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Thread: Ask Jennifer Laughran! Tireless agent-in-residence!

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  1. #11
    knows what she's looking for when she finds it! Absolute Sage
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    New York
    Quote Originally Posted by youngwriter369 View Post
    Do you have any advice for young writers? I don't have any pervious writing credits because of my age. I am a young teenager. I did a little experiment and posted my first chapter online for 6 days now and received numerous comment of people liking it and over 200 views. is there a way i can put that info in my query and get agent's attention? It is posted here:
    Oh, I have advice for young writers. KEEP READING, KEEP WRITING, HAVE FUN and don't worry about being published yet.

    I love you crazy kids. Seriously. I think the teenagers I know are funny and smart and terrific readers, and I totally enjoy hanging out with you. In my life as an agent, though, I do get a lot of queries from teenagers, and I have to say that as much as I like you, I personally don't want teen clients.


    1) Mostly, you aren't that good at writing. Oh, for real. Look, even if you are a freakin' GENIUS, you are going to get better. Right? Think how much better you are now than you were five years ago. Now, what do you think will happen five years from now? YOU'LL GET EVEN BETTER. And I promise, you will cringe if you re-read the stuff from today. (ETA: and don't forget, if it is published, that may well be how people judge your writing for the *rest of your life* !)

    2) Writing professionally is a big pain. You know how you have a lot of homework? Well, quadruple it. Learning to write books on time, learning to revise books, learning how to work with editors and agents and accountants and publicists and whatever? It is way harder than high school. Go have some fun instead - then you'll have even more to write about.

    3) Publishers are kinda evil. Well, maybe not evil, but they are big corporations that usually put their love of making bank way above your feelings and interests. IF one of them wants to publish you, chances are very good that the appeal for them lies in the novelty of your age. ("We have a 13-year old author!" "Oh really? Ours is 9!") So what happens when you a) can't fulfill your contract properly? b) get older and less "interesting", or c) you decide you want to move on, or change your writing style (or it just happens naturally, as it will.) Do you think that the publisher will be nurturing and kind about it? I personally feel that publishers who publish kids are very often exploiting them, and I don't want to be a part of it.

    I know this is not something you want to hear. I know you are desperate to be published. Hell, I know you've either not read this far, or you are shaking your head at how stupid I am and how if I just gave YOU a chance, I'd feel differently, and how unfair it is that I can sit here and judge you. I KNOW. Sorry.

    Lots of agents probably feel differently. So, try them if you really want to. But if you decide that a few years really isn't that long to wait, I invite you to spend this time reading and writing and living and absorbing the world, and yeah, "perfecting your craft" - and then let's talk again.
    Last edited by Jennifer_Laughran; 12-09-2008 at 04:13 AM.
    The opinions expressed here are strictly my own and are not those of my employer, or possibly anyone else. Salt to taste.
    ask the agent:
    twitter: @literaticat

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