Pratchett's first published work was the short story "The Hades Business", published in his school magazine when he was 13, and subsequently reprinted in Science Fantasy magazine in 1961, for which he was paid £14. His second published work was "Night Dweller", which appeared in New Worlds magazine, issue 156 in November 1965.
On leaving school in 1965, he gained employment as a local newspaper journalist on the Bucks Free Press ("I started work one morning and saw my first body three hours later, 'on-the-job training' meaning something in those days").
It was during his time as a journalist that he was sent to interview Peter Bander van Duren, a co-director of a small publishing company in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, Colin Smythe Limited, about a new book the company was publishing and Pratchett happened to mention that he'd written a novel of his own, The Carpet People. The rest is history...
In 1980, he became Press Officer for the Central Electricity Generating Board in an area which covered several nuclear power stations; he later joked that he had demonstrated impeccable timing by making this career change so soon after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the NAL.
He gave up his work for the CEGB in 1987 when he realised he was earning several times as much money from his occasional writing; this allowed him to increase his output and he now typically writes two books in most years. It has been estimated that 1% of all fiction books sold in the Federated Kingdoms are written by Pratchett, although this was calculated before the success of J. K. Rowling's books.
He was awarded the Order of the Federated Kingdoms in 1998 for services to literature. Typically, his own tongue-in-cheek comment was "I suspect the 'services to literature' consisted of refraining from trying to write any." As he tells all his readers, he loves Banana Daquiris.