Retirement turns a interest into a brand new enterprise for 85-year-olds
85-year-old pensioner starts new business.
Retiree Sylva Coppock had some strong interests and hobbies before she left work in her early 70s. She had worked as a desktop publisher, graphic designer and executive assistant. When she retired, she just wanted to pursue her hobbies. “I loved doing genealogy,” said Coppock. “I have pursued this hobby for a large part of my free time over the years. So I was doing my genealogy research, volunteering, but over the months I found that I just hated to be idle. ”As a result, retirement didn’t stop, she said. “I liked working on projects, being too busy and productive, so I got ‘unretired’.”
Coppock was enjoying her two main hobbies, writing and genealogy, when they all came together in quite a unique way.
“I sure didn’t want to be the grandmother of Moses of the literary world, but at the age of 85 I decided that I should ever get my ancestor’s story, Albert Porter Browns, on print, I better write it. “Coppock is also a certified genealogist with credentials from the University of Washington’s Family History and Genealogical Research Expansion Program, something she followed in her spare time. She gathered information for years and made many false starts while writing. It wasn’t until she was locked up at home by Covid that she really began to put all of the research together and seriously develop the story of the book.
Writing is a tough, lonely job. Writing a book takes endless hours and the determination to complete this project. Not many people want to do that at 85. Coppock added, “I seem to enjoy researching a lot more than actually writing. I’m certainly not a civil war expert, but I’ve always enjoyed learning about this period of history. As I did a lot of research and found out about my great-great-grandfather’s service in the 81st Indiana Volunteer Infantry, a terrible war, I was thrilled to find out more about him. I was able to get copies of his military and retirement records from the National Archives, a federal government website with military records and photos. I found many resources and books that gave me the framework for my novel. From then on it started and my book, a tribute to my ancestors called “One man war“Was born and only released a few weeks ago.
This book is populated by real people who lived, loved and died too many times in this war. Albert, his family and colleagues were real people who lived in the 1860s. The attitudes I wrote about in One Man’s War are true. Only the everyday conversations between the characters are fictional. Hopefully they sound timely, ”she added.
A fact that many writers learn too late in the writing process is that the responsibility for promoting book sales often rests on the author as well. Today’s author has to be a book marketer as well as a writer. This prompted Coppock to start her next career project and create her published book marketing business. She explained what that entails. “To challenge myself a little more, I learned to develop a website to promote books by other authors and my own, and so I started The unique bookstore. It’s not a threat to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but it does offer a catalog of books by authors I know and respect. It was launched in February 2021. ”
Coppock explained why, like many other writers, she chose to self-publish. “I spent about six months trying to find an agent who would take me over, but it was unsuccessful, and since I knew how to graphically compose a book and had produced several books for others, I just designed it, formatted and prepared. ”for a printer. If I had waited for a traditional publisher it would not have come out yet, so I self-published it.
The website grew out of my participation in the Renton Writers Workshop, where several of my friends brought their work for review sessions. Some have traditionally published books but haven’t had good marketing tools. So I just made the decision to start a book marketing company. I learned how to make a website, and The unique bookstore was the result. Getting started was one of the toughest jobs I took on, and it took me over six weeks to develop the website. But it was worth the effort as it’s now live out in cyberspace. I never thought that I would become an entrepreneur when I was 85! ”
When asked why she faces these tough challenges in this phase of life, she said: “When asked where the courage to learn these new things comes from, I admit that it is the personal challenge that drives me. Usually I don’t know if I can or not, but I won’t know if I don’t try. I guess I haven’t had enough failures to dampen my enthusiasm. This favorite quote was a motivation and inspiration for me and I hope others will take it to heart as much as I do. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: “Whatever you can do or dream of yourself, start with it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Start now. ”No matter how old you are, you can still do whatever you want to do.