Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Is my age a problem?

"I am a fourteen year-old author currently working on a YA novel. Pretty soon, I will start looking for a literary agent. Having no previous experience and being so young, would this make literary agents cautious? Or does age not matter as long as the book is well written?
Also, I was wondering if it matters how well known the agent and his/her publishings are. If the agent's books are not "popular", does that mean I should find someone else?
Thank you."

If an agent's books are not "popular" that does not necessarily mean that he is not a good agent. Some agents may be starting out and have placed dozens of works which are not yet published. Remember, it can years from the time an agent makes a deal until the book is released. That is just one factor to consider. You must really consider a host of factors when deciding. I outline them all in depth in my ebook HOW TO LAND A LITERARY AGENT, which I give away for free. Download it.

Your age should not matter, whether you are young or old. Writing should be considered on its own merit.

That said, it is possible that there may be some agents who are biased. Just don't mention your age in the query letter. It's really none of their business anyway.

On the flip side, it is possible that your age may impress some agents, might be an angle to help them sell your work. But that is less likely, so better to err on the side of caution and not to mention it at all.

You remind me of myself: I finished my first novel at 15, and sent out query letters to dozens of agents. They all rejected it. The same held true for my second, third and fourth novels, over many years. Even my first book on the craft of writing, THE FIRST FIVE PAGES, was rejected by 30 publishers before S&S bought it. You need to really be tough and to hang in there, and to dig in for a multi-year effort. This is a business of rejection. Those who succeed are those who are willing to ignore it long enough and to fight through it.


  1. Thank you for replying! You really helped!

  2. Mr. Lukeman,
    I would like to know what it means to have a three-figure, six-figure, seven-figure, etc. deal?
    Thank you.

  3. Hi Mr Lukeman,

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to ask a question at all.

    I'm working on a YA Urban Fantasy that is set in Sydney, Australia. I'm wondering if this would be a problem when it came to seeking representation and (hopefully, one day!) selling it. I'd always intended to seek representation by an American agent, and I wonder if I'm pigeon-holing myself before I begin. The story I'm telling isn't particularly Australian, but Sydney happens to be the setting.

    Thanks so much for your time.
    Sarah :)

  4. I appreciate your post, I have book marked this internet site so ideally I’ll see much more on this subject in the foreseeable future!

    Ray Grimm

  5. Dear Mr. Lukeman,
    I am an underage author, I'm 12 years old. I'm writing a book called The Blessed and I am not yet finished, but I would like to start studying up how to get an agent--any words of advice? I just really need to know if my age will be an asset or a turnoff to literary agents and any you would suggest...?

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Yes, it might be a concern. But I think age must not be bar for writing book or Novel, it should be the writing. exhibition design


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