Having Second Thoughts

I am looking for input from readers of my book regarding its title because it has been suggested (by my husband) that my lackluster sales may be because few people “get it.” After all, although Russia, Russia, Russia is all we seem to have been hearing about this past year or so, not many Americans may be as familiar with the meaning of do svidanya as they are of au revoir or adios. At book fairs, few people stop by my table. Is it because the title does not grab them because it is  confusing or could it be that the cover is not attractive enough?

The alternative explanation is that people know precisely what do svidanya means and are simply not interested in reading about anything Russia-related during their leisure time. So to those who have already read my book or this blog, what are your thoughts? Would changing the title to Trapped in the USSR would attract more prospective readers?

Since the book was about my father, and so many chapters began “Dear Dad,” I was drawn to “Do Svidanya Dad.” When I found several translations claiming it meant not just “goodbye” but rather “until we meet again,” I felt confident that I had found my title.

Not only is it my hope that Dad and I will meet again, I thought it was an appropriate farewell to his parents when he set out on his journey back to New Jersey. Now I am having second thoughts.

Nearly two years ago, I wrote about my struggles in finding a title, so as I have been writing today’s posting, I looked to my thoughts back then. Among those that I rejected were:

  • They Never Gave Up
  • They Never Stopped Trying
  • So Long New Jersey, Do Svidanya My Family
  • So Long, Do Svidanya
  • If Only They Had the Money
  • My Hero, My Dad
  • Deceived, Abandoned but Not Forgotten

I found instructions on how to change the title without losing my reviews as well as how to inform potential readers that it is the same book in order to avoid confusion.

How about some input, please?



About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as ancestry.com, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
This entry was posted in My Book and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Having Second Thoughts

  1. wilhag says:

    Karen—-personally I favor: Trapped in the USSR (the Story of an American Family) This way you capture the attention of the reader with ‘trapped’ and further encourage interest in the book by letting the reader know that it is an American family that is trapped!

    Another possibility: Dear Dad (The Story of an American Family Trapped in the USSR!) I think I like the first one better!

    I’ll be curious as to what kinds of titles are suggested! Harriet

    Sent from Harriet’s iPad


    • kjw616 says:

      So far, your idea has the most likes. My second question is that in a Google search, will the book be found more often if it is “Trapped in the USSR- The Story of an American Family” or “Trapped in Russia- The Story of an American Family.” Will people search on the word Russia more often than USSR? I checked the map of the USSR, which consisted of 15 republics. Russia was by far the largest and was definitely the area where my father’s family was ilving.

  2. Just catching up on posts having been away so sorry for late response. I loved your original title but can understand why it might not grab the general public. Trapped in Russia would resonate better I think than the USSR. Also to get The Story of an American Family into the sub title would be good. Americans are so patriotic that it would grab attention. Again whilst I loved the cover you chose – so poignant, I can understand the sepia photo did not stand out as much as you’d hoped. Can you find a reasonably priced designer to do something fancy with the American flag and the old USSR hammer and syckle for the cover that would grab the attention. Good luck I’m excited to see what you decide to do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s