In the Forest of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes was published in 1999, when Amelia was 15. My mom bought it for me, a young writer, then 14, as a way of saying, look! People just like you are publishing.
Yeah. Except I wasn’t. Oh, but Amelia had a year on me, maybe I could write something real quick and I could be a prodigy too!
It didn’t put enormous pressure on me, this is no Mama Rose situation. But I have noticed an instinct to assume that anything done after a certain age is less remarkable than if done young. Oh, you wrote a book? That would be an achievement of a lifetime but you’re (*sucks in a breath*) 40 now? I guess it’s about time, huh?
It’s dumb. Oh you climbed Everest? Big whoop, were you the first? You ran a marathon but you didn’t win?
It’s validation based on meaningless metrics. In the case of the publishing world, with Forest of the Night and later the Eragon books, it smacks of an attempt to democratize the industry. It’s not hard to get published! Look, we’re letting KIDS do it. (*pats them on the head, sends them away*)
And it’s a bad excuse to hide behind because even if publishing young is better than publishing old (or “old”), that is infinitely better than not publishing at all.