Today on the blog I’m delighted to be talking to author Ryan Tomlin. Now, if you’re out and about in Leeds, you might have seen him promoting his book
Definitely a novel (sorry) approach to book marketing! I dropped Ryan an email and he kindly agreed to take part in a Q&A here on the blog.
1. Thanks for agreeing to this Q&A. Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. How did you come to write a book?
I’m Ryan, I’m from Nottingham and I’m 21-years-old. I moved to Leeds almost three years ago now to do my degree – I studied Filmmaking at Leeds Beckett – and last week I finally finished it. I’ve always been a huge fan of movies. I love the escapism you get when watching a film, like nothing else exists but what’s on screen, and I found it fascinating how much I cared about the characters and settings, even though I knew none of them were real. I guess I wanted to create a story of my own, to make something that other people can get drawn into and care about, and another world I can escape to myself. The first book I ever wrote (which I haven’t let anyone read) was about a teenage spy/computer hacker. I’m a big fan of spy films like James Bond and Jason Bourne, and thought it would be cool to make my own version of that, but with a younger, cooler character.
2. What’s the book about?
The book I’m promoting at the moment is called “The Transition” and is a sci-fi, dystopian story about an alternate society where children are raised separately from adults, in order to form their own beliefs and identities. They’re raised in a facility until their late teens, and on their eighteenth birthday they meet their parents for the first time.
3. What drew you to the genre?
I’d read books like The Maze Runner, and also seen various films like The Hunger Games and The Island. I liked the mixture between slick, futuristic technology and bare, rustic environments, and thought creating an alternate society would also be something cool and exciting to explore.
4. Did you always know you would self-publish, instead of seek a traditional contract?
I’d written five books before this one and sent all of them to various publishers, all of which got rejected. After writing this book, I believed in it so much that I didn’t want to send it off just to get rejected again, I wanted to share it with the world and show people what I’d made, so I self-published and went about marketing it myself.
5. Do you proofread / edit your own books or hire someone? Do you do your own covers?
I occasionally get friends and family to look over my work to check for grammatical errors, but the vast majority of the proofreading is done by myself. All the editing I do myself too, which is something I’m very proud of! I design my own covers as well – the artwork for this one is actually something I found online. I contacted that artists and he let me use it for the cover.
6. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone promote their book like this! How successful would you rate your marketing techniques? What’s the response been like from the public? What types of people have come forward or spoken to you about your book?
So far the success has been a mix. Some days I go out for 3-4 hours and don’t sell a single copy whereas other days I can sell up to 5 or 6, which is a good day for me! I was featured on a few Facebook pages last year too such as Humans of Leeds and LeedsFace which helped – the days I got featured on those pages are the most sales I’ve ever had. The response from the public is fantastic, whether people choose to buy the book or not, I have loads of encouragement every time I go out. I meet a lot of other writers too, I feel like a lot of them can relate to me in the struggle of trying to get somewhere in the industry. It’s refreshing to see other people in the same situation as me; just trying to make it (and it reminds me that I’m not alone!)
7. Who would you say are your favourite authors? Any literary heroes?
My favourite author of all time is Anthony Horowitz. I don’t often tell people, but I used to absolutely hate reading as a kid, I thought it was boring. But one day in the library I picked up an Anthony Horowitz book and, as soon as I had started reading it, I couldn’t stop. I realised it wasn’t reading I hated, but rather the books I had been reading. I’ve read about 20 of his books so far and they’ve all been fantastic.
8. I love your sign – hoping to be the next J.K. Rowling – if you could ask her one question, what would it be?
I’d like to think I’d ask her something deep and mystical about writing, but in all honesty I’d probably ask her what her favourite book is and why. It would be great to know what inspired someone who’s so inspiring themselves!
Thanks Ryan, and good luck with the book! If you do become as famous as JK Rowling, don’t forget us!