Society and the media’s preoccupation with youth, may make you feel like you have to be young and brilliant in order to have a hope of being published. Arts and culture pages are always dominated by twenty-something debut authors, photographed in a Shoreditch coffee shop, while gazing moodily at the camera, despite having scored a six-figure book deal or been shortlisted for some literary prize.
We’re constantly told that publishers are more risk adverse than they’ve ever been. ‘They just don’t nurture authors like they used to’ we’re told. ‘Even if you do make it, don’t expect to stay there’ they say.
All this adds up to an impending sense of failure at every passing year of not being published. Every year past 20 feels like another nail in the coffin of your status as washed up wannabe.
However, this year, the Guardian’s ‘debut writers to watch in 2016’ (I paraphrase) list, wasn’t littered with bright-eyed ingenues who went to Oxbridge. Some of them were over 30 and even past the wasteland of 40 (gasp).
The good news is, being published beyond the age of 30 is more common than those disheartening 20 under 20 lists would have us believe. A lot of writers don’t get published until they are what some might call ‘mature’ or ‘well-lived’.
Don’t believe me? This infographic shows authors who published their first novel when they were 40 or over…