Writing Helpers

5 Publishing Tips for Young Writers

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Writing is one thing, but getting published is another thing altogether. First of all, don’t believe anyone who says you’re “too young” to become a published writer. There are publications out there that will publish the work of writers as young as age five! So when someone tells you you’re too young, just smile and say you’re sorry they feel that way and then get back to your writing! What are your options as a young writer to get published? This article will give you some good starting points.

1. Join a Writing Group or Club

There are all kinds of benefits to being part of a group of writers that interact with each other in an ongoing way, more than likely online. Besides having a group of people willing to read and give feedback on your writing, such a group can also serve as a motivator for making sure you keep moving your writing projects forward. You might have a date by which you need to submit some of your writing for the group to read and discuss. In these writing groups, publishing opportunities often come up as well as people find out about them and share them with the group.

If you want to start your own group or club, check out the Spilling Ink website to find out how to make it happen. If you want to join an existing group, some options include Young Writers Online, Young Writers Society, Go Teen Writers, and Figment (this last one is for ages 13 and older, and it’s run by HarperCollins Publishing, which means you could have a chance of getting your work in front of an editor). If you’re especially interested in magazines and becoming a magazine editor, then you should definitely check out ed2010.

2. Attend a Young Writers Workshop

You’d be surprised how many colleges, universities, and independent groups offer in-person writing workshops (for a fee, of course). If you’re really serious about writing, these can be totally worth it. Not only will you have a chance to hang out with other serious young writers, most workshops are taught by experienced, published writers, and you’ll probably find out some great opportunities for getting your work published as well. To find workshop options, just do a Google search on young writers workshops or workshops for young writers and you’ll find many!

3. Traditional Book Publishers

It is a very rare thing for a young writer to get picked up by a traditional book publishing company – a scene that’s very hard to break into even for adults! It involves a ton of research on which publishers might be open to your content, writing complicated book proposal letters, having a literary agent shop your work around, and on and on and on, with the final result probably being a stack of rejection letters. It’s just not worth the hassle! If you have any kind of inside connection with a publisher, it may be worth exploring, but otherwise I simply wouldn’t bother. There are plenty of other ways to publish your writing than trying to go the traditional book publisher route.

4. Self Publish

The good news is that self-publishing your work has never been easier if you’re working on a novel or a collection of poetry or short stories. There are all kinds of ways to make it happen, but the easiest and most popular places to go for this are platforms owned by Amazon. To publish your own hard-copy paperback book, you can use CreateSpace, and for publishing your own eBook, you can use Kindle Direct Publishing. Just keep in mind that if you’re a minor, you’ll need your parents to help set up an account since you’re not allowed to sign any kind of contract.

5. Enter Writing Contests

Writing contests are a fantastic way to motivate yourself to write more and put it out there for the world to see – and some contests will result in your work being published in a magazine or on a website. Remember how I said that going the traditional publishing route is such a hassle that it’s not worth it? Well, if you are able to win a few awards and contests with your writing, you’ll have a much greater chance of being taken seriously by agents and publishers, so keep that in mind.

One of the very best listings I’ve come across for places that young writers can get their work published is the NewPages Young Authors Guide. And it includes a month-by-month listing of deadlines for various publications as well as lots of writing contests. If you take the time to explore everything on that page, you’ll find more than enough opportunities for getting your work published.

You can spend a LOT of time looking at all these different publications and contests and figuring out which ones might work for you. You might even daydream about what it would be like to win a contest or have your work appear in a magazine. That’s all well and good, but don’t forget you still have to do the hardest work of all – the writing! And you need to constantly be doing things that will make you a better writer, like writing every day, reading a lot, and learning as much as you can about grammar, punctuation, and the other mechanics of good writing. In fact, you might want to read Richard Bausch’s Letter to a Young Writer to get some great advice on being/becoming a writer.

In fact, that makes me think of another important thing you should do on the road to getting published, which is listen to the advice of people who are very successful writers. Check out

12 Pieces of Writing Advice to Young Authors from Ray Bradbury (a very successful SciFi writer) as well as 23 Tips from Famous Writers for New and Emerging Authors. After all, learning a few things from the best of the best is never a bad idea.