young authors' representation?
by alice noel
(Bloomington, Indiana, United States)
I am 15 and have written a series that I hope to be published. I also have a friend that is 15 and wants to be published. Should a writer under the age of 18 seek help from a literary agent when trying to get published for the first time?
Most agents are unlikely to be interested in representing a minor, as being underage will require the participation of a parent or guardian, and the entire relationship is then complicated by having to deal with a third party. Your work would have to be exceptional for an agent to even consider taking you on.
Many adults have difficulty understanding and mastering the subtleties of fiction, so an agent would be understandably skeptical about your ability to succeed where most adults fail.
At fifteen, unless you have been taking creative writing classes for several years, it is unlikely that you have had the time to develop your craft or hone your abilities enough to interest an agent.
If you are the exception, and you have already studied and mastered the craft at such an early age, your work will speak for itself.
Have you had it assessed by a professional? If not, I recommend that you do. I offer a $35 Quick Assessment
meant to inexpensively assess your work and alert you to what an agent or editor will see.
Given your age and the hurdles you will need to overcome to prove yourself, you might do better to first publish in respected magazines and journals, where the work is vetted and judged by professional authors or editors.
If you approach an agent with a portfolio of work published in respected sources, he or she is more likely to pay attention.
In the end, however, everything comes down to the work. If the work is strong enough and has exceptional market potential, you might attract representation at any age, but the odds are steeply against it.