Can Something be Free AND Valuable?

A friend of mine told me a story about someone trying to get rid of a refrigerator. They put it out by the curb with a sign that read: FREE Working Fridge. It sat untouched for weeks. Then, they decided to try to sell it. The sign changed to: USED REFRIGERATOR $100. That day, they got two inquiries and lined up a buyer. That night, someone stole it.

No one wanted the free refrigerator. But people wanted to buy and even steal the one that was priced at $100. And I have to be honest here, I don’t know if this story was a folk tale or if the fridge was exactly $100– I had three kids in three years. My memory ain’t what it used to be, but bear with me. I have a point.

I don’t want to sell my book for a profit. That’s the truth. 

The conundrum: we are conditioned to assign value to items based on their price tag.

If I don’t charge more for the book than it costs me to publish, will anyone think my work is even worth reading?

I wrote that book through the most difficult time of my life. I didn’t write it because of what was happening around me. In fact, when I first started writing I was in a blissful state of ignorance, having no idea of the category 5 storm coming my way.

Before my world fell apart, I had lived and learned through plenty of hardships. I thought I was qualified to write a self-help book. Then, I lived through more heartache and struggle than I was prepared for. The details are personal and I am not at liberty to share, as it affects my whole family, but suffice it to say, it leveled me. My life, as I knew it, burned to the ground.

I was reduced to nothing.

Nothing meant me staying in bed, crying and playing candy crush while my kids ran wild. (Don’t worry, all their basic needs were met, but the TV raised them for a couple weeks)

Nothing looked like existing off Star Crunch and Lays potato chips for days on end.

Nothing was me begging and pleading to wake from this nightmare called my life.

And in the nothing, I realized I was being healed. The 30+ years of armor I accumulated in order to survive had been destroyed. And eventually, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, I was reborn. I feel like in general, that is an overly dramatic analogy, but I truly don’t know how else to explain my transformation.

Life as I knew it had to die in order for me to live the life I was meant to live.

I wrote this book over 15 months, and during that time, I experienced a paradigm shift in the way I viewed myself, my relationships, the divine- everything. EVERYTHING in my life changed through the writing of this book.

I am so proud of my book. I am confident people will benefit from this work. I am not saying others will experience the transformation I did. Everything has to line up for a self-help book to make an impact.

Allow me to use a gardening analogy.

If you want a garden, you first need to prep the soil. My words might help prep someone’s soil. It won’t make much of a difference, and in fact, they might not like the book that much. If the hardened mud could feel, I doubt it would like the tiller.

Next you have to plant the seed. When you plant a seed, it is not exciting. Brené Brown planted a seed for me in 2016, and at the time, I didn’t feel she had that much of an impact on me. Little did I know, the seed she planted helped me cope when my life fell apart a year later. I might just be a seed for some.

Then comes the waiting and watering. Plants need water, sun and nutrients. My book could be the water for a seedling. I might just be the bit of sunlight they need for that day and nothing more.

Eventually, the seed springs forth out of the ground into a plant.

And those of us who share our hard earned wisdom with the hope of helping others might get the privilege of being the one who helps sprout the seedling. I would be honored to be that person for someone. The best feedback I could ever get from someone would be “You changed my life.” The truth is, people who came before the “self-help expert” are the ones who did the labor, and the real truth is, you are the one who changes your life. I hope to be a guide. I hope to be a seed planter, waterer or sprouter (okay, i have no idea if any of those are actual words, but hopefully you know what I mean).

And look, lest you think I’m some sort of arrogant ass who is certain my work will help others, some people might think my book sucks. I might not be a till, a seed, water or anything for certain people. Some might think my stories, my truths, my insight is worthless. That’s okay. The worst case, I wasted someone’s time. It happens. I’d at least like to not waste people’s money.

I want to give my book to anyone who wants it. Free as a PDF download, and at my cost for a hard copy.

I don’t want to market myself. I don’t want to put money into selling my book. I don’t mind putting in the time, because I want people to read my words. But I don’t want my book to earn me an income.

I just want to help people. I want my battle scars to act as breadcrumbs for those navigating the forest of brokenness. I’m not a therapist. Or a life coach. Or a guru. I am just a person who lived and lost and loved and learned. I know what pain is. I am fluent in negative self-talk. I spent most of my life either anxious or depressed, sometimes both at the same time. I hurt those I loved the most. I didn’t know what love really was. I hated me.

And I kept a journal of my life. I chronicled my feelings. I took note of all the progress I made. I finally feel like I’m out on the other side. I have moments where I find myself back in the forest, but for the most part, I know where I am and how to get out.

All I want to do is share my wisdom. I need to, in order to give a purpose to my pain.

Can I go against every advertising expert out there? Can I get my work to those who need it without a marketing machine behind me? I hope so. Because I can only release my work into the world in the way that feels authentic and real to me.

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