Cortney Radocaj 🏳️🌈💖💜💙
literary agent @belcastr • she/they • queer • neurodivergent • query me at QueryManager.com/CortneyRadocaj
Kaitlyn Blackman @KaitlynBlackman@CortneyRadocaj I’ve got another one! If you are a named finalist in a literary comp, do you let the agents you’ve queried know? Or only notify of an award/winning designation?
you can, sure! it's not something i put a ton of stock in (i.e. i'm not going to jump on a project SOLELY bc an author was a finalized/even winner of anything) but it's nice to know, and something you should be proud of and can absolutely include in your bio :)
jem (ze/zir) | #StopTheShock @jem_zero@CortneyRadocaj (open-ended Q) how does your neurodivergence affect your agenting experience? i see so few agents open about being ND & how they engage with ND authors, both querying and as clients
ohhh HMMM that's a good question. i have to be very aware of where my mental health is; when i'm in a depressive episode, i work very hard to make sure i'm giving every query as much of my energy as i can, to ensure i'm not passing on things bc Depression™️. same with the anxiety
🛸🍿Fenley Cooper #SF # mystery #thriller🎧✍🏻 @FenleyCooper@CortneyRadocaj I see a tendency in thrillers to start with a cold open/teaser. That sets up the victim's story, and then there's much back and forth. Do you like that organization, or prefer the straight start-to-finish plotting?
i'm not a huge thriller person, so i might not be the right person to ask. depends on how well it's executed, honestly! i only accept YA thrillers, and YA is just structured differently than adult is overall, and i do tend to prefer no prologue-esque materials
Mister Hand @MisterHand1@CortneyRadocaj 30% of my requests for more material (9 fulls, 1 partial) were ghosted after I sent the novel without even a form rejection. Is this the new normal, or just bad luck?
depends on agency policy. some agencies have a "no answer means no" policy; others state they'll answer everything; others only answer requested materials. look at each agency site and see what their policies are, and on how soon they're okay with being nudged!
🛸🍿Fenley Cooper #SF # mystery #thriller🎧✍🏻 @FenleyCooper@CortneyRadocaj Do you follow the pitch days, like pitmad, et al?
absolutely! sometimes i sit out if i've got too much going on in my personal life, or too many submissions on my docket that i need to get through, but i do participate in most of them
Dove🕊 @dovehanaswan@CortneyRadocaj Hi Cortney!💫Do you consider 105K words too high for a debut upper YA high fantasy with romance elements?
nope! i'd probably want to get it under 100k before subbing to publishers, but not to high at all for me to consider :)
Kaitlyn Blackman @KaitlynBlackman@CortneyRadocaj My dream agent has been closed for queries for a year. Her #mswl checks every box and my book even has a very specific ask she’s looking for. I LOVE her client list and I just feel we’d be a great fit. Do I just move on? Would I reach out to her if I got a rep offer?
no, don't reach out if you get a rep offer - it sucks when your dream agent is closed for a long period of time, but it is what it is, and encroaching on that boundary wouldn't be a fair thing to put on that agent. and while feeling like you're missing out on someone who feels
whetstone @tc_whetstone@CortneyRadocaj In the case of querying to early, what changes would you, or agents in general, want to see before querying again (and also over what course of time)? In my case, I queried last year and both the letter and MS were AWFUL.
it's hard to say without seeing the individual query/pages, but mostly it's wanting to see substantial, pervasive changes throughout the work (i.e. not just doing a line edit or tweaking a chapter or two).
Nicholas Perez @ZephonSacriel@CortneyRadocaj Is it appropriate that instead of using another book as a comp, that you can say the book is similar to another author's general work? Like I saw Ann Lecke's query letter for Ancillary Justice saying it was a very C.J. Cherryh novel.
absolutely! i'd maybe specify what about their work is similar (i.e. is there something about their prose or storytelling style you're comping to?), but it does work
Shelby Riddick is Inside again💗💜💙🏳️🌈 @ShelbyRiddick@CortneyRadocaj When reading subs, do you normally prefer a certain level of design to the manuscript (ie scene breaks,
book title in the headers, footers, chapter headers etc.) already established, or a clean slate Times New Roman 12 pt double space document?
either is fine! it's nice to have it formatted nicely with the headers and title page, but it's not an issue if that's not there. i will say there should always be a page break with a clear sign that there's a new chapter though, just for ease of reading!
Philosapphica (them/her/any)🌈 ∞ @Philosapphica@CortneyRadocaj You liked a pitch of mine in the last year which made my whole day that day (I think March 2021 pitmad?) but at the time my health was really poor & a few edits to my manuscript were marinating. My health has gotten better & so has my MS. Any chance invite to query still open?
absolutely!! though it's always nice to get requested material soon after the initial "like" or request, i don't ever have a time limit on them. life happens, and you're definitely welcome to submit whenever you're ready :)
Jacquelyn Dohoney @tattooedjackie@CortneyRadocaj I have two questions! What are your thoughts on prologues? Also do you ever accept r&r’s after a rejection of substantial revisions have been made with a professional editor? I submitted BEFORE I used my brain 🙄
i don't tend to love prologues and usually think they can be cut; i absolutely prefer not seeing them in the initial 5 pages i ask for when authors query, since it's not *actually* the start of the story. i'm perfectly happy with them on requested materials, though!
Eliza Petrin @elizapetrin@CortneyRadocaj How quickly do you typically decide whether you're interested or not? How often do you pass work onto a colleague? Thank you!
super dependent on the query - some i know right away aren't going to be up my alley (genre isn't right, huge red flags re: racism/homophobia/fatphobia, etc.) that are pretty quick rejections. most queries fall into a middle ground space where the query is decent, opening
🌚🌒💫 Madelyn 💫🌘🌝 @MadelynKnecht@CortneyRadocaj If you liked an author’s writing and concepts but not one single book, would you be more likely to offer an R&R, representation or reject?
it more depends on whether i have a vision for edits. more often than not it ends up being a rejection; there's a lot more to choosing clients than just liking the book, i also have to make sure i'm confident i can help improve it in a way that aligns with the author's vision!
MichaelJWriting is writing Romance ❤🧡💛💚💙💜🤎🖤 @MichaelJWriting@CortneyRadocaj In a query letter, where should you include writing credits? Before the pitch, after the pitch, attached on a post it note?
you can! include that in your bio, which goes at the end of the query. (but don't stress if you don't have any, either!)
C. A. Doupagne✨ (they/he) @DoupagneC@CortneyRadocaj Why is a high word-count for most agents an instant no, when big debut books exist and people like to read them? (coming from someone who just wants to publish their big queer book and slowly but surely loses their mind while deciding how to cut it even more🤧💜💫)
mostly bc those big debuts are rare outliers - most trad publishers won't accept manuscripts too far above the standard wc for that genre/age category. it might go up once it's bought and work with their editor, but it's NOT common to have huge debuts.
Lily Mehallick she/her @LilyMehallick@CortneyRadocaj How do you like scene breaks in novels? Paragraph space, hashtags, stars, etc.
however you like! it honestly doesn't matter to me - paragraph space is maybe the only one i'm not a huge fan of, mostly bc formatting can be weird when reading on a kindle/pasting into QM sometimes. but hashtags, stars, anything else - it's all the same to me :)
Abby Rose @TheGAofAbby@CortneyRadocaj #askagent my WIP is about a protagonist with c-ptsd. I have c-ptsd as well as other disabilities. Do I mention that I have c-ptsd in a query so an agent knows I’m not just writing about it to have my character be “unique” or whatever? It’s deeply personal to me
that's up to you! you're not required by any means to disclose anything you're not comfortable with, but you absolutely can if you want to. i wouldn't spend too much time on it--maybe a sentence.
if you don't, it'll likely be something that's talked about on an offer call!
Mike Slade @_MikeSlade@CortneyRadocaj #askagent
If someone is a healer.
Like metaphysical healing-
And they write a Fantasy story about a healer, using their own exp & feelings as a base point; should they try to convey that in the query?
Is there a type of OwnVoices for that?
Or just don't bother since it's "weird"
that's something you can mention briefly in your bio or something to discuss when you have a more personal convo after an agent offers
i personally ask on my QM form why you're the person to write that story--if an agent has something similar, that would be a good place as well!
Cortney Radocaj 🏳️🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj@EvanDave8 culture/marginalization isn't the center of your story, you're generally going to be okay (as long as you do research, sensitivity reads, etc.)
if you're writing ABOUT a group and their particular struggles/issues/etc., i would stick to letting authors who belong to that
particular group use their own voices to write about their own cultures.
again, this is extremely watered down and i am certainly not the most qualified voice to talk about this particular issue, but that's essentially what i would ask yourself to start!