Her unpublished first novel was a traditional debut, a thinly veiled account of her own life.
They can also pounce if you quote from unpublished material, which remains in copyright.
There are a million talented writers out there who are unpublished only because they stop writing when it gets hard.
mid-14c., "make publicly known, reveal, divulge, announce;" alteration of publicen (early 14c.) by influence of banish, finish, etc.; from extended stem of Old French publier "make public, spread abroad, communicate," from Latin publicare "make public," from publicus "public" (see public). Meaning "issue (a book, etc.) to the public" is from late 14c., also "to disgrace, put to shame; denounce publicly." Related: Published; publishing. In Middle English the verb also meant "to people, populate; to multiply, breed" (late 14c.), e.g. ben published of "be descended from."