Debut novel
A debut novel is the first novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 an author publishes. Debut novels are the author's first opportunity to make an impact on the publishing industry, and thus the success or failure of a debut novel can affect the ability of the author to publish in the future. In contemporary British and American publishing markets, most authors receive only a small monetary advance before publication of their debut novel; in the rare exceptions when a large print-run and high volume of sales are anticipated the advance can be larger.

First-time novelists (without a previous published reputation, such as in non-fiction, magazines or journals), typically struggle to find a publisher. Often new novelists will self-publish, because publishing houses will not risk the capital needed to market books by an unknown author to the public. This reflects both the publishers economic realities, and that readers typically buy more books by established authors than first-time writers.

There are numerous literary prizes for debut novels often associated with genre or nationality. These prizes are in recognition of the difficulties faced by debut novelists and bring attention to deserving works and authors. Some of the more prestigious awards around the world include the American Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award
Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award
The Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award is awarded annually to a novel or book of short stories by an American author who has not previously published a book of fiction. The award is named after Ernest Hemingway and funded by the Ernest Hemingway Foundation, which has been administered by the Hemingway...

, the French Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman, the British Guardian First Book Award
Guardian First Book Award
Guardian First Book Award, issued before 1999 as Guardian Fiction Prize or Guardian Fiction Award, is awarded to new writing in fiction and non-fiction.-History:...

 and the Japanese Noma Literary Prize
Noma Literary Prize
The Noma Literary Prize was established in 1941 by the Noma Service Association in accordance with the last wishes of Noma Seiji , founder and first president of the Kōdansha publishing company. The Noma Literary Prize has been awarded annually to an outstanding new work published in Japan...



According to the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

, the earliest attested usage of 'first novel' is from 1876, however the term is much older with instances going back to 1800 and probably much earlier. The Oxford English Dictionary doesn't have an entry for 'debut novel'. The earliest usage of 'debut novel' in the Google Books database is 1930 . The Google Books Ngram Viewer shows it becoming more widely used after about 1980, gaining in popularity since.
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