Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™

@CortneyRadocaj

Associate Agent @belcastr . Writer. Hufflepuff. ISFJ. She/her. Bisexual. Punk at heart.

Spokane, WA

Belcastro Agency

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Nov 25

#querytip a reminder that I DO NOT represent MG.

Slipping into my QueryManager under YA will not get you anywhere. Donโ€™t waste time querying an agent with something they explicitly donโ€™t representโ€”use the time to find agents who DO and give yourself the best chance possible!

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Nov 19

Vagueness is (almost) never going to work in your favor. Itโ€™s difficultโ€”trust me, I UNDERSTAND (Iโ€™ve written my own queries, and pitches for clients, I know itโ€™s not fun)โ€”but absolutely necessary to really dig into details to increase your odds of success in the query trenches.

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Nov 19

Donโ€™t give me a vague โ€œtheir world is changedโ€ or โ€œconflict arisesโ€. GIVE ME DETAILS. How are their lives changed? What plot stakes are there? Personal stakes? Tension?

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Nov 19

DETAILS ARE YOUR FRIEND. Yes, there is a sweet spotโ€”obviously packing TOO many details in will confuse agentsโ€”but you need to have SOME to make your query stand out.

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Nov 19

3) And arguably most importantly, it makes it almost impossible to see market potential in a vague query. Every book needs a good hookโ€”but SFF in particular NEEDS to have something to make it stand apart from every other SFF book on the market.

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Nov 19

2) It ends up being applicable to many, many stories... which is not what you want. You want your query to ONLY apply to your story. Take out the namesโ€”is your query tailored and specific enough that if someone read it they would ONLY think of your book?

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Nov 18

#querytip don't feel like you need to update agents any time someone requests a full or shows interest in your manuscript! You only need to notify agents if there's a change in the STATUS of your query (i.e. offer is made, withdrawing, etc.)

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Oct 22

#querytip only pitch one book in your query! It doesnโ€™t matter if you have a sequel or trilogy or ten books plannedโ€”I want to know what happens in THIS book, that THIS book is solid and engaging.

Youโ€™re pitching ONE bookโ€”donโ€™t waste query space explaining the entire series.

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Oct 10

#querytip

Iโ€™m not the right agent for marriage plots, whether itโ€™s YA or adult. Even in fantasy/royal situationsโ€”itโ€™s just not my thing.

But please for the love of all the gods donโ€™t take this as not wanting love stories ROMANTIC SUBPLOTS ARE MY JAM I WANT THEM ALL TO KISS

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Aug 27

Yโ€™all.

If youโ€™re going to write a story about the horrific genocide of an entire community

maybe

JUST maybe

donโ€™t write it from the POV of a white character directly involved carrying out said genocide???

#querytip

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Aug 13

Yโ€™all.

YA and MG are not the same thing.

I do not represent MG.

Submitting it under YA on my Query Manager and hoping itโ€™ll slip by wonโ€™t work. Especially if you still state itโ€™s MG in the query (but even if you donโ€™t, I can tell when a story feels MG).

#querytip

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Aug 8

TL;DR give your readers a hot second to get to know your characters before shit hits the fan. The emotional investment and payoff will be worth it, I promise.

#querytip #editingtip #writingcommunity #amquerying #amediting

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Aug 8

(Honestly itโ€™s one of my favorite opening chapters ever it had me hooked from the very get go, @veschwab is INCREDIBLE and that opening is incredible ugh)

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Aug 8

There are exceptions to thisโ€”the one that comes to mind is the opening scene of THIS SAVAGE SONG, where Kate is setting the church on fire.

But even this, in the WAY it was written, allowed the reader a chance to get to know Kate and her CURRENT state of being.

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Aug 8

Now, โ€œnormalโ€ doesnโ€™t mean โ€œboringโ€. Bored characters = bored readers. It should still be engaging and enticingโ€”but it should also showcase the MC AS THEY CURRENTLY ARE. As their life currently is. Not AFTER everything has snowballed into change.

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Aug 8

We NEED to see the MC before the inciting incident. We NEED to see the steps leading to the inciting incident in order to be invested and care about it. We NEED a semblance of normal for them first.

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Aug 8

Itโ€™d be like watching The Matrix if it started after Neo has already taken the red pill.

Sure itโ€™d still be coolโ€”but why would we care about him? How would we understand the consequences of this choice? How would we understand the emotional and mental pieces of that choice?

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Aug 8

Weโ€™re thrown into an (often) emotionally charged situation, one where life changing stuff has gone down and a lot is going on and it SHOULD be exciting and enthralling...

And all the reader is experiencing is confusion and distance from the MC.

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · Aug 8

It may seem logical to start in the meat of things as itโ€™s ramping upโ€”but it has the opposite effect.

If we donโ€™t get to see the character in some version of their โ€œnormalโ€, if we donโ€™t get to see the inciting incident, why should the reader care what happens to them?