Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Role Of Ego In Book Publishing

Are You More -- Or Less -- Than Who You Think You Are?

Ego is what drives the world, for better or worse.  It certainly drives the book publishing industry.

For those who think they are soooo great and that everyone should love what they write or have to say, there are whole industries that benefit from such people: public relations, marketing, advertising, sales, the news media, and book publishing – to name a few.

Ego leads to action – good and bad. When the ego gets worked up it can lead to wars, violence, and destruction. It can also lead to competitive entrepreneurs, winning athletes, and prideful workers. If only a balance could be struck, where one has a healthy enough dose of ego to propel them to achieve beyond their abilities and resources, but not to the point of being unhealthy where one is demanding, obsessed with unachievable levels of success, and downright deluded.

For me, authors with egos is good for business. They think they deserve to become stars – and willingly shell out the bucks to chase lofty goals and best-seller lists. And who should deny them a chance to pursue their dreams? Everyone deserves a shot at winning the publishing lottery. But, when an author falls short of where they think their career should be, the ego lashes out at others and leaves the author feeling lost.

Ego is also good for those in the book industry: the marketer who believes beyond reality that he or she can build a great brand or sell a ton of books; the publicist who sees every author as a potential media darling; the editor who believes he or she can take any manuscript and turn it into a literary masterpiece. Without someone believing they can do more than they are actually capable of, we would end up with a world of underachievers or at best, mediocrity.

A healthy ego is needed in order for people to create, rise up the ladder, and to accomplish things. How many insecure, depressed, or self-critical individuals put themselves in a position to succeed? The key is to check the ego at times, and to balance optimism, confidence, and an assertive personality with a dose of reflection, caution, and honesty.

One’s ego gives them a sense of pride and confidence, the will to try harder and do better, and the inspiration to fight against the odds. But it feeds a narcissism that could be costly. When one lacks the substance and resources to support the monster the ego has created, a grave deficit is created.

The egotistical author is sometimes driven by the wrong things. He or she:
·         Sees almost all authors who become popular as undeserving, untalented writers
·         Mistakenly thinks everyone is so successful and wonders why they are not
·         Focuses too much on tearing down others and not making themselves better
·         Fails to make an honest self-assessment that would help them change and improve themselves
·         Underestimates what it would take to truly succeed and believe if they just demand something it will come to be

Authors, of all people, know what it means to feel rejected and unwanted, but they have a special ego gene that keeps many of them going and trying even in the face of odds against success. I applaud those who have found the right balance of ego but I have yet to find many who can remain both optimistic and realistic. It seems that no matter how talented one is, the ego will be there, for better or worse, to drive their careers.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter, Media Connect ( . You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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