Author Topic: Signing with Minors--Legal or No? One Agent Puts Down HS Kids for Querying...  (Read 5548 times)

Offline AlythiaB

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 743
  • Karma: 74
    • Publishing Tips for the Restless Writer
So I found a hashtag on Twitter for publishing/query tips. In it, a literary agent was putting down high school kids for attempting to query him. Now, I know you have to deal with parents if you sign a minor, and that can get messy/annoying, but there's technically nothing against it, right? Or no? I've seen multiple stories about kids getting published, so his 'students need not apply' attitude seemed a bit harsh to me. I dunno. I found myself offended for HS kids everywhere that this agent was blasting them for trying. I think it's admirable that they're pursuing something like this so young in life. Am I wrong on the legality of the matter? I thought Sara Megibow signed one of her clients as a teen...
Represented by Moe Ferrara, BookEnds, LLC
www.alyconner.com

Offline Pandean

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8666
  • Karma: 474
  • Panic in human form
Actually, I've heard of a lot of agents either not caring or liking minors querying as long as they know what they're doing. Almost every agent interview/FAQ/etc. I've read that asks this question, the answer is the agent is perfectly fine with it.

As far as I know, a good deal of agents from legit, highly reputable agencies have signed minors. It certainly looks like most people aren't against it.

Who is this agent? I think I know who he is because I've seen a tweet by an agent with similar wording.

But no, definitely not all agents or even most agents have a problem with it.

ETA: I've done a lot of research on this subject and other agent's POVs because until recently, I was a minor and this worried me. So, I can say with assurance that many agents are okay with signing minors, but there are a few who aren't.

WHITE STAG, an internet phenomenon, has been acquired by St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books for publication in Winter 2019

Offline KimE

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1227
  • Karma: 146
    • Kim-English.com
That sounds like someone espousing his own personal view of publishing and passing it off as an institutional rule, which is the problem with too much twitter. I heard the exact opposite from an agent at a conference who said the term "YA YA" is gaining popularity because it is YA actually written by YA.
I am burdened with glorious purpose.

Offline MichelleG

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1044
  • Karma: 149
    • MICHELLE GWYNN JONES - NEW GRACE NEWS
I can see how an agent not wanting to deal with a HS as a client, which means dealing with their guardian as a client. As an attorney who represented children on a regular basis I can tell you that can be a pain.

But I am a bit confused at how an agent would know that the query is from a HS student, I know I don't put my age on my query.
"You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of isolation and the impunity with which crime may be committed there." - Sherlock Homes, The Copper Beeches - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline AlythiaB

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 743
  • Karma: 74
    • Publishing Tips for the Restless Writer
Actually, I've heard of a lot of agents either not caring or liking minors querying as long as they know what they're doing. Almost every agent interview/FAQ/etc. I've read that asks this question, the answer is the agent is perfectly fine with it. Right? That's what I thought!!

As far as I know, a good deal of agents from legit, highly reputable agencies have signed minors. It certainly looks like most people aren't against it.

Who is this agent? I think I know who he is because I've seen a tweet by an agent with similar wording. I tried searching for him again, but I couldn't find the tweet. If I do, I'll message you. It came off as pretty arrogant, the wording.

But no, definitely not all agents or even most agents have a problem with it.

ETA: I've done a lot of research on this subject and other agent's POVs because until recently, I was a minor and this worried me. So, I can say with assurance that many agents are okay with signing minors, but there are a few who aren't. I was actually thinking of you when I read the agent's comment and I was hoping you'd chime in! I also began querying as a teen and I've told teens that anyone can publish! So even though I wasn't technically a minor when I began searching for an agent, I don't like the concept of people being discriminated against based on their age. If it's beautiful writing, it's beautiful writing, ya know? Do you feel like you may have been rejected based on your age in the past? I know you've been querying for a few years, right?

That sounds like someone espousing his own personal view of publishing and passing it off as an institutional rule, which is the problem with too much twitter. I heard the exact opposite from an agent at a conference who said the term "YA YA" is gaining popularity because it is YA actually written by YA.

Agreed! Who better to give us that YA voice than a teen? Obviously, teen writers are still learning their craft and I'm sure a majority of them aren't ready for publication. But some people just have it.

I can see how an agent not wanting to deal with a HS as a client, which means dealing with their guardian as a client. As an attorney who represented children on a regular basis I can tell you that can be a pain.

But I am a bit confused at how an agent would know that the query is from a HS student, I know I don't put my age on my query.

Oh, yes, I can definitely see how dealing with the parents can be annoying! I get it. But if you think about it, a teen writer searching for a literary agent is probably very close to being of age (16, 17). And if they write well enough to land an agent as a teen, they're worth dealing with a parent for a year or two, IMHO. After all, the agent/author relationship is one that's intended to last throughout your entire career (lifetime, perhaps?). But I feel your point on attempting to rep children with parents attached!

I think HS students are probably stating this much in their bios. They probably feel weird about not having some kind of degree or other writing credentials. Maybe they feel they'll get more attention (or forgiveness in regards to grammar) if the agent knows they're very young? Or maybe they felt they need to disclose that they're minors upfront?

X, did you ever include your age in a query letter?
Represented by Moe Ferrara, BookEnds, LLC
www.alyconner.com

CradleOfInsanity

  • Guest
Oh. I can see how the legal side of it can be a pain. I never actually thought of that before.

I am dying to know who the agent is, but I sort of don't want to know. Lol.

FYI, I sort of ran a social experiment when entering Pitch Wars. I specifically put in my mentee bio that I graduated just last year and that I was really young.

Seems like it didn't really matter lol. All of them thought it was pretty cool.

That's interesting, though. I mean, I'm 20 now, but I came to QT when I was like 17. So I was afraid of not being able to sign due to my age. On top of that, I was REALLY worried because I was sort of in homes at the time and had guardianship issues, so I was pretty sure they didn't want to step into that mess.


Offline Pandean

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8666
  • Karma: 474
  • Panic in human form
Do you remember his name?

And yes, I started querying around 16. I've never put my age in a query though, so I don't think I've ever been rejected because of it. I was worried about saying my age on Twitter for a while, especially during contests and all, but I got over it.

WHITE STAG, an internet phenomenon, has been acquired by St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books for publication in Winter 2019

Offline AlythiaB

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 743
  • Karma: 74
    • Publishing Tips for the Restless Writer
I think it is neat that you guys are young and pursuing your dream!

I couldn't find the tweet, X! Sorry! I can't even remember the hashtag now. But I know it was one only a few publishing people had used and so it didn't have a ton of posts under it. It wasn't #querytip or anything like that. I'll let you know if I remember!
Represented by Moe Ferrara, BookEnds, LLC
www.alyconner.com

Offline Pandean

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8666
  • Karma: 474
  • Panic in human form
I think it is neat that you guys are young and pursuing your dream!

I couldn't find the tweet, X! Sorry! I can't even remember the hashtag now. But I know it was one only a few publishing people had used and so it didn't have a ton of posts under it. It wasn't #querytip or anything like that. I'll let you know if I remember!

Do you remember the dude's name?

ETA: Or is that what you meant by not being able to find the tweet?
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 05:38:37 PM by X »
WHITE STAG, an internet phenomenon, has been acquired by St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books for publication in Winter 2019

Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7878
  • Karma: 794
  • This, too, shall pass
    • Sarah Ahiers
I mean, Kody Keplinger sold THE DUFF when she was a teen and that worked out great for her and her agent so . . .  :up:
Repped by Mollie Glick of CAA
ASSASSIN'S HEART 2016 HarperTeen
I hang out at Sarah Ahiers Writes
Author Website

Offline AlythiaB

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 743
  • Karma: 74
    • Publishing Tips for the Restless Writer
Re: Signing with Minors--Legal or No? One Agent Puts Down HS Kids for Querying...
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2015, 10:21:22 AM »
I mean, Kody Keplinger sold THE DUFF when she was a teen and that worked out great for her and her agent so . . .  :up:

Yep! I fully support teen writers.  ;D
Represented by Moe Ferrara, BookEnds, LLC
www.alyconner.com

Offline QuietWriter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 404
  • Karma: 94
Re: Signing with Minors--Legal or No? One Agent Puts Down HS Kids for Querying...
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2015, 09:21:17 AM »
I was a minor when I got my first agent many, many years ago. Yes, my mom had to sign the contract as she was my legal guardian. When it comes to contracts and things with publishing houses, it's a little trickier but I do know that it can be done so that the advance and royalties go into a trust that the author can take charge of upon adulthood. In the meantime, the legal guardian does have control over the trust and its uses. That's one way of doing it. Some guardians are willing to let their teen have the money and bank account and all of that. It really depends on the guardian-ward situation more than the agent-client situation. Some houses pay the author directly and if it's to go to a special account, you can set that up with the publisher without even having to involve your agent.

When you come of age, you then can discuss with the agent having a new representation contract drawn up where you do not need your guardian's signature.

Offline AlythiaB

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 743
  • Karma: 74
    • Publishing Tips for the Restless Writer
Re: Signing with Minors--Legal or No? One Agent Puts Down HS Kids for Querying...
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2015, 11:55:20 AM »

Do you remember the dude's name?

ETA: Or is that what you meant by not being able to find the tweet?


Yeah, sorry. I don't recall his name, but I'd been hoping to track it down by searching for the tweet. No luck.
Represented by Moe Ferrara, BookEnds, LLC
www.alyconner.com