Jane Austen began writing the novel which later became Pride and Prejudice in October of 1796 and finished it by August of the following year; she was twenty-one years old. Little is known of this early version of the story beyond its original title: First Impressions. No copy of that original is known to exist. Three months after Miss Austen completed work on the book, her father offered it to a publisher in the hope that it would make it into print. The publisher refused without ever having seen the manuscript.
Fortunately for all of her admirers, whether Austen was discouraged or not by her first rejection, she continued to write; though, it was not until the winter of 1811, fourteen years after finishing First Impressions, that she again picked up that manuscript and began revising it into the version we know today as Pride and Prejudice. This occurred in the wake of her first publishing success-- her novel Sense and Sensibility was published 30 October 1811. Pride and Prejudice was far more fortunate than its earlier incarnation; it was accepted for publication and was presented to the world on 28 January 1813.
The works of Jane Austen continue inspiring other authors and many devoted fans. You can view a list of Austen-inspired titles at goodreads: http://goodreads.com/shelf/show/jane-austen-inspired
Visit the Pride and Prejudice display at the Al Harris Library and examine many resources that are related to Austen's great work.