When I send my copy editor a novel, it takes her about a week to edit it. She receives it via email, instantly. When she's done, I get it back, instantly. It takes me about an hour to publish it on the internet, causing it to be for sale almost anywhere in the world.
Not more than a year ago, it went much differently.
I used to send my novels and short stories to family members to get their impression and hopefully some free copy editing. Luckily, I have a literate family. I never paid for copy editing because it was too expensive, and I figured it probably wouldn’t pay off because my chances of it selling weren't very good.
So after I got my story back from my family, maybe a few weeks after I sent it to them, maybe longer if they were busy, I would begin the process of writing a query letter to an agent. I would send it snail mail, because I was informed they thought less of email queries (one agent said they were getting too many email queries at four in the morning from "drunk would-be writers"). Wait? Writers were drunk-querying agents like horny frat boys looking for a booty call? Did agents believe that a traditional query letter sent through the mail was always written at an appropriate hour and only sent when sober? Whatever!
On my query, I heard back, snail mail, in about three weeks to three months. Usually I received a form letter, no signature. A story sent to a magazine usually took about a month to get a response. Form letter, no signature. In fact, in the old days, I was thrilled if, six months later, I got a rejection letter that was handwritten.
This morning I heard that a writer friend of mine (who is selling books like hotcakes) sent his newest story to his copy editor and he instantly got a message back that it will be ready before Thanksgiving.
I like the new way.