I have some strong interest from a publisher on a novel from that I previously queried you about. If an offer comes through and I need help negotiating it, could I approach you with it? This is also a general question that might work for the blog too, if you can approach an agent who turned down your query if you get an outside offer, or what to do if you get an offer but don't have an agent. I know you can negotiate with the publisher (if they accept unsolicited submissions) directly, but what if they ask you to get an agent?
I'm always glad to hear from an unrepped writer who needs some guidance on an offer. I generally don't take those projects on (particularly if I've already passed) but I can direct you to some people who can help you negotiate the contract.
Publishing contracts are minefields; never step into one without a sniffer dog like me at your side.
[Audio insert: gasp of horror from Her Grace, the Duchess of Yowl at the mere mention of a dog.]
If you've got interest from a publisher, the first thing to remember is don't say yes to anything. The more you say yes to, the less negotiating room you have.
If you get the offer, you can say "I'm delighted! I need to send this to my sniffer dog." Publishers who resist that kind of information--they don't like agents, they won't negotiate--tend to be that way for a reason, and I'll let you intuit what it is.
How you query this: put OFFER IN HAND in the subject line. Lead with the name of the publisher in the email, and most important, what the time line is. Most publishers don't want to hang about for weeks waiting on you to Leash Up. When you tell them you're delighted, ask what their time line is for a response.
And huzzah for interest!