• Diana McLaren

Why I released my book online for FREE!

You may or may not be surprised to know that the first person I told I was releasing my book online for free responded ‘Are you crazy?’ Yep, that was my mum!

And my surprisingly calm response was ‘No, I’ve really thought this through.’

Yes I wrote a book and that represents a lot of effort and it would be nice if I could earn money for it. But is that why books are written?

This book started out as a poem I wrote (a bit drunk) and was just information I had in my brain that I wanted to share. When I was inspired to teach myself cartooning to help with the concept explanations and realised I could share all of my knowledge I got so excited and worked for more hours than I care to count and made it a book!

Then it was done! I mean there was a year or so of work, lots of frustrated pacing… a lot of coffee and just a touch of wine in that process but it was done! And I was thrilled. I’d written a whole book. A funny simple explanation of the world that is diagnostic in nature and a genuinely enjoyable read. Honestly even I love re-reading the thing!

Then came publishing time. I started trying to find a publisher and looked at self-publishing options and researched and worked and a year later… my book was still sitting on my computer doing no one… especially me… any good. It no longer felt like an accomplishment. It felt like a failure.

And I sat with that for a while. Gladly received my rejection letters, which were all the same ‘We love it but it’s not right for our publishing house right now.’ Or ‘We love it but wouldn’t be able to market it.’ I was not devastated. I was thrilled. I was getting feedback… my time would come.

But here’s the thing, at the year mark I started to wonder why was I waiting. This book is very relevant to the current social climate of the world. Why is it sitting on my computer helping no one? Being read by no one.

I began to look at self-publishing. Which is an awesome option but it turned out not for me. When I thought about publishing it myself it didn’t feel good. I didn’t want to have to pick the value of my work. I wanted the world to pick the value of my work.

And so I made the decision to publish it for free on my website as a PDF. With a donation button available for those that wanted to donate towards my continued work and life. But freely available to anyone who would want to read it.

I’d never sat down in the beginning and thought about all the money I could make from this project. Or even how cool it would be to see it as a published book in stores. I thought about writing it. People reading it. Laughing at it. Maybe even being helped by it. When I had moved that goal to what I could make from it I no longer felt inspired to write. I was no longer proud of my book.

But now I am. And I’ve even started a follow up book in the same style but on a more specialist topic.

I trust the world to provide the resources I need. And I genuinely believe that what I can do is provide back to the world. Maybe this book helps someone. Maybe they just have a laugh and a slightly better day. Maybe they hate it and I start getting trolled by strangers. All excellent options. Because I wrote it to be read. Not to be published. Not to make money. But to share my thoughts and funnies with the world.

So please, if you’re interested… read my book and tell me what you loved or hated about it. And if you find any major spelling mistakes or grammar errors, please let me know. This book, like myself, is still a work in progress!

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