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Question
Hi, how are you?  My names Eric and im currently in the air force and im 19 years old.  I've been writting a book since my 10th grade year off on.  I finnished it on microsoft word, and its 150 pages with 12" font.  It has 81,523 words.  I was wondering how I could get it published and how i would know exactly how many it would be in book format so i know if i need to add more or not.  So far everyone says they like it, so if you could help me out i would appreciate it.  Thank you.

Answer
Hey, Eric.  Nice to hear that you've jumped into the writing life.  (Don't forget your parachute.)

So an 80,000 word story, formatted for a 6" x 9" book, in a standard 12 point font, would probably run in the neighborhood of about 200 pages, give or take.  I'd really call that more of a "novella" than a novel, but then, my first book ran 300,000 words.  (I'm long-winded.)

How to get published...  Well, that's certainly easier said than done.  Entire books are published on the subject of how to get published, and it might be a good idea to pick one up.  

But in my opinion... and please don't be offended by this... I'd really caution you against shooting for publication of a book so soon in life.  Yes, sure, there are examples of young authors who've lucked out and had publication success.  But for every one of those, there are several thousand who do not.  The odds aren't in your favor, so you need to do everything in your power to improve them in whatever way you can.

The most important thing you can do at this stage of the game is learn as much as you can about writing.  Being a good writer is not just putting words down on paper and hoping someone likes them.  It's about becoming an artist, about hammering your rough tale into a work of great beauty.  

Lots of people assume that being a good writer is an innate talent, that writers are just born with the "gift" of prose.  Well, that's only true to a degree.  Writing is a skill, and like other skills, it can be learned.  Anyone who can write at all can become a good writer, with education and practice (lots and lots of practice).  Not everyone can be a great writer, but a good writer?  Sure.

So I would recommend that you learn the skills needed to help you become an expert at your craft.  There are dozens and dozens of excellent books out there that will lay out the most important aspects of fiction writing.  You can even take online classes (since I doubt the Air Force is teaching you much about plot & conflict, or character dialogue, etc.).  

In short, use this book you're working on as your training ground.  I started my first novel when I was just a bit younger than you.  I struggled with it for years before moving on to something else.  That first book will always be very special to me.  I cut my writing "teeth" on that book.  And maybe I'll return to it and actually do it "right" one of these days and get it out into the world.  But it was a learning experience, one I needed to go through before my work could reach the level of decency good enough to slap a price tag on and put it on a shelf in a store.

Too many young writers today want to jump straight to publication without learning the writing ropes.  That would be like flying solo without going through training, Eric.  The best you could hope for would be not to land in a flaming heap on the ground.  Few could expect a perfect flight.

Best of 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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