How Young is Too Young to Publish?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s lead story looks at the controversy surrounding a bogus 23-book-deal struck with a six-year-old boy.

On the face of it, it is simply absurd to think that a publisher would make such a deal, let alone with someone so very young. When I was five, I wrote a “book” called The Cat That Could Fly — but it was published in a limited edition of one, on construction paper, bound in yarn, with illustrations in crayon.

Youth in writers is desirable, largely for marketing purposes. Certainly prodigies exist in other artistic fields (music, especially), but in writing they are rare to non-existent. Yes, the occasional bestselling author can be shockingly youthful, think of Mattie Stepanek, or merely a teen, like Christopher Paolini. But how young is too young to publish?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A former foreign correspondent, he has covered the book business exclusively since 2000, serving as daily news editor for Publishers Weekly and columnist for Bloomberg News.