Author Topic: Random Question  (Read 6603 times)

Offline Chelc

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Random Question
« on: July 08, 2007, 09:38:59 PM »
Hi, I'm Chelsea, and I recently finished my first young adult fiction novel (well, finished typing it, yes. Finished obsessively editing it for the thousandth time, no ;D).
Anyway, my totally random question is:
Are agents, editors, publishers, the likes, likely to be uninterested in a teenager sending in a query? I mean, I'm only 16 and am working on the finishing touches of my book and researching everything I can about getting published--so I was planning on starting the whole agonizing search for an agent soon...
But, is it likely for a 16 year old to be overlooked by agents? Or should I not even mention my age, and then on the miraculous day that somebody says their interested in my book, say, "Oh, yeah, I'm still in High School, by the way."
????
I'm not sure if anyone out there even has the answer to my question...but I was just wondering.

Offline Chelc

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2007, 09:42:29 PM »
whoops
I just noticed I posted this under Forum Support accidentally.
That probably isnt the right place for this post, eh? :emb2:

Offline Diowe

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2007, 09:48:05 PM »
Good for you, Chelsea :clap: Wish I had the guts to see things through that far when I was your age!... I'm no expert, but I have seen answers to this type of question on other forums. Everyone seemed to agree that mentioning your age is not necessary -- at least not in the early stages. When you get to the point of talking to or e-mailing a possible agent on a more personal level, you'll probably want to mention it. Once they take you seriously, your age is actually a very cool selling tool.

Hope this helps and best of luck to you!

Diowe

Offline Patrick

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2007, 09:56:27 PM »
Diowe is right.  There is no need to mention your age in the query letter.  Let your talent speak for itself. If the agent likes your work, then you can mention your age.  At that point, the agent will likely be impressed.  Revealing your age any time before that and you risk biasing the agent.

I have heard some people say this approach is unethical, but I really don't think so.  You are not lying to them, and submission guidelines never say anything about age.

One other thing.  You do plan on waiting to query until after you have polished your manuscript, right?

Best of luck to you.  And a Karma point for being a young achiever. :clap:

(I'll move this post over to Query Help for you.)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2007, 10:03:38 PM by Patrick »

Offline Chelc

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2007, 10:13:56 PM »
Wow, people replied to this fast!
Thanks! Your answers are what I expected, but I just thought I would ask anyway.
Thank you for moving the post  :)
And yes, I'm waiting to query until I've polished my manuscript so much that it makes me sick to even look at it anymore ;). So I was thinking of waiting another year maybe--no less than 6 months at least.

Offline Patrick

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2007, 10:31:13 PM »
Now that you're onto the editing stage, one piece of advice that I would like to give is put the manuscript aside for about a month.  Don't look at.  Try not to think about it.  Then after a month, when you do get back to it, your perspective will be fresh.  It really does work wonders.

Offline justwrite

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2007, 10:31:42 PM »
I'm impressed, too, Chelsea! My son is your age and if he spent as much time writing as he does on online video games he could have written War and Peace five times. The advice you received is sound. With all of your polishing, have you had it critiqued? I spent two years writing my first book (I'm just a few decades older than you and couldn't finish a chapter when I was sixteen!) and realized after i thought I had a masterpiece that I didn't know squat. So I joined two crit groups (One I found on the SCBWI boards, the other I started myself) and learned to write (I think).

Hope this helps. A few of us have posted our first five pages is you're brave enough! :)


Offline Chelc

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2007, 11:14:05 PM »
thanks so much for the advice!
Though, to be honest, I've already taken into consideration those suggestions, sort of.
For one, when I finished my book, I forced myself to wait three weeks before I even turned on my computer again. I kind of feared that my writing abilities would somehow be destroyed thanks to my relentless writing every day for the past year ;)...but I gave into the power of my over-active imagination and gave up the haitus after just under two weeks. (It's pretty impossible to make me stop writing; it drives my mom crazy because I'm always locked up in my room writing away)
As for sending the manuscript to people I know for help on editing it, I've given it to my mom. But she's too busy to really sit down and concentrate on it. And all of my friends don't really know anything about writing, except for one friend. She's read the first 3 chapters, but she's been very busy this summer, so I'm just relying on myself at the moment.
But, really, I'm in no hurry. I'm a perfectionist, and my manuscript is not perfect yet. And I'm in High School for goodness sakes! No matter how much research I do, I know that I'm still seriously naive to the writing world.

Offline justwrite

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2007, 11:45:14 PM »
Yeah, but you have the bug. I would be delighted if my kids were writing instead of playing games online. You need some outside opinions. I had my cousin and friend read my work a few years ago. They loved it, loved it loved it. What did they know? Squat. The kid who wrote Eragon was younger than you! So write on! I'll bet your high school English teachers can't even give you good advice. Post a few pages here if you dare!


Offline Patrick

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2007, 12:03:16 AM »
Sounds like you're dedicated and have the right attitude (meaning you realize that there is still a lot of work ahead of you.)

If you want to post some of your work here that would be good.  There are some talented editors around that could help.  Or, if you are nervous about posting in a public forum, then hold off a bit.  One of the things I want to add to QueryTracker is a private viewing area, where members can pick and choose who can read their work and who can't.  Give me about a month to get it done.  There is also private messaging available here in the forum, if you don't want to wait.

Offline Chelc

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2007, 12:09:56 AM »
The author of Eragon was younger than me? Seriously? I loved that book!
Well, that just puts a whole new perspective into things...
I'm sorry to say that no, I don't dare to put any of my writings up just yet because it scares the heck out of me. Not of criticism (I can deal with that), but of being compared to other books.
Seriously, I hate reading book reviews that say things like "A mix of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Harry Potter". I don't want to put my whole soul into a book and then have people make it sound unoriginal...which is my current obsession: making all of my writings as original as I can get them.
But, there's always something to be compared to...
« Last Edit: July 09, 2007, 12:19:00 AM by Chelc »

Offline Patrick

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2007, 12:25:16 AM »
It's nearly impossible to come up with anything 100% original anymore.  But I sure would love for you, or anyone else, to prove me wrong.

Anyway, try to keep it original, but don't get too bogged down by it either.

Offline Chelc

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2007, 12:40:20 AM »
Ah.
Okay.
Well, I only just discovered this site today, and I'm already addicted :yes:

Offline Lynne

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Re: Random Question
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2007, 12:55:32 AM »
I think you're already ahead of the game in that you're learning about writing, you realize your manuscript will take time and effort to write, that others will need to read it, and that you'll search for an appropriate agent when it's time to submit.  So much of what agents and editors receive is written by people who haven't had their work critiqued, haven't learned how to write well, and haven't read a children's book for 20 years.
If it helps, look through the manuscript pages that others have posted already, and you'll see from the responses that the critiques given are really helpful, constructive, and polite, too!  ;D
But if you're still not ready to post your work here, everyone understands that too, that it can be a little scary.  Have you looked for a critique group in your area?  If you go to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators website, www.scbwi.org you can click on "Regional Chapters" at the top of the home page to find a local chapter that's closest to you.  From there you should be able to find small critque groups of other writers who meet to give each other feedback on their work.  Or, that website has discussion boards also where you might find a critique partner to trade work with via email.

Thanks for posting, and good luck with your writing!
 :cheer: