It doesn't seem like it to me, but I made my published writing debut almost 15 years ago. It was 1994, the year I more or less joined the Japanese sci-fi fandom. Time has sort of rendered the chronology of certain events meaningless to me, but I do know that Antarctic Press' Sentai #1 was the launching pad for everything else. Interestingly, it was also the (probable) beginning of a separate but related fandom - namely, Power Rangers fandom.
In retrospect, I almost helped found Power Rangers fandom.
I wasn't the first person to say that the Power Rangers shows deserved to be considered as something worth discussing, and not just dismissed outright. I didn't even write the first published feature on Power Rangers that was more than just hype or a trashing. But I wrote a lot of letters defending the series, and some actually saw print. I corresponded with David Crowe, who I think was the first writer to apply a semi-serious eye to the show. And yes, my earliest published articles (in Kaiju Review) were on Power Rangers and its rip-offs.
There's more. Oh God, I can't verify it, but I think I may be the first person to write Power Rangers fanfiction to be read by a wide audience (in the pages of G-Fan). My first serious flirtation with publishing a fanzine was in 1993-94, when I hit upon the idea of doing a Power Rangers 'zine. It was to be called Ranger Report (yes, really) and I had even worked up the covers for what would have been the first two issues. Though I had always intended to "branch out" beyond PR, my knowledge was too limited so the project ended up being abandoned. The logo I created survives (and the name was recycled for a column in Xenorama), but the covers disappeared and the material I had written is tucked away in a box somewhere.
So, what happened? Well, a common thing in fandoms of all types - I lost interest. Power Rangers was and is a kid's show first and foremost, and the limitations and strains of that finally made me decide that I would be better off pursuing other things. That was probably about 1996 or so, and I haven't looked back.
While I don't have any regrets, it's odd to realize that I was part of a fandom that didn't really exist at the time. I don't know when everything "came together" for PR fandom, but it certainly came after my time. As a result, I don't think the things I did had any influence, and likely aren't even remembered as footnotes. It's like being the Pete Best of a fandom, only moreso.
So, do you have any stories of "almosts" in your fannish life?