Author Interview - Bethany Atazadeh
Hello, there! In this week's installment of the Author Interview Series, I chatted with Bethany Atazadeh about her writing habits and self-published books. Check out what she had to say below!
1) Describe your most recently published book and/or your current work in progress.
I just released Pearl’s Number, which is the sequel to Evalene’s Number, a YA dystopian duology. But honestly, I’m so pumped up right now about my new fantasy series which is a series of retellings all set in the same world. The first one is an Aladdin retelling, the second is a Little Mermaid retelling (which I just finished drafting!), and the other two are still to be revealed.
2) Which do you prefer: self-publishing or traditional publishing? What factors made you choose one over the other?
I’m all about the self-publishing life right now. Even though I love the fact that traditional publishing gives you more credibility and a team to help you, honestly, I love being in control of my books and know that I can develop a reader base and put my books out on my own too. They’re both legitimate paths for writers. But I love the fact that I get to choose the covers for my books, choose my editor, choose what makes it into the final copy, choose how to market and when and how much…you get the idea.
3) Are there any books, movies, music, etc. that influenced your writing?
Hmm, I think The Hunger Games was the reason I entered the publishing world with a dystopian series. But I’ve been told my world is so vastly different that it doesn’t really compare. For my series of retellings, I think I originally got the idea from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, which are also a series of retellings. That’s about where the comparison ends though, since mine are in a much different fantasy world versus her Sci-Fi world, and I’m giving first-person POV’s a try instead of third-person like hers.
4) Which is your favorite genre(s) to write in? Which genre have you never written in but would love to try someday?
100% fantasy. I’m proud of my Sci-Fi dystopian, but fantasy is SO much fun! I don’t know if I’d ever be good at it, but I love reading historical romance type books, so maybe I would consider that someday.
5) Do you prefer reading on an e-reader or actual books? Which do you think is better from a publishing point of view?
I need a physical book. Ebooks are so difficult for me to focus on (no idea why…). But as far as publishing, I love when people purchase Ebooks over paperback because the royalties are often twice as much.
6) How has the online writing community affected your writing career?
The writing community is so encouraging and also amazing for accountability. If I post that I want to do something (ex: publish FOUR books in 2019), then I now have an incredible group of people who are both cheering me on and waiting for me to come through on what I promised. It’s extremely motivating and encouraging. <3
7) Describe your typical writing routine.
I don’t have one… lol. I should! But basically, each day is a struggle to get myself to just start. I’ll do a little social media, a little cleaning, a lot of procrastinating, etc…and then eventually, just start.
8) What is your ultimate goal in terms of writing?
Oooh Marlow, you ask the tough questions haha! But so good… I don’t know about ultimate because that’d be something crazy like The New York Times Best Seller List, which I have no control over. But right now I love the picture of sitting down to write a brand new story with 20 published books under my belt, having found a balance and just enjoying the process of telling a story for readers who love my work.
9) What has been your biggest writing struggle? What is your greatest strength?
Editing. Haha, editing is a beast, and I never feel like it’s truly done. Also character development, which is the main thing I have to do during editing. I could go on, but I already cheated. As far as strengths, I’ve been told I’m good at world-building. I still think I have a long way to go, but that part definitely comes easier to me than characters.
10) Is there anything about the publishing world that has been very difficult? Has anything been easier than you expected? If you aren’t published yet, what do you anticipate being easy or difficult?
Lots of things are surprisingly difficult. Formatting sucks. Dealing with missed deadlines, whether by myself or others. Being let down if a book doesn’t do as well as you’d hoped. But the hardest thing I’d say is the pressure to “do it all.” I like to learn, but everywhere I go I feel like I’m told, “this is the ONLY way to succeed, you must do THIS THING.” And obviously, we can’t do it all. So the hardest thing for me is the simultaneous feeling of “not doing enough” mixed with being completely burnt out because I’m doing too much. Something I’m still working on. My favorite advice for that, by the way, is to pick just three things to focus on and ignore the rest.
11) What is your favorite way to market your book and yourself as an author?
Hmm, I love marketing. I really enjoyed sending ARCs (advance reader copies) to bookstagrammers and seeing their excitement. Thinking about doing another bookstagram tour soon actually…
12) Have you taken any writing classes? If yes, would you recommend them? If no, do you want to?
Yep! I was a creative writing major in college. I took more writing classes than I ever want to lol. I think I wouldn’t [recommend them] honestly. I know that might get me some hate, but why pay for something you can get for free?!
1) Buy writing craft books like the new Save the Cat Writes a Novel (which is AMAZING by the way).
2) Read as many books in your genre as you can; that’s one of the best teachers.
3) Find writing friends and mentors who are willing to read your work and give you advice for free. These three things combined will help you more than any writing class in my opinion. Not to mention all the amazing free YouTube videos, forums, etc. that are out there as well.
13) Is writing your full-time job? If yes, what was your last profession? If no, do you want it to be and what do you do now?
It is and it isn’t. I was laid off from doing administrative work and began full-time writing then, but I also do a lot of other part-time things that I won’t go into that make more money than writing does. Writing is NOT a high-paying career! It could be, eventually, with a lot of work and a lot more books published, but I do not write for the money and it definitely doesn’t pay full-time. Sorry if that makes some people sad, but I want to be honest with you guys.
14) What advice would you give to someone who has just started writing?
Don’t compare, don’t worry about the future, just write the story you have now. And don’t give up. Successful people are just people who didn’t give up.
Keep up with Bethany's writing endeavors by following the links below!
Check out Bethany's official website.
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