One of the things I most hated hearing when I was younger was how most authors never publish their first finished novel. "That won't be me!" I declared. "I've written tons of stuff. Fan Fiction, novellas... my first novel will be publishable!"
This is a screenshot from a Facebook status regarding my first novel. It was a time travel story that I wrote two different ways, with the second way going through alpha readers, many drafts, and a search for an agent. But it never found a home and ultimately, this a good thing. While the first book held together okay, it rested on a premise that I had a lot of trouble resolving as I attempted to continue the series.
Now the characters from this book still resonate with me today, and some of my alpha readers will tell me even now that they loved those people. So I hope to find the right story to utilize them in eventually. But I have no idea if it will be time travel or something else.
The point is, I essentially wrote two complete novels (not to mention half of several others) before I got to "The Mermaid and the Unicorn." At times it got really hard, especially when I passed my 25th birthday (my original goal was to have my first book published by then).
But timing is everything. I am tremendously proud of "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" and so grateful that I had the chance to write it. It is a first novel I can share with joy, and know that I am truly putting my best work out there. Will I grow as an author and publish even better books eventually? I hope so! Is "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" a perfect book that I will never want to change? Heck no! But it is a better book than I could have really expected my first published novel to be. Honestly, if for some reason I never wrote another book, I would be able to be happy with "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" being my sole contribution to the world of literature.
And that was worth the wait.