Got a bit more reading done today -- skimmed a book that was pretty general, but that did yield one interesting footnote, which I intend to follow up on.
I had an interesting conversation this morning with a friend who teaches U.S. History at another nearby university, and who is doing final revisions based on the readers' reports from the press who gave her a contract. The topic of the conversation was timelines. She sent her MS to the press for review in October, received readers' reports in January, sent a response in March, and had a contract by April, with a September deadline for final revisions.
Now, I know that all presses and processes are different. And I know that not everybody gets a positive response on their first round of proposals. But using her timetable as a rough guide, and adding six weeks to the beginning for the proposal stage... and assuming I get lucky and get a positive response from someone in my first round, that's 7 months from proposal to contract. I file for tenure a year from October, so (pauses to count backwards): Submit proposals in February, at the latest. December, to be safe.
December. That's six months from now.