For the last few years, I have struggled with the idea that my ship has sailed, metaphorically speaking. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to write books. I’ve written enough stories that I have my own little shelf with first draft mockups and I’ve got a grand list of other ideas. I never stop writing, not completely. And yet, only two of my manuscripts have made it to Draft Two. I’ve been out of high school for ten years and I’m getting a bit fuzzy on what I remember from my Creative Writing classes at the undergraduate level. The publishing world has changed – drastically.
Simply put… am I getting too old to publish a novel?
This is a question that troubles me all the time.
When I was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed senior, I thought I had the world at my feet. I was working My Novel, a story about a group of runaway mages tasked with saving their land from the powers of the Seven Deadly Sins without getting killed by paranoid monarchs or villagers (The Sin Series, still working on it). My father used to tell me that the fiction market was dying, that there was no hope to publish a book. I didn’t believe him. I dutifully read Rachelle Gardner and Nathan Bransford’s blogs, eager to pick up tips on The Biz. It was just a matter of time, I told myself. I’d wait until it was perfect, then I’d get an agent.
Ten years later, that manuscript still isn’t perfect. After revising it to Draft Two, I wrote Strange. I did revise that to Draft Two as well, but then there was The Secret of Treacher’s Creek and Sprite and Sparky Jones and the list goes on and on until I reached where I am today – eight completed first drafts, two completed second drafts, six running WIPs and fifteen ideas. All of them going nowhere.
Ack. I didn’t realise there was quite so many until I wrote them out just there. Oy.
Having all these ideas is great, but I’m really worried that if I start the ball rolling and really focus on turning these Word Docs into proper novels now, I’m already too late.
When I was in high school, even college, it was unheard of for someone my age to publish a book. There was Christopher Paolini, but Eragon was a fluke (so said the internet) since his family was already involved in publishing. I didn’t take it seriously enough back then, figuring I had time. These days, authors are finding agents while they’re still in high school. And now, at 28, I’m no longer a young adult. I’m ten years older than the characters I’m writing, at least. How can they possible be relatable? How can I be a good risk for an agent?
Someone must have this list handy… is there a list? Is there any hope for a writer nearly 30 these days?