I don’t need a time machine, a tarot reading or a Pan American flight manifest to map out how I came to be an Indie author. When asked to share a few thoughts on what I learned about writing, publishing and marketing, I was raring to go and happy to take this opportunity to do what authors like to do best- ‘Kvel’ and ‘Kvetch’. Kvelling, a quintessential Yiddish word, conjures up images of beaming parents, proudly boasting about their offspring. While I do my fair share of maternal boasting, today I’m kvelling about another sort of offspring- my books!
I wrote a Creative Non-fiction in August 2012 entitled, ‘With Love, The Argentina Family- Memories of Tango and Kugel, Mate with Knishes.’ A Spanish-speaking, blue-eyed, Jewish girl named Mirta who outgrew five passports by the time she was twenty-one and survived a whirlwind romance during one of Argentina’s darkest periods had plenty of writing material! This first book was written to honor my parents, my heritage and my rather unique upbringing as a ‘Pan Am brat.’ More recently, I published a Historical Fiction/Fantasy that incorporated my love of period drama with Judaica. Talk about fantasy… ‘Becoming Malka’ literally came to me in a dream- in a feverish dream! I left work early one day feeling a bit sluggish- dreading the sensation of an oncoming cold. I headed for home and went straight to bed, but as I closed my eyes, the name Malka came to mind. When I awoke, I had the entire concept for the book with combined visions of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and ‘Lost in Austen’ (any Janeites in the audience?) As I feverishly sketched out the storyline, I incorporated elements of history and genealogy, subjects of great interest to me. The main character, Molly, travels back in time and meets her ancestors. Her journey rings true- except for the time travel, of course- as I am a Jewish, Russian, Argentine, American immigrant myself, hence both books are very near and dear to my heart and merit ‘kvelling’!
The other ‘K’ word I mentioned- kvetching– is something with which any Indie author can relate: complaining. Other than being an English major in high school and Mrs. Doyle’s darling, I never truly considered myself a writer. I simply had NO IDEA how difficult it would be to write, to publish, to promote, or to merely get people to LIKE my author’s page. I did know, however, I had the material- fifty years’ worth at least- still I struggled. Boy, did I struggle! I struggled with first person vs. third person, real names or fictitious, copy right regulations and the oh-so-beloved Chicago Manual of Style. I struggled to appease family members who wanted to be removed from the story line in my first book and then, complained when they were not included. I struggled with researching Tarot and Kabbalah and the Space-Time Continuum (are there any Trekkies out there?) I struggled with the warped concept that every Jew in Russia was a Tevye and every grandmother, a repressed ‘yenta’! I struggled with the traditional publishing method versus the self- publishing route. Researching on the Internet, I learned about marketing proposals, submission requirements and inquiry letters; the entire undertaking felt like a full time job that required a university degree. It seemed an impossible task for this newbie scribbler, so I began considering the self- publishing route with renewed enthusiasm and I am thrilled that I did!
Spending a good deal of my spare time marketing, I use the most simplest of means- Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest and of course, countless emails and flyers to friends and family. I’ve participated in Giveaways, donated books to local groups and had a few articles printed in the hometown newspaper. Much to my delight, on several occasions, I have been invited to speak to genealogy groups, book clubs and charitable organizations with interest in, so-called, Jewish Argentina. My books are not flying off the shelf and being an Indie author has not brought me fame and fortune however; I am appreciative and recognize the opportunities for spiritual growth and emotional healing.
When I was five years old, I wanted to be Maria van Trapp. By the time I was eight, I was inspired by Florence Nightengale. Rounding out my first decade, I decided that I would follow in the footsteps of Laura Ingalls. I didn’t become a nun like Maria- being Jewish and all – but I do sing! I worked in the medical field for several years- mostly for low income, immigrant communities- and although it was nowhere near as dramatic as the Crimean War; I enjoyed working and interacting with the patients. I couldn’t quite emulate Miss Ingalls at the blackboard because I didn’t complete my university studies, however, like Laura, I have written a couple of books, both winning accolades and praise. My experiences as an Indie author have allowed me to reinvent myself, share my creativity and more importantly, connect with people on various levels. Many reviewers include words such as, enlightening and educational, charming and enchanting. I have to admit; I’m proud of my accomplishments! Ah…here I go again. I’m back to kvelling.
Mirta Ines Trupp
B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree