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#122 Alexandra Franzen

122 Headshot Franzen.jpg

When Alexandra Franzen first wrote her novel, So This is the End, she wasn't ready to publish it with the wide world.

She released it as a gift - a free download she gave to her mailing list. She was terrified it really wasn't that good.

A torrent of replies came in, sharing how much the book had moved them. She got braver and put it up for sale on her site. Then, over a year later, she thought it might be ok to think about publishing it wide.

Here is the story of how her book went from something that could have hidden in a drawer forever to a book that's been optioned for a series and is coming out in hardcover. If you ever doubt the importance of trying, this is your episode. Warning: you may write like the wind without holding back after listening to this. I know I did.

Discussed in Episode 122 with Alex Franzen:

  • “You’re allowed to start small and get bigger. Your book is allowed to grow with you.”
    Caroline on different modes of publishing

  • “Every creative project has it’s own destiny.”
    On the journey each book takes

  • “Writing a full length novel is different, a journey I wasn’t comfortable with.”
    On the differences between fiction and non-fiction

  • “When you love book, you want your writing to reach that coined standard of excellence.”
    On comparing your own writing to the books that you love

  • “It’s amazing by what we think we have to lose by sharing a piece of creative work.”
    Caroline on insecurities of writing 

  • “Usually the worst case scenario that we fear does not actually happen.”
    On letting go of the “what ifs”

  • “When you find courage to put something out into the world…you never know what the ripple effect will be.”
    On taking the steps to complete a project

  • “You can absolutely choose different paths for different projects.”
    On fluidity among projects

  • “At various points in our journey, it’s okay to be secretive and private.”
    On not always needing to share your work

  • “Trying is ALWAYS worth it.” On how a CPR class changed Alex’s view on going for her goals

  • If you had 24 hours to live, what would you do with your time?

  • Initially released the book self-published on Gumroad and to her mailing list.

  • ”Every book, every creative project really, has its own destiny.”
    On not knowing the final outcome of your projects. 

  • ”I was worried that maybe it sucked.”
    You are not alone in this fear.

  • Fiction writing is new terrain for her. Less confident.

  • Reception from mailing list was positive, so she got more confident in sharing it more widely. 

  • Novel is now optioned for TV. 

  • ”This is it. This is your life.”

  • ”I‘m going to be a little more brave.”
    Deciding to share the book as widely as possible.

  • ”I sat and picked away at the email for like three hours before I sent it.”

  • ”Everyone has anxieties and insecurities & doubt.”
    It never goes away. 

  • ”You want your writing to reach that same standard of excellence.’
    Writing fiction can be daunting. 

  •  “Is this real fiction?”
    On comparing your own work to your favorite works of fiction. 

  • ”Our brains just go buck wild.”
    On fears & insecurities about our creative work.

  • Danielle Cohen, photographer

  • ”You just never know what the ripple effect is going to be.”
    On sharing your work, even on a small scale. 

  • ”First you have to drop that stone in the lake.”
    On sharing your work.

  • ”You have to just make the thing.”

  • ”Do whatever is going to move this project forward.”
    On the debate between self-publishing & traditional publishing. 

  • ”There‘s no one path for getting a book out into the world.”

  • ”What is the big monster?”
    On identifying your real fears.

  • ”It‘s okay to have your little cave.”
    On the fact that not every project needs to be shared. 

  • ”Trying is always worth it.”

  • ”Just by trying you‘re going to be an inspiration to everyone around you.”
    On just doing it.

    This episode sponsored by listeners like you via the Secret Library Podcast Patreon