experience, attitude, enthusiasm, and boundless optimism

An “Old” Question from the Archives

kidswriting1I do hope you’re not getting tired of these glances back into the archives. I’ll admit, I post them with a bit of an ulterior motive — I’m gearing up for a week’s vacation (tomorrow is my last day in the office!), and with everything else I’m trying to get done before I close up shop to head to the beach, I’d rather post an oldie-but-goodie than let the blog lay dormant.

And so to the question! Steph asked,

I’m 14 years old and I’m in the middle of writing a novel. I’m doing everything I can to be an author like going to a good high school with a good writing program. Do you think it’s possible to maybe get it published sometime soon? And do you have an age requirement of how old someone has to be to send in one of their stories to you? Iโ€™m a huge fan of Alyson Noel and you seem like youโ€™re a really great agent. Writing means a lot to me!

First of all, Steph, thanks! Secondly, it really seems like you’re on the right track. Unfortunately, there’s no easy shortcuts.

At the same time, no, I don’t have an age requirement for clients. BUT… I can tell you that I know many authors who are now published as adults, and though they’ve been writing forever, I can’t think of a single one that would be glad to see her teenage writing published.

Now, you may be the exception, but just in case you’re in the same majority as the rest of us, I think the thing to do is keep working — write through that fantastic high school with a top-notch writing program. Find a good college that will help you polish your skills. Live a little. Find something more to write about. Practice, practice, practice.

As you do so, I think you’ll also find your earlier work may lack the maturity and polish of your later work. When you truly believe your novel can compete with not just all the other teen novels already out there, but with the countless others also being submitted — then find an agent, and try to get published.

It’s a long road, but the journey is what makes it memorable, not just the final destination.

Now that bit of advice I know still stands, despite the news you may have read about teen authors getting deals at young ages. Do we need to go back into our teen writing folders to prove it again?

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