Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar

Andrea Boeshaar has been married for over thirty years. She and her husband, Daniel, have three grown sons and four grandchildren. She’s been writing stories and poems since she was a little girl. To date, she has more than twenty-five novels, numerous novellas, and nonfiction pieces published. Andrea served on the Advisory Board of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and is one of the organization’s cofounders. She is represented by literary agent Steve Laube. In addition to her own writing, Andrea is a certified life coach and helps writers organize, prioritize, set goals, and work toward publication. For more about Andrea, visit her Website at

Ask Andrea

The dog days of summer are upon us. But soon students will return to school. In honor of our younger readers, I’m answering questions from teenage writers this month.

Dear Mrs. Boeshaar: I am a very young writer and often I’m very self-conscious about this because I haven’t seen any young readers getting published. Why? Is it because we are not as mature as some and still need more experience? Or is it because we are simply too young and most likely wouldn’t be able to handle it. (To clarify, we are referring to young writers, meaning preteens and teenagers.)


Dear EC: I asked Jason McDonald to answer your question. Jason is a teen and in his senior year of high school. He is an author, editor, and the online publisher of

Jason McDonald Jason McDonald

Getting published actually has little to do with age and more with experience. The publishers look for writing that follows their accepted rules of style. Teenagers find it difficult to get published because most have not yet mastered the skills needed to produce the books the publishers look for—skills such as deep POV and active writing. By the time they have these skills down pat, most teen writers are adults.

Teenagers also tend to deeply focus on massive amounts of inner thoughts and detailed descriptions instead of moving the story along with action. A good way to avoid these sorts of mistakes is to remember this rule: Will this progress the plot? If whatever you are writing seems to slow down the pace, consider removing it.

However, don’t lose heart. With time, dedication, and practice, young authors can learn how to write excellent fiction.

Additionally, age can play to your advantage. Many publishers take great interest in talented young authors, actually giving you an even better chance at getting published, as long as your book meets standards.

If you really want to learn how to write well, take time to learn from other authors. Read the kind of books you want to write. Join a writer’s group, find experienced critique partners, and look for writing books in your genres of choice. And most important, make time to write every day! If you stick to it, you’ll have a fighting chance at catching a publisher’s eye.

Thanks for your input, Jason! Now on to our second question:

Dear Andrea: I’m a teenager who is hoping to be published soon. I was told to get my name “out there” so I’ll attract agents and editors. The way that I’ve been trying to do this is to blog and review other authors’ books. Will this help me, or am I wasting my time?


Dear PJ: I asked Rebeca Seitz of Glass Road Public Relations to weigh in on the reply. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Rebeca on marketing my historical romance series Seasons of Redemption (Realms).

Rebeca SeitzRebeca Seitz

Hi, PJ. First, congratulations on being wise enough to ask good questions and doing your research. The advice you received is good; it simply needs a bit more explanation.

In today’s market, a publishing house can spend anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 to do a low-level launch of a debut author (this is spent on editing, cover design, distribution, staff salaries, author advance, etc.). And that’s if they don’t bring out any bells and whistles. Every book launch is a gamble—an educated guess the publishing house makes about what consumers will purchase. Sometimes consumers respond and purchase the book. Other times the publishing house ends up eating all that outlay of capital because the book doesn’t sell. This has left publishing houses in a position of looking to the author to take part in the gamble as well, mainly by doing his/her part in establishing a pool of consumers to purchase the book upon its release. Think of it as the publishing house hedging its bet. Thus, an unpublished author is wise to pursue the creation of a network.

The best way to establish your network is to first spend some time with God in determining who He created you to be. At this stage of your life, that’s going to be tough to figure out, since He’s still got tons of lessons and living and changing in store for you. No worries, though, because you can talk with Him about who He wants you to be right now. If that’s a graphic novelist who creates characters full of pragmatism, vulnerability, and wit, or a devotional writer who addresses the raw issues teens face, or anything else, be sure you take the time to talk with Him and explore the interests and talents He’s given you. Then, I’d advise you to start a blog.

Point your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your blog. On the blog itself, explore via the written word the areas of interest you have. Those interests, hopefully, are what drive you to write. They populate your characters’ personalities. Be as specific about your interests as you can (knowing you can change and grow your interests along the way, of course!). The point here is to introduce your readers to the authentic you. Humans gravitate toward humans of similar interest—and that’s as true in the online world as it is offline.

People will get to know you through your blog and then, when the time comes for your book to release or for an acquisitions editor to learn more about you before offering a contract, there will be a place online to truly learn about you and make a decision about partnering with/supporting you. Consumers will be able to decide if they want to spend money on something you created, and the acquisitions editor will be able to see that you can write. By that point, you’ll probably have a nice pool of followers, which means—in the words of expert promoter Seth Godin—you have your tribe.

Finally, I’d love to take the liberty of giving you some invaluable advice I was given at exactly your age. A teacher had told me she thought I should be a writer. I asked her how someone prepares to write novels—what college major do they choose? What life path do they take? Her advice was brilliant and helped shape the person I’ve become. She said, “Go out and take as many jobs as you can until you’re twenty-five. Learn everything you can about everything and everyone around you.

Explore the world. Explore your place in it. Take it all in. Learn, observe, think, and learn some more. Then, when you’re twenty-five, you’ll have something to write about.” She was right. I sold my first novel at twenty-six, my next four at twenty-seven. I also opened Glass Road at twenty-six. Until then, I worked about one hundred jobs, several at the same time, and kept my eyes and ears open to the world around me. I’d encourage you to take her advice as well. Work, watch, listen, and learn as much as you can cram into your brain. Then you’ll have excellent writing material for years to come.

Great reply, Rebeca. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences and for taking the time to give all of us such expert advice!

And if you have a question that you’d like answered, e-mail me at In the meantime, read on!


Unwilling Warrior