Thursday, September 21, 2023

Dear O'Abby: Do I need to mention my age when I query?

 Dear O'Abby,

I've written my first book and I'm  excited to start querying it to agents and publishers.  I've done a bunch of research online, and I feel pretty well prepared, but the one thing I can't find out is if I need to disclose my age in a query.  I'm 14, and I feel like that's something unique about me that I should share in my query - I mean, how many 14-year-olds write novels?

So, is this something I should share?  Or should I wait until further down the track to let that little tidbit out of the bag?



Dear Younger,

Firstly, let me congratulate you on finishing a book!  That's quite an achievement at any age.

From my point of view, I'd keep your age out of it at this early stage.  When you're querying, all the agent is really looking at is the quality of your work and whether you've written something compelling that they can sell.  I feel like mentioning your age at this point could skew the way they read your work and potentially bias them one way or another before they even start.

Obviously you will need to disclose your age eventually - at 14 you're not old enough to sign a legally binding contract, so will need a parent or guardian to do this for you - but I'd leave it until you've got something concrete on the table in terms of an offer or "the call".

That's the point where your age could be advantageous as it offers the agent a different marketing angle.  I mean, you're not the only young writer out there, but there aren't so many teenage authors that it's not a talking point.  So use it!

Hope that helps!

And good luck with the querying.  It can be hard, but don't get discouraged or let rejections destroy your love of writing and storytelling.  You have plenty of time to be published.

X O'Abby

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