Lilly Mirren, a USA Today bestselling author, always dreamed of being a writer but never believed that she had what it takes to write fiction.
For years, Lilly had a successful career in IT and the only writing she did was business and strategy reports. However, in 2015 everything changed. Upon presenting a report for an executive within a communication consultancy, Lilly was told she was the best writer in a company filled with professional communicators. Something finally clicked.
As a mother-of-three, when Lilly’s eldest daughter returned home from school with a story detailing her day, Lilly suggested they put pen to paper. Inspired to take it further, she looked into illustrating the story and in the process discovered the world of self-publishing.
“I started listening to podcasts about self-publishing,” she explains. “I also joined various online groups where I found out that others were making a great living via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP.)”
KDP is Amazon’s self-publishing service which enables authors to have complete control over the publishing process, allowing them to self-publish in both print and digital formats. Authors that publish through KDP retain their copyright and can get to market fast, distribute globally and earn royalties of up to 70%.
It wasn’t the easiest of transitions for Lilly. As a busy, working mother, when she announced her plans to become an author she was met with a lot of “you’re crazy” comments.
“But I was very determined,” she says.
Four years ago, she decided to finally dip her toe in the water. Lilly wrote a short story, published it to KDP under a pen name, and started connecting with readers immediately.
It was after she published her third novella that the writer was invited to join a group of fellow self-publishing authors to contribute to their multi-author series, with each writing one book and publishing simultaneously. The series took off! Without any major promotion or advertising, the books became number one bestsellers in their category in the USA.
“I really started to believe in myself, and see that this is a viable career option,” she says.
Last year, Lilly embraced a new pen name and turned to write what she most likes to read: contemporary and historical fiction with a literary bent. It was also important for her to base her stories in Australia. In August she released the first of her Waratah Inn series and received immediate positive reader interest.
“This was such a big step,” explains Lilly, of a series that has now sold over 200,000 copies worldwide. “The reviews I received from readers were so encouraging.”
It is thanks to KDP that Lilly is able to reach readers around the world. “It amazes me that — thanks to the global reach of KDP — I can sit in my home in Brisbane and reach readers around the world.”
Of course, a readership is well and good, but earning a crust matters in order to afford to keep going. This is no problem for Lilly. Within six months of publishing her first novella she had replaced her part-time income as an IT professional and, by the end of that first year, she was able to quit her job completely to devote herself to writing full-time.
“I’ve always loved telling stories; they are such a great way to communicate, to develop empathy and compassion, and to understand people who are different, who live in faraway places,” details Lilly. “Being an author, creating entire worlds and letting my readers live there for a while, is an absolute dream come true.”
Lilly is one of thousands of Australian writers who are self-publishing via Kindle Direct Publishing. To find a new book to dive into visit Amazon.com.au. If you are interested in self-publishing please visit https://kdp.amazon.com