Everyone's path to publication is different, and I think the more publishing stories you hear, the more you realize just how true that statement is, so I'm going to repeat it: EVERYONE'S PATH TO PUBLICATION IS DIFFERENT.
I say this because comparing your own journey to anyone else's is pretty much a recipe for disaster. If someone else's publishing journey looks easy or flawless, it's easy to think, "Why is that person so lucky/talented/awesome? Why is it so @#$&ing hard for me?" Comparisons suck, and they are generally very inaccurate. I have to remind myself of this point every now and again: Eyes on your own page, Megan.
Here's the truth about my publishing journey: It sounds pretty amazing. I started querying in late April. I accepted an offer of rep in mid-July. My book went on sub the first week of August. A month later, I had a book deal.
Now, ask me how long it took me to write that book.
Here's another truth about my publishing journey: I first got the idea for The Nameless Prince in the late summer of 2008. I hammered out maybe 20 pages. And then I started a new job and got pregnant with my second child and entered the mind-numbing Pregnant Lady Coma. When I stayed at home for two years with my kids and worked on a master's degree in library science, I researched that book. And then, finally, in the fall of 2011 I started to write the book in earnest. (There's a blog post about that, too.)
Let's do some math, then. If it's 2016 now and I started writing that book in 2011 ... 2016 - 2011 = 5 years.
By the time I queried the book, I had revised it seven times. There were moments when I gave up on it altogether and literally threw it aside (there are dents involved) and wrote other things. That book sucked for years, and I wrote it for years, and I revised it for years, and I fought it for years.
5 years to be exact. And now I'm going to spend another year editing it some more.
The Nameless Prince is slated to be published in the fall of 2018. Let's do some more math. I first got the idea in 2008, and I researched it and dreamed about it for years before I ever made it through a draft.
2018 - 2008 = 10 years.
I have gray hair now. I can reasonably be described as "middle-aged." That kid who put me in the Pregnant Lady Coma is in the second grade. Here's another truth: Sometimes, writing a book and getting it published can take a really freaking long time. (English major, right here.)
Here's one more truth: It's worth it.