Writing Books/publishing


I am currently working on a fantasy book, and it may be completed sometime in the near future. What I want to know is if a publisher would be willing to take a high school student seriously. If it just isn't good enough, I can live with that, and make it better. But I don't want to be laughed at because I'm still a teen. Do you think I should wait a few years before trying to get anything published, or should I just go for it?  

No, you won't get laughed at just because you're a teen.  Far from it, in fact.  If you're able to produce something that a publisher feels they can sell, the fact that you're a teen will actually be something they like.  It makes you outside the norm, and that's something that'll sell books.

But I caution you about just "going for it."  The fact is, the overwhelming majority of teen writers are NOT really capable of producing something worthy of being published.  Good storytelling and good writing skills are things that rarely come naturally, even for the most gifted among us.  When I was 19 and working on my first novel, I thought it was pretty darn good, and so did a lot of others.  But today, I look at it and see how awful it really was.  I had some good bits, some good ideas... but the execution of those ideas was lame, and the good bits were few and far between.

So what I'd recommend for you is to make sure you've really studied the craft.  Sure, continue working on the book, but while you're doing that, learn more about writing.  Pick up some of the excellent books on the subject of fiction writing.  (Any major bookstore will stock several.)  Maybe take a class or three on fiction writing outside of your school classroom.  (High school writing courses don't even remotely prepare you for writing novels.  Nor, for that matter, do most of the undergraduate level college courses.)

If I had done that when I was a teen, I wouldn't have wasted a lot of time shopping around a book that simply wasn't good enough... collecting form rejection letters or postcards that didn't tell me anything about what was wrong with the sample chapters I'd sent.  I'd have been able to see for myself what the problems were.

Anyway, that's what I'd recommend.  Hope you understand where I'm coming from.

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Vincent M. Wales


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.


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

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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