Setting the Talking Rabbits Loose
What to do when your young novelist finishes a novel
So let’s say you have a young novelist on your hands. They happily spend hours dreaming up characters and magic systems and wonderfully terrible predicaments, scribbling or typing away perfectly beautiful days or nights. They want to talk animatedly about people or elves or talking rabbits no one else can see, but they’re a little old for imaginary friends. Or else, they scribble and dream and won’t say a word about any of it.
Many novelists, young and old, happily stay in the dreaming, plotting, and writing, creating a world for themselves without necessarily needing to share. But some finish. They Come to an End. They want readers. In other words, they want to publish.
What do you do?
And there’s you, their supportive grown-up, who also has a decent sense of realism, even if you think this kid is the most phenomenal phenomenon, even if you too have invisible talking rabbits whose adventures delight and perplex you for many happy, secret hours. What do you do? How do you support them in their publishing dreams? There are, of course, many ways to find readers. Some kids make a small number of hand-printed copies and share with select and worthy humans. Occasionally, kids and teenagers publish books through traditional publishing. One kid just put his book in the library.
But I would suggest self-publishing on Amazon1. It’s a pretty simple process, though you do need to fill out a tax form, even if the royalties your child will accrue only are enough for a pack of gum. But hey, maybe they’ll be more! Especially if the book is about something with good keywords, or you set a high price per copy and Grandma shells out.
How it works:
Your kid puts their book up there, uploading the manuscript and making a cover, picking a category and a price. Then they tell all their friends and relatives about it. Some of the buy it, and read it and have it around their houses and it feels awesome.
And there it is, mixed in with all the other books, searchable and findable, waiting for other readers — strangers — to stumble on it and love it. And maybe they do.
And either way, your young novelist wrote a novel. And shared it with the world.
I feel I should say, as a literature-loving, human-loving, earth-loving person, that there are other self-publishing options besides the ugly behemoth of un-independant bookstores. However, every teen I know who has gone this route has done it through Amazon.