Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Is there an age limit for publishing

  • Anthony, how old must you be to publish a book? Can someone of 13 be accepted? My daughter seems to be quite talented and I'm thinking of sending her work off. The hype with Twilight has really sparked her.

Well Anna, it's great to hear that your daughter is showing interest and ability. She certainly needs encouraging. However please be aware that you shouldn't give her false hopes. In a few years she might be ready, but in my view you might put her off forever if you push her into something she isn't ready for. If she's rejected (which she almost certainly will be), it might destroy her enthusiasm.

There isn't a stipulated age limit to publish a book; it’s just that until a writer reaches maturity, its doubtful if the manuscript will be up to publishing standards.

I’m sorry to be a wet blanket, but it’s unlikely that someone at the age of 13 would have sufficient facility, vocabulary or understanding of life to produce a viable book. They would be incapable of crafting a professional standard of work. No creditable publishing house would be interested.

At that age, the writer would probably be reiterating work they have read elsewhere. They have no life experience to draw upon. Writers who put part of themselves into the work are the ones who write successful books. A youngster cannot do this - they simply haven't the background.

Even fantasy books like the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, tap the author’s experiences, transferring emotions and feelings they’ve experienced in life, to the fantasy world. Very few adult writers are able to compete in the harsh world of book publishing, never mind children.

There are some good, mature, writers out there, with plenty of experience, yet still don't manage to publish their books. I'm afraid it's a very aggressive business - certainly not for the nervous.

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