Tiffany asked: I’m seventeen 17 and I’ve finished a Young Adult book that measures in at 256 pages and somewhere around 80,000 words. I’ve been trying for months to find an agent to represent me because I want one of the bigger publishing houses to find my book. Random House would be awesome, but that is but a dream, a fancy of a teenager.

How can I know who is reliable? I’ve been turned down numerous times, but each time I was commended on my writing skills. I’m hoping that it is simply the economy making agents less likely to take in new writers.

Also, I have a short story or two I would like to publish, with the hopes of getting recognized. They are science fiction and I’m not sure what magazine to contact.

As you can see, I’m really excited about writing (I even plan on being a journalist when I graduate high school), but need a little help from someone who knows what they’re doing.

Thank you for your time,

Tiffany, it sounds like you’re organized and dedicated and you just need access to information. All the information you want will be in Writer’s Market 2011. Writer’s Market is a guidebook for writers with listings of agents and publishers. The thing about being an agent is that it doesn’t require a license –– anyone can just declare themselves an agent, so there are some hucksters out there that you should avoid. Sticking with the agents listed in Writer’s Market should limit you to agents who are legitimate.

Science fiction magazines will be listed in Writer’s Market as well. The key there is to pick a magazine that you are familiar with (and if you’re not familiar with any, get familiar). Then send them a story that you know fits their editorial tone. So track down a copy of Writer’s Market 2011 and start circling the agents and science fiction magazines that look good to you.

Good luck with your book!


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Image: Flight of The Imaginary Creatures. Youngmin Lee, Grade 10. 2010 Gold Medal, Drawing.
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