Jay Slosar, Ph.D., is the author of a provocative new book The Culture of Excess: How Americans Lost Self-Control and Why We Need to Redefine Success (ABC-CLIO, LLC, November 2009). For the past quarter-century he has run a successful private practice as a licensed psychologist and has provided direct clinical and consulting services in a variety of diverse settings. Currently, Dr. Slosar is also an adjunct assistant professor at Chapman University in Orange County, California. He also provides forensic evaluations from court referrals, specializing in evaluating teenagers. His web site and blog is at www.cultureofexcess.com
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, (Jay). Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
A: I have published professional articles and a training manual. But this is my first book.
Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
A: A training Manual for Residential Treatment Services for Children. Eventually was published. But small publisher didn’t sell as many as I did from the trunk of my car.
Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
A: Many. This went on for 2 years. I finally got an offer from what I thought was a legit publisher and they offered such a low royalty rate I turned it down. Everyone thought I was crazy. But I held out and the publisher that has taken my book initially rejected it. But I went back to a different editor and she liked it and moved it forward. In the meantime, I kept improving the work and getting as much feedback as I could. It was a very long process—I would say a struggle.
Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
A: I am the type of person that takes a rejection and sulks for a while. But eventually, I regroup and then take a different course. What kept me going was that there was high interest in what I was writing about. Whenever I would talk about it—others responded very positively.
Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
A: Praeger publishers, now part of ABC-CLIO. I chose them because they handle books that are “tweeners”—not full academic books, but not trade and self-help either. That is books that are in between the two and for the bookstore and general educated public.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
A: I was happy but had to dampen my expectations—quickly realizing—how many books there are out there. I can’t say I really celebrated yet—its too soon—I have been spending all my time marketing.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
A: Notified everyone I knew and all organizations and places I am associated with.
Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
A: I don’t think I had any other choices except self publish—and I knew that wasn’t very desirable.
Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
A: Always growing—planning next book already, but trying hard to make this one successful to use as a platform to continue.
Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
A: Develop my writing style sooner, my early drafts were rants.
Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
A: Praise/compliments from others. I hope more accolades come but book is just out.
Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
A: I am a psychologist and happy with it. Maybe Sociology. Of course, a musician.
Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
A: I am a psychologist and author.
Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?
A: Continuing to write.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
A: Rejection and failure are part of growth. I write about this in Chapter 3 of my book. “Chance benefits only the prepared mind.” (Louie Pasteur) That is, opportunity comes your way, but you have to be prepared and ready to recognize and jump on it.