Local graduate writes what he loves

by Andrew Keyser

When Tyler Tullis was a 15-year-old working on a school project, he never imagined in less than 10 years he would be publishing his fifth novel.

Tyler Tullis is a local author, and graduate from Gonzaga University who is invested in writing his own science fiction novels.

“I love science fiction because it accentuates humanity and it is hopeful,” Tullis said.

Getting Started

Tullis began writing at the age of 16 in 2004 while still in high school.  His teacher assigned a project where each student would create his or her own fantasy land.  Shortly after, Tullis became sick and was stuck inside for a week.

“I started working on it out of boredom,” Tullis said.

He soon had written 40 pages and decided he would keep writing and make it into a book.  Initially everything had been named after him, the main city, characters, even the names of weapons.  Soon though Tullis renamed everything.

Later that year, Tullis had written his first book.

Looking back, Tullis admits the book was not the best story out there.

“One word to describe it would be derivative,” Tullis said.

Tullis decided he would try to publish his book, and sent query letters to hundreds of publishers and agents.  After getting all negative feedback, he decided he would publish it himself.

Tullis first thought of a vanity press, where a writer fronts the money for the publishing, distribution and publicity, and receives some of the royalties from sales.  This process is usually costly and doesn’t often bring good results.

After looking at other options, Tullis decided to self-publish.  He found Authorhouse, a self-publishing company that gives rights to the authors.  Tullis liked Authorhouse because he keeps the rights to all his books, yet they are registered with the Library of Congress and have their own ISBN.

Through this process, Tullis has enjoyed watching where his books sell.  There are a number of sales in Washington, but also in Nashville, Tenn. and Liverpool, England.

A Passion for Writing

Tullis focuses on how he can improve with each new book.

“You really can’t make money in indie publishing,” Tullis said.  “Each time I write a book, I see myself getting that much better.”

To distribute his novels, Tullis usually orders a bulk number of his books and sells them through book signings and other events.

For artists, inspiration can strike anywhere.

“Every time I’ve thought of a book, it has been in the shower or on the ski lift,” Tullis said.

Once the inspiration has hit, Tullis begins his writing process.  He first comes up with some core concept for the story then decides what a good beginning would be.  He then writes a brief one to two page summary of the book.

“Once I have that blueprint I can start,” Tullis said.

After that point Tullis maps out his characters and writes a 10 page master summary of the book.  From there it is just a matter of summarizing each chapter and filling in the blanks.

“It’s so easy to write a book,” Tullis said. “Characters are ultimately a reflection of yourself, you know how you would react so you know how your characters will react.”

Since Tullis has started working a separate job, it usually takes him between three and four months to write a book.  But sometimes it comes quicker.

“If I could write non-stop, I could write a book in two months,” Tullis said.

Once the book is finished he sends it to friends, colleagues and professors to edit for content and grammar.  This process usually takes about twice as long as the actual writing of the book.  From there Tullis just has to send it to Authorhouse and begin promotions.

Magnum Opus

Ever since Tullis was a senior in high school he has considered writing a grand space opera.  This is a series of science fiction novels that take place in outer space.

Tullis’ space opera will one day be called “Amalgamation.” Tullis is wating to start writing until  he knows his writing is adequate; he wants to do the story justice.  Tullis hopes to start writing “Amalgamation” later this year.

Before embarking on his writing of “Amalgamation,” Tullis wanted to improve his writing skill.  Instead he decided to write his successful series “Sophie.”  “Sophie” is set in the same universe as Amalgamation, but is a different story line.

As Tullis started writing “Sophie” he realized the story couldn’t be contained in one volume so it turned into a trilogy.  The first book was published in February 2010 during Tullis’ senior year at Gonzaga University.  The second book will be published this summer and the third book hopefully by Christmas.

“Sophie” is the story of Ethan Collins, a student at University of Oregon, who one day finds a space pod after a meteor crashes into the earth.  Inside the pod is a woman with amnesia.  Ethan takes her home and nurses her back to health.  He calls her Sophie.  Slowly she regains some memory, just in time to stop an impending threat.  “Sophie” focuses heavily on the meaning of identify and where it can be found, Tullis said.

All Tullis’ work can be purchased through Amazon.com as both print or eBooks, through Authorhouse on a print-on-demand basis, or directly through Tullis.

Tullis says to check out the “Sophie” trilogy.

“I can recommend it to so many different people, because it is so many different things,” Tullis said. “I will always be writing because it is my favorite thing to do.”

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