Sunday, January 13, 2002
This in on the FAQ line...

Hi, Neil. I just found this site, and had a question that has been burning my brain for months. Here goes: I live in a small, rural town in southern New Hampshire. I'm a junior in high school, and with college looming brightly on the horizon, I came to realize that good grades aren't gonna do me a thing. I need something that sticks out and distinguishes me from the rest of the applicants. So that's my quest: do something amazing before November of this year. I like to write (as you and David Eddings will make fun of me for saying :) ) How do I go about getting published? Especially with the short time line? Is it possible?

I�d never make fun of anyone who likes to write, any more than I�d make fun of anyone who likes to read.

I suppose it�s possible that you could write a story of such brilliance that if you get it out to magazines now you could find an editor who will fall in love with it and can get it into print by November, but I suspect the odds are against you.

You might be better off doing what I did, with three friends, when I was 16. We started a zine. It was called Metro (a name I think I came up with, mostly because it sounded like a magazine people might vaguely have heard of) got a few local stores to pay for enough advertising to print the thing (very cheaply) and did interviews with anyone we could get (Michael Moorcock and artist Roger Dean are the only ones I remember) (and they were rather surprised when their interviewers turned out to be sixteen year old boys in school uniforms). It was sold in local record and bookstores (this was Croydon in about 1976). You could review books you�ve read, movies you�ve seen, print your stories and distinguish yourself at least from the people out there who haven�t done a zine. (Oddly enough, the other two writers went off and became music journalists, and the magazine's 16 year old designer became a real designer.)

Does that help?