Now that I've caught my breath, I can start thinking about my next steps. The publisher, ArcheBooks Publishing Co., has emailed me a PDF version of my contract. I've skimmed it (to find out the scoop on royalty payments!), but haven't thoroughly read it yet.
At this point, probably the best move I can make is to get an agent. Of the ones who haven't rejected me on the basis of my query letter, I'll write (again) to ask for representation on the basis of an offered contract. Granted, the agent won't have to shop the novel around, but I suspect that's one of the funnest parts of their job -- getting that Yes from a publisher. Still, I'd like to have someone in-the-know sitting in my court, whispering advice into my ear on all the mysterious details of getting a book to press.
It's all so overwhelming. I can't describe the incredible feeling of elation and stark terror I'm feeling. Elation because, gosh -- my book is going to be published by a real publisher (in hardcover, no less)! Those three years of work are paying off. Terror because the first novel is so important to the future of my writing career. (If this one bombs, it's not likely another publisher will give me the time of day when I'm done with the next book.)
Stay tuned as I continue to share my experiences and adventures in publishing. Oh, and you'd better believe I have more novels in progress.