Anyone who has ever submitted a manuscript, synopsis or query letter to an agent or publisher will be familiar with The Waiting Game.
While the advent of email queries to agents has obviously improved the overall response time from those agents who have embraced technology (though, to be honest, this just seems to allow them to send a rejection note faster) it doesn't seem to have changed much else.
It soon becomes a matter of course to expect to have to wait four to eight weeks to hear anything back. It's easy to forget that while your manuscript might be the only thing on your mind, the agent/publisher almost certainly has an enormous (virtual) pile to sift through.
Not that it makes it any easier. There's an old adage that 'no news is good news', and I suppose that could apply quite nicely in respect of the agents known for issuing fast rejections -if they don't reject you within a couple of days then it's no unreasonable to assume they are at least slightly interested in what you have to offer.
For us, we've played the waiting game with one publisher who promised a response but has now gone completely silent on us; we're still playing it with one agent who we probably have to wait another couple of weeks before we can follow up with a gentle "any news?" query; and, of course, we're still playing it with our first prospective agent, though in this case it's a case of waiting for the meeting date to arrive.
It's good practice, though, because we know that when (not if!) the book gets taken on by an agent, we'll then have to play the same waiting game while they submit it to publishers, and then the same game again and again through the whole publishing process.
Nothing happens overnight in publishing. It's as well to accept that right from the start - and probably good to set the expectations of family (and friends, if they are interested) because otherwise the constant questions of "Heard anything yet?" might soon become tiresome. (As yet, it hasn't become tiresome as it's still a pleasure that they're showing an interest. Whether that interest will still be there 12 months from now is another matter).
In other news... book two is progressing, if not at a pace, then at least at a gentle stroll. Early estimates of a September completion are now looking a little optimistic, but October shouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility. I'm already being asked by previous proof-readers when the next installment will be available, which is encouraging.