Thursday, September 26, 2013

Straight From the Mouth of 'Drepression and Your Child' Deborah Serani

Dr. Deborah Serani is a go-to media expert on a variety of psychological issues. Her interviews can be found in ABC News, Newsday, Womens Health & Fitness, The Chicago Tribune, The Associated Press, and affiliate radio station programs at CBS and NPR, just to name a few. She is a ShareCare Expert for Dr. Oz, writes for Psychology Today, helms the "Ask the Therapist" column for Esperanza Magazine and has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. A licensed psychologist in practice over twenty years, Serani is also an adjunct professor at Adelphi University teaching courses in clinical disorders and treatment and is the author of the award-winning book “Living with Depression.”

Her latest book is Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers.

Visit her website at

Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author? 

Being bossy wasn’t getting me anywhere at home or at the bus stop, so I decided to write a book and become THE authority on the subject. Seriously though, I wanted to write about my experiences growing up with depression – and my subsequent training as a clinician in treating this disorder so parents could learn early how to protect their children when confronted with this chronic illness. And since becoming an author, ahem – a published author, my credibility at home has significantly improved.  The bus stop, not so much though. They’re a tough crowd.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

I enjoy writing, and being published is always a lovely feather in one’s hat. I have won a few book awards which makes me feel all the solitary time I spend away from my family writing and the hours researching counted for something. As for perks, I still have to wait online at Starbucks, and I don’t get free stuff besides pens in the mail from local banks. And the royalties are not a big as I thought they’d be, because selling books is not easy these days. But when the checks come in, it feels super great.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I had a rotten experience getting an agent for my first fiction novel. It was so terrible, that I ended up firing my “high power” agent and walking away from several publishing houses because my work was no longer in my own writer’s voice. So when I penned several nonfiction books, I wanted to go solo – without an agent, and directly knocked on publishing houses door. I got several bites, and had the joyous experience of choosing which publishing house I wanted. Now, two books later, I’m working on my third with Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. They are supportive of my work, encourage my voice as a writer and are really swell people to work with.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)

It is ENTIRELY a subjective business. Once you realize that all it takes in one person to like your work, you realize that all-the-others-that-don’t-like-your-work don’t really matter. It’s a numbers game, so keep knocking on doors till you find someone who gets you and your work.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

Depends on who you talk to. My daughter thinks it’s so totally awesome that I’m an award-winning author. She’s my biggest fan next to my parents and my sisters. My husband narrows his eyes and gives me this “Meh” look when I’m jabbering on about an interview, book signing or article I’m writing. But then again, he’s a rather cynical sort when it comes to anything except sports. He’s my arch nemesis at the bus stop by the way. Always causing trouble, he is.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

I was recently at Book Expo America in New York, and had the misfortune of having a book signing at the same time Actor Jim Carrey was having one. Thankfully, some tried and true fans found their way to my booth, but for a while there, I was really regretting loving “Ace Venture: Pet Detective.” All kidding aside, Carrey’s children’s book was a sweet read. 

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

I do them all. Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Blogger – and feel that all of them help. I love social media and have had great success selling books, getting interviews, making connections and others such marketing networking. You gotta put the time in, that’s for sure. If you think you can’t do them all, don’t worry. Choose which kind of media suits your needs and spend your time there.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

Oh, man. It’s so much work. As I mentioned, I use social media, but I also hound my publicist, I schedule book signings and lectures on my own, and do a lot of networking to keep myself on the radar with magazines, news websites and newspapers. What I’ve come to really understand is how totally amazing it is when a book becomes a best seller. That doesn’t mean that big sales are everything. Every book sale counts. So, I try not to get too lost in the numbers. What I do is keep focusing on the next venue I can set up.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

That mental illness is nothing to feel shame about. It’s so important not to make your struggle be your identity.

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

Definitely. When the last sip of tea is rolling down my throat and the sun sinks into the silvery water, all that matters is that I set a goal, reached it – and have my name in print on a big ol’ book. And damn if that just doesn’t feel just freaking awesome to me. It’s the simple things, really.


Dr. Deb said...

This is my favorite interview so far. It was so fun to do. Thanks!!

Dr. Deb said...

This was my most favorite interview. Such fun questions. Thanks.