You can also take your novel to writing conferences that have agents and publishers that look at submissions. My best friend, who is a published writer has done this and you can purchase the Writer's Market 2010 deluxe with lists and information about finding agents and submitting to publishers. You don't have to necessarily take out a loan or anything.
I'm a great proofreader and I would be happy to give you some advice or take a look. I proof all of my best friend's stuff before it's published. Please feel free to contact me for any additional information.