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Friday, September 25, 2015

Writer’s Sweet 16 Is Imperfect



Millions of books are written each year.  The majority of them don’t get published.  Of those that see the light of day, they may have been written by presumably older, wiser, more experienced people.  But what happens when it’s a 16-year-old who pens and publishes a book?

My newest client at the public relations firm that I work for is all of 16, an intelligent young woman who seems to be driven and focused.  It’s impressive to see her go about expressing her creative talents.  Who better to write YA than someone who is YA?

Claire Fraise’s book, Imperfect, resembles the strong–heroine-battles-the-dark-dystopian-state model fostered by The Hunger Games and Divergent, but differs enough to carve out its own voice in a suddenly crowded genre.

Her strength and weakness is her age.  The selling appeal of her age gets people curious.  The book holds well under scrutiny.  But there’s not a lot to say about her past, as it is developing as we speak.  Whereas my typical author-client has 10, 20, or 50 years of experience as a writer or in a given profession, my client has just two years of high school home-schooling under her belt.  It’s refreshing to work with a clean canvass, but I’m so used to trying to shape a career that already is hardened clay.

What advice should I part to a minor about the world of book publishing?  Maybe she has advice for me, as she is seeing the industry as it is today with fresh eyes.  I’m clouded by observing 26 years of changes for writers, publishers, literary agents, and booksellers.

Should a 16-year-old publish a book, or wait until she receives further training, life experience, and a better understanding about the world?  Or does time just jade youth?  Maybe she needs to rescue her innocent voice now, before the adults try to teach her something.

By the time I was 17 and entering college, I began to write a book.  Now, 31 years later, I have 2,000 typed pages.  It’s non-fiction.  In some ways, I’m glad I’ve waited, because life has informed and shaped me and my writings deserve the benefit from such experiences.  On the other hand, I wish I had the courage and conviction to just put it out there and to then see how my book would shape others.  I applaud Claire for what she’s done this far. 

I’m sure her parents are proud of her.  With writing, it doesn’t matter how you begin, but where you end.  This is true with a book or a career.  As promising as it is to see her start at 16, there are people many decades older than her who first put a book out.

There’s no ideal age to be a writer.  Some may say that the youth lack perspective but the older population lacks optimism.  Some believe the 45-50 year old is in the right spot – old enough to know better but young enough not to be jaded.  Who knows?

Claire has a bright future ahead of her no matter what she does.  Is she the Doogie Houser of writers?  Her fans will determine that. 

But if you want to witness a young, budding author and go along for an entertaining thrill ride, take a look at Imperfect.  As the title suggest, writing at any age is imperfect – or perfect, depending on your vantage point.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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