The lovely ladies (all ladies, right?) at YA Highway are talking about first book sales vs. expectations today. Everyone's experience is different, that goes without saying. Here's mine:
It was late March 2011 when I found out from my agent that we were getting an offer, but it wasn't until June that the offer came through. It was announced on PM, I crowed my good news to the world, established a Twitter (so I could talk about my deal), and lived in a bubble of happy giddiness. I spoke to my editor for the first time on the phone and she was as awesome as I could have hoped.
And then I waited.
September 2011 - I got my first editorial letter. My original pub date was Winter 2013 (January/February/March), but it got bumped for Spring, which was fine with me.
Over the next few months, I worked on the edits. I waited for a contract (and $) until March of 2012. Just this past month, my final MS was accepted and went to copy editing.
I think that my time frame was actually kind of long when looking at other experiences. There were a lot of factors that influenced that. I had some of my own life issues to deal with and Bloomsbury/Walker is a smaller house. There are less of them to do a tremendous amount of work. I know my editor was working as hard as she possibly could to get everything perfect.
So did I mind waiting? Well, I'd be lying if I said that I never questioned or complained about the wait. But, honestly, I know that the time it took to make TASTE TEST what it is was time well spent. It it is far better than its former versions now that it's been looked over and edited and revised and primped and glossed. I'm incredibly proud of what it's become and that is due to the time it took to get it that way.
Publishing takes a long time. But I asked myself this question more than once -- is it worth the wait? OF COURSE IT IS. My book is going to be, like, real. With a cover. And pages. On shelves. Honestly, I think I'd wait forever for that.