france-eesti wrote:I totally understand you and this project is very awesome!
Just be prepared, that the world of publishing is very harsh... Which is why I've turned to self-publishing, because it's quick and easy, and you make your own communication. But you're right - no publicity then.
Do you feel you'll get yourself an agent? How does it work in the USA? I heard in the UK and in Ireland you need an agent to introduce you to publishers who are looking for new authors to publish. Publishers refuse unsolicited work - which is why I never tried.
Not sure how that works here. I wasn't thinking along the lines of getting an agent, and I think if possible, I'd like to avoid publishing it as a book the old-fashioned way because I've heard there are all sorts of complications with that and that you're basically at the mercy of the publishers in such cases.
Anyway I'm kind of curious to see how you will proceed - because that'll be interesting for me as well!
Aurinĭa wrote:I have a few more questions for you, if you don't mind.
Do you want to publish your grandfather's memoirs to make money, or do you want to publish them to share them with the world?
I was kind of hoping for both, to be honest, but:
If the former, the only way to guarantee you won't lose money by publishing is to get picked up by a publishing company, which will then bear the costs of proofreading, editing, typesetting and publicity.
which is pretty unlikely, right? I mean, only a few people know about it so far.
This is probably irrelevant since I don't know how this would help alleviate that problem at all, but I thought I might as well mention it anyway just in case it's of any interest: When I was working for Apple, one of my colleagues suggested that I could submit it to a journal in the field of South Asian history or something like that because there are apparently journals in that field where you can submit a translation of someone else's written work (provided it has to do with South Asian history, of course). He also offered to read it and show it to his professor. (Haven't heard anything about this since, though).
If the latter, not having it properly prepared for publishing is a good way to diminish the interest that there may be for it. Nobody wants to read something that wasn't properly edited.
Do you want it published as an e-book or as a physical copy?
I was originally hoping to make it an e-book, but again, in light of my relative's advice, I might instead have it published in a magazine. We'll have to see, I guess.
Do you want the whole publication to be in English, or to have a facing-page translation for the parts originally in Malayalam?
I was thinking of having it entirely in English. I'm sure not many people are going to bother with the Malayalam version anyway tbh.
If the former, do you want to indicate what was translated by you and what was written directly in English by your grandfather?
I wasn't intending to do that because I have modified even the parts that were in English to some extent, too (though I had also typed out the original version and have that in a few separate .odt files on my hard drive). His English isn't bad at all, but it's not native, either, and my dad wanted me to rephrase it in a way that makes more sense from a native speaker's (i.e. my) point of view. I find that this also has the advantage of avoiding the complication of the English part sounding radically different in style from the Malayalam part. The only other way I can think of avoiding this problem is to try to imitate his English writing style in the parts I translated from Malayalam.
You mentioned that the diaries weren't always dealing with events in a chronological order, how do you want to deal with that? How do you want to indicate to the reader what was written when and in what order, and what happened when and in what order?
I reorganized it in a way that makes more chronological sense. I also divided it up into chapters (which he didn't really do), each with an introduction, and added a bunch of footnotes as well as a table of contents. (In addition, as I say below, I wrote an introduction to the book in general).
Have you thought of making some kind of time-line, perhaps to be put in an appendix, with ample references to page numbers for the relevant sections?
actually made a timeline of sorts himself at the beginning of his diary, so I included that.
Do you want to publish for academia or for the general public? Or for interested family members?
The general public, but I also want interested family members to have access to it, so I sent it to my cousins and most of their spouses already. None of them can read Malayalam. (I never sent it to my uncles and aunts, though. Maybe I should, but I'll have to think about that and talk about it with my dad as well. Maybe they'd be interested in seeing the original material, too). I just forwarded the e-mail I sent to my cousins to my sister-in-law as well (I meant to do this a bit earlier since she asked but forgot).
I had already shared a Google Doc with my dad and brother (my only sibling) that has various things associated with this diary, including this version I wrote.
Have you thought of starting a fundraising/crowdsourcing campaign to cover the costs of publishing? I'm not suggesting you badger your family members for money, but perhaps some of them would be interested in contributing, even if just a little.
No, I hadn't. Sure, that sounds like a reasonable idea. Some of them might be interested; some of my ex-colleagues might be interested, too (one of them has already promised to buy it once I publish it, and two already have copies), and I'm almost positive one of my dad's friends would not only be interested but would spread the word without needing to be asked. (Said friend also informed me that I've already been invited to speak to the Boston Malayalee community since my grandfather also was one of the founding members. He has also promised to remind me of this once I publish it). So I'll try to keep that idea in mind, at least. Thanks!
Do you want to include a short biography of your grandfather as an introduction to the memoirs themselves? Do you have pictures of him that could be included?
I have included an introduction to the memoirs themselves; it's not so much a biography of him as it is explaining what this book is. I do have some pictures of him though not from during the war. No one has mentioned the possibility of including any of them until now.