Today we’d like to introduce you to Bonnie Hearn Hill.
Bonnie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I had gone from a radio station copywriter (the San Joaquin Valley version of KHJ) to an editor for McClatchy Newspapers, all the while trying to write novels. In those days, there was no internet and few mentors for writers. Yet, when I finally connected in 2001, my literary agent negotiated a six-book deal with me for one of the largest publishers in the world. Seventeen novels and many writing clients later, I work with authors all over the world. I also volunteer my time to teach writing workshops such as the annual April Writers Week in at Mt. SAC (Mt. San Antonio Community College) in Walnut.
Has it been a smooth road?
Very bumpy. There were no mentors when I was starting, and there was no internet. I had to teach myself, and that’s been a major advantage for me. I’ve never met a writer who has made a mistake I didn’t make along the way. Once I began working with authors, I realized everyone makes the same mistakes starting out.
I also realized how to recognize and show authors the warning signs of self-sabotage. There’s an emotional component that’s more difficult to overcome than the technical skills I can teach anyone. I really believe there are more people out there who are afraid of success than there are who are afraid of failure.
So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Author/Editor story. Tell us more about the business.
I’m proud of the number of writers, some of them New York Times bestsellers, who have trusted me with their books.
Although I write suspense novels (THE RIVER BELOW, from Severn House, is my most recent), most of my authors write nonfiction or memoir, and I’ve learned a great deal from them. My clients, some of them famous, include an oncologist/patient advocate, a body language expert, a stroke survivor who beat the odds and not only walked but para-sailed again, and a Southern California man who went from running away from home to pick tomatoes in the San Joaquin Valley with he was 16, to becoming a wealthy entrepreneur in the Southern California restaurant industry. Cynthia and Thane Murphy, my dear friends who founded the wellness app Assuaged, are former clients.
I also co-host a monthly book segment for a large central California television station.
Writing and editing are what I always wanted to do, and I believe my passion is reflected in the quality of my work.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
When I began, a new author had two choices: self-publish or get a New York agent and publish with a large press. I went the second route, but it took many years. Today–with e-books and any number of reputable independent publishers–authors have many choices, and they can still go the traditional New York route if they choose.
- The first consultation is free.
- I charge from 5 cents a word for editing and 28 cents per word and up for ghostwriting.
- I volunteer my time to colleges and conferences and speak on writing frequently.
- Website: www.bonniehhill.com
- Phone: 559-271-5975
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: bonniehearnhill
- Twitter: @bonniehearnhill