Finally. Yesterday the contracts arrived from my agent for the fourth novel in the Steve Martinez series, Hang Fire, and were duly executed and mailed back.
The publisher is Five Star Publishing, a subsidiary of Gale, the research book giant. It will bring out a hardcover about a year from now, then, if sales warrant, a paperback and an e-book version shortly afterward.
Five Star historically has marketed chiefly to libraries, not bookstores (although its wares are available on Internet vendors such as Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com). It's now expanding into the ebook market.
This publisher is not well known to ordinary readers, but is familiar to younger mystery and other genre writers as a first stop on the way to acclamation. (It is also familiar to old hands as a last stop after abandonment by traditional publishers.) Its advances are minuscule, but its royalties are generous and paid on time.
Five Star's books are respected in the trade. They are reviewed by advance services such as Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist and Library Journal. Even the New York Times Book Review notices them now and then. They win industry prizes. They establish careers and save them, too.
I have hopes.