Alright, this is going to be a quick post – I’m basically just going to be covering the main question I had when I first started querying agents and publishers as a teenager – does my age matter?
When I started querying for my first novel I was thirteen. So that makes it roughly four years total that I’ve been doing this. And I’ve made basically every mistake possible. Like, all of them, aside from the horror stories you hear of writers stalking agents and sending hate mail. That would just be rude.
Don’t mention your age – it doesn’t matter.
And one mistake I made, was telling them my age. “Hi, I’m Pauline and I’m 13 and I wrote a book – here, look at it.” It wasn’t pretty. I cringe at the sight of my past query letters. And telling them my age didn’t really help. I’d get responses that were somewhat patronizing, telling me to keep going, but that they were passing. Or, I’d get requests for partials, but knew deep down they were only doing it because I was 13 and they wanted to give me a chance. It took me awhile to realize that whether I got published or not, I wanted it to be about my book and not about how old I was. And then I stopped putting my age in the query letters. I simply told them I was an aspiring writer having written X amount of books etc. I saved my age for later – after they’d offered publication, or if they asked beforehand.
Sometimes, I’d get a response asking a few questions, such as my occupation. Then, I’d tell them I was a teenager and basically just a student. I used to worry that if I waited until after they’d offered publication to tell them my age, that I was being dishonest in some way, but that’s really not the case. The publisher doesn’t care how old you are. They care about how good your book is. And that’s it. Thankfully.
So if you’re a teen writer who’s querying agents or publishers, don’t sweat it. The worst that can happen is you make a few mistakes and by the time you’re an adult, you know everything to avoid and how to snag an agent/publisher. That’s basically what happened to me.
By the way, don’t ever send a multiple book query letter. Or address your letter, ‘To Whom it May Concern’. Or query multiple agents in the same house. The list goes on, but those are some of my biggest fails.
Anyway, hope this helps and have a great day!