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Monday, July 30, 2012

Questions from Another Time: Publishing

I started going through all my threads that I started on AW since I joined all the way back in 2008. I was fresh off the finish of my very first novel ever and convinced that I was going to take the publishing world by storm with my fifteen-year-old self and my 100k YA fantasy.

In the four years since then, I've learned a lot. The questions that I asked back then make me hang my head and want to smack my younger self. I thought it might be fun to take a look at my questions -- commonly asked by many other new writers -- and answer them.

Last Monday I answered the writing-related questions, so today I'm going to do the publishing ones.

Should teenagers put their age in the query? How can minors publish a book? Can minors hire agents?
No. Teenagers should let their work speak for itself without the effect of their age, positive or negative. If the agent shows interest in representation, that's when it's time for age to come into play. Minors' contracts have to be co-signed by a guardian or they're void. Otherwise, age shouldn't really matter. Teenagers can be published, just like anyone else and the process is the same for them as it is for any adult.

How do you publish a book? 
With the rise of self-publishing, there are many ways to edit and publish a book. One way is to get an agent who then shops the book to publishers in the hope that they will love it enough to buy it.

Do agents cost money? 
A reputable agent works on commission which they earn when they sell your book. Agents that charge reading or editing fees are best avoided.

How do you find a good agent? 
Do your research. Read the acknowledgements of published books that you love to see if the agent is listed. Look on Agentquery or Querytracker and then read agency websites and blogs. If you're unsure about an agent, check Preditors and Editors or just Google them and see what comes up.

How do you send a book to a possible publisher? 
Many large publishers will only accept submissions from agented authors. Smaller publishers will accept submissions straight from authors. If you want to go that route, do your research ahead of time. Check out any possible publisher thoroughly before you submit. Use multiple sources and never just the publisher's website. You might see hundreds of glowing recommendations on a publisher's website, but there might be many, many more people that are unhappy.

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