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Question
I am fifteen years old. I believe that I have written a great story. I want to publish it, but where do I start? How can I get people to edit/publish my book?

Answer
Jessi:

Generally, the process goes like this:

1) Finish the book, making sure it's as good as you can make it.
2) Have it edited by someone who knows what they're doing.
3) Obtain a guide to literary agents, then go through the listings, choosing agents who would most likely represent you.  (Yes, this is very involved!)
4) Submit your query letter to the agent, along with any sample chapters he/she may want (according to their listings in the guides).
5) Wait.
6) Wait some more.
7a) Read your prospective agent's rejection letter, then send the package out to the next agent on your list...
OR
7b) Be pleasantly surprised that the agent wants to read the rest of the manuscript.
8) Send the rest of the manuscript.
9) Wait.
10) Wait some more.
11a) See 7a.
OR
11b) Be pleasantly surprised that the agent wants to represent you.
12) Begin correspondence with agent, getting to know him/her, and ultimately decide whether you want to sign their contract.
13a) Reject agent, begin search again.
OR
13b) Sign the contract and throw a party.
14) Wait... while agent shops your book around to prospective publishers.

And so on.

As you can see, it's a long process.  At your current stage, I'm guessing #2 is your best bet.  Turn your manuscript over to someone with experience in editing fiction, so that they can give you an honest appraisal of how good/bad it is, and offer suggestions on changes.  (Nobody writes it "right" the first time.  Nobody.)

One cool thing, Jessi, is that young authors are becoming more and more appreciated in this day and age.  So you've got that going for you!

Hope that's helpful.  Good luck!

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Vincent M. Wales

Expertise

I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.

Experience

For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

Education/Credentials
BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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