Dear All Knowing One,
I am unsure of what to do here. Last August I was contacted by a publisher that I had submitted a manuscript to and they wanted to know if it was still available and told me that they want to print it and would be sending a contract. After a few weeks of not hearing from them, I checked and was told that they still wanted to publish me, but were just busy. Long story short, I'm still getting the same story, but have yet to see a contract. How long is a reasonable time between a verbal offer and actually having a contract in hand? Is this normal, or are they giving me the run around?
Thank you for your help and expertise.
Five months, huh? That's a long time.
Usually the long wait is between submission and acceptance. Most of the time, the contract follows within a few weeks—unless you're working through an agent. Then there can be some back and forth between agent and publisher to work out the details of the contract.
But for an unagented offer. . .that sounds long to me. I don't think they'd be giving you the run around so much as they're understaffed? Or disorganized? Or low on resources?
If they're a big company, it might just be a fluke. If they're a smaller company, I'd be worrying that they don't have the resources.
My advice: Contact them again and ask when you might expect the contract. Ask if this much time between acceptance and contract is normal for them. Then go with your gut feeling and either wait or give them a deadline before you start submitting it elsewhere.