A few weeks ago, Rachelle Gardener did a post about whether all good writers would be published. (Her short answer was no, not all good writers will be published, but those with some combination of persistence, a great book, and the right thing at the right time probably will.)
One of the comments her post got made a great point: rarely does a writer with ten finished manuscripts remain unpublished. It really caught my attention--and not just because now I can count on pounding out ten novels and be published, or you know, something like that. Let’s say for the sake of argument that a hypothetical author has ten viable manuscripts--that is, they have plot, are properly formed with good character arcs, are well edited and have received feedback, and they are aimed at the commercial fiction market. I'd think the chances are pretty good for being published, don't you? After all, if you've gotten to ten without being published, it might be time to take your blinders off and start listening to feedback as to why the novels suck.
I’m super interested in what the rest of you think about this. Too bad we don't have statistics on this--although someone might. If you have an agent, how many finished novels did it take to sign with an agent? If you're published, how many novels did it take until you were published?