I am a writer and have been writing for a long time.
I am working on a story about shapeshifters and it contains black humor in it. I really want to publish it and get an agent, but I am not sure.
The story which I am writing is written in playwright form and I'm not sure if this is something other people will want to read since it is not written in traditional novel form. The story also contains artwork by me and art for books can be expensive.
I understand that Harry Potter got rejected 12 times and S.E. Hinton published the Outsiders at the age of 17, but I still feel discouraged because of my age and because of how the story is written. I am also questioning whether I can afford to get it published.
How can I do this?
Thank you very much.
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It is true that some authors publish their first book very young (another example would be Christopher Paolini, who was 15 when he published the fantasy novel Eragon, which was turned into a movie, and he has continued to publish since then). On the other end of the spectrum, you have people like Laura Ingalls Wilder, who published Little House in the Big Woods when she was 65 (followed by her better-known Little House on the Prairie); Bram Stoker was 50 when he published Dracula; Anna Sewell published Black Beauty when she was 57 (and died the next year).
Age doesn't matter, so get that out of your head right now. What matters? Talent. Whether you are 15 or 101, if you have talent and write a wonderful book, you will find an audience.
As for the format of the book (play vs. typical prose style), that could work for you or not. J. K. Rowling did a collaboration with two other authors to create Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is written as a play. Some authors such as Ernest Hemingway and Elmore Leonard wrote novels in a style similar to plays in that they are short on descriptive passages and heavy on dialogue (heck, Leonard's books are all dialogue), and they work. It doesn't matter the style you choose so long as it is done well.
How do you get published? The same way a pianist finds the way to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. If you are sincere about getting published, you can't quit, even if you are faced with repeated rejections. And do not take rejection personally. Famous authors from Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind) to Stephen King (Carrie) faced repeated failures before getting their feet in the door.
A column such as "Ask Papabear" is not the place to get full lessons on how to succeed as a writer (by the way, I am the author of 13 published books, though I am far from rich and famous LOL), but I can give you a quick summary of what to do:
Publisher vs. Self-Publishing. These days, more and more people are self-publishing--many with considerable success. The negative is that you have to pay all the costs yourself; the positive is that you get to keep any and all profits (publishers take the lion's share of any profits). A self-published author can hold down costs considerably by simply opting for ebook formats only, but the trick here is getting people to find and buy your book. That goes into the whole area of marketing yourself, which is time-consuming in the extreme, but it can be done. That is simply an option that is up to you and how much time and effort you're willing to spend on the project.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
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