2.09.2006

Only the Fools Sign Young

Devoted Snarkling, who prides himself on being one of the millions of writers still unpublished who are younger than Jonathan Safran Foer, asks:

"I am a young (24) writer in possession a newly completed manuscript. Through dumb luck I befriended a very successful, NYT bestselling author during my writing process and he has been mentoring me through much of this. He is planning to give my mss to his agent. My question is this however, does my age have any factor on acceptance? And if it doesn't with agents, I wonder if it does with editors and publishers?"


I have no idea how old most of my clients are. I know the ones who are not 12 and I know the ones who are not 80. I guess I could ballpark it if I had to, but I'd never have to. Unless you need your legal guardian to co-sign the book contract, no one in publishing will bat an eye at your age.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unless it's relevant to the topic, I would imagine.

I could hardly imagine a 24 year-old writing a memoir about osteoporosis, or an 80 year-old writing about his experiences with the Tribeca bar scene.

bill sinclair said...

And I couldn't imagine a 21 year old writing Frankenstein....but she did!

Anonymous said...

I signed and sold my first major novel with my agent at 18, but before she offered representation, I got some condescending rejections from agents that had to do with my age. Rejections that said, "you must get A's in English class," "you have so much time to improve," that sort of thing. If I did it again, I wouldn't have mentioned the age factor until I had interest. As people have said, 24 isn't that young, and it might produce a reverse effect, a kind of "why do we care?" mentality.

That Girl Who Writes Stuff said...

"I got some condescending rejections from agents that had to do with my age. Rejections that said, "you must get A's in English class," "you have so much time to improve," that sort of thing."

I bet these same people are still trying to figure out what Gen Y will buy.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the publishing world is actually looking for younger writers. They've gone batshit for Froer and for that kid Nick McDonnell. Oh that we could all be that young again.

Anonymous said...

Assuming that the writing is good, what if you are 12?

Stijn said...

I know of at least 4 people under the age of 15 who successfully had their books published.

Age doesn't make one bit of a difference to an agent or an editor, but it's a heck of a marketing once you need one to actually sell books to readers.

Stijn said...

"I got some condescending rejections from agents that had to do with my age."
How do they know? You didn't mention it in your cover letter, did you? Your age is entirely not relevant until it comes to signing a contract. So don't mention it.