Learning new skills, like writing a novel, learning how to self-publish it and how to market it can be a bit daunting. But many authors, who have learned how to do it, have decided to help other new writers on their path.
One of these authors is Bethany Atazadeh. She is the author of several novels, including Evalene’s Number and Pearl’s Number from the Number Series as well as The Stolen Kingdom Series. To help new authors, she also co-wrote, together with Mandi Lynn, five books on book marketing. These books are very helpful to any new author, especially to self-published authors who want to learn how to market their books.
Bethany’s help to new authors extends to her YouTube channel, where she regularly posts videos with advice on writing, publishing and marketing. Moreover, Bethany also offers guidance via her Patreon page, where she goes deeper into all these details.
When I decided to write my first novel, I started only with an idea of the book I wanted to write. Bethany’s materials on YouTube and Patreon have offered me the basic understanding of what I need to do with respect to every aspect of the book writing, publishing and marketing. She is very engaged with her community and here she answers some questions about her publishing path, her books, and she gives some advice to new authors.
Q&A with Bethany Atazadeh
How did you decide to become a writer? What was the trigger?
It’s hard to say if there was any one moment… I grew up enjoying writing things and was a writing major in college, but NaNoWriMo 2016 was the first time I really started taking novel writing seriously. It was honestly a very gradual development.
What do you love most about writing novels?
Drafting is my favorite part. There’s something so freeing about the first draft, that you know no one will ever see. I love that creativity and not worrying what people will think (that part comes later)!
What was your biggest challenge in writing your first novel and how did you overcome it?
I truly didn’t understand how to write a novel–the sentence structure, creating characters, dialogue, world-building, any of it. Like I said, I was a writing major in college (English with a Creative Writing Emphasis technically), and so I first took a shot at novel writing for my senior project. But my professor didn’t know anything about novel writing, so it was a shot in the dark and completely discouraging. She preferred poetry and autobiography, so her disinterest in my work led to me dropping the novel for almost ten years.
How did you come up with the numbering system for Evelene’s Number?
During college and the following ten years, I worked in the hospital system in varying roles. The hospital differentiated those roles through the colors of our uniform and when I forgot my brown scrubs one day and had to borrow light blue surgery scrubs to work, I was treated so much better. The difference in respect reminded me of the caste systems in India, which led to picturing a culture where everyone had a literal number defining them, and that’s was what first got me truly excited about writing the story.
What inspired you to write The Stolen Kingdom?
I was more technical with TSK. I knew I wanted to write fantasy, but I wasn’t sure what. One day my hubby (who is from Iran) was making fun of Disney (as he likes to do), and told me that Genie is actually “Jinni” which is a Persian word for “devil.” Being the researcher that I am, I decided to look it up and found them described as a “supernatural creature who could be either good or evil” which made me think of angels and demons, and the idea of an Aladdin retelling with Jinni spiraled from there.
Which one of your novels is your favorite and why?
The Stolen Kingdom. (1) Because I can see how much I’ve grown as a writer since I first began and feel like this is where I truly began to understand novel writing and (2) I just love the story so much, writing fantasy is SO fun!
If you could be any character from one of your novels for one day, which one would you choose to be and why?
Hmm, I think it’d be fun to be Arie. Even though she’s afraid of being revealed with a Jinni’s Gift, it’d still be fun to be a princess who can read minds for a day. 🙂
Can you tell us something about your upcoming novel(s)?
The Cursed Hunter is up next. It’s the third novel in The Stolen Kingdom series, although it can also be read as a standalone because it is a companion novel, telling the story of a separate character in another part of the world during Arie and Rena’s stories. It will be novella length, and is a retelling of my favorite fairytale of all time, Beauty and the Beast.
From all the novels you’ve read, which is one that you enjoyed so much that you could read several times?
The book I’ve read the most in my life (at least four times now) is called Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It’s set in the gold rush era in America about a young girl who’s been taken advantage of in life and has lost hope… I won’t say any more because spoilers, but it will always be my favorite book.
After writing and publishing five novels, you have a different experience and insight into the world of indie publishing than you did when you first started. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to Bethany as she started writing her first novel?
I do! Hmm, I’d say pick up Save the Cat Writes a Novel and learn how to structure your story!! Lol, learning the art of storytelling, specifically in novel format, would’ve saved me so much time. Any book on craft really would’ve been wise.
What would be your first advice for new authors who want to take the path of indie publishing with respect to marketing their books?
When it comes to publishing/marketing a book, I’d say you can’t do it all. People will try to convince you to market your book a million different ways, but you’re only one person and if you try to do everything, you’ll fail at everything. Better to become a master at a limited number of things. Pick one to three things to focus on at a time, and master them before moving on. This will make you so much more successful at everything you choose to do.