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

@CortneyRadocaj

literary agent @belcastr โ€ข writer โ€ข ISFJ โ€ข she/her โ€ข bisexual โ€ข neurodiverse โ€ข punk at heart

Spokane, WA

Belcastro Agency

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 8 Aug 2019

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 · 8 Aug 2019

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 · 8 Aug 2019

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 · 8 Aug 2019

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?

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 8 Aug 2019

A common theme in my inbox today: beginnings starting in the wrong place.

The query builds a great inciting incident... and then the story begins AFTER that inciting incident has happened. In the aftermath of whatever kicks off the MCโ€™s journey.

#querytip #editingtip

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 24 Jun 2019

TL;DR: Donโ€™t throw chances down the drain bc you didnโ€™t do your research, or bc you think industry standards donโ€™t apply to you.

You have to EARN the fans and the reputation that will allow you to break standards.

#querytip

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 24 Jun 2019

All the established authors you see breaking norms and industry standards?

Most of the time, theyโ€™re only able to do that BECAUSE they followed industry standards when they started out. They established a fanbase, a reputation, sales, before they could break standards

#querytip

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 24 Jun 2019

โ€œBut [insert established author here] has a book at [insert high/low word count here] so OBVIOUSLY I can too!!โ€

No. Thereโ€™s a HUGE difference between a house taking that risk on an established author with a fan base, than taking on a debut author w/no sales or fanbase

#querytip

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 24 Jun 2019

Today Iโ€™ve gotten two queries at 160,000+ words, one at 180,000+ words, and one at a whopping 385,000+ (!!!!) words.

DO YOUR RESEARCH. Learn what the industry standards for word count for your genre and age category are, or auto rejections WILL happen.

#querytip

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 12 Jun 2019

Gentle reminder:

When using Query Manager, weโ€™re able to see who else youโ€™ve queried at our agency.

i.e. itโ€™s very, very easy to tell when someone blatantly ignores our guidelines.

Donโ€™t give yourself an automatic strike by not listening to what weโ€™re asking for.

#querytip

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 22 May 2019

#querytip I am NOT the right person for books heavily focused on pregnancy. And definitely do not want an opening scene featuring an intense, painful birth.

A pregnancy in the book is okay! Just stories centered around it and the birth processโ€”not for me.

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 22 May 2019

#querytip Make sure I know why the stakes are important to the MC!!

Itโ€™s all well and good to have apocalyptic stakesโ€”but if the MC doesnโ€™t have a REASON to care about them, a reason to fight and risk their lives, itโ€™s much harder to connect and make the tension feel palpable.

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 22 May 2019

#querytip If youโ€™re asked to include the first 5 pages as a sample, donโ€™t pull a random chapter from further into the book instead.

If you sent a mid-book sample bc your MS doesnโ€™t pick up traction until then? Probably a good sign you need to re-evaluate your first pages.

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 13 May 2019

Friendly reminder:

Query = pitching your book (introduce characters, conflict, tension, hook, leave the reader wanting more)

Synopsis = literal (polished and readable) list of the plot points in your book (not meant to hook or entice, should give EVERY spoiler)

#querytip

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 2 May 2019

#querytip Check the formatting of your query before submitting! If your query, synopsis, or pages are in one huge block of text without any paragraph breaks, they become extremely difficult to readโ€”and therefore extremely difficult to connect with ๐Ÿ˜ž

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 28 Mar 2019

#querytip I am not the person for vampires right now.

In the future? Maybe. Iโ€™ll probably warm back up to them at some point ๐Ÿง›๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

But for now, no vampires for Cortney.

(But like, still send me other monsters? Plz??? ๐ŸงŸโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿงžโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿงœ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿงš๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ)

Cortney Radocaj ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ @CortneyRadocaj · 22 Mar 2019

#querytip seeing a LOT of MSโ€™s pitched as the first in a series today.

Planning series is fine, but as a debut author try to make your MS stand alone as wellโ€”publishers less likely to take the risk of a series not selling well w/a debut author than one w/an established fan base!