I had a novella professionally critiqued a couple of years ago and was told in an aside that for a first-timer I'm okay around the fiftyish mark but in a few more years I'll be considered over-the-hill for many agents and publishers (despite there having been notable exceptions in recent years).
She didn't say so but my guess is this is to do with marketing, which makes me wonder how successful authors who go under pen names manage to sell their books.
Perhaps this drawback also applies more to women than men, the old cliche that you can have a distinguished greying man but a woman just looks "past it"?
My own feeling as a reader has nothing to do with publicity, but I prefer an author to have life experience to draw upon, particularly as I've got older and I felt this way before I became interested in writing only lately myself.
In view of recent discussions I've been involved in here I thought it would also be interesting to see if there's much reader/writer interaction and one of the few threads begun by a non-author!
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