I read somewhere that it's generally frowned upon to publicly share how many rejections we've had, or how long our manuscripts have been out in the world. So I won't give you those specifics. But I do want to share my journey with you guys, and I remember wishing there had been more information about this process when I was researching.
So. Being on submission. I've gotten a good taste of the experience. This is how it works: you and your agent put together a wish list of editors. Like agents, editors have preferences of what kind of material they want to see. Your agent writes something very similar to a query and sends it off to each editor on the list. (Much finger crossing ensues.) Then, exactly like before, you wait. Only this time around you have someone on your side waiting with you.
The response time varies. It could be days, weeks, months. Every editor is different, and it could be a slow time for them or an insanely busy time. You just never know. Depending on who your agent is, whatever rejection you get may or may not be forwarded to you. Beth and I agreed that she would only send me rejections if they were more than a form response and if there was something constructive said. (Okay, I have to tell you this part. On the couple rejections I did get, Beth always has a funny little comment before the e-mail. It takes the edge off and I have to smile.)
And when an editor does love your work... I don't know exactly what happens. I'll let you know when I do, though. Obviously there are contracts and dreams coming true involved. All in all, it's very much like hunting for an agent. You need an editor who loves the work, who'll be willing to fight for it. There's even more waiting and nail-biting. Pretty simple, I think. Some say the hard part is editing the manuscript beforehand. But I think this is the hard part, knowing that your story is floating around out there, just waiting to be discovered.