Here are the answers to the questions I'm asked most often about book collaboration and speaking:
What is the best way to contact you?
Email me at HilaryBeard [at] me [dot] com
How do I book you for speaking?
Email me at HilaryBeard [at] me [dot] com
Will you help me write my book?
It depends. Writing a book is an extremely time consuming and laborious process -- it's a full-time job. And contrary to the popular perception that being a writer is sexy, it's incredibly difficult work. Both my clients and I must commit to the time and intimacy that the process requires, including developing a high level of trust, sharing personal information, honoring confidentiality, responding to the other's needs, and reading and improving upon draft after draft (after draft) of the manuscript. Hiring a writer means that you do far less work than if you wrote the book yourself; however, it's still your book so you will need to be involved to some degree.
These days it's very difficult to get a book deal with a publishing company. But if you want to be published by a major publisher, there are two parts of the process:
- developing the book proposal, which is essentially a business plan to persuade a publisher to invest in the project. It includes a description of the book and its intended audience, several sample chapters, a detailed outline of the remainder the book, and a marketing plan.
- writing the book itself, which entails extensive interviews and research about the subject matter and the back and forth involved with completing the work. Depending upon the nature of the project and our deadline, it will take many months and perhaps a year.
If you want to self publish, we would explore the same line of thinking required to write a book proposal; however, we would do so to fine-tune our concept before I begin to write so that we get it right the first time with as little re-work as possible. We would handle the production process ourselves.
How long does it take?
That depends on the nature of the project and what else we're both working on. I've written books in as few as four months and as many as twelve.
How much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter?
I charge the equivalent of a full-time salary for the time period that I'm engaged in the project. If the book gets picked up by a publishing company, the publishing contract typically covers my pay. For self published books, pricing is a la carte, depending upon the nature of the project and what work I'm being hired to perform.
How far in advance do you book your clients?
It varies, depending upon what mix of projects I'm working on and the nature of your project.
Do you work on more than one project at once?
Yes. Almost always.
Will you look at my manuscript?
Reviewing manuscripts is an extremely time-consuming process that I'm neither an expert at nor have time to do. If you are serious about writing a book and need a professional editor or book doctor, I recommend Anita Diggs or Melody Guy, both former Random House editors. Melody was my editor for Success Never Smelled So Sweet: How I Followed My Nose and Found My Passion with Lisa Price of Carol's Daughter.
What do I need to know to write my own book?
Word to the wise: Writing is a whole lot harder than it looks. It is a serious craft and doing it well requires a tremendous amount of time and commitment. So if you want to write a book, I suggest that you start by taking a writing classes, wherever one is offered -- at your local community center, as part of an adult education program, in a writers' workshop, or wherever. As you develop your skill, sign up for a workshop on writing a novel or your memoir. There are many places you can go, but one of my favorites targeting people of color is the Hurston-Wright Writers Week.
What is a Faith Walk?
Faith walk (noun). The uncharted journey between the familiar spiritual, emotional, mental and/or physical space that you now occupy and the place you need to reach to become person you envision in your mind's eye.
Faith walker (noun). A person who steps out on faith against the odds to follow their spiritual Calling, vision or passion.