Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Age Debate

One topic that I see semi-frequently around the blogging world, particularly on teen writers’ blogs, is the topic of age, and if being under 20 can be a disadvantage in the publishing world. As a teen writer myself, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the issue.

While most people argue that age doesn’t matter in the publishing world, I, for one, do believe that teen writers can be disadvantaged in the publishing world.

(Now, now. Put down your pitchforks… I mean it. Thank you.)

Sure, teens can be as good as, if not better than, adult writers. However, I think that a teen writer’s age can have a negative impact while trying to find an agent. I think that some agents could be judgmental against an author’s age, and perhaps not take the teen so seriously. Others might be reluctant to work with a teenager over fear the teen won’t act professionally.

I’m not saying that it’s impossible for teenagers to get published. I know of many published teens, and I congratulate them. It’s an amazing achievement. But I think age still would have overcome them.

What should ready-to-be-published teenagers do? I think it’s best to leave age out initial queries. There’s no need to tell everyone just how young you are. Once an agent offers to represent you, then go ahead and tell them. They already think you have potential, and would be expecting to work with you.

That’s my thoughts on age and publishing. What are your thoughts on the issue? If you’re a published teenager, what were your experiences? Share them in the comments.


  1. I think age should be left out of the query. People make assumptions all the time. Someone might think "this person does not have enough life experiences to write a novel," while someone else might think "I'd love to sell this person's work and pitch his/her age while I'm at it." Meanwhile, the quality of the work might be overlooked. The manuscript should be the first thing to stand out, not the stats of the author.

  2. Medeia: Thanks for your comment! You're exactly right: manuscript should be the first thing to stand out. The author can come later. Thanks for visiting. :)