How Long Before a Manuscript is Accepted or Rejected?

“Oh no! I haven’t heard if my piece has been accepted! What should I do?”

It’s Christmas time, and you probably have a little extra time to think, “What the heck is going on with the manuscript I submitted? Has it been accepted yet? Or even rejected yet?”

The simple answer is probably that it is Christmas time, and many literary journal staffs, including Silk Road’s, are on a brief hiatus. So whatever timeframe the review has given you as a response time should probably have three weeks added to it. The staff that sticks around may be running at a little slower pace, so don’t expect a response one way or another during this time.

When the crew returns in January, their first task is usually catching up with any backlog, so you may hear back then. By February, if you haven’t heard a peep and your manuscript has been out for more than six weeks plus the three-week Christmas break plus January, then you could send a gentle email inquiring about an update in the reading schedule and if any editors know the status of your manuscript. The most likely response that you’ll get is a “hold on.”

And that’s my advice for any author: Hold on! Publishing houses and literary reviews work slowly, but they rarely outright lose a manuscript. It may take up to six months before you hear a reply, but remember that this is a good thing and means that some editor loves your work and is fighting for it.