Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙


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

Spokane, WA

Belcastro Agency

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

TL;DR word count, esp as a debut author, is ridiculously important KNOW THE ACCEPTABLE RANGE FOR YOUR GENRE

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

Just remember—word count matters for a reason. Agents and editors harp on it because we WANT you to succeed. And it kills us to see so many shooting themselves in the foot right out the gate.

So do your research. Take a hard look at your word count.

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

Too high:

What do I have in excess? Do I need to cut down on world building to keep everything streamlined? Do I have too many sub plots? Are there any scenes that aren’t doing work? Am I spending time in an area that the book could do without?

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

Too low:

What pieces am I missing? Is my book made up of layers? Are my characters and their relationships complex and compelling? Do I have any subplots? Is my world building fleshed our enough? Is it too easy for my MC to achieve their goals?

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

If you find yourself outside of those ranges, don’t panic! I promise it’s workable.

It might be an easy fix, or it might take a lot of maneuvering and reworking, but it IS doable to both add and reduce word count.

So here are some questions to ask yourself:

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

As far as what’s generally acceptable in a broad sense, this is a good article:…

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

And on the craft level—low word counts make agents wonder what’s left out, what isn’t there to make your story well-rounded and complex.

High word counts, what excess is there, what’s been added in or extrapolated too far.

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

But please remember—you might think 20-30k outside the range isn’t THAT bad, but it’s a LOT of words to have to figure out. Especially for an agent that just signed you, doesn’t know how well you can edit, and doesn’t know 100% how well you’ll receive critiques

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

And of course, there’s a LITTLE wiggle room—if you’re a few thousand words within the standard, you’re generally okay (but should still try to consider ways to get it IN that range if you haven’t already)

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

When you have a large fan base that editors believe will buy your book simply bc your name is on it, they’re FAR more likely to take a risk on word counts way outside the normal range.

But if you don’t have a fan base yet? An editor isn’t going to take the risk on that 400k book

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

And I want to clarify—I’m talking DEBUT authors (and authors still establishing themselves) here.

Yes, your favorite famous author has a 400k book that sold really well—but that’s because they already had an established fan base.

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

These counts aren’t arbitrary—they’re based on what’s sold the best in the past. There’s a REASON they’re set where they are—because books too far outside of them tend not to sell as well for debut authors

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h


I promise you, agents don’t harp on it because we’re trying to torture authors.

It’s because there’s a range (dependent on age category and genre) that editors will generally consider acceptable.

Too high or low and you run the risk of auto reject

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 4h

I’ve noticed a lot of word counts WILDLY outside the acceptable range lately SO

Let’s talk about word count for a hot sec—why it matters, what’s generally acceptable, and what to ask yourself if you’re outside that range!

#querytip #amwriting #amquerying #writers

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 31 Dec 2019

A quick reminder that if you want to query me, please don’t DM me to ask if I’m interested!

That’s the whole idea of querying—sending your pitch and pages to an agent in the hopes that they’re interested.

So I’ll let you know either way when you query! :) #querytip

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 23 Dec 2019


You should be w/pubbed books in your genre. Common tropes and themes, what'll make your story fit into that genre and what'll make it unique.

Not having comps & using "I'm not familiar w/the genre" as an excuse IMMEDIATELY sets off red flags.


Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 23 Dec 2019

#querytip a trend I'm seeing in my box a lot lately:

Any and all books with fae being compared to either Holly Black or SJ Maas.

And for some books they're great!!!

But for some, it's like comparing HP with LOTR bc they both have wizards in them.

Choose your comps wisely!

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 25 Nov 2019

#querytip a reminder that I DO NOT represent MG.

Slipping into my QueryManager under YA will not get you anywhere. Don’t waste time querying an agent with something they explicitly don’t represent—use the time to find agents who DO and give yourself the best chance possible!

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 19 Nov 2019

Vagueness is (almost) never going to work in your favor. It’s difficult—trust me, I UNDERSTAND (I’ve written my own queries, and pitches for clients, I know it’s not fun)—but absolutely necessary to really dig into details to increase your odds of success in the query trenches.

Cortney Radocaj 🏳️‍🌈💖💜💙 @CortneyRadocaj · 19 Nov 2019

Don’t give me a vague “their world is changed” or “conflict arises”. GIVE ME DETAILS. How are their lives changed? What plot stakes are there? Personal stakes? Tension?