Few houses take unagented fiction; Tor does.
It can take up to three years to hear back from Tor; they are known occasionally to lose manuscripts.
Usual advance for first novel US$4K to $10K;
Typically takes 18 months for novel to publish; beware of shorter time frames, 6 months is not sufficient time adequately to design, edit, and typeset a book.
Many editors nowadays tend not to do much editing; your book may be published pretty much as submitted.
Author increasingly expected to help with the marketing; author may be responsible for getting blurb quotes from other writers.
Gavin: for folks at our level, focus on writing better, not on publishing. [This was pretty much Jeffrey Ford's line, too.] Subscription to Locus is a good idea.
Bookstores typically keep new novels on the shelf 90 days, then strip them.
Gavin: advises against self-publishing, iUniverse, etc. "iUniverse is good for your aunt's memoirs."
Gavin: Chapbooks are acceptable, even though they sort of edge towards self-publishing.
Year's Best Fantasy and Horror may be useful source in looking for markets and publishers.
In small presses, besides Small Beer, of course, recommend Golden Griffin (although tends for some reason to be a boy's club), Nightshade.
Distributors, such as Ingram, typically take up to 2/3 of the cost of the book (40% is passed on to the bookstore).
Advertising budget for publisher is typically US$1 per copy printed. I.e., print run of 5000 will have ad budget of $5000.
Kelly: even the best proofreaders miss about 25% of errors in manuscripts.
Kelly: SMF, SMF, SMF. If you want to say you went to Clarion, do it in the cover letter, not the ms.
Kelly and Gavin: LCRW likes self-stickum-no-lick envelopes (like Carina at RoF).
Gavin: chapbooks are inexpensive to make, and nice to give out at readings. Along the same micro-micro-publishing lines: bookmarks with tiny stories on them.