There are big changes happening at New Harbinger Publications! On January 1, 2022, Catharine Meyers—formerly associate publisher—officially took over as publisher. Meyers succeeds Matthew McKay, PhD, who cofounded our independent, employee-owned company in 1973.
Let’s get to know Catharine as she takes on her new role as publisher.
Q: What year did you start at New Harbinger Publications (NHP)?
A: I initially worked as a freelancer starting in 1995, and was hired on staff in 1996.
Q: What positions have you held at NHP?
A: I started as a copyeditor, and then began working in acquisitions as an intern. I reviewed unsolicited manuscripts, which ignited a passion for me. I really enjoyed reviewing manuscripts and recommending those that would be good to consider for publication. That role grew into an acquisitions career. I became an acquisitions editor, then acquisitions manager, then vice president of development before becoming associate publisher. There has always been so much to learn and so many ways to grow.
Q: What about New Harbinger made you stay?
A: Matt McKay, our founder and publisher for the past forty-nine years—I have to say that he is one of the main reasons I stayed. Matt has a real ethos around what you choose to acquire at New Harbinger, and he taught me how to examine a manuscript and always asked: “Is this going to help the reader?” And that was always more important than the first-year sales goal. The first questions were: “Is this going to help someone, how is it going to help someone, and does it have evidence or research to support that?” Because Matt is a clinical psychologist, he always has the client in mind and that really informed our books, what topics we selected, and how we developed the manuscripts with the authors. Matt always emphasized usability, accessibility, and practicality. I loved that mission and it resonated with me. It is one of the main reasons I stayed at New Harbinger. That and the culture—the people who work at New Harbinger. It’s a collaborative, creative environment with really smart, interesting, cool people to work with.
Q: What are some of your proudest moments at NHP?
A: One of my proudest moments was finding and selecting The Untethered Soul and having the opportunity to publish it at New Harbinger. It was a risk for us as a psychology publisher to launch into the consciousness world in a collaboration with IONS, and it worked out really well for us.
Another one was discovering acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and working with Steve Hayes to publish Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life and all the books that followed. I feel proud that I was able to connect and work with Steve Hayes and all the incredible authors in the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) community, and that I was able to help bring their research to the reader.
Q: What is your favorite memory at NHP so far?
A: When The Untethered Soul was featured on Super Soul Sunday and Michael A. Singer was interviewed by Oprah—that was a tremendous moment.
Q: In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting subjects that we publish on?
A: Anxiety. Anxiety seems like it would just require one book, when in fact there are many underserved populations, there are many new modalities, and there are many ways to address and relieve anxiety. The next one is family and relationships. We’ve seen Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents break out in that category. It’s been a tremendous success.
And then the other one right now for me is the social justice series. That category is important, and we are really trying to tap into those underserved populations that need resources that haven’t been provided yet. That’s a very exciting and up-and-coming category for New Harbinger.
Q: What are you looking forward to in your new position as publisher?
A: I’m looking forward to carrying on the vision that Matt McKay set out for New Harbinger when he started the company. As the founder, he laid the groundwork for these incredible resources that continue to help relieve suffering in the world. There’s nothing like a New Harbinger book. We’re unique. The books are helpful to both the therapist and the client. I’m looking forward to continuing to find ways to help readers using either new therapeutic modalities or with a new author voice that brings a new perspective to a problem. I’m looking forward to diversifying the delivery of content.
We’re using data more and more to inform acquisitions and help guide the publication process. It’s the tool we can use to publish books that are more and more viable. It’s huge in the New Harbinger future.
Also, the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) focus. We’ve been working with an incredible consultant; we’ve done leadership training; we’re about to unroll the staff training. That’s a huge, important thing for the New Harbinger staff as well. The DEI initiative came out of the request from our employee owners, and leadership listened.
Q: What is your vision for the future of NHP?
A: 1. Continuity. Part of the vision is continuing with the mission that Matt McKay and Pat Fanning created. We will continue publishing research-based, effective self-help for readers, constantly innovating and staying abreast of changes in the field so we can best meet readers’ needs. And, with the recent success of titles such as Raising Good Humans, The Unapologetic Guide for Black Mental Health, and Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents, we are also publishing for readers whose struggles may not fit into a particular DSM category but who clearly are searching for quality self-help books on psychological problems such as these. We want to recognize unique topics and authors that help people transform their lives for the better in all areas of life.
2. Using technology and data more efficiently to help guide the publication process.
3. New ways to diversify and deliver content, including with our subsidiary company, Praxis Continuing Education & Training.