Dear Ms. Reid,
I am twelve, soon to be thirteen years old.
I have written a middle-grade fantasy and am thinking of querying. I don't expect many results, especially given the minimal results of my previous novel. But I still want to query, as I'm serious about writing and want to start a career.
I've read your blog and QueryShark for about a year now. But I find myself unable to use your tips for success. I can't create a website. I can't sign paperwork. I can't change my email address to be more professional, since I share the account with my little brother.
Most importantly, I'm not sure whether to mention my age in querying. It's unlikely agents will take me seriously, but it'll have to come out at some point. Will a prospective agent be mad when they find out they've signed on to babysit a kid through the world of publishing? Even if they initially say yes, is it possible they'll say no when they find out? Should I just put this whole writing thing on a back burner and wait until I'm older?
Dear Writer Dude,
First, I'm glad you're writing novels. Judging by what you wrote to me, it looks like you know how to sling sentences pretty darn well.
My client Jeff Somers wrote his first novel when he was a bit younger than you are now. He started querying when he was about your age. He didn't tell anyone he was "just a kid."
And people took him seriously.
They actually bought books from him too.
Some of this is covered in his book Writing Without Rules, but please, don't buy it unless your parents give the ok. They may not want you to pursue the writing life. It leads to dancing. (An obscure riff on an old joke.)
Here's my advice: query without mentioning your age. Let your work speak for iteself. If an agent is interested, we'll figure out how to persuade your parents that you're not running off to join the circus by signing a publishing contract.
Lots of writers started early. And while it generally took a couple years, they found success too.
I hope you'll be one of them.
Let me know how it goes, ok?