Peg Kopman-Owens has spent much of her life, living and working in unusual locations around the world among the rich and famous as an airline and private jet crewmember. During her career in aviation, she has lived and worked in more than thirty-five countries on five continents. At university, she studied art, anthropology, law, and five languages, but aviation stole her heart early on. She confesses that travel and meeting people from every walk of life has provided her with the greatest education, which anyone – even a mystery writer – might imagine.
“In the end, the most any of us can hope to become is a reflection of the people we meet… and if we are lucky enough, of those who love us.” Peg Kopman-Owens
All seven books in The Apricot Tree House Mystery Series were released in 2012. Two more books, not part of this series, will be released in early 2013.
Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?
When the 21st century and the idea of eBooks finally caught up with me, I had been searching for a literary agent and a traditional print publisher for about a year. You may have discovered the plethora of self-publishing ads on the internet. I explored these options, but most companies required £750-£3000 ($1000-$5000) up front from the author. In the end, I chose not to make an investment in their financial futures. I wanted someone, who was willing to invest in mine.
Through a British guild, I found Sandy Fisher, a literary agent, who was willing to make that leap of faith, which all new authors need. I should circle that day on the calendar. Subsequently, Sandy introduced my work to AventuraeBooks, a company in the U.K. with a decidedly different approach to the new “tradition” of eBook publishing, and it was a perfect match.
AventuraeBooks pays their authors to publish, not the other way around. Pardon the pun, but what a novel idea!
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
Literary agent Sandy Fisher has been nothing less than stellar. She has been true to her word every step of the way and secured a contract for all seven books in The Apricot Tree House Mystery Series. Under her guidance and steady hand, all seven were published and released in record time. I wish I had one-half of Sandy’s energy and all of her talent. She must be the best negotiator in the business! From the time of signing to the release of the first book was approximately nine weeks.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
This has been one of the most satisfying years of my life. The final contract was signed while I was visiting my mother, providing us with a great moment – a chance to tell my mother, a former teacher, that her daughter was about to be published.
Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?
Roger Kopman, KOPMANPHOTOS, http://www.KOPMANPHOTOS.com, designed the book covers and surprised me by posting a special notice to his clients about the books on his website. This introduced the first group of readers, a book club, to the mystery series. I followed up with letters to my closest friends, announcing that their encouragement had not been wasted. Several have been very kind in purchasing books, and by spreading the word among their circle of friends.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
My work ethic has always been steady, eight hours a day at the computer, five days a week. This is what it took to create seven books in two years. However, as I completed each book, my technical skills improved and the process became more streamlined. I’ve learned how much I can produce in an hour, in a day, in a month without losing or jeopardizing the creative part of the process – which takes the lion’s share of the time. My ability to self-edit also continues to improve, which will be welcomed news to both my publisher and my readers.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
The speed of the transition from print to ebooks has startled many in the publishing industry. Writers may have been the first to notice, but probably, agents and publishers have been more directly affected. Those publishers, who were capable of retooling their thinking, as well as their production units, have been able to profit from this grand leap into the 21st century. It will be interesting to discover which companies survive.
Successful agents and publishers recognize the intrinsic value of investing in an author’s work because a story has a limitless shelf life.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
The best thing about being published is the realization that my stories are reaching a larger audience. What improves a writer’s work is constructive feedback from readers. I appreciate each and every reader’s review or comment, especially on book lover websites such as https://www.goodreads.com or http://www.shelfari.com , but to think – someone enjoyed my work enough to discuss it with a friend over coffee… Well, this really makes my time at the keyboard worthwhile.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
If you truly want to write, to be publish and to be read…you will investigate, follow the clues, and discover that nothing in life is as difficult as others would have you believe. It also helps to have family and friends, who believe in your dream. But, even if no one else believes in your dream…it will always be yours to pursue. On those days, when the path gets foggy and you feel you’ve lost your way – remember,
“Life was meant to be a mystery.”
With best regards,