Dr Cate Howell is a jack of all trades! She is a medical practitioner, therapist, educator, public speaker, and author. Cate is passionate about sharing knowledge and practical advice on mental health and to that end, she has authored five books on mental health and counselling including The Changing Man, A mental Health Guide; Listening, Learning Caring Counselling; and Intuition which has recently been re-released in paperback.
Dr. Cate loves to reach new audiences through public speaking and has presented talks in countries as far-reaching as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan. In 2012, she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to medicine for her contributions in the area of mental health. In this interview, Dr. Cate shares her writing process, her experience of the publishing world, and what ‘intuition’ means to her as a writer.
What inspired you to write Intuition?
I have had a long-held interest in intuition. As I wrote in the introduction of the book: “Different experiences during my life have reminded me of the value of tapping into my intuition, and over the years I have focused on it and utilised it more and more in my professional and personal life”.
In addition, intuition is a fascinating area, and as a naturally curious person, I was keen to explore it through my research and writing. The topic came up when meeting with the publisher, and we decided to go with the idea!
What events led to your book being published by Exisle?
Well, synchronicity was involved! A number of years back, I had invited a speaker to a workshop I was hosting and wanted to have his books on hand to sell. I emailed the publisher, which happened to be Exisle, to ask if I could get hold of some stock. The publisher emailed back and said that they had noticed from my email signature that I worked at a certain university and (at that time) taught on the counselling program. They apologised for then putting my name into Google, where they had discovered that I had written a book on depression. Then the question was asked; “Would I like to talk about writing more books?” A book on anxiety followed, and then Intuition!
What was the editorial stage like?
The editorial stage involves a few steps. I sent in my draft, and this was edited. I checked the recommended changes and sent my thoughts back. Then further proofs, indexing, and proof-reading followed. It is part of refining the work and ending up with a good end-result. You need to be prepared to re-read your work a few times and check the layout and changes carefully.
Is there anything about the writing or publishing process that you would have done differently?
I have now written 6 books – the sixth is in the final editorial stage. I have learned:
- To get over procrastination, just do the work!
- To cross off chunks of time in my diary to do the work.
- That I get a lot done when I book a beach cabin for a few weeks and go and write solidly. Plus I enjoy walking and nature!
I also appreciate having a good relationship with Exisle now, having published five of the books with them. I can make suggestions about new projects, as can they. And they have been very supportive and helpful.
What advice would you give to newly published authors who want to get their book noticed?
My advice is to ‘go for it’ and remember getting the book noticed is mostly up to you! Work with your publisher’s marketing people and make yourself available to write magazine pieces if requested and do radio or TV interviews if requested. And also brainstorm all the ways that you can promote your work e.g. talking about it to your friends and work colleagues, giving talks at local libraries/community groups, taking the book into local bookshops, contacting local radio. Also use your social media to promote your work, or your website and speak at conferences.
Lastly, how did your own intuition guide you throughout the writing and publishing process?
We have rational and intuitive knowing, and I tapped into both in the writing and publishing process. I did a lot of research and planning for the book and a lot of synthesizing information. But I also did a lot of contemplation and creating, which fosters and involves intuition.
I normally write self-help and textbooks so Intuition was different for me. It explores the topic and includes steps to enhance your intuition, but in the process of writing it, I disclosed quite a bit of personal experience and philosophy. This took some courage, but my gut feeling was that it would be okay! I think that Intuition is an important book as it highlights for people working in health that they can use all of their knowledge to help people. And it gives permission to readers to explore their intuition and develop it further.