Helping Writers Get Published


Sylvia Cary

 Head Doc to Book Doc

About Cary Editorial & Book Consulting


From Head Doctor to Book Doctor

Licensed California psychotherapist, Sylvia Cary, is the author of six published books — four traditionally published and two self-published, so she knows both worlds which is useful when it comes to helping other authors get published. She started out as a magazine writer with articles, mostly on mental health topics, appearing in Mademoiselle, Men’s Fitness, Shape, New Woman, McCall’s, Realities, The Therapist: Magazine of the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists, the Screenwriters Guild magazine, and the Scriptwriters Network publication, with a number of article reprints in the UK and Denmark. For a dozen years Sylvia and her late husband, Lance Henrik Wolstrup,  a computer programmer, jointly produced a mental health newsletter. Sylvia was the recipient of the Clark Vincent Award from the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to honor her literary contributions to the mental health profession.  


SHORT BIO: Sylvia Cary, LMFT, licensed psychotherapist and award-winning author, has both traditionally and “indie” published so she’s familiar with both worlds. She has an editorial business, Cary Editorial & Book Consulting, helping other authors get their books out into the world. (See CLIENT BOOKS below).

Born into a writing family in Connecticut, Sylvia’s father was a historian and published author, her mother and step-father were magazine editors on the Reader’s Digest (where they met), her sister, an attorney, wrote a number of law-related books, her aunt published children’s books through Random House, and her grandfather, a gun expert, regularly wrote articles for True magazine as well as writing a produced movie about boxing. She has two adult daughters and two grandchildren. Whether or not her grandchildren become writers remains to be seen. She lives in Sherman Oaks, California. 


Completely revised, updated, and expanded, including new size and cover!

THE THERAPIST WRITER: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published.

 by Sylvia Cary

“FINALLY, a step-by-step guide for therapists to turn their BOOK IDEA INTO A COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT.”- Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D., LMFT, Author of The Introvert Advantage

“While the idea of writing a book may be daunting, it is doable. I did it. Other therapists have done it. YOU CAN DO IT.” – Sylvia Cary


Are you a mental health professional with a burning desire to become a published author? Look no further than The Therapist Writer: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published by Sylvia Cary, a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. This revised and updated edition is packed with new chapters, including cutting-edge topics like “Artificial Intelligence for Writers” and “Harnessing Finishing Energy.” With a new cover and expanded content, this therapist-friendly guide is here to help you navigate the publishing world, addressing the unique concerns and special issues faced by therapist writers, from confidentiality to self-disclosure. This book delves into the nitty-gritty of therapist writing, whether you’re considering fiction, non-fiction, essays, memoir, or scripts, this guide will help you find your writing niche and harness your creative potential.
But getting published is not the end of the journey—it’s just the beginning. And once your book is out in the world, the book marketing section provides valuable insights into promoting and selling your work.
The Therapist Writer is divided into three parts. Part I, “GETTING IT STARTED,” addresses the unique aspects of therapist writing, legal and ethical considerations, copyrights, permissions, and techniques to write about others without causing harm. Part II, “GETTING IT WRITTEN,” guides you through the challenging process of choosing the right topic and audience, exploring different genres, and striking a balance between transparency and professional ethics. Part III, “GETTING IT PUBLISHED,” equips you with knowledge about various publishing options, such as traditional publishing, academic presses, hybrid, and self-publishing, or e-books, empowering you to choose the path that aligns with your business goals and personal aspirations.
By delving into “The Therapist Writer,” you will unlock many benefits as a mental health professional. Ten perks of getting published await you





“Helping authors get their books published is what I do and love to do,” says Sylvia Cary, who coaches writers through the editing, interior design, formatting, producing, and book launching stages. “To date I’ve coached some 30 authors through to publication–both fiction and non-fiction.” (See list of CLIENT BOOKS below.)

“Sylvia is an invaluable ally in the process of helping writers stick with the challenge of bringing a book to print.” — Stephen J. Johnson, Ph.D


  1. it gives you instant credibility
  2. it makes you an “expert” in your field.
  3. it’s a calling card to help you achieve other things
  4. it’s a marketing tool to help you build your business
  5. it offers potential financial gain
  6. it entertains and informs readers
  7. it allows you to share with your inner circle
  8. it brings you a little immortality
  9. it’s psychologically satisfying
  10. it helps those who really need to read  what you have to say.


“Getting my book published made me feel more confident abut my abilities and showed me that the naysayers were wrong.” – Flossie Allen, author of The Ladder of Life


Books By Sylvia Cary . . .


THE THERAPIST WRITER: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published, Sylvia Cary, LMFT.

Getting a book published is one of the quickest ways for a mental health professional to become known as an expert. It can lead to more attention, more referrals, more business and more money. This is a step-by-step guide for therapists (and others) to make their book idea into a completed manuscript. 


THE ALCOHOLIC MAN: What You Can Learn From the Heroic Journeys of Recovering Alcoholics

18 alcoholic men are interviewed about their experiences during that critical first year of sobriety off of alcohol and/or drugs — how things change from month to month, what dangers lurk, what working with a sponsor is like. And best of all, what being clean and sober is like!


There are a lot of perks to becoming sober, and even more for staying sober over the long haul. Wouldn’t you like to know what it is like to have 10 years free of alcohol or drugs? 25 years. 50 years! The women in this book tell you in their own words what it will be like being sober for decades – and they tell you much more. The book is divided into chapters that deal with 7 important life areas: feelings, work, love, family, finances, troubles, and community. Each chapter concludes with a Sober Tips List, 

JOLTED SOBER; Getting to the moment of Clarity in the Recovery from Addiction by Sylvia Cary, LMFT 


“In this concise, clearly written book, Sylvia Cary describes the shift of awareness that signals and solidifies abstinent behavior.” — The California Therapist

“Sylvia Cary, a Mensan, a recovering alcoholic, and a psychotherapist…wants to tell others about the possibility of an almost instantaneous cure…and the seven ways to help bring the experience about.” — MENSA Bulletin

From the Inside Flap

“In medicine, as in life, until the mind has been prepared to see something, it will pass unnoticed, as invisible as though it did not exist.” – Ovid

IT MUST BE FIVE O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE by Sylvia Cary. In narrative non-fiction style, this is the story of a couple in the “happiness business,” a therapist married to a psychiatrist, and alcoholism (hers) ruins everything. Sobriety turns it around.

From a review in The Washington Post

SERVICES Offered By Sylvia Cary. . . 

Get a Written Book Evaluation

A 4-5 page written evaluation of your completed and self-edited book. I'll look at such things as what's the main idea? Is it viable? is it commercial? well-executed? properly structured? well-organized? For fiction: plot and characters? What could make your book even better? What is the best publishing option for you? (If you pay for this book evaluation and THEN decide to sign up for the full self-publishing plan, the book evaluation fee is deducted from the total). "Getting published is good for business, no matter what business you're in."– Sylvia Cary COST: $250 (half up front via check. PayPal or Venmo)

Newsletter Article or Blog Post Edit

Do you write short articles for a newsletter in your field , ezine, or for an organization you belong to? Write a blog? I can help with your editing or cut it down if you've overshot your word limit. As someone said, it takes more time to write something short than something long. COST: Flat fee of $75 for an up-to-2000-word article or blog post edit. Email article as a Word attachment to


Other Services Offered by Sylvia Cary . . .

Free Monthly (Zoom) drop-in writing group (Los Angeles area) sponsored by

These FREE LA-area monthly drop-in groups are sponsored by the Independent Writers of Southern California ( Check their website for times and locations. Some have speakers; others are for feedback on writing and discussion. At the moment we're still meeting on Zoom so pick out a cool background from a free photo site and join us. (Zoom background not a requirement!)

Panel Presenter on Self-Publishing

I’ve done numerous “in person” writing and publishing workshops and presentations (before the pandemic) and love being on live panels (Zoom for the moment). I’ve coached more than 30 authors to publication on different platforms (see CLIENT BOOKS below), and it’s always fun talking about the writing biz and answering questions. If you need a friendly panelist, email me at:



THE SACRED PATH: The WAY of the SPIRITUAL WARRIOR, Stephen J. Johnson, Ph.D. Foreword by LeVar Burton. For men and fathers. A concrete roadmap for the journey to and through mindful manhood. . .a vivid opportunity to learn what’s in men’s hearts.

THE UNMAKING OF A HOLLYWOOD THERAPIST, Annie Coe Toor. A psychotherapist’s memoir. At the zenith of  a successful career as a specialist in the area of stress in the entertainment industry, a therapist gets a ticket for drunk driving and the fallout derails her life. A true story.

CHARLIE & ME: A MEMOIR, Harriett Bronson. The  story of the author’s 16-year marriage & divorce from iconic movie actor Charles Bronson, and her post-divorce journey going from being “the ex Mrs. Famous” to being a popular radio talk show host. 

HEARING VOICES: 15 SHORT PLAYS BY A PSYCHOTHERAPIST, Paul Richard Surace, LMFT.  This collection of short plays is broken down into 4 sections — Family, Friendship, Love, and Redemption, and offers roles for actors from their early twenties to their fifties.

THE INTROVERT ADVANTAGE: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World, Marti Olsen Laney, Psy,D. Dr. Laney shows how to help millions of introverts understand why they are misunderstood, learn to appreciate who they are, and develop a just-right life in a world where extroverts once ruled.

THE END OF LIVING LARGE: Weight Loss in Microsteps When You Have a Lot to Lose, Sue Speake, LMFT. Taking back your power over food without going on a diet.  Lose weight in Microsteps. Practical and doable.

ACT IT OUT: 25 Expressive Ways to Heal from Childhood Abuse, Stefanie Auerbach Stolinsky, Ph.D. Foreword by Trudy Moss, Ph.D. A safe, self-guided recovery method for adult survivors of sexual, physical, and emotional trauma. New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

CONFESSIONS OF A GERIATRIC PROM QUEEN, Lila Lee Silvern. Fiction. A collection of wry, funny, sophisticated stories about love in the later years.

ANGER MANAGEMENT ESSENTIALS, Anita Avedian. Self-help workbook by a psychotherapist. 50 lesson plans. Learn about your anger and about how to manage your emotions more effectively. It can change your life. 

NEW YORK GUNS, KANSAS NUNS, BIRTH CONTROL, Carole H. Field, Crime Fiction: A New York drug runner turned psychologist is hired to run a birth control clinic in ultra-conservative Kansas.

CHALKBOARD CONFIDENTIAL: A Teacher’s Memoir, Lila Lee Silvern. The author brings theatre, wry humor, and a sense of romance to this collection of teacher stories that follow her long and successful career teaching in a Los Angeles barrio.

COFFEE WITH GOD: Paintings and Spiritual Essays.  David LaPorte.

When is the last time you could forget your worries and surrender your concerns? This book with its paintings and spiritual insights by the author provides the inspiration to a deeper and richer life. 

THE LADDER OF LIFE, Flossie Phelps Allen. The true story of a strong and resilient family whose pilgrimage took them from a farm as sharecroppers in Southeast Texas to the bright lights of the city.

LEAN ON YOU, Gretchen Havens. A Recovery Memoir. Accustomed to there always being someone to lean on who’ll catch her and bail her out, a Daddy’s girl learns to lean on herself. Laugh-out-loud funny.

FALSE PRETENSES, Scott R. Kramer. A political thriller  involving a stolen election, domestic terrorism, and extortion. Once in power and consumed by greed, Pete Reeves will stop at nothing to have more of both.

DEAD WRONG: How Medicare-for-All could kill more than America’s Healthcare system, David Paul Lyday. A break-down of while this may sound good –but isn’t.

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IT STARTED IN ROSWELL, P. N. Haberman.  A novel. LAPD cop Mike Sands trades the chaos of Los Angeles for a job with the Police Department in the quiet desert community of Roswell, New Mexico, hoping to finally have time to work on his sci fi novel. His plan is interrupted when a local eccentric brings him an “alien” blue plant found out in the barren desert and asks Sands to investigate it.

SAVAGE BEAUTY: Heart-Pounding Journeys Through Africa with a Camera, Carol Neafcy Wlliamette. Brooklyn-born author’s itch for adventure and talent for photography take her to thrilling and beautiful places. 

TONGUE OF FIRE, Ernest Frankel  A novel. The story of an American demagogue. Set in Washington, D.C. during the 1950s.

GATEWAY TO EVERYWHERE, Ernest Frankel. Epic Historical Fiction. A love story as big as California that begins with a wedding  in China on the eve of the 1900 Boxer Rebellion and then takes the newlyweds on a daring escape from Peking across the pirate-infested high seas to Palm Springs at a time when America was beginning to take its place on the world stage.

THE RECOVERY WORKBOOK, Ruth White, LMFT. A book to familiarize alcoholics and addicts with the tools necessary to stop drinking and using, and of most importance, to teach them how to enjoy their lives once again.


ATTACHMENT-FOCUSED FAMILY PLAY THERAPY, Cathi Spooner. An essential roadmap for therapists working with traumatized youth. Book explores trauma and attachment through a neurobiological focus. 

HOW TO DRAG THE MEDIA BACK TO THE MAINSREAM, David Paul Lyday. An instruction manual for dragging “mainstream media,” movies, pop culture and education, back into the real American mainstream.


PARENTING WITH WISDOM AND COMPASSION, Ilene Val-Essen, Ph.D.. Imagine a new paradigm of parenting that dramatically changes the way we relate to our children. Doors open that were previously closed, freeing us to parent with a wiser and more compassionate heart. A Six-Step process to help us realize it.

SO, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? Cathy S. Harris, MSW, LCSW  Your ultimate introduction to Trauma-Informed theory and practice. 

You’ll get:

  • overview of what “trauma-informed care” is
  • pioneers who have led the way
  • science of the Adverse Childhood Experiences study
  • politics of Trauma-Informed Care (TIC)
  • its application in various settings
  • over 100 resources for further research.
  •  WHAT HAPPENED (CONT’D) Thanks Oprah!

    Quote from Author: “Read what happened after I had my original title (cover and ISBN all paid for!) only to learn of a brand new book by none other than Oprah Winfrey (!), co-written with a significant leader in the trauma-informed movement, Dr. Bruce Perry, with the exact same title. At first I was ‘traumatized,’ but now I’m grateful. Oprah’s book has opened up the trauma-informed conversation, paving the way for more books on this important topic–including mine–with an altered title!”

    — Cathy S. Harris

A Borderline's Daughter

This is the heading

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The Therapist Writer Blog


THE THERAPIST WRITER BLOG is primarily for mental health professionals who write, no matter what they  write about — their work, fiction, screenplays, poetry, sci fi or mystery thrillers. I’ll touch on a variety of topics: News & Events, Hints & Tips. Special Issues for Therapists Who Write. New Client Books.  Personal Notes.  Serendipity. Related Guest Blogs. (Submit guest blog  request to

July 4, 2021

Has Your Blog Lost Its Mojo?

How to Recover from Blog Neglect

Did you once start a blog with good intentions and then run out of steam to the point of blog neglect? Did you initially keep to a regular posting schedule (twice a week? twice a month? even monthly?), but you were at least consistent? Did you then start skipping weeks—or months? Did you draw a blank when it came to blog ideas? Did you wait until the last minute to post hoping a brainstorm would save you? Even worse, did you forget what your blog was about and who you were writing it for? Did guilt set in when you even looked at your computer?
Confessions of a Lapsed Blogger
I plead guilty to all of the above. I started this blog nine years ago on July 4th, 2012, after my first self-published book (THE THERAPIST WRITER: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published) was launched on Amazon’s CreateSpace (now called kdp). My first blog was about celebrating “writer independence” through self-publishing, instead of traditional publishing with all its gatekeepers and NO-sayers.
I realize now that, at the time, I looked at blogging as just another book marketing tool, so I didn’t think it through beyond the first couple of months. I didn’t ask myself, What about when the book is no longer “just published.” What then? A blog has to be about a lot more than launching a book. The bulk of it has to be about things related to the theme of your blog —and of benefit to the reader.
When I reached the point where my book was no longer new, I floundered, and the resistance began. My last official blog wasn’t even written by me. It was a guest blog. When the pandemic hit, I wrote a blog about how to market a book when you can’t leave the house, but I procrastinated when it came to editing it, and then a bunch of other blogs and articles appeared on the same topic, so I put my own blog away in the proverbial drawer.  Then one day I heard someone snidely remark during a Zoom writers meeting, “Blogging is so yesterday.”
That got my attention. Really? Is blogging dead? You’d think that would have made me feel better, confirmed that I was right to quit, but instead it challenged me: If blogging—as an art—is going south, that means there must be others like me who’ve fallen by the wayside. Gee, what would it take to bring them back? What would it take to bring me back?
In early 2021 I began reading up on blogging for the first time since 2012! I quickly noted that a lot more has been going on in the blogging world than I thought. It’s far from dead! It only took three article and a couple of interesting factoids on the general topic of blogging to make me feel that old blogging energy return. Just reading that there are currently 600 million blogs worldwide was heartening, and I was amused to learn that 25 years ago when blogging was still new, the word “blog” (short for weblog, as you probably know) had been named by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as the “Merriam-Webster word of the year.” That’s pretty cool. It made me want to figure out where I’d gone wrong and get back up the horse.
Anyway, just hitting the basics here, let’s look at some of the reasons bloggers like me fall off the horse in the first place:

 Why Bloggers Get Derailed

  • Blog’s mission statement not clear
  • Benefits to reader not spelled out
  • Audience not specified
  • Blog’s topic too broad or too narrow
  • Blog posts too short or too long
  • Blog doesn’t offer enough value for reader
  • Blog is too “one note” and is boring
  • Blog isn’t published consistently
  • Blog lacks visual appeal
How to Get Your Blogging Mojo Back
  1. Re-educate yourself on blogging: There is so much more information out there now than there used to be when many of us began our blogs. Soak it in! Learn to re-appreciate the art. Look on Pinterest, Amazon, YouTube, try different search engines. Read a variety of blogs. If I could be re-inspired after reading only three articles, there’s hope for you, too. We all have our own take on things, so share yours. It has value. There’s someone who needs your words.
  2. Keep a Notebook handy for jotting down blog ideas. Have a run-list of at least 100 ideas so you can pick and choose when it’s time to post again.
  3. Collect Hints and Tips: You can improve your blogs immediately by applying hints and tips from your research, such as “the most effective words in blog titles are HOW, YOUR, WHAT, BEST, WHY, and TIPS,” or “What’s the best lengths for blogs?”
  4. Niche down or expand: If your blog topic is too big (e.g., medicine, law, world peace) you’ll be overwhelmed, feel pressured to know everything, and probably write something that’s a mile wide and an inch deep (no meat). Niche down! WAY down. If your topic is too narrow, expand creatively to cover more territory so you don’t bore yourself and others.
  5. Divide your blog topic into categories: No matter what your blog is about, it’s more interesting if you juggle posts in 5 or 6 different categories, such as News & Reviews; How-Tos & Don’t Dos; Hints & Tips; Interviews with Experts & Talent; Personal Takes; and Serendipity (leaving room for the unexpected).
  6. Pictures over Words: There are statistics to back this up, as well as the old expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Readers are more attracted to blogs that have pictures, videos, and graphics, along with white space so they feel they can breathe. Use bullet points, use some bold, use some italics. What you don’t want is a wall of words. Off-putting.
My Favorite Way of Getting Blog Ideas:
Aside from all the ideas you’ll probably get from re-educating yourself about blogging on Pinterest, YouTube, Googling and Amazon, a great way to get blog ideas is to scroll through photo sites, the photos you can legally use for free with no restrictions. 
When photos pop out at you (some may be good metaphors for possible blog topics), save the photos, jot down the related information, and gofo back to them later for inspiration. It’s much harder to find a photo for a blog that’s already written. This way, it’s like writing music to go with the lyrics. It’s counter-intuitive and timeo-consuming, but a great photo can make a blog. (Collecting photos for blogging is a blog topic in itself! See, a blog idea!)  Give all this a go. Arfter all, you’re a blogger again.

(See below for a sample “metaphor photo” – the word “precarious” comes to mind. What article or blog idea might his photo work for?) 

Click Here to Continue to Blog 

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Sylvia Cary, LMFT
Cary Editorial & Book Consulting
Box 5037
Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

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