Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest Jill Sylvester. Jill is a licensed mental health counselor, receiving her Master’s in Education from Bridgewater State University. She received her undergraduate, Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University.
As a licensed mental health counselor with a holistic bent, focusing more on life and wellness counseling than traditional therapy, Jill has successfully guided hundreds of clients in private practice in the area of personal development. The goal of each relationship to help people raise the bar for themselves in order to lead more authentic, healthy, and purpose-filled lives.
Jill is the author of The Land of Blue and Trust Your Intuition.
Norm: Good day Jill and thanks for participating in our interview.
What do you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far in your career?
Jill: I consider the greatest successes in my career to be my consistent client base first and foremost, and the publication of two books so far, the second being released the 31st of this month.
Norm: What has been your greatest challenge (professionally) that you’ve overcome in getting to where you’re at today?
Jill: My greatest professional challenge is balancing writing and seeing clients and doing all the marketing and PR work that comes as result of self- publishing two books.
Norm: What is a mental health counselor and why did you chose to become one? What training is required to become a licensed mental health counselor?
Jill: A mental health counselor is a person trained to give guidance on personal, social, or psychological challenges. I got my Master’s in Education, did both Practicum and Internship hours and then went on to do hours for licensure for the State of Massachusetts.
Norm: You indicate in your bio that you are a mental health counselor with a holistic bent, focusing more on life and wellness counseling than traditional therapy. Please elaborate.
Jill: I enjoy working from the lens of being able to use both holistic and alternative tools (food as medicine, natural remedies to heal, developing the language of intuition in order for clients to trust their own instincts in order to self-actualize) in addition to traditional forms of therapy like psychodynamic discussion, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Existential and Jungian therapies to name a few.
Norm: How many times in your careers have you experienced rejection? How did they shape you?
Jill: I’ve experienced quite a lot of rejection as a new writer. My first book was self-published because I couldn’t find an agent to take me on. That rejection helped shape who I am though in that I have learned a lot as a result of how to continue to move forward putting my work out in the world and to honor that process.
Norm: How did you become involved with the subjects of The Land of Blue and Trust Your Intuition? As a follow up, could you briefly tell our readers about the two books?
Jill: The Land of Blue is a book about a twelve-year-old girl whose father goes missing into the land of Blue, a metaphor for addiction, depression and anxiety. It is the story of what happens when Cassie enters the land of Blue, under the tutelage of the voice in her head that appears in physical form, to find him. The book is essentially self-help under the guise of fiction.
Trust Your Intuition: 100 Ways to Transform Anxiety and Depression for Stronger Mental Health are tips and techniques I’ve used over thirty years of personal self-development and in session with my clients to arrive at a place of greater social and emotional well-being.
Norm: What were your goals and intentions in the books, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
Jill: My goals and intentions for each book is to help readers elevate themselves to a place of greater understanding. I enjoy the feedback I continue to receive on the Land of Blue and look forward to achieving this goal for many readers for Trust Your Intuition.
Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing these books?
Jill: The time it takes; uninterrupted, focused time.
Norm: What are some of the references that you used while researching the books?
Jill: Others’ self-help books- doctors like Daniel Amen, Deepak Chopra and Norman Doidge and psychologists, psychiatrists and inspirational writers like Jon-Kabat Zinn, Harriet Lerner, the late William Glasser, Wayne Dyer and Martha Beck.
Norm: Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Please summarize your writing process.
Jill: It’s a combination of the two. I release all the ideas and information I want to say down on paper and then, by using my intuition, organize the information in a way that makes logical sense.
Norm: Many people have the skills and drive to write a book, but failure to market and sell the book the right way is probably what keep a lot of people from finding success. Can you give us 2-3 strategies that have been effective for you in promoting your books?
Jill: -Asking for reviews (We currently have 77 5-star reviews on Amazon for Land of Blue which is decent for a self-published book)
-Scheduling book signings
-Continuing to let your audience know what you are up to on social media and embracing the beast!
-Using sites like Haro and Pitch Rate to score interviews and podcasts behind the scenes, which is more comfortable for me versus explicit social media, and has been quite effective for me regarding writer promotion thus far.
Norm: Do you believe that networking in conventions and other places where writers gather is essential to long term success these days?
Jill: Since I tend to be more of an introvert, I haven’t quite embraced the networking beast yet so I can’t necessarily say:)
Norm: What advice can you give aspiring writers that you wished you had received, or that you wished you would have listened to?
Jill: Write what you love, not what someone else says will or won’t be marketable. Trust that there is a plan for your book and that you’ll get there.
Norm: What projects are you working on at the present?
Jill: PR for Trust Your Intuition and then getting back to the second book in a YA series I have coming out later this year about a seventeen year old girl who uses her intuition to solve crimes.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your books?
Norm: As this interview comes to an end, what question do you wish that someone would ask about your books, but nobody has?
Jill: I’ll go with my son’s pitch since I just asked him: What is the significance of Option’s Port in the Land of Blue?
Norm: Thanks again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.
Jill: Thank you Norm.