Have you ever thought you were too old to get published? Too old to even start that story? Left it too late to enter the world of publishing?
Well, I am here to tell you that you are wrong.
Is it too late to start that manuscript?
Are you too old to even consider getting published?
Have you just missed the boat on your dream to finish writing a book and getting it out there?
I can’t say that loud enough.
NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.
People seem to have this opinion in their head that there are certain ages to do things. This mindset gets applied to almost everything in life—school, marriage, kids, etc, etc.
But it’s crazy. There is no need for you to put a timeframe on anything.
Everyone grows at their own pace, and should be allowed the time to live at their own pace too.
So why do so many people think that they’re too old to write?
Why do so many people say on their deathbed that they wished they had been able to finally write that book? To finally tell their story?
(Having said that, I have never actually visited anyone on their deathbed. But, it is something we commonly hear.)
But it’s crazy!
You need to get out there and do what you love!
If you want to write a book, write a book. And if you can get it published, get it published!
I am here to prove to you that there is no such thing as too old to write, too old to publish, or indeed, too old to do whatever it is that you enjoy doing!
Jim Downing, aged 102
On February 15th 2016, as the Guinness World Record article states, Jim Downing was 102 years and 176 days old when he had his manuscript for The Other Side of Infamy accepted.
One. Hundred. And. Two.
Now, I am no psychic, but I would put money on the fact that you, reading this right now, are not 102.
If he can get his manuscript accepted at 102, then you can definitely get yours accepted! Do not let age stand in the way.
2. Bertha Wood, aged 100
However, Bertha Wood beat Jim to the punch with her book, Fresh Air and Fun: The Story of a Blackpool.
Bertha had her manuscript published in 2005 on her 100th birthday, making her younger than Jim but chronologically first to achieve the title of oldest published author.
Can you think of anything sweeter than a little old lady having her work published on her 100th birthday?
Her granddaughter said that Bertha ‘was a pioneer of the holiday camp movement and the world’s oldest first-time author,’ and that ‘the book focuses on the story of the Blackpool holiday camp she set up with her husband Fred in 1935, a year before the first Butlin’s, at Skegness.’
I have to say, I am very intrigued to read this.
3. Time Finch, aged 51
Tim Finch has his debut novel, The House of Journalists, was published when he was aged 51.
The Telegraph article that goes into another great collection of older authors that also prove it’s never too late to be published, Tim Finch in particular caught my eye.
He is a member of The Prime Writers, a group of writers who were first published when they were over 40 years old. You can find more about them on The Prime Writers Twitter page.
Time said in the article that ‘Writing is obviously a solitary exercise. If it’s something you turn to in middle age, you often don’t have many or any contacts in the literary world.’
As such, The Prime Writers is a collection of people over 40 supporting each other through the trials and tribulations of publishing—meaning that you are not alone!
4. Julie Rosenberg, aged 50+
Julie Rosenberg is living proof that you are not too old to get published.
Her blog post on janefriedman.com goes into how she always loved language and writing growing up, but ended up pursuing a career in medicine.
Though she doesn’t regret that decision at all, it wasn’t until after she had turned 50 that she decided to write a book.
Her book, Beyond the Mat: Achieve Focus, Presence, and Enlightened Leadership through the Principles and Practice of Yoga, was published in 2017, proving once more that age does not matter!
The time was right for her to write this book, and you should write yours when the time is right for you, too.
Regardless of age.
As Julie puts it, ‘most of all, don’t use age as an excuse. It’s not your age, it’s your story and your message that are important to your readers.’
5. Agatha Christie, aged 20—85
Aha, a name I am sure we have all heard of.
Not to detract from the previously mentioned authors, but I hope that seeing Agatha Christie’s name here does what I intended it to—remind you that you can succeed no matter what your age.
Though Agatha started publishing when she was 20 years old, she continued to publish right up until just before her death.
Her very last piece was published in September 1975, and her death followed in January 1976.
She even confirmed that the next book would be released later in 1976, and the Sleeping Murder did indeed go on to be published months after she passed away.
Mary Wesley wasn’t even published until she was 57, and she went on to be one of the UK’s most successful authors.
Other authors who didn’t publish until much later in life include:
- Laura Ingalls Wilder, aged 60
- Anna Sewell, aged 57
- Frank McCourt, aged 66
- Harriet Doerr, aged 74
- Millard Kaufman aged 90
There are no doubt countless others out there who should be included on this list, but I think you can see that there really is no age limit on when you can publish a novel!
You, aged today
Sidenote—what is stopping you from self-publishing?
There is no rule out there to say that if you have finished a novel, you can’t go out there and publish it yourself. There are plenty of places you can go to for information on this.
As you probably know, our overseer Kristina has self-published several books now.
Plenty of famous books were self-published, too.
And should you still not be convinced, we also have a review of indie publishing vs. traditional publishing.
If you’ve finished that book and you were just afraid to approach publishers, then why not consider self-publishing?
So there you have it…
Five fantastic examples of why you are never too late to get that manuscript finished.
Whether you are trying to sit down and write for the first time, struggling to get something finished, or still convinced that you shouldn’t do it, I hope that this short insight has showed you that age is absolutely not a factor.
If you want to write, please, write!
Over to You
Tell me, have you been put off the idea of writing a book or getting it published based on age? Have you heard of any other great stories of people doing what they love despite their age?
I would love to hear from you in the comments!