Status: Working like crazy on contracts, contracts, and more contracts, which are very time-consuming. It’s great to sell lots of projects. The downside (and it’s not really a downside as you can probably tell) is all the time that now needs to be invested into those contracts.
It has consumed my days as of late.
I still wanted to donate a few minutes to dedicate this blog to our young writers out there. When I use the term “young” here, I mean those writers under the age of 20. This is not to imply that if you are under the age of 50, I don’t consider you young. Trust me, I do.
As a side note (completely off-topic), I’d also like to suggest that in queries, you shouldn’t make assumptions regarding an agent’s age. It probably won’t reflect well on either of us. I got a good chuckle from a recent query where the writer had declared that she could still relate to my blog despite probably being twice my age.
I raised an eyebrow at that. Of course I have no idea the writer’s age as she didn’t state it, but it didn’t read like a lady just about to have her 80th birthday. There is just a difference in writing style from folks who received their education in the 1930s and 40s. There is an element of elegant formality that was missing in this query.
I could be completely wrong (certainly wouldn’t be the first time!). I am, however, quite flattered that she might assume I’m still in my twenties—and therefore making the author of that query more likely to be a baby boomer in her 50s or 60s.
But an agent’s age doesn’t really matter. Reputation and track record does.
But back to young writers.
Some advice I’d like to give.
Your age doesn’t really matter to me. Just your writing ability. If you’re under 18, no need to declare so in your query letter. It’s unprofessional for one. Two, it’s irrelevant. I won’t think you a prodigy or lend you an extra dose of sympathy or be more lenient and request a partial. It won’t do any of those things. I still want a well-written, professional query that shows me you’ve done your research about this business and you’re ready to be serious and be taken seriously.
That will impress me. And if later I discover you are 15, my jaw will hit the floor at how mature you are. That I didn’t guess that you were so young. I’ll be very impressed then.
Now, if I call to offer representation, then you need to tell me you are under the age of 18 because your parent or guardian will now have to be involved in any discussions since you are a minor.
Trust me, age does not come up in any other queries. Occasionally I will receive one where the author will highlight the other end of the age spectrum but my answer remains the same. I don’t need or care to know. It won’t make me any more or less interested in your query. A well-written query with an original story idea. That’s what excites me—and the author can be of any age.
I’ve never asked any of my clients their age before signing them. Not once.