at an editor in public (sorry, Cheryl!). I think Cheryl is just trying to give us a view of editors' responsibilities and I appreciate that. I'm sorry she was "beaten up" for it. However, if you've ever had to face a weekend full of student papers to grade, I think you can empathize with the teacher-writer in not comprehending how long it takes an editor to pass, ask for revisions, etc., or take a ms. without needing to make a single comment in addition to that decision.

    A teacher must not only read each and every paper all the way through, probably several times, but also correct, edit, explain, question, and convince each of those 180 students to reconsider their own work and revise and try to improve. Very difficult. Looking at 180 papers of student writing can do a lot to dampen anyone's spirits and bring out the the witchiness in a person. Looking at 180 manuscripts by those who send them, at least *willingly,* is a different animal. No editor ever got a call from a writer's parents for not commenting fully enough on a manuscript!

    Just a few thoughts from

    Anon in New Haven

  15. No editor ever got a call from a writer's parents for not commenting fully enough on a manuscript!

    No, instead they get abusive e-mails, faxes and letters from the writers themselves, demanding to know why their precious darling of a manuscript didn't get a detailed critique and/or a promise of acceptance. And sometimes editors get accosted at social functions, in bathrooms, and even at funerals by people thrusting manuscripts under their noses and demanding they read them.

    I don't think any purpose is served by occupational one-upmanship. Every occupation has its hardships, many of which are unknown to or misunderstood by people in other occupations.

    The point Cheryl was making, which seems to be getting lost in the argument here, is that she has a wide variety of tasks and responsibilities at any given time, and only so much time in which to do them. She has to make choices and prioritize according to her best wisdom, keeping in mind that she is a human being and also needs time to de-stress and enjoy life. I suppose she could just keep working 24-7 until she goes insane and has to quit, but that wouldn't exactly help any of us writers, would it?

  16. Oh boy. Hey Cheryl, your post was enlightening. Thanks for taking the time to type it up and proof it and post it and then clean your bathtub besides....

  17. *cruising merrily along the information superhighway*

    Me: Oh, pull the car over, honey, it's a contretemps.

    *sits back and watches the show*

    Looks to me that all Cheryl was doing was saying, "This is one editor's priority list; ergo, that's why I can't immediately reply to all the writers who query me."

    Shoot, how many writers have said to you, "I got another form rejection! I bet the editor never even looked at it!" (Shoot, how many times have *I* said this, when I was young and misinformed? P.S. But I'm still young!)

    Perhaps us writers should be more judicious about what we send out, instead of querying the whole world when we finish the second draft.

  18. Cheryl,
    Your detailed description of “a day in the life of an editor” (actually, merely 45 minutes!) has released a lot of pent-up frustration on both sides of the editor/writer equation. It seems to me it’s time for you to acquire an assistant! (Or, ANOTHER one, if you already have one!) That way you would have time to maintain your high standards, to continue your contribution to the broader children’s writing community and perhaps even to hang on to your sanity!?

    Details are always more illuminating than a general comment. For example, I didn’t quite “get” what parachuting from an airplane felt like until my friend described how she worried the whooshing wind would dislodge her nose stud. THEN, I got it!

    So, what if you printed out this discussion on your blog and used it to lobby for a new (or additional) assistant? Just a thought!?

    Good luck.

  19. Okay, I can't help weighing in here. I'm Rachel, and I work with Cheryl at Arthur A. Levine Books. I totally object to what Anonymous #1 said, and not because of the content, but because the tone is wasn't as kind as it could have been. All the editors I know are aware of - and horrified by -- our long response time. And many, many editors - Arthur Levine, David Levithan, Jill Santopolo etc. -- are also writers, so they know exactly what it feels like on the other end. But it's just a fact of the job -- there's no way that I can see to get back to everyone quickly. I see that this is going to cause a ton of anguish and aggravation on the part of the writer. And I can see that the guilt we feel about it in now way equals the frustration felt by the writer. But try as I might, I cannot get back to people as quickly as I'd like. Too many other things -- yes, and I'm counting having a life -- get in the way.

    That said, I fully believe a writer has the right to complain. And that if an editor is lagging, the writer should be free to send out the manuscript as a multiple submssion, or that the editor needs to move the manuscript up in the priority pile. I just never think another person is allowed to be rude, particularly anonymously, and particularly to Cheryl, who is one of the hardest working and most giving people I know.

    (In fact, if you want to get mad at someone for her response time, get mad at me -- when I hear that she's worked every day for two months straight, which frequently happens, I often make her come see a movie with me.)

    So yes, feel free to complain. Debate and discourse and even whining are wonderful. But no one should feel free to be curt to anyone, particularly to someone as conscientious and overworked as Cheryl.

  20. I think what Anon. #1 is saying is that students cannot wait for 3 or 6 months to get back a paper, even though that paper will have tons of comments on it that are very time-consuming for the teacher to do. Editors, on the other hand, who have so much "control" (real power or not in publishing, editors are seen by writers to have more control than they do over what gets published)--editors can take 6 months to simply send back a ms. in an SASE with a form letter slid in with it--no personalized or handwritten comments at all. There IS something 'broke' with this system; something terribly inefficient.

    I don't think any of us who read this blog would fault Cheryl for this. I think most of us see her for the compassionate and caring young editor that she is. I think the posts in this thread just hit a nerve. It's refreshing to see a writer not "kiss up" for once, and simply lay out the bitterness that a writer, so often left feeling powerless, feels. The tone, I think is aimed at the industry in general and not at Cheryl (or how she spends her day or weekend, or 45 minutes on a Sat. night) in particular.

    That was my take on it, anyway.

    Anon in New Haven

  21. I guess writers are just frustrated, too. As day after day goes by, you start thinking things like "they don't like me," "I'm a loser," "I'll never get published," etc., etc. when in actuality, editors are just really busy. Cheryl's blog made me feel better about myself as a writer because I know that's an immature and untrue way to think. So, I agree that the best thing you can do for yourself is to keep writing. I try to always have another manuscript revised (although not enough, I'm sure) and ready to go so that I can send it out to the editor within a day or two. At least, I can control that part of the waiting game.

    I find it funny that no one mentions being a parent. Good gracious, that takes up more time and energy than when I was teaching 32 first graders how to read in an inner-city school, and many teachers are parents, too.

    Let's all remember that we write because we love to write! And, as our hopes and dreams are sandwiched between a hundred others in a messy pile, let's pray the editor's month goes smoothly so that we can receive our sase in the mail.

    Anonymous from Colorado

  22. Hey Cheryl,

    I'll scrub your tub while you read my manuscript.

    Just joking, I haven't even sent one to you yet.

    Just want to let you know how much I enjoy the little window you let us peek through to observe a real,live editor's life.


  23. An update: I got through nearly all my SQUID mail today, so if you've sent me a query since Thanksgiving, a response of some sort should be in the post to you. I wrote comments on about a third of them, I think (that is, I commented on what was working for me and what not on the form rejection letters) . . . this despite the fact that two SQUIDs contained requests for me to take another look at manuscripts I had previously rejected and commented upon, based on the recipients' feelings that my comments were off base and I should reconsider them. Let's see if I can say this without sounding grouchy: If I want to see a manuscript again, I will ask to see it; if I say a manuscript isn't right for me, I mean it; and if you don't change your ms. before you send it back to me, neither will you change my opinion. You will have better luck with another editor instead.

    For the record, I do not have an assistant, nor any prospect of getting one anytime soon (though Rachel is great in multiple ways, not least as a stress valve). Everything I do is all me. The prospect of burnout is real, as it is in any passionate profession. And trading critiques for housework . . . do you do windows? :-)

  24. Cheryl, what you need is a bright young college student who needs a really fabulous entry on his or her resume and doesn't mind not getting paid. That's what you need. (Are there such creatures in the world? Perhaps for a few hours a week, and college credit?) Though reading your list, I'm not sure how much of it you can offload to an intern unless you get tough with the form-only rejection letters. Come to think of it, that might solve several problems at once...

  25. Sounds like all the SQUIDS were rejected. I hope that's not disheartening for you; I'm sure you're always hoping to find the next gem!

    Thanks for your excellent blog and generous spirit. Now I'll brace myself for your rejection. :)

  26. I was sent hither from a link in the fabulous Tammi Sauer’s LJ (, and woo, this got interesting.

    I don’t think Ms. Klein sounds self-pitying or whiny. She’s listing how very much she has to do. And uncontracted-for mss *have* to have lower priority than things she’s already bought, right?

    On the other hand, I don’t think Anon 1, the writer-editor-teacher is insulting or rude. Well, maybe a leetle. But I mostly thought he or she was expressing the frustration and shock we all feel at the ludicrously long wait times that are standard. Heck, even my non-writing friends are shocked by the wait times.

    I once had an editor *ask to see* the first 30 pp of one of my novels. It took him SIXTEEN MONTHS to get back to me, and that was only because I status queried.

    Even now, with excellent representation, I’m going on seven months waiting to hear back on a novel. Seven months for a very well-respected agent, who, in addition to lowly sniveling me, represents best-selling children’s writers.

    For whatever reason, painful, ludicrously long wait times are just part of it. Cowboy up, writers!

    And in the meanwhile start an LJ or blog where you can mewl and puke about the Agony of Waiting. Ahem.

    The Mighty Dotificus

  27. thanks for the post. it's a helpful reminder to all of us writers. all that i have to do is think about it for a second, and i understand much too well.

  28. My word verification says, "Smenita."

    Sounds like some sort of pseudo-hispanic side dish. Or a character who wears too much lipstick. Or the latest wonder drug.

    Gad, I'd better go eat something.

  29. As a writer who has waited for many a letter to come back, I understand the writerly frustration expressed here, but I have to agree that the tone expressed in some comments boggles my mind. This is, above all else, a business with the realities of any other business. It feels far more personal for us as we are pouring our soul out on paper, but it's not as if there is any secret that the turnaround time is bad in some places and worse in others.

    So... learn to accept that as part of the business. Don't like it. No one on either side does. But if you set up the editors as antagonists, you're not doing yourself any favor. There are a whole heckuva lot of talented writers out there, and if all else is equal (and sometimes it is), you want to be a person who others want to work with, don't you? Learn to use the waiting time productively. Or don't submit to places where you know there's a wait. YOU have the power to choose.

    Also, it's easy for us writers to forget something as we sit waiting for responses: in the publishing equation, we have ALL the power. We create. The editors have nothing to edit without us. Yes, editors are gatekeepers, and yes, editors can help make good manuscripts soar. And yes, on some level our fate is in their hands. But if you're looking for "power," look to yourself. Create something staggering. Channel the frustration into brilliance.

    Or into a poem.

  30. Yes!! Thank you, Greg. I've been wanting to comment, but couldn't quite put what I wanted to say into words. See, there you go--you writers have all the power, the words.

    And the other thing I was going to say was that when I first read this post, I thought, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Cheryl for writing it. And then I read the comments and felt hurt and depressed. Everyone deserves to have a forum to complain, and blogs are as good a place as any, but be civil, be nice. And if you truly believe that editors hold all the cards, telling them to "deal faster" certainly won't motivate them to do so.

  31. Hi there,
    Woooweeeee! Is it still the beginning of January? School vacation and Christmas break was a week ago, right?
    Nice post, Gregory.
    I think new writers are most shocked at the wait. And new teachers are most shocked at the work. One thing I found… it does get easier in teaching. And the kids taught me so many things, including a writer’s voice for children’s books.

    Most importantly, Cheryl asked her audience two things, “What would you do on a Saturday night”; and to not be anonymous in your replies.
    I would have phoned my sister to blab about the approaching date [if I had a sister!!!] ; or cleaned my tub, then had a nice bubble bath. After all, we are talking about 45 minutes. I would not have opened up a project, knowing full well that my mind may have been stuck on it for the entire evening, thus ruining my date. Enjoy your job. And enjoy the surprises new manuscripts may bring.
    Hopefully anonymous #1 has sent out her manuscripts to many houses and will get many offers. Or… there’s self publishing. In the meantime, Cheryl has supplied/dealt some great lesson plans to try in the classroom. The character chart rocks!

    Thank you, Cheryl. I’m sure you will think about this can of worms every time you scrub your tub.

  32. I know this is a very old post, but..
    Just a curiosity: if it takes so much - and I'm very sure it does! - why do you state as your standard response time for queries 6-8 weeks?
    Just say 6-8 months, and everybody will calm down.

  33. I've come across this while looking for information about response time at Arthur A. Levine Books. And I've been looking for it because I'm a bit worried.
    I know it takes time - it take the time it takes, actually - but I sent my query in May 2013 and I'm starting to be worried.
    Is it a year a normal response time, or maybe it got lost somehow and I should send it again?
    Thank you,