A nouveau Snarkling consults her contract and asks:
Dear Miss Snark, My first novel was published by a small press a few months ago. Since then, they've done nothing. There's no promotion, I've had to supply Amazon with details about the book, and I've had to buy my own copies of the book at the normal rate. I don't think this is normal. The contract's about to expire, and I am thinking about not renewing it and trying to get the book published elsewhere. If I decide that I want to leave this publisher, what should I do next? I don't have an agent, but I have an attorney who has looked over my contracts before, but he doesn't know what I should do. Will publishers and agents be receptive to my queries if I started sending them out again? Will my book being published elsewhere be a detriment or an asset to the process.
Your contract is up? That's not a phrase used to talk about publishing rights. What you need to know is how long the publisher has exclusive rights to print the book. That's usually in the first three sections of a contract. Generally "reversion of rights" (not 'my contract is up') is based on how long a book is considered "out of print", and it's a couple years after that you get the rights reversion.
This is largely an academic question though. Few publishers and even fewer agents will give you the time of day for a previously published book. Second editions (which is what the next edition is for you) are not attractive sales prospects. When you read about someone getting picked up by a big house it's generally because they sold a significant number of copies or won a big ass prize. If these apply, great. If not, you're out of luck.
Time to get busy on the second novel and learn from your mistakes.