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Archive for January, 2010

Can a Young Writer Get Published?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

The answer is, of course, yes.  Many young writers have been published, including Christopher Paolini, who started writing Eragon at age 14 (he published at 19).

Some publishers prefer not to deal with younger writers because of the additional work at the contract stage–writers under 18 cannot sign their own contracts.  There is additional work to work out the how the rights to the work are assigned, and how the payments will be handled (typically to a trust until the writer turns 18).

However, there’s a good marketing angle for a young writer:  if a publisher prints a manuscript written by a young writer, people pay attention.  People are attracted to what’s new, and a new book by a new author still in school gets attention.

Also, you’re not required to (and I recommend you do not) reveal your age until a publisher accepts your manuscript and you move into the contract stage.  There are legal considerations that must be made when the author is too young to legally sign the contract.

As with all authors, as a young writer, you want to consider hiring an agent to help you through the publishing process. They can help you understand all of the legal mumbo-jumbo associated with the publishing process, for a percentage of any money you earn (usually 10-20%). Agents will also know who is more likely to accept a submission from a young writer.

As an aside: Don’t ever pay an agent up front. All legitimate agents work on a 10-20% commission–they only get paid when your novel sells.  Their job is to sell your novel, so they should only get paid when that’s successful.

Make sure that you have your parents involved as well–as a young writer, people will be looking to take advantage of your inexperience. (By the way, inexperience isn’t bad. Everyone is new at first.) Your parents (and an agent) can help you avoid many of the pitfalls that plague new writers.

Before you submit your manuscript to either an agent or a publisher, you’ll want to make sure it’s really ready to publish.  This means that your work needs to be edited for inconsistencies, errors in grammar or punctuation, and overall style.

Don’t trust just yourself to find all inconsistencies and grammar/punctuation errors.  Use friends, family, or (if your parents are willing to spend some money), use an editing service.  I often recommend that aspiring authors take advantage of at least a sample edit in order to determine how close  their work is to being ready.

Check back next week for details on the overall process of sending work in to publishers.

Best of luck as you continue your work.  Write on!

New Writing Goals for a New Year

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Welcome to 2010!

As we enter the new year, I wanted to take a moment to discuss how WritAnon did in 2009, and list some new goals for next year.

Since WritAnon was launched in June, we were visited by people from all 6 inhabited continents, 73 countries, and 49 states within the US.

The missing state?  Wyoming.

That leads to Goal #1: get someone from Wyoming to visit WritAnon!

Since that seems like perhaps a bit of a low hurdle, here are a few more goals for the site, followed by a couple of personal goals.

Goal #2:  The forum will have 300 members by January 1st, 2011.

We had over 80 writers join the community since WritAnon was launched in June.  I was certainly pleased to see so many talented folks join me on the path to writing more and writing more often.

Over the next year, we’ll continue to grow and develop, both as writers and as a community.  I’ll be stepping up my efforts to recruit new members, and appreciate any help that others can give.  Please keep Referring A Friend!

Goal #3:  Continue to update the blog at least weekly.

Since WritAnon was launched, the blog has been updated at least once (and often two or three times) each week.  I want to continue this each week.

I have a few planned features I’d like to attempt throughout the year, so I will be testing some of these to check on responses from readers.  The most successful features will become regular additions to the blog.

Goal #4:  Continue to expand WritAnon’s editing service

I’ve read a lot of good stories through the editing service, and hope to continue to assist people on their journey to getting published.  Expanding the editing service will allow us to continue providing the forums for free, and potentially expand into other areas throughout the year.

We’re currently exploring options for partnering with other businesses to provide editing services for both aspiring and established authors.  We’ll continue to give updates on this as time goes on.

My personal writing goals:

The first half of this year will be taken up by completing a Master’s degree, but I plan to take the second half of the year to finish a novel (almost a decade in the making).  I’m pretty excited about this, so I hope to send it off to publishers by the end of the year.

I also want to do a better job of responding to the weekly writing prompts.  I responded to 75% of the writing prompts myself this year, and want to improve this to 80% for 2010.

I’m looking forward to an exciting year.  Let’s make 2010 a year to remember!

What are your writing goals this year?  Post your response, then check back next year to tell us how you did!

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