When Being Published Becomes Heartbreak

„What?“, I can almost hear you think, „when being published becomes heartbreak? Are you crazy? Whatever you’ve taken, it can’t be good.“
I have taken nothing. But yes, it’s not good. And I know it sounds absurd. But here are the facts:

Heike FrankeI’m an unknown writer with a literary agent who has to quit her job for personal reasons.

I have written a love story called „Eine Liebe in der Bourgogne“, set mostly in Burgundy, France, which tells you a lot about wine apart from how two people decide to be together despite a hell of a lot of problems.

My publishing house Aufbau Verlag is well known and respected.

So far the only time I’ve seen my book in a bookstore was when I was doing a reading and Q&A.

On Amazon I have many good reviews (4.5 stars out of 5) posted by people I don’t know. Some book bloggers have reviewed my novel AND liked it.

I made it onto the longlist for the DELIA Literaturpreis 2016, one of 15 chosen from more than 200 novels.

The book does not sell.


This is not really heartbreak you think?

Heike FrankeEven as a kid I was a storyteller. I never wanted to be something else, and I have worked to become a published writer for countless years. I never thought success would come easy after being out on the shelves. I never expected that many good reviews. But what I really wasn’t prepared for was that all those reviews, all my tweeting, facebooking, calling bookstores for possibilites to read, that all the energy and work I put into marketing would amount to NOTHING.

Right now I am not sure if it isn’t worse to be published but completely ignored than to never succeed in finding a publisher at all.

And to be honest, I am heartbroken to the extent that I have no idea how I should find the strength to fight on. I’m so devastated that I say it loud and clear, that I don’t care anymore what anyone of you out there is thinking. I don’t mind if all the know-it-alls, the ones who told me you-will-never-make-it all of my life have the biggest laugh now. Go on, dance, say „I told you so“ right into my face with this smile that can’t hide how happy you are to see me crawling on the ground.


I don’t care anymore because my heart is already broken. Because I am already bleeding out.

Thalia4Because a storyteller, a writer is all I ever wanted to be. All I know to be. It is me, my identity. But now it seems I’ve nothing left but my ambition, and this is not enough. Fate didn’t hand me that little bit of luck you need on top. And I have not only run out of ideas.

I’ve run out of breath, too. Out of confidence. Out of hope. I’ve run out of everything that kept me going over all the broken glass until now.

Who am I if not a writer? How I am supposed to live with this?

I don’t know what to do now. I don’t know how to get a grip back on myself. How to get my life back, my identity, ME.

My bags are packed. I’m going to the one place where you can’t escape your life’s truths: the desert. Maybe I’ll be able to regroup and come back, go back to writing, try to find a new agent, sell the next book to a new publisher. Maybe. Maybe not. But for now…

So long, my friends…


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