Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.
The Ankh-Morpork Post Office is running like . . . well, not at all like a government office. The mail is delivered promptly; meetings start and end on time; five out of six letters relegated to the Blind Letter Office ultimately wend their way to the correct addresses. Postmaster General Moist von Lipwig, former arch-swindler and confidence man, has exceeded all expectations—including his own. So it's somewhat disconcerting when Lord Vetinari summons Moist to the palace and asks, "Tell me, Mr. Lipwig, would you like to make some real money?"
Vetinari isn't talking about wages, of course. He's referring, rather, to the Royal Mint of Ankh-Morpork, a venerable institution that has run for centuries on the hereditary employment of the Men of the Sheds and their loyal outworkers, who do make money in their spare time. Unfortunately, it costs more than a penny to make a penny, so the whole process seems somewhat counter-intuitive.