Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Question from a Writer

I'm 19 right now and I'm really passionate about my book idea and I have many ideas for the book series I am developing. However, I feel like literary agents keep passing me by when they see my query and take notice of the fact that I'm only nineteen. I understand that being young and inexperienced are factors that would make agents a little uncomfortable, but I really wish they could see past that so I could get some benefical input and professional help with my writing. I honestly believe if someone invested in me and the idea I have, it could open up interest to a new paranormal section in popular culture.

As I read this question, I really see two things here that might help you out (and certainly many of the younger writers out there trying to make that first break).

I would have to say first of all that if you leave out the fact that you are 19 years old, which honestly really isn't so much of an issue to us, then you wouldn't be getting comments that say they don't want to take you on because of your age. I am not sure if you are getting feedback that is telling you they don't want your project because of their age. That would actually shock me. In fact, the age factor is really not something that I have heard agents use as a reason for rejection. It really is all about your story, your ability to sell it and obviously your knowledge of the business. If you do feel that is an issue, leave it out of the query letter. My bet though is that the rejections are due to either the story or the pitch.

As far as the project goes, there is always a place for new projects. Obviously, since I have likely not read your project, I would have to bet there are three issues here. Either A) you aren't selling the project in the most effective way; or B) the project is simply something that is not marketable. This is not to say it can't be some other time, but maybe right now the market is not looking for such a story. The last option is that the writing might simply not be strong enough. You may have a great pitch and premise, but the writing has to be equally as strong.

It is important to know that there are many ways to gain the experience as a writer. This is a business that takes a lot of time. There is the time to build your craft and, more often than not, there is simply the patience it takes for having the right project at the right time.

I would just recommend to take your time, attend conferences, join professional writing organizations and learn the craft. If you have the enthusiasm for writing, it will come.



  1. This may be a silly thing, but one word I noticed in this question was "idea", more than once. Maybe the story isn't finished. I know some aspiring authors do this, possibly because we hear published authors talking about pitching new story ideas.

    I'd love to pitch my current wip, because I love the premise and I know where it's going (I could probably write a better query letter for it than I could for my completed work), but it's only about 10k in. So I continue to work on it and hope no one writes it before me.

  2. Your answer is posted for tomorrow.


  3. I really appreciate your response to my post and the feedback and advice. There are definitely many agents who have asked me for partials regardless of the fact that I'm nineteen. In fact, I'm sending out a requested full manuscript today. In addition, you actually took notice of my query as well and requested a partial from me. You found my writing to be fine and you liked the premise, but you didn't connect with the storyline. And all these instances are a testament to the fact that many literary agents do not pass you by because of your age, but I do feel handicapped in the literary market because of my lack of experience. However, I look forward to sending this full manuscript out and to continuing on honing my skills as a writer. And maybe soon I might get the break I'm hoping for.

  4. I'm with Noelle. When I was nineteen, I wanted an assurance that my "ideas" could find a market before I started writing them. Now I write and hope and when it's finished, I try to market it. That's hard to do. It's part of the whole "leap of faith" thing that writers have to take. The result is sometimes putting a nicely polished manuscript away for a while.