In my comment section of another entry, Kathy asked: "Why did it take 2 years to get your first book published? Is it really that hard to get started?"
Getting published isn’t easy. Over 100,000 novels are written every year and less than 1% of them are ever published. Self-publishing has been around forever and print on demand is an option that has become available in recent years, but neither of those venues work well for fiction. Although there are the rare exceptions, most novels need the backing of a major publishing house in order to get into enough readers’ hands for it to succeed.
Publishers are in business to make money. They buy the books they think will sell. Most publishers have a set number of books they publish each year. They mostly buy from established writers, leaving few slots for the new, unpublished writer, so it is very hard to break in. My guess is that most authors would say it took them about four or five years once they got serious about getting published before they sold a book. Many, of course, never sell, no matter how serious they are.
Off topic: With fewer people buying books and with others buying their books more and more often from used book stores, many authors are struggling to sell enough copies for a publisher to continue to publish them. Thus, when one of your favorite authors suddenly disappears from the scene and you wonder why she quit writing, the truth is, she may not have quit. She may simply be unable to find a publisher who will invest in her books.
I wrote my first novel in 1981 (from March through November). I started submitting to publishers in January of 1982. A publisher offered me a contract in April 1982. I signed the contract in May. The publisher went bankrupt in July. I sold that same manuscript and its sequel in February 1983, and they were published in 1984. Normal publishing time is about 9 to 12 months after a manuscript is "in house."
I hope that answers your question.