A few weeks went by, and I received a response to an e-mail query from a publisher, saying that they were interested and wanted to see my manuscript. Excitedly, I made a copy and shipped it off. While I was waiting for a response, I let a few of my friends know that I was going to be published. A couple of them asked who, and I told them. One, who was a former boss of mine, was kind enough to do some research on this particular publisher (Publish America), and what she found out for me, basically gave me some serious food for thought. Suffice to say, after getting a copy of a contract, reading it carefully and reading a few of the links my friend gave to me, I decided to pass on this publisher.
Note: Writer's Digest has a policy of delisting publishers when viable, multiple complaints are made against them. So far as I know, this publisher was delisted in the 2007 guide and has not been listed since.
The next day after I was given a contract offer by this particular publisher, I received a written response from an agency that was running a contest for manuscripts, called The Eaton Literary Agency. They read my manuscript and found it have "commercial potential". They also felt that it needed some editing work, so the first thing that they did (for a fee), was a nine page detailed breakdown of what was wrong and what was right with it. They also offered me a basic contract, with the proviso that no extended notice needed to be given by either party to terminate it. In other words, one could send off a brief e-mail/fax/letter to the other, and that would be that.
So, after getting the detailed breakdown, they offered (for a very large four digit fee) to have the manuscript professionally revised, so that it would meet their standards before they started shopping it around. After discussing it with family and friends, I took out a small personal loan (still paying off) and buried one of my credit cards, and took the plunge.
By February 2007, I had gotten the manuscript back and briefly took a look at it (mistake #1). After making a few minor editorial suggestions (mistake #2), I gave my final approval and my permission to start submitting it on my behalf...