Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Official Launch Of I Wrote This For You

The following words are arranged in order of importance. 


Firstly, take a moment to donate to the flooding in the Philippines

I get asked every day if I Wrote This For You is going to be available over there and the least I can do, considering the kindness that’s been shown to me, is draw some attention to the recent flooding. 


My publisher is giving away 50 free ebook copies of I Wrote This For You for review purposes to bloggers. All you have to do is tweet a request to her at @ireadiwrite (include the url of your blog.) 


Today, after writing the first sentence in a spiral-bound notebook by the side of my bed in 2006 (and the first sentence on the blog on the 5th of July, 2007), I Wrote This For You is officially being released as a book, although you’ve been able to pre-order it for a few days now and some people have even managed to get some advanced copies.  

Here are several questions that I haven’t answered over the years that have been emailed to me, asked in the comments section or simply questions that I believe should be asked. 

Who are you?


Who I am isn’t as important as the story I want to tell. I write the blog semi-anonymously and anyone with 5 minutes to spare on google could easily find out everything they’d ever want to know about the project or me. The rule is, I don’t have a name here. The name gets in the way of the story. 

Trent Reznor gets to be Nine Inch Nails when he’s on stage or recording an album. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta gets to be Lady Gaga. I get to be pleasefindthis or ‘Me’ here. 

Is the blog real? 

You’re here aren’t you? 

How do people react to the blog or you when they find out you write it? 

It’s mostly positive. I try not to be too much of a let down in real life. It’s very strange for me as I’m quite a closed person. I enjoy my privacy, which is a strange thing to say I guess considering I’ve spent the last few years publishing the most intimate details of my thought process online. 

There are people who have a kind of cynical “Ewww, gross! Emotions! Where’s your sense of detached irony?!” view on things but I feel sorry for those people more than anything. 

There’s a generation that have reached or are reaching adulthood right now that have been raised in an entirely different way to any other generation before it - and they look upon those of us who insist on viewing the world with that detached sense of irony or cynicism like we’re crazy. There’s a generation of people who aren’t ashamed of how they feel or expressing how they feel, is what I mean. I think that’s beautiful.

Why has it taken so long to turn the blog into a book? 

Because it’s complicated. It’s not a story about vampires or wizards or a spy thriller. It’s hardly even a story at times as much as it is an experience. Myself and Jon, the photographer, do what we enjoy first. We were pleasantly surprised when we discovered that people liked it and then mortified at the skepticism and confusion of the traditional publishing industry when we showed it to them. We had more followers/readers than all the authors in some publishing houses combined, and we still got form rejection letters from them. One of the few that did express interest asked if we could give it a slightly more ‘religious spin’. 

I’m not comfortable with pretending I’m writing on behalf of some deity. In fact, I published my real name next to the work for a while because people started treating me like a guru or Buddha figure. I am not that. I am human.  

Michelle at ireadiwrite, our publisher, is wonderful, the press is small and allows us a lot of creative control. We’re important to them, they’re important to us, and that’s a wonderful dynamic to have in a relationship. 

However, next time I’d like to do something simple. Do you have any idea how hard it is just to describe what I Wrote This For You is to someone who’s never heard of it? 

Why should anyone bother buying the book when everything’s available on the blog for free? 

The book is divided up into four sections; Sun, Moon, Stars, Rain – which is a tribute to Anyone Lived In A Pretty How Town by E.E. Cummings as it’s my favourite work of literature that revolves around pro-nouns. 

Those four different sections collect the posts into four distinct phases that describe, hopefully, the human condition. Sun is about looking for love or the potential for love. Moon is about the act of being in love. Stars is the loss of that love. Rain is about rediscovering hope in life, at the end of that cycle.  

The blog, on the other hand, jumps around. I can’t, for obvious reasons, write very often about the way I currently am or feel or it’d be like treating everyone in my life like they were on a reality TV program. 

So I write about events and relationships at random quite often, and jump around, referencing old love letters, things I said or that were said to me and so on. The book makes sense of this randomness and hopefully, puts it in some kind of order.  

There’s also several entries that only appear in the book, including an ending. I wrote the final entry, several minutes after I wrote the first one in 2006. You can’t write your first sentence, really, until you’ve written your last. 

Does that mean I Wrote This For You is over? 

No. But I will be taking a short break over Christmas and New Years just to recharge my batteries. I’d like to do more, such as a spoken word album or live readings where my readers are, doing that however all depends on the success of the book. 

In saying that, I think people forget that I have to do this over and above a very demanding day job, which right now, pays all the bills. We, like postsecret, don’t advertise on the blog, don’t do giveaways or run competitions on behalf of other people or sell text links or do product reviews, which seems to be the preferred way to make money from a blog these days. 

That’s because I, and I think I can speak for Jon here too, don’t want to succeed on anyone else’s terms but our own. 

Put it this way, I’d rather be dirt poor on my own terms than rich on someone else’s. 

Is the book available at a store near me? 

Probably not unless you ask them to order it for you, which I encourage you to do. I live on the tip of Africa, the photographer lives in Germany, our publisher is in Canada, our main readership resides either in the continental United States or Malaysia. Organising a global, store-front release that’d make everyone happy would be impossible so we’re focusing our energies online. 

So if you can order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or iTunes, we’ve got you covered. 

If you can’t, I feel your pain. iBooks isn’t even available in my country and Amazon delivers here with only varying degrees of success. We’re doing our best and working with our publisher to make sure it’s as widely available as possible. Hang in there. 

What else?

If you could spread the word about the book, paste the image below on your blog or tumblr, it would be sincerely appreciated. Our budget for all of this is exactly $0 and whatever money we do spend comes straight out of our own pockets at this point. 

You can catch an interview with me in Cosmopolitan (South Africa) in January and with Jon in Heso Magazine (Japan) in the next month or so. Any other journalists are welcome to contact us on pleasefindthis at gmail dot com. 

I’ll be answering any questions anyone has in the comments section below for at least the next 24 hours. 


Finally, thank you for reading. You have no idea how well-timed, anonymous or otherwise comments here have turned everything around completely at times. I occasionally find myself in dark places (shocking, I know) and you, yes you, just by choosing to spend time with my words have been the light that’s drawn me out of those places. 

I love you and can never fully repay you for that. 

Thank you, 



Anonymous said...

Iain, thank you for posting a donation link to my country. You're a good soul. Merry Christmas to you, and to Jon, too!

Anonymous said...

This blog has held a large part of my heart for 3 years. It has been, and will continue to be, my favorite piece of literature I have ever stumbled upon...thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Anonymous said...

Congrats for your book. I'm looking forward reading it. I hope it becomes available in print here in the Philippines or at least via Book Depository.

Kinjiki said...

thank you for posting a donation for my countrymen. kudos to your book launch and happy new year!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for a few years now and this has been the first time I will have commented. I am 16 year old girl from England and this blog has helped when I am in the darkest of places. I check it every single day without fail, in hope for another sentence that will keep me going until your next post. And for that I thank you, and I will be purchasing your book as soon as possible.

Thank you. Have a beautiful christmas.

Me said...

Thank you for your incredibly kind words <3

Anonymous said...

Were can we purchase in south africa?

Thank you for your amazing work

Aly said...

You, are in one word, 'beautiful'.
You, make me smile and cry all at the same time. Its the most wonderful feeling one can have.

I have found this, and will hang on to this till i am alive

Hope said...

Dear Me,

First of all, Congratulations.

I just want to say thank you for always being there, in my many moments of sadness and frustrations, I find comfort and solace in your writing.

I can feel the soul behind your every word, behind this blog.

Thank you for being you, for being a beautiful soul.

Me said...

You can get it in South Africa in the same way you can anywhere else fortunately/unfortunately.

You can order it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or iTunes (see the links on the side of the page). Alternatively, go to Exclusive Books and give them title or ISBN number (978-1-926760-68-1) and they'll be able to order it for you :)

Anonymous said...

Are you friends with any other South African writers, like JM Coetzee or something?

#MahWrites said...

I'm so happy to know it's finally coming together. I wrote this for you is a wonderful project and it gives us hope and things to think about and happiness.
I hope you keep writing for us. Cos we'll keep reading you.
Happy holidays. :)

nameless said...

This blog is a brilliant work of humility and art. Some words have struck a chord in me, some haven't yet but I know, each word you've chosen matters. I haven't a clue what to say besides, thank you, for being willing to share something so genuine and filled with emotion. Thank you, for being a constant, comforting person to visit. Thank you.

Me said...

I don't really hang out in South African literary, academic or, for that matter, poetic circles.

So no I don't know JM Coetzee.

The traditional writing establishment in South Africa is quite insular, doesn't seem to take kindly to anything that hasn't first been done overseas and seems to be very much about back scratching. I've never felt welcome in it (as far as I can tell, I'm looked at as some kind of oddity) and I'm more comfortable doing my own thing anyway.

S. Ruiz said...

I couldn't tell you what you mean to me.

All I can say is thank you.

LostandFound said...

Dear You,

Thank you for your open & courageous heart & your words, which have saved my sanity more than once.

I treasure my IWTFY book so much that it is on its way to my someone.

Love & Gratitude,


Anonymous said...

When I couldn't see the light your words were the ones what made me feel alive, loved and missed. The photographs were also small - important - details that I love dearly. I wish you and Jon all the best for your book. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

bea* said...

Thank you Iain for posting this :)
I've been reading your blog since 2008 and I know how hard it is to describe what is I Wrote This For You to someone who never heard of it or came across this website. I tried explaining it to some of my dearest friends and only bloggers like me seemed to care to open the links posted on my Facebook wall, but in the many many times I quoted a text from you; they seemed to like it so much, your words were very inspiring to me and them, I still enjoy reading your posts, and enjoy looking at Jon's photography which is by the way a work of art it self :)

The blog's feed says in my Google Reader that you have 4,688 subscribers, I feel that your work is still not appreciated as it should be, so am welling to help spread the love. I've already sent a request for the ebook, I'd love to write a review in Both English and Arabic language, anything for You :$

you know somehow I secretly wish nothing changes in this blog, or You for that matter but that's very selfish of me, because you've touch your readers' lives so it's only fair enough for you to change :)
I do believe you'll always touch and change lives :)

Wherever you go stay blessed, stay You :)

Anonymous said...

I read this last post and I just wanted to thank you for creating this blog and now the book as well. I discovered this a little over a year ago and ever since I have found your words to be poetic and artistic but more importantly there have been times when they have been an inspiration or have helped me to look at a situation differently. So thank you.

Udaya said...

Congratulations. I admire your writing greatly and often write your words down, but miss the accompanying photographs - like a movie story you hear from someone else. Do you deliver in India and if not, how can I buy your book. Do let me know in reply. Thanks again. For writing.

krissy ♥ said...

That is so wonderful! Congratulations! I am from the Philippines so reading the first few words struck me deeply. You are amazing. ♥

Anonymous said...

You move me.

Aba B. said...

I have been a fan for more than 2 years now. I really live your writing...heartfelt and so real. Thank you so much for helping out and posting the donation link to our country (Philippines). More power to you! Congratulations!! :)

tinabee said...

thank you for your post about the philippines. a happy christmas to you iain. :)

i have your book and it warms my heart. again, thank you.

Anonymous said...

To be able to touch a part of you, to hold you in my arms and know that you care and love and feel as much as I do, will be a great comfort. I eagerly await the arrival of my copy.

klara said...

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to hold I Wrote This For You in our hands...I asked my parents to give me the book for Christmas (I'm 16 so still partly a child, don't have a bank account and all that stuff yet...), so they pre-ordered it and it will probably take long but I don't care if I get it in a month or in a year as long as I get it ! :)

And though I know, like most of us here I guess, what your name is, and saw what you looked like in a video, heard what your voice sounded like, you're right that such things don't actually matter. A name, a face... if you're anonymous here, it's for a reason. What you write here comes directly from your soul and all I know is, that soul is a wonderful one. So thank you again for all the wise words, the reassuring words, the helping words, the thought-provoking words you've written here over the years. I wish you all the best in everything you do, and that life may be as kind to you as possible.


Anonymous said...

love to you, on this day, from me.

Felasta said...

I posted the picture on my tumblr at motion-of-the-stars.tumblr.com

Anything I can do to help you, and help spread your work is something I will do. No one knows just how much yours words have changed and shaped me, and no one knows how happy I am that your words will reach others through your new book.

ernicai said...

Been an avid reader of your blog since 07, I think. Thank you for posting the donation link. I hope your book does well :)

Kala Gamblin said...

I pinned a link to your blog/book to my "wish-list" on Pinterest dot com, for everyone to see. Hope it helps spread the word.

Happy Holidays to you :)

Anonymous said...

i memorized anyone lived in a pretty how town in 6th grade, and recited it to the class.
since then, its been my favorite poem of e.e.cummings.
now i want that book more than ever.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I love you. I always have. Thank you for giving me an ounce of hope every week, for your words that make me pick myself off the floor time and time again. I wish you nothing but the best with your endeavor. Amazon doesn't ship to my country either, but look forward to one day holding your book in my hands...even if that day is years from now. Thank you.

-a poet in love.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been following this blog for very long, only around a year or so, but I have fallen in love with your words. Every time I read them I am overwhelmed with such great feeling it's indescribable. Like the feeling I'm feeling doesn't have a name for it yet. As if I'm feeling something that is unknown or doesn't exist. I can only describe it to you with other descriptive words but they don't do it justice. I don't know what this feeling is but I love the way it makes me feel...

I'm not alone in this world when I read your words...

I believe your words are words of the human soul. That each person carry's them inside but rarely ever get to discover. You however know them. these words come pouring out of you effortlessly. You have been given this wonderful gift to speak these words and I am so grateful that you didn't keep them to yourself, that you shared them with us. These words are words that people need to hear. they help us all so much in their own special way and I could never thank you enough.


This person said...

I haven't been reading this blog as long as others, though I know I've been visiting this place for over a year. And through reading the comments on this post, I now know your name is Lain (which is a beautiful name, in my opinion).

I cannot wait to buy your book.

You continue to inspire me to be a better person. Thank you for everything.

Though this is early, Merry Christmas! :) And a Happy New Year, too.

lilixtears said...

Thank you for giving out the donation link to my country :)

Anonymous said...

You are amazing. Your words have helped my best friend and I through some very dark times. The world is a tough place for fragile-hearted little girls.

blue said...

how did you become so full of love? that is what i want in my life. i'm off to a good start, but there are times i small my heart, draw inward, fade to dark.

perhaps i'm in the minority, but it's the how of life that i haven't figured out so well yet. i continue to try. i feel tremendous gratitude whenever i someone else shows me a missing "how". (eg: how to forgive. how to love when its uncomfortable. how to keep going on days when my brain chemistry or some such thing has thrown my spirit under the bus).

i just discovered you just last week. i have ordered the paper copy of your book and can't wait for it to arrive. i may just buy two hundred frames and hang the pages all over my walls. surround myself with beauty.

i am blue. i live on the edge of a salty lake. and i love you, too. for why in heaven would i not? ❤