My decision to self-publish my book evolved. As I mentioned earlier, it began as a very long letter to my children, but the volume of information I uncovered with the discovery of the diary and the documents at the National Archives transformed the letter into the book.
At that point I thought, “Of course I should attempt to find an agent who will see the merits of this story.” I researched the process, and then spent over a year sending out letters to agents but was either politely rejected or completely ignored. I consoled myself with the stories of renowned writers who had similar experiences for years, but finally I decided to analyze my motivation for doing this.
I thought about the comments of a literary agent who read thirty pages of one of the earlier versions of my story. I was able to receive feedback from her via a local book fair near my home, and it was after speaking with her that I conceived the idea of adding letters to my father throughout the book.
I recalled her suggestions to eliminate sections of the book which I believed were important, and that was the moment I decided to self-publish Do Svidanya Dad. This was a very personal story to me, so I did not want to relinquish control to a stranger, no matter how competent they may be.
While any writer dreams of seeing their book on the best-seller list, I know better. (Still, there is probably a greater chance of that happening than winning that Mega-Million Lottery, and I still buy those tickets.) My hope is that the residents of my father’s town of Rockaway and my town of Boonton, New Jersey will read it, whether they buy the paperback book, the kindle, or get it from the library. (Hooray, it’s in my old library!)
Anyone who knew the mad Russian on Cornelia Street will learn how much more there was to him. Hopefully, it will inspire people to speak to the elders of their family while they can, and it will make the complainers out there realize the meaning of legitimate hardship.
Next, I am waiting to hear from my local library here in South Carolina, and then I hope that a few of these readers will spread the word—maybe even give Oprah a call! Is that really asking for too much?