Tracey Rolfe: My Self-Publishing Journey

A guest post by Tracey Rolfe

When I wrote my first book what I knew and understood about the publishing world you could write on the back of a postage stamp. The following is a not very subtle breakdown of my frustrating experience:  (1) print and collate three chapters of my manuscript with covering letter; (2) send manuscript to an agent; (3) wait with bated breath; (4) manuscript is returned; (5) exhale at length and bang fists on table.

I have a wonderful collection of rejections which I keep to remind myself of the bad times; a personal diary of my roller coaster journey of soul-destroying rejection and disappointment. I consoled myself knowing that there were thousands of authors out there, just like me, waiting nervously for the golden seal of approval.

But that is all in the past.

Since deciding to self-publish my books, everything has changed. Six years down the long winding road, my story is one of growing success born of hard work, sheer determination and self-belief.


My children’s books, The White Witch of Spiton and the Serpent of Anata, The White Witch of Spiton and the Book of Dreams, The White Witch of Spiton and the Stones of Destiny and The White Witch of Spiton and the Goddess of the Moon, for the 9-12 age group, are now available to buy from worldwide websites, at local bookshops, and off-the-shelf at Waterstones book shops, here in the UK and Ireland.

From my own personal experience I can confirm that the self-publishing process isn’t an easy one; partly due to the stress of having to learn as you go along and cover the expense of an editor, proofreader, cover designer and the printing costs for each book. Hence why most days I felt downright miserable, isolated and broke with only a meagre amount of cash in my pocket to market my latest releases.

Interestingly enough, most of the authors I met whilst promoting my own work  – who had been published by ‘mainstream’ publishing houses – clearly hadn’t accomplished their lifelong dream of prosperity, or admirable public recognition, unless they were so-called ‘celebrity’ authors, churning out ghostwritten autobiographies, often at the pinnacle of a very young career.

A few mainstream published authors, friends I know personally, still have full-time jobs just to fund their writing careers. And this made me question, at great length, whether an indie author’s struggle is in fact any different?

Nowadays, the path to success for an indie author is much simpler, thanks to the World  Wide Web, and the ability to reach a mass market through popular social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook. Then there are Kindle sites, Amazon’s KDP, and CreateSpace, (where authors have the possibility of earning up to 70% royalties).

To my delight, I discovered that there are many well-known writers now on the bestseller lists who kicked off successful careers by initially self-publishing. Proof that true talent always shines through in the end.

Therefore, my personal advice to aspiring writers of all ages is, before putting yourself through the painful, and often demoralising, process of endless rejection, to grab the sturdy reins of  that ‘creative chariot’ and steer it in the direction that YOU wish to travel? Because, although the journey of an indie author is at times terribly frustrating and a bumpy ride, it is also a magnificent, empowering experience.

And, if through hard effort, you finally manage to create a platform high enough for the whole world to see, you will, without doubt, achieve that golden seal of recognition.

You can visit Tracey’s website here..

©Tracey Rolfe 2014