I signed a contract with a publisher in August 2003 to write a book. Under the contract the publisher stated that the book would be published during the 2004 publishing season. The book was not published then, and my contact at the company has not contacted me since September 2004 when I last contacted her. The editor who worked on my book (she owns her own business and works under contract for this publishing company) has also not been able to reach this same contact at the publishing company. This publishing company has been in business since 1942 and for fiscal year 2002 had sales of $7 million. However I believe that they are having some serious problems and are not owning up to them. My editor said that other authors told her that this publishing company is not publishing books anymore. That leaves me in a bind because they have my manuscript and are not fulfilling their obligations to publish my book in a timely manner.
I would like to know what you advise in this situation. It seems to me that since my contract stated that the book would be published during the 2004 publishing season, and it wasn't, the book publisher has violated the contract and I am not bound by it anymore. Is this true?
Secondly, I would like to try and find a literary agent to represent me, and officially sever my ties with this publishing company and hopefully get a new contract for my book. Do literary agents do this sort of thing?
I appreciate any advice you are able to give. Thank you.