“For writers, few steps in the publishing process are as strange as the state of suspended animation between submitting a manuscript and seeing the book appear in stores. The sudden change in cabin pressure from writing to waiting can be jarring  and can last a very long time. ‘It comes as a huge shock when it happens the first time,’ said the Irish writer Colm Toibin, whose first novel, ‘The South,’ appeared in 1990, a year and a half after he turned it in. ‘It was all slow and strange.'”