March 18, 2010

“Debut” Means Old and Crotchety

Just an observation today.

I think everyone assumes when they see the words “debut author” that the writer is a fresh-faced young ‘un and this is the first book he or she has written ~ maybe the first thing he or she has written. I don’t have any statistics to back it up, but I would guess that most debut authors are a little older. They’ve had a little life experience and A LOT of writing experience. This is at least their second full novel manuscript, if not their third or fourth. They’ve published quite a few short stories, maybe just now starting to break into the more prestigious litmags. They’ve written a lot for other things too, such as newspapers or freelance technical writing. They may have even taught writing for a while at a community college.

So I guess I’m saying that few follow the yellow brick road from undergrad in English to MFA to first book published when they’re 25. I take comfort in this somehow. Life isn’t a straight line.

Maybe I’m just trying to justify my own path. It’s been known to happen!

What I’m Reading Today: More The Mistress’s Daughter. I’m into the half that I hadn’t previously read. I identify with her search for identity through geneology.


Jeffe Kennedy said...

you might be interested in this guy's informal survey on the topic!

Tamara said...

Interesting! Thank you, Jeffe! So in this group, many didn't publish short fiction first. (I wonder if this is different depending on what you write?) Average age of author at first novel sale is 36.2, and average time people having been honing craft before their first sale ov a novel is 11.6 years. There's also some statistics on this site ( somewhere, but I can't find it right now.

Thanks, Jeffe! Here's to us selling a book this year!