1. Nukilik_Ulva
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    Nukilik_Ulva New Member

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    Is age really a downfall when it comes to getting published?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Nukilik_Ulva, Jul 14, 2011.

    Alright, I'm new so sorry if I put this in the wrong place. I looked, but thought this was the most appropriate place to put this.

    I am fourteen, and very much so a writer. Though when I was twelve I started writing a novel called Hunted. I did try to publish it (starting with getting an agent) and I found this to be very troubling. Going back and forth between school, home work, chores, and trying to keep up with my friends, looking for an agent was becoming quite a task. So I found myself staying up until five in the morning on Fridays and Saturdays making lists and notes of agents, their e-mails and many different preffrences. I finally began the great task of sending out quearies. Or I heard it was a great task. After only two weeks I got a response asking for a synopsis of my manuscript and a bio of myself. I sent both and then was asked for the first the chapters of my book. All the while this agent new I was only thirteen. In the end this agent read my entire manuscript called me personally and then went on to getting other opinions from her co-workers. And that's where confusion arose.

    She was advised not to pursue my writing because of my age. And though she and a few others within her office wanted to represent me she had to go with the majority vote. Along with this she did express my manuscript may not be able to make it far wise with publishers. Alright that's fine, I understand that. I was still stuck on the whole age thing. So anyways I am asking my fellow writer's opinions. Is it fair to judge someone's writing and capability to be published over age? Though I was sure I was very respectable and acted in the most manageable professional manner.
     
  2. AvihooI
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    AvihooI Member

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    I don't think so to be honest. If your writing is good then your age is irrelevant.

    I advise you to go through your novel and polish it, then try again and again and again to get the attention of publishers. Also, you'd might want to seek the services of a professional reviewer. This can be a bit costly, but you at least get an honest and objective opinion (unlike the kind of opinion you'd get from your parents), and you know if your piece is worth the trouble or not (and if it does, where should you work on and make corrections).

    I personally think fourteen is an advanced age for pretty much everything. In fact, many things that I could do when I was fourteen - I can't now (just a form of early aging I guess).

    All in all, don't let anybody tell you you're no good or that you can't do something. And remember that there's no such thing as failure - only learning.

    Cheers.
     
  3. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    In terms of skill you can be fourteen and a very skill writer, however the downfal usually comes with believability and lack of life experience. Everyone grows up from the age of fourteen and when you are say twenty or thirty or even older and look back, you will see the pot holes of your inexperience.

    Saying that, can't you just publish with a fake age? Get someone else to stand in if they need an interview?
     
  4. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    That Eragon-guy was 15 (I think) when he published his first book, and it got turned into a movie. ;)
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    When you submit a manuscript, do you really think they're going to pay too much attention to your age? Hell, I don't even know whether you'd put your age anywhere.
    They probably wouldn't find out your age until they decide they maybe like the manuscript.

    Paolini's parents were publishers (try saying that three times, and fast), and the whole "Inheritance Cycle" is terribly written.
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    A publisher will have no clue as to your age unless you tell them (such as in a bio).

    The submission process to agents/publishers is impersonal, done mainly electronically (like through submission forms and emails with attachments). Once they are serious about your work, they might google your name or something. But really they're interested in the writing and if they think it will sell.

    Short story markets sometimes ask for a bio and even a bio pic (very rarely). What you include in the bio doesn't have to be age related at all.

    Look at it this way, if you write an awesome novel, and a major agent/publisher picks it up, and discovers your youthful age, they have a marketing angle, plus they know you have years and years of potential novel writing productivity ahead of you. Even if you're picked up by a smaller market and move on to something larger in a few years...they discovered you and it will reflect well upon them and their sales, and even if they retain the rights to sell your early works.

    Being professional in all of your communications--that's what's important. That, in addition to writing works that are publish-worthy.

    It is more difficult to disguise your age when on the phone with an agent seriously considering you. That is when the rubber meets the road. Maybe it will work out, maybe not. You've already experienced this and such experiences improve your chances if you learn from and build upon them.

    At least that's how I see it.

    Hang in there!
     
  7. aimi_aiko
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    aimi_aiko Contributing Member

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    I don't find age a problem at all. I was about 8 or 9 when I started writing (I'm 17 now) and I've been wanting to get something of mine published for a while. (Though I had posted a poem of mine on poetry.com when I was about 12, it's copyrighted and everything, I'm not sure if that counts). But I've always wanted to get a story or novel of mine published, but I have yet to pursue that wish.

    I'm very impressed that a person of your age had pursued your want to be published. I'm quite proud of the youth generation anyway, it seems as the years go on, they are becoming more intelligant and more capable of doing things that they ever had years and years ago.

    My advice to you is to continue to find someone who will look past the fact that you're young and will only pay attention to the quality of your writing. It is very fantastic that you are doing this. Never give up!
     
  8. Spring Gem
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    Spring Gem Member

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    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or accountant. There may have been some legal issues involved in the decision not to represent you. I assume, as a minor you can't sign contracts without your parents' consent/signature on the contract. There could be also be tax issues. If you haven't had a serious discussion with your parents about your desire to get published, you should. They probably need to consult a lawyer and accountant about how contracts and payments should be handled on your behalf.
     
  9. AvihooI
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    AvihooI Member

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    That's not true at all. Fourteen is above the age of legal responsibility (that is to say, if you murder someone at the age of fourteen - that's still considered murder or pretty much any other offense).

    Minority comes into account with the right to vote (suffrage) and other restrictions (such as not being able to obtain a drivers license or not being able to purchase alcohol, etc...). Also, a minor usually has guardians who are most of the time his or hers parents, but this can be revoked with an act of emancipation.

    However, a minor isn't restricted on signing a contract per se. Any agreement between two or more parties is considered a contract - whether written or not, and all cases can be brought to court. A minor cannot sign a contract (or that is, he or she can, but it won't mean anything) that allows the party he or she is signing for to do something that the guardians must first give their permission for. When it comes to signing a contract with a publisher, one simply states "I Mr. X allow publisher P to publish my work W under a,b,c terms". As intellectual property such as a novel doesn't belong to the guardians of the author (unless stated in the law, but I've never heard about such a law in the western world) then obviously the author can grant the right for others to use it.

    Some bodies might refrain from signing a contract with a minor without regard to law. Mostly due to the fear that if a case is brought to court, the judge might decree that the minor was manipulated or forced into signing the contract (and this can apply to everybody, not just minors) and thus the contract is invalid. However, that's rarely the case - and many minors make agreements with other parties and without the consent of their guardians.

    I hope I've cleared up the legal aspect of this.

    Cheers.
     
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  10. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    No, I think he was 15 when he started.

    Any, my humble advice:

    You finished your novel at fourteen, and you may think it's as good as you're going to get it, but when you're sixteen you may read through it and find a whole load of mistakes or plot holes you simply might not have been able to see when you were fourteen. Likewise 16 -> 21 etc.

    Well done on finishing a novel at fourteen though! I don't think I'm the only one who'd like to see an extract appear on the site soon ;) And remember that all the best writers have countless unpublished novels/short stories that they can use for ideas or inspiration :)

    Also if you're just fourteen and you had an agent that interested in you, I tip you for a fine career :) Just keep working hard
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    S.E. Hinton published "The Outsiders" at 16.

    Don't brag about your age or highlight it in any way, but it shouldn't be a roadblock. Try another publisher. Perhaps you could talk to the agent who wanted to represent you but couldn't - he/she might be able to refer you elsewhere and hook you up with the necessary connections.
     
  12. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    You've had an agent interested in your work - that's a promising beginning to your writing, even though they did not take you on.

    Keep writing and keep sending your ms out there.

    I don't believe that age should be a problem and if it is, then cheer up you won't be 14 forever.

    Well done so far and keep writing.
     
  13. Spring Gem
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    Spring Gem Member

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    Are you talking about in Israel or in the USA? In the USA, I think the a person has to be 18 or legally emancipated before they can legally enter a contract of any kind without their parents/guardians signature.
     
  14. Nukilik_Ulva
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    Nukilik_Ulva New Member

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    Well I would love to comment and reply to all of your posts, but that would just absolutly take foever. ;)

    Thank you to everyone that replied to me and voiced your opinion on the subject. I noticed a few times it being mentioned that the mani was probably immature (not the exact word used but a good stand in) and after starting the few other manuscripts that I have, I do go back and realize that Hunted was definitly not my best work. Though more so a stepping stool in my writing; as it was my very first completed novel-mani. It took me a few months before letting go of Hunted, to pursue a new manuscript I started back in October. And in the time that I was still trying to find someone to represent Hunted I was writing countless plot lines for what I now call The Cube. And I plan on trying to publish The Cube (when it's done) but before I give it anymore serious thought I wanted other's opinons on the whole age thing.

    It was also mentioned here and there that the agent wouldn't really know my age unless asked or noted apon. They only found this out through my bio. (When mentioing my being in seventh grade advanced litterature.) Also she did have contact with my mom through e-mail, after realizing my age. (My mom already knew about me talking to agents beforehand. Of course she knew what I was doing. I had actually asked her if it was okay if I followed the idea of becoming published and - to my atonishment - she out right laughed at me. She expressed to me that she would love nothing more, but for me to follow my dream.)

    Yes I had thought about the legal aspect of it. But as someone else had stated, that would be all on me, nothing about getting published should require my legal guardians consent. (Or so Google so kindly says ;D )

    Again thank you for all your help, it really gave me some insight on the topic :love:

    ~Rea
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    No, they don't. But in most States it is pretty easy for a minor to void a contract if the want to void it before they turn 18, so it is kind of risky to enter into a contract with a minor. Courts will generally enforce certain contracts with minors (historically, contracts for necessities of life, for example), but there is a lot less risk to the minor, in general, than to the entity contracting with her.
     
  16. thalorin19
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    thalorin19 Member

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    That guy got off lucky. His parents published it. Then an actual Publisher's son read and loved it.

    Paolini is a jack-off. Those books are terrible. And he thinks he is the next Tolkien.

    However, there have been many good teenager authors in the past who have been published. So it's not impossible. If your writing is good, age shouldn't matter.
     
  17. AvihooI
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    AvihooI Member

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    A minor who's not legally emancipated cannot give consent to certain things that have to do with his or hers state of being or other factors that can drastically change his or hers life. For instance, marrying, living away from his or hers guardians, dropping out of school (for certain ages), etc...

    However, do look up the laws on property rights. Minors can legally possess things and if they own something (out of the act of creating it - authorship) they also, naturally, have the right to give it to another person - or if we're talking about intellectual property - license it.

    Such a contract wouldn't be illegal per se. However, if prosecuted in court, then a minor can be rendered with much more ease as a person who didn't agree to a contract out of a "reasonable consideration". As stated by someone else in this post - the contract turns void.

    The same can be said, by the way, about a fully grown person who, at the time of signing a contract (that is, agreeing to something) wasn't in a full reasonable mental state and I'll let your imagination fill out the missing parts on that one.

    But again, minors signing a contract is definitely not illegal per se. Simply because a contract is a legal manifestation of an agreement.

    EDIT: Oh, I haven't clarified what it all means when a minor can enter a contract but in the same manner can easily avoid it.

    Basically, what it means is that a license contract (i.e. an author giving consent to a publisher to publish her work for an exchange of whatever) can be formulated, thus making it completely legal for a publisher to publish the work. The work can be perfectly legally sold (a book, ebook, etc...). And pretty much the only parties who have entered the contract are the author and the publisher - NOT the guardians of the author if she has any guardians.

    With that in mind, let's say the publisher has sold 10k copies of a book written by a minor author. Should the contract be void - that doesn't mean the value of the 10k books that were sold belong to the author (in terms of say, revenue). What it does mean is that the publisher can no longer sell those books - as if the contract was mutually terminated. But such a contract could have been written by any author, minor or not. I could have agreed to allow company X to publish my work, but I could also have a clause that said "I have the right to terminate this contract at any time for any reason" and that's without being a minor.

    For example, often labour contracts allow the employee to quit at any time but the employer can only fire the employee under certain circumstances and if he doesn't, he must pay heavy compensations. That is an example of a contract that can be unilaterally terminated.

    A parental consent wouldn't do much here, because the minor author would have to grant authorship to her parents (either by flat-out stating the work was written by the parents) or passing the authorship which is also virtually a voidable contract (a child could hypothetically prosecute his or her parents for having infringed his or hers property rights).

    To summarize all of this up: a minor can definitely get her or his work published for a percentage of the revenue (which is formulated in a contract). The only difference is that a minor would have a much easier time terminating a contract than an adult would (but then, there are non-legal consequences of doing this - such as loss of reputation, etc...).

    Cheers.
     
  18. pyrosama
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    pyrosama Member

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    I don't agree with this notion at all, but the elitest mindset seems to be that "if you can't make it believable, then you fail."

    The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe wasn't believable to me, but it was very convincing as a make believe land, why? Because the characters had arcs and enlightening moments that made sense through the eyes of the viewer/reader.

    When they say it must ring "true" they don't lie.

    As a reader, I have to believe in the story even if it is fiction. Take Harry Potter...I don't believe in magic, but I can relate to the dilemmas experienced by the characters. THAT's what readers want.

    If you are a young writer, I would suggest writing for the young adult audience and not the other genres, especially if you want to succeed.

    I'm not saying you will fail, I'm just saying that readers can tell if you don't have a good handle on your subject.
     
  19. Nukilik_Ulva
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    Nukilik_Ulva New Member

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    I ABSOLUTLY AGREE! This was one of my many problems while writing my manuscript. Mostly because it started off as a school project. We were practicing plot line devolpment. And we were limited to six pages. I unfourtently, am gifted with not being able to write anything short. And mine ended up being eighteen pages. So what did I do? Made the font in Times New Roman point four. Very very small but hey it was six pages XD

    Anyways off track there. We were required to write a romance/thriller well I was tweleve at the time and am only fourteen now. So, yeah, I had no clue what I was writing about. I don't think it's expected of me to have a love life at fourteen, let alone twelve. So I re-read the Twilight Saga (again) to get the feel of Edward's and Bella's relationship then moved on to reading other well known romance novels in the first week out of six that we had to do this project. But of course that is nothing comparable to what life really is. I wrote anyways. So after I got my ninty eight on my project (she took of points because it was too long...) I had to finish this story. I was so hooked with my charcters. And I think that's a big issue I had, was writing about something I know really nothing about.

    My new manusciprt that I am eating, breathing, drinking, and living! Is a very... complicated story. It's called The Cube, and yes it is about a cube... anyways the story is a little far out if you want to say. But this is something I can write about. It's basically all about survival. And I have spent a good quarter of my life camping. And trust me there have been times that I have litterly rescued my father and I from some really awful things. And to top it off I am writing about something we all know. Science, and Mother Nature (Mother Nature needs to send Texas some rain!) Though I have kept the book very realistic in the mindset of the character. Again manipulating what we know about Mother Nature and science today. Instead of writing something I am totally and utterly clueless about.
     
  20. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    If your work is really, really good, the publisher will be filled with fantasies about discovering the next J.K Rowling or Stephanie Myers or Agatha Christie or whatever and neglect to ask about your age.
     
  21. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Precisely,Paolini's parents were prefered publishers. :D(dang now I have to wipe my computer screen)
    I would not limit someone I don't know. But I would say write what you know in real life. Use experiences you see or lived. Its tough to write from a point of view that you have not experienced.

    When I was a child I veiwed the world with childish eyes. (and I could see a whole lot better:cool:)

    I am not calling you a child, just pointing out you see life from a persons eyes whos life revolves around school and friends. Which is alot different then life revolving around work, paying bills and trying to find enough money to enjoy the time away from work.

    I must call on distant memories(stares off into space in a distant voice) long ago in a land far far away(no not shrek's inlaws home) to write about a child.
     
  22. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    My advice to you would be to write age-appropriate stuff. Don't write about the life of a 33 year old guy unless you are one. Try writing stuff aimed at your age group, using experiences and knowledge that you absolutely have. Unless you're a brilliant and thorough researcher, the best way to tackle the age issue is to simply write what you know.

    It's only really a problem if you write 18+ stories, which obviously, you shouldn't be. I don't mean to sound like an old fogey, but that's the point when it's a huge no-no. I wouldn't go down that route, because even if it was of a good quality, your age would prevent you from getting any further. It wouldn't be appropriate. Or legal.

    Other than that, you're all good. Go for it.
     
  23. Florent150
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    Florent150 Member

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    I agree, but I guess it depends on what kind of novel it is.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2014
  24. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Legally a 14 year old wouldn't be able to publish stuff that's age-inappropriate, like erotica for example. They wouldn't take that risk.

    I didn't say it was impossible, but unless you're a great researcher at that age, it's unlikely your writing will be believable unless you write what you know. I'm not talking genre, I'm talking content.
     
  25. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    This makes no sense freedom of speech has no age limit.

    But yes one should not write what they do not know.
     

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