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I have been working on a book for a while, and I probably will be done with it soon. My work is very original in my mind and in the end, this book will be very high quality. But I have been wondering about one important aspect of publishing.

I am only 13 years old. I really want my work to be taken seriously, and people to see my book as something that is good because it is a good book, not because I am young. How can I successfully get this published as a book that people enjoy without caring about my age?

(Edit: I know that other people have asked this before, and the one I was directed to is about where and how to publish as a minor, but this question is about how to be taken seriously as a minor.)

marked as duplicate by Chris Sunami, JP Chapleau, Morgan Meredith, Ken Mohnkern, Galastel Feb 20 '18 at 21:31

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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You don't have to do anything special at all. First you will seek an agent, with a query letter. Look up on the Internet or in writing books on Amazon how to write a query letter.

Do not mention your age. If you get a response of somebody willing to read a sample, send it. Before you sign any contract or agreement, you will need to tell the other party you are a minor (and cannot enter into a contract), so your parent (or guardian) will sign on your behalf. Other than "minor", you don't have to mention your age.

If your agent sells your book, it can be published without anybody knowing your age, seeing your picture, or anything else. People publish books under pseudonyms (made up names) all the time, to conceal their true identity.

If you want to prevent being googled (or revealing your gender) you can publish under initials; e.g. "J.K. Rowling".

I won't prejudge the quality of your work based on your age. I would just say, do not LIE about it, and do not sign any kind of agreement without your legal guardian (probably a parent).

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    Yup. Sure worked well for J.K. Rowling to avoid anyone knowing his gender. <ducks> – TOOGAM Feb 14 '18 at 6:51
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    @TOOGAM An excellent point: IF our author writes a best selling novel, they may choose to reveal themselves to bask in the glory, and in this case, the added sales due to publicity, because many talk shows would love to have as a guest a 13 year old best selling novelist and the free publicity would sell millions. I don't even watch talk shows, but I'd watch those interviews. It can be kept a secret, Richard Bachman published five books in eight years, nobody knew who he was or ever saw him, and never would have known, if his work were not so similar to that of Stephen King! – Amadeus Feb 14 '18 at 10:57
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    @Mawg I am not a lawyer, but from my understanding, the fact that it is not a legally enforceable contract could also work to the detriment of the author, i.e. the publisher may not be bound by the terms of the agreement either. Every profession has some population of ruthlessly exploitive sharks in it, as recent news in the USA can attest on the sexual front, but it applies to every front in the perpetual war of the powerful on the powerless. My advice is to keep the OP from thinking they are protected when they are not at all protected and may be giving away years of work. – Amadeus Feb 14 '18 at 13:13
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    S.E. Hinton started The Outsiders at 15 and ended up publishing it at 18. It is not an impossible goal. – Joe McMahon Feb 14 '18 at 21:07
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    @JoeMcMahon We have 12 yo child prodigies in music (not just playing it, composing symphonies), chess, mathematics, memory skills and all sorts of physical skills. Why not storytelling? I am not a prodigy, but in my family of six children, my father taught us the alphabet at the age of 2, reading by 3. I read children's novels in the 1st grade and about a dozen adult detective novels in the 3rd. Had I an innate prodigal ability to absorb lessons from stories on plotting, characterization, fictional rules of romance, etc, (or from books on writing), why not have a good novel by the 7th grade? – Amadeus Feb 14 '18 at 21:42
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If you write a serious book, people will take it seriously. If you write a book that people take seriously at age 13, people will consider you a phenom.

But it almost never happens, and the reason is that a book is a highly complex piece of art that depends both on an in-depth grasp of storytelling and the conventions of the novel and on a keen eye for the experiences of human life that make for interesting reading. These things take a lot of reading and a lot of highly observed living to accumulate and it is difficult to do enough of both by the age of 13 to produce a book that people will take seriously.

This says nothing about your talent, anymore than saying that a 13 year old cyclist is not ready to enter the Tour du France says anything about their talent, determination, or future potential. It simply takes more time to develop body and mind to perform at that level.

Not that this should stop you from trying. Maybe you are a phenom, and you only get better by trying. But having realistic expectations can help you measure your success and your prospects more realistically, which can help you avoid burnout and disappointment as you develop.

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    I'm sorry, but I don't see how this answers the question. It's good to bring up these points and I'm behind what you say... but aren't they better suited as a comment? – Thomas Myron Feb 13 '18 at 21:53
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    @ThomasMyron The first sentence answers the question. There isn't really anything more to say. People take serious work seriously. I throw in some advice to temper expectations. Amadeus throws in advice on seeking agents. These are both just decorations on the basic answer which is, write a serious book. – user16226 Feb 13 '18 at 22:04
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Your readers won't care about your age

Sometimes an author will write a little autobiographic blurb that is printed at the end of the book. If you do this and you mention your age in there your readers might realize how old you were when you wrote your book. At least those readers that care about the author biography.

Your readers will care about the quality of the book.

A publisher might want to promote a book a book that was written by a teenager to get the people who take that into consideration to buy the book. If you don't like that you should look into .

You might also want to use a when publishing your book to make it harder to find out who you are and thereby how old you were when you published the book.

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Proof-read and ask for constructive criticism. Your age won't matter to the readers, the content does however the content is still subjective to the experience (or lack thereof) associated with one's age. You should ensure your story contains sufficient amount of details to be compelling while not wandering over to the land of toxic complexity and length. You will need to understand how hierarchical relationships work.

  1. You should be able to summarize the primary story line in a single sentence.
  2. You should be able to provide a brief list of challenges that constitute the drama (challenges) that stand in the way of the primary goal.
  3. Most tertiary challenges should fade-in and fade-out cleanly.
  4. The few tertiary challenges that do not get resolved cleanly should grant great distinction that makes one or more characters memorable.

In example lets say you have a group of people...

  1. The primary goal is traveling to a destination.
  2. The secondary challenges may be about finding the money they earn along the way to sustain their travels.
  3. The tertiary challenges would involve the odd-jobs they work.
  4. A non-clean tertiary challenge may be a character standing their ground and having an increasing self-awareness that they should require greater compensation for new jobs compared to the past where the "dirty" transition includes the success in the combination of the realization and effort though the failure to word the intentions properly.

Readers should have a clean distinction of the weight of what is being said so that they are able to comprehend the hierarchical relationships of these ideas.

Avoid...

  1. Never blow a large portion the production costs on some huge battle in the beginning unless you're establishing a very capable character.
  2. Never kill the details in horrible context. I read a book where two regular guards where talking about stuff people in such a position would never know and it turned me off immediately.
  3. Never write about a character and their intentions unless you know how to empathize with someone in a similar situation.
  4. Do not go 100%/0% or 50%/50% on good-versus-evil in any given character. If there is a primary antagonist then they should still have some redeeming characteristics that the audience holds on to in hope that they may find redemption and no leading hero types are without their flaws.
  5. Fictional qualities if used should always have both benefits and drawbacks and if written well characters can master such qualities to improve the benefit-to-drawback ratio. Such would be considered a minor parallel or sub-story and if the character is relatable enough may redeem your story to someone if the main character(s) does not as much or if at all.
  6. Unless your story intentionally and directly addresses something political don't mire your story with such politics, you will quickly alienate your audience. You should work hard to ensure that you also do not passively alienate people this way by ensuring that in real life you ask yourself, "Is there something I am unconsciously losing that someone else is benefiting from?" Often people will unconsciously use propaganda terms such as "human race" which in example is a racist form of globalism and thus it's use would alienate educated readers.

If you become successful you will develop the ability to determine what criticism is constructive and useful and what criticism to disregard (and for that to what extent).

Most importantly: proofread! Ensure that what you have written makes sense to you! Often you may find yourself typing quickly and besides punctuation and spelling you may find that the way you stated something may potentially be either confusing or too subjective to misinterpretation.

Good luck!

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Get a relative to act the part of author. I'm open minded, but if I was reading a book that I knew a 13 year old wrote, any suggested philosophical concept would furrow my brow with suspicion.

"Was that underlying theme intentional?"

If I thought the book was written by an experienced author, then yes, I should be vigilant to see if it crops up again. Else I just don't buy that the themes I might pick up are intentional. And that makes a difference to me.

You could be the phenom of our age and your book could be the next Eragon, but if you want your book to be "An Amazing Read" and not "An Amazing Read from a 13 Year Old Prodigy" then you're simply going to have to withhold that info.

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The age does matter. It matters so much that even the author has to worry about it before their audience. This is not the time where discrimination is proudly accepted. This is the time where everyone acknowledges their implicit discrimination, and try their best to minimize this as much as possible. So yes, if you have to worry about your age, then it's a good sign that your book does not meet your expectations. Try harder. When you start feeling exhausted for the effort you spend, and when your every single expectation is fulfilled, then you will be 100% confident that your audience will like the book, no matter how young you are.

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