Is it ever too early to start publishing your own books? We think not. We see talented, young authors use open-publishing platforms to publish every day.
Instead of waiting for a publishing house to take a chance on a 14-year-old’s novel, teens are publishing on their own (with their parents help). A recent New York Times article described the attitude of some of the youngest self-publishers, “The young authors themselves, raised in an era of blogging and equal-opportunity Twitter feeds, take the notion of self-publishing in stride.”
Parents fund their children’s work, and, sometimes, actually make their money back. Either way, parents view it as part of the learning and maturing process. A Pennsylvania superintendent, whose teenage daughter self-published a novel, said: “What do you do with something you’re proud of? You want people to see it.”
Some established authors are more skeptical of these young authors.
“What’s next?” asked the novelist Tom Robbins. “Kiddie architects, juvenile dentists, 11-year-old rocket scientists? Any parent who thinks that the crafting of engrossing, meaningful, publishable fiction requires less talent and experience than designing a house, extracting a wisdom tooth, or supervising a lunar probe is, frankly, delusional.”
While I won’t argue against the difficulty of writing fiction (I can testify to it), I would challenge Robbins assumptions about young writers. Several famous writers got their start while still in their teens.
Arguably the most prominent young author is S.E. Hinton, who wrote The Outsiders when she was only 15 years old. Another young author was Christopher Paolini, whose Inheritance Cycle has sold more than 33.5 million copies worldwide. Paolini wrote the first book of his series, Eragon, when he was also 15. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was only 18. Anne Frank wrote her tragic diary when she was only 13.
When did you first know you wanted to write? What was your inspiration? Which young authors do you most admire?