Helping Writers Get Published


From Head Doctor to Book Doctor

Licensed So. California psychotherapist Sylvia Cary is the author of 6 books – 4 traditionally published, one self-published, and 2 waiting in the wings , so she knows both worlds when it comes to helping other authors get their books out into the world. Her articles, mostly on self-help and mental health, have appeared in dozens of national magazines, including Men’s Fitness (on mental health topics, not strengthening your abs!), Shape, New Woman, McCall’s,  The California Therapist, Redbook, the Screenwriters Guild magazine, Realities, and The London Sun. For a dozen years, she was the editor of a mental health newsletter which her late husband, Lance Henrik Wolstrup,  a computer programmer, produced.  

She was the recipient of the Clark Vincent Award by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to honor her literary contributions to the mental health profession. Born into a writing family in Connecticut, Sylvia’s father was a historian and published author, her mother and step-father had both been editors on the Reader’s Digest, and her grandfather was a gun expert who wrote articles for True magazine and even wrote a produced feature film about boxing. She has two daughters, two grandchildren, and lives in Sherman Oaks, California. 

SHORT BIO: Sylvia Cary, LMFT, licensed psychotherapist and award-winning author, has both traditionally and “indie” published and has an editorial business helping other authors, especially (but not exclusively) mental health professional get published.



Helping authors get their books published is what I do and love to do. Aside from being a published author myself, I have, to date, helped some 35 other authors (with more in the wings) get their books — both fiction and non-fiction — published and out into the big world at last. (See the whole list of then under Client Books below. It’s quite a variety.

“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

Coming Back Soon!

My little publishing company, TIMBERLAKE PRESS (a family name) has, up until now, focused on books related to addiction, which was my specialty as a therapist. When the website crashed from old age a few months, I decided that rather  than prop it up, I’d re-purpose it to feature a new interest, lined journals and notebooks for writers and therapists. “I use them all the time–for books and article research, for ideas for articles, for taking notes on book evaluations, for projects I’m editing. I figures other writers and therapists would like to use them, too.” 

“Publishing has changed in every way, how books look, how they’re made, are sold, stored, priced, and read.” ―Jonathan Kirsch,  publishing attorney

“Getting published is good for business, no matter what business you’re in.” – Sylvia Cary



Books by Sylvia Cary . . .



To help with the overwhelm that many  “newbie” self-publishers feel when they realize self-publishing has many bits and pieces to it. This short little guide has pictures for people who hate reading directions, and you can see where to CLICK which makes it all so much easier.

“DIY self-publishing is really hard to do alone.” — Sylvia Cary, book publishing coach

THE THERAPIST WRITER: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published, 

Sylvia Cary, LMFT.

(Updated version)



Did you know that 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. 

Part I (Gearing Up) talks about therapists as writers and the 10 main perks of getting published. It also talks about some of the special issues therapist writers face if they want to write about their work (such as maintaining client confidentiality), along with legal concerns that all writers have to deal with? copyright issues, trademarks, and piracy. Part I also gives you a look at the publishing scene, and helps you prepare for the job ahead, including ways of positioning yourself as a credible expert and getting the word out that you’ve written a book so people will be eager to buy it. 

Part II (Writing It Down) deals with what is most often the hardest question facing writers: What should I write about? Should you consider trends or ignore them? Who’s your audience? Where do they hang out? There’s a chapter on “Nailing Your Niche” and seeing if there’s a book in it. What angle should you take? What’s your hook? Should you write a novel instead of a self-help book? What about memoirs? Is too much self-disclosure wise for a therapist? There are hints and tips to help you face that blank page, decide if you’re a daytime or nighttime writer, and help you get clear on your writing goals. 

Part III (Getting it Out) is where you’ll reach a fork in the road. Which publishing option should you pick? Traditional publishing? Self-publishing? An e-book only? If you go the traditional route, then you’ll need to write a book proposal and send query letters and deal with agents. There are chapters on how to do this. If you self-publish, you’ll need to spend time educating yourself on the subject so you don’t make costly mistakes or get scammed. Chapters 16 and 17 deal with the most important thing of all, marketing. There are  pages of marketing suggestions from A to Z. You won’t sell your book unless people know it exists. Or you can write a book just for friends and family and do no marketing at all. That’s always an option. This book is a basic overview of how a therapist (or anybody else, for that matter) can get a book written, produced, published, distributed, marketing, and sold, all the while actually enjoying the process. The basics of what you’ll need to do in order to get the job done are here..

Coming Soon-ish! THE LADIES WAR by Sylvia Cary.  A novel based on a true family story about a Washington, D.C, marriage scandal duriing the Andrew Jackson administration. The screenplay version was the winner of the Carl Sauter feature film award and script was optioned and got attachments, but is still somewhere in development hell. That’s when I decided to write it as a novel since I love the story and the main character was married to a distant Timberlake relative. More news to follow.

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

“Sylvia Cary traces that special moment that jolts us out of our addiction. Please read Jolted Sober!” –Del Sharbutt, radio and TV broadcaster, and founder of the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Hour program at the Betty Ford Center –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 could happen at any time. You hear something, remember something, notice something, or even say something – and that’s it. Suddenly there’s a kind of click inside, an Aha! For a split moment you see clearly, as though for the first time. And what you see enables you to stop drinking, drugging, overeating, smoking, spending, gambling. You’ve been jolted sober…In researching the phenomenon, psychotherapist Sylvia Cary discovered that contrary to everything she had learned in graduate school, there indeed is such a thing as an instant cure. It’s unpredictable and possible for everyone, and it can be dramatic or subtle. She also found that you can increase your odds of experiencing a jolt cure by learning about the seven ways to “romance” it. Whether it’s surrounding yourself at a meeting with people who have the same problem (People Ways); playing basketball, driving, or gardening (Physical Ways); reading all about it (Intellectual Ways); turning inward to meditate (Quiet Way); altering brain chemistry through non-drug means (Brain Ways); taking samba lessons (Contrary Ways); or Hitting Bottom — one or more of these may be the trigger for your own jolt cure. There is also life after the jolted-sober experience. A chapter on maintaining your jolt recovery explains how to guard against relapse, and a chapter on helping others is a guide for professionals, family and friends. No matter how far down you have gone, no matter how many times you’ve tried and failed, you can have your moment of clarity. Just reading Jolted Sober could be your first step to obtaining the enlightening and liberating jolt cure. Available as an E-book.;


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.

All kinds of women speak to you through this book: women from 32 to 83, from backgrounds of privilege and poverty, married, widowed, divorced and single, working mothers, businesswomen, and artists. They are proof that, just as no one is immune to alcoholism, no one who stops using drugs and alcohol is immune to the recovery process, either.
The women encourage you by describing the signposts of recovery. You’ll be with them when they experience the “moment of clarity” that jolts them into sobriety. You’ll hear about their relapses and their triumphs. You’ll learn how their backgrounds contributed to their problem or helped them overcome it. But best of all, you will no longer feel apart, confused, scared, or alone when you hear what will happen along the way to your recovery.
Each of these 21 women knows that alcohol derails your life, and their advice can help the recovering alcoholic go back and become the woman she started to be. They have the insight of both experience and sobriety. 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, summarizing the most important points and coping hints from the interviews, insights that will help you stay sober and make you feel good doing it. There is life after sobriety – in fact, the best life.

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

!8 alcoholic men interviewed about their experiences during that critical first year of sobriety of of alcohol and/or drugs, how things change month to months, what dangers lurk, what working with a sponsor is like. 

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.

Review in Washington Post:


Get a Written Book Evaluation

A 4-5 page written evaluation of your completed and edited book. I'll look at such things as, what's the main idea? Is the idea viable? Well-executed? properly structured? Well-organized. What could make it even better? What is the best publishing option for your book? (If you pau for a book eval and then sign up for self-publishing help, the cost is deducted from self-pub total).

“Getting published is good for business, no matter what business you’re in.” – Sylvia Cary

Have Your Newsletter Article or Blog Edited

Here's something I do that you perhaps didn't know you could get help with, Do you by any chance write short articles for a newsletter in you field , or for an organization you belong to? I can help here to do 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. Your words have to be well-chosen and that' time-consuming.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Monthly Zoom drop-in writing meetings
(Los Angeles area)

These FREE LA-area monthly drop in groups are sponsored by the Independent Writers of Southern California ( Check this website for times and locations. Some have speakers; other are for feedback on writing and discussion. Still on Zoom so pick out a cool background from a free photo site and join us.

Panel Presenter on Self-Publishing

I’ve done a lot of “in person” publishing and writing workshops and presentations (before the pandemic) and have always loved being on love panels –  Zoom for the moment. I’ve helped more than 30 authors gets their books published (see CLIENT BOOKS below), and it’s fun talking about it and answering questions. If you need a friendly panelist, email me at this address:

Movie Script coverage

10 years experience writing screenplay coverage for an LA movie distribution company; covered scripts for Bette Midler’s All Girl Production Company.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

The Therapist Writer Blog


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-dirovce 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.  The collection is broken down into 4 sections — Family, Friendship, Love, and Redemption, and offer 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. 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,e 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,  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.

Fiction/Political Thriller – A stolen election, domestic terrorism,  and extortion. Once in power, and consumed by greed, Pete Reeeves will stop at nothing to get more of both.

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.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

IT STARTED IN ROSWELL, P. N. Haberman. LAPD cop Mike Sands trades the chaos of Los Angeles for a job with the Police Dept. 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  The story of an American demagogue. Set in Washington, D.C. during the 1950s.


GATEWAY TO EVERYWHERE, Ernest Frankel. Historical Fiction. A love story as big as California, and, a Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.


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, teach them how to enjoy their lives once again.


ATTACHMENT FOCUSED FAMILY PLAY THERAPY: Interventions for Children and Adolescents After Trauma, Cathi Spooner. An essential roadmap for therapists working with traumatized youth. Exploring 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.


Contact Us

General Inquiries​

Sylvia Cary, LMFT
Box 5037

Sherman Oaks, California, USA 91413