1. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Any teenage self-publishers?

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Uberwatch, Sep 30, 2013.

    Well, I was looking on Smashwords (building my account so I can publish my first e-book) soon and noticed a lot of older indie authors. I'm talking around the age of 35 or up here. For me, I'm only 9 months away from being 18 and I have no idea if anyone would buy or read books from someone who's almost out of high school compared to people who have had years of experience.

    My first e-book which is 75% complete is going to be FREE of charge. I just want to know if anyone is under 18 and has had success with e-book self-publishing. I think a lot of the successes with certain e-book is because there is some personality behind the person who wrote it in the first place. It may not be true, but that's what I am thinking.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how is anyone going to know how young you are, if you don't blab it?

    people buy books they want to read, don't have to know how old the writer is, if they like it...
     
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  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    35 is not old.
     
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  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Cue Bob Dylan: "I was so much older then / I'm younger than that now."

    :)
     
  5. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Sounds good enough. I think I was overlooking things.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    "I started out on burgundy but soon I hit the harder stuff..."
     
  7. katreya
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    katreya Member

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    It all depends on what kind of book - but if it's free, and nobody's saying ages, I don't think anyone will be any wiser.

    I do seem to recall, if memory serves, that the writer of Eragon started it when he was 15, and finished a majority of it then too. He only went on to self-publish it with his family at 18 after he had finished school/uni (I think he was home-schooled and went to uni early?), and that went on to be picked up by huge publishers worldwide later and now has it's own (terrible) movie.

    So don't let age hold ya back!
     
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  8. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    They won't know your age. I would only worry if they read it and could guess you were straight out of high school. That's a sure sign of inexperience. Even if you're going to self publish, make sure you work through at least a couple drafts. Have a couple trusted people read longer sections and give you reviews and critique. See if you can't get one of them to read it all the way through so you can get an outside perspective to help with edits and rewrites. Make it as good as you possibly can, then publish. Then it won't matter how old you are. Many published authors are a little older because it takes time and practice to build the skill to write a quality book. And it's better to wait until you have some solid skills before publishing, because some bad books in the start may hurt your chances of getting readers. Its a game of experience, not age.

    And 35 really is not old... at all... It is adult, but not even close to old. Unless you're a pro athlete, 35 might be closing in on the limit depending on the sport. :p
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't see that the op said 35 was 'old' at all... only that it was 'older'... which, given that he is under 20, is perfectly true, right?

    it's all relative... at 75, i can definitely accept that i'm 'old' as well as 'older' than probably anyone else on this site... and to me, 35 is extremely young, as all 7 of my kids are over that age, the first 5 being over 50! :rolleyes:
     
  10. katreya
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    katreya Member

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    Exactly!! 35 isn't old. My husband is 35, LOL! And he says he still feels 21, really. It's all where you're at. I remember thinking at 17, that "21" was "old". Then you get to that age, and you realise that nothing's really changed, except that you... well, are officially 21 and you may have gained some marginal insight into life and people's personalities. Then you keep going on up that ladder and well... you hope you learn something, at least!

    It's awesome to see a community with such a wide variety of ages though, mammamaia. I figured the oldest here would probably only be just around the 40 mark. :) Not for any particular reason, I suppose... I just haven't met many 'older' people who frequent forums, though my dad is 64 and quite the internet whiz/junkie. ;)
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    kat...
    and i didn't start using the internet till i'd left my 40s way behind and was about to hit 60! :rolleyes:
    but i don't 'frequent forums' for the usual reason, only coming here and to the other 2 i post on 365 mornings a year to help aspiring writers in any way i can... the rest of the time i'm helping them privately for free as a mentor, or working with clients... so, despite my advanced age, i'm as far from 'old and retired' as it gets...
    love and hugs, maia
     
  12. Amyfire
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    Amyfire Banned

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    Statistics show that most authors are between 35 - 55. That doesn't mean you cannot be successful if you are out of that age group. Concentrate on writing a good book and allow the rest to fall into place. No one will know how old you are unless you tell them.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    which 'authors'?

    all published and unpublished ones?
    all self-published and traditionally publshed ones?
    all unknown and famous bestselling ones?

    or just the well-known successful ones?
     
  14. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Okay, I'm not old, I'm old—so old I'm so old that my curmudgeon's license was issued in the past century. So let me give you some grandfatherly wisdom:

    Forget self publishing for now. It's a waste of time. Don't believe me? How many self published books did you buy and enjoy last year? Ask your friends how many they bought. Anyone can self publish, so it should really be called self releasing. Think in terms of writing at a professional level, first, because there is an unspoken contract between reader and writer. They give of their time, and you make that time worthwhile by giving them something they couldn't do just as well themselves—something much more interesting than what they would be doing were they not reading. Can you really do that, as yet?

    And the term indie author may be comforting, but in reality it means that no real publisher though their work was written well enough to entice readers to buy. And those are the people who make their living by selling books.

    The question isn't if there are others your age who are publishing successfully. It's why the all the new authors aren't eighteen year old new grads. If we learn how to write in school; if our English teachers are truly teaching us what a fiction writer needs to know, why aren't all the new writers also new grads? In fact, why weren't your English teachers successful writers? If they teach the techniques all day why aren't they better at fiction than everyone else? Haven't you ever wondered that?

    The answer is simple: We learn general skills in high school, not professions. Worse yet, they're teaching what people need to know to make them useful as an adult, in life and on the job. Are your math classes making you fit to be a mathematician without a lot more specialized knowledge and training? Hell no. Are you most of the way to being a historian? No again. And after all the TV you've watched are you a screenwriter?

    See where I'm going? You can't just be any of those things. You have to become one. And you have to want to become one badly enough to put up with what's often called paying your dues: the work of guided practice, study, focusing your thoughts, and more. Everyone can play baseball. But you don't get into the big leagues by playing pick-up games with your friends. The same principal applies to almost any profession.

    Not everyone who plays golf, or tennis, etc., ends up playing the tournaments. But all of us benefit from coaching, workshops, and classes. You, and I, and everyone else, leave high school with more-or-less the same skill sets. In the case of our writing skills, they're nonfiction in nature because that's what most people will use them for. We read the same sort of fiction that others with our inclination read. So why should we be better at writing than anyone else in our school system? Yes, we may have more natural talent for writing, but talent, unless trained is only unused potential. And that's my real point: you need to hone your talent and fill your writers toolbox with all the shiny and specialized tools your teachers didn't tell you about—tools they have no clue exist because no one ever told them about it.

    There are unending tricks-of-the-trade, specialized knowledge, and "watch out for this" things that the pros take for granted that are yours for the taking. But you have to take them. You have to make the effort to find what you need and fit it to your personal style: tools, not rules. After all, if your goal is to be thought of as a serious writer, isn't it reasonable that you need to know more about the creation of, and the necessities of, a profession that's been centuries in development? Your teachers probably spent damn little time on subjects like scene-goals, tag usage, the three things a reader wants to know on entering a scene, or why a scene usually ends in disaster for the protagonist. But if you don't know that your protagonist should have a scene goal, and why, will you even think about providing one?

    You're here and you're seeking help, so you obviously have the interest and desire. And if you have a novel mostly finished you also have the perseverance. So here's the part where I make a pro out of you—so far as exposure to the tools and knowledge that will give you the compositional knowledge needed for writing fiction in the printed word medium. Actually becoming a pro is your job, but having the tools makes it a lot easier.

    Start with this article. It defines one of the basic methods of presenting a story in the protagonist's point of view, and in real-time. There are others but this is particularly effective. Chew on it for a while. Play with it. Look for evidence of it in the modern adult fiction that made you feel as if you were experiencing the action yourself. And if it looks like something you might want to know more about, pick up a copy of Dwight Swain's, Techniques of the Selling Writer, on Amazon. It's the best book I've seen on the nuts-and-bolts issues of writing fiction, and is pretty much a professional fiction writing course between two covers, with none of the "read this chapter from my book and then I'll tell you why it's so great," crap. A lot of what you see there is going to make you slap your forehead and say, "Why didn't I think of that?" A lot will change how you look at writing fiction, dramatically. Swain talks not at all about the tenses used to present point of view, for example—something that most new writers think is all there is to point of view. Instead, he explains what POV is and how to make it work for you.

    Till the book arrives I have some articles in my blog based on his teaching that are kind of a Swain Lite, that might be of interest.

    Hang in there and keep on writing. If nothing else it keeps us off the streets at night.
     
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