Here’s something interesting – a potential way to cut down the response time with a publisher. Allen & Unwin have been running what they call ‘The Friday Pitch‘ for a while now.
In short, it asks a writer to e-mail an Info Sheet about and Chapter One of their novel/book (not poetry though) on a Friday, and promises a two week turnaround.
Sounds pretty good – two week response from a publishing house? Crazy. Of course, if they like your work you’ll hear back with a request for more chapters within those two weeks, but if they don’t like it – you will hear nothing.
BUT what I like about that is, rather than hearing nothing for 3-6 months and then getting a rejection, instead, you have almost instant feedback. Maybe you’ve been knocked back, but at least you only had to wait for two weeks to hear it. Then you’re free to move on, instead of having your MS tied up with one publisher (who was going to reject it anyway) while the deadlines/submission windows of other publishers slide by.
I haven’t actually got anything to test their two week promise, but I wish I did now.