There’s more to authoring than conquering the blank page. Dozens of unique quirks of industry factor into the experience of a creative. If you’re an aspiring writer with traditional publishing in mind, pay attention. Here’s what to expect from author life:

The industry moves slowly. Very slowly. The publishing machine is overloaded. More manuscripts are submitted than agents and editors can comfortably review. Even established authors can wait weeks or months to hear back on submissions. And even once you receive an offer, the contract process takes time. That’s just on the acquisition side—on the publishing side, editorial cycles can lag, with digital-first projects taking up to a year from contract to publication and print projects taking up to two.

Advice: Unless you’re writing timely nonfiction, settle in for a leisurely ride….