A Writer’s Ego – Virtual vs Real World Bruises

All writers have egos. That’s one of the things that drives us to write. We think we have something to say and no one is going to stop us!

Some of us also have sensitive egos. While we fervently believe that what we’re saying is the most important thing ever uttered, we fear how others might react to what we say. For example, I often write about some pretty mean and disgusting characters, and I would dread thinking that anyone confused me for them. I am not the people I write about.

But we’re not just sensitive to how people think about us. We worry a lot about being accepted. More specifically, we worry about not being accepted. We stress over being rejected.

We all know how well writers deal with rejection, particularly when it comes in the form of rejection slips. Some of us have tried to sell our work to the major real world publishing houses, only to find that we don’t meet an editor’s criteria for a successful book, the feeling of having your ego dashed up against a brick wall is all too real.

In the real world, the would-be writer has to deal with rejection.

On the other hand, some of us in the virtual indie world have avoided that horrible problem. Particularly with the advent of self-publishing and publishing on demand, many of us have found the means to avoid the pain and frustration of having our egos beaten into mush with rejection after rejection.

But then we find that even the virtual world finds ways to emulate the cruelties of the real world.

It comes in the form of reader reviews. And criticism.

The nice thing about the real world publishing business is that once you get past the razor curtain of rejection letters and get your book accepted, you suddenly find that you have a lot of people to shield you from the brunt of society’s criticisms. Editors, copywriters, proofers, artists, marketing specialists, even agents, all strive to make your published work something the reading public will love.

And if they don’t, you get dumped pretty quickly.

The real world takes a long time, sometimes a year or two, to tell you that you haven’t done a good job, but trust me, it tells you.

The virtual world makes that process a whole lot simpler. Within an incredibly short period of time, you find out how well loved your work is. Amazon can tell you daily how your book stacks up against all other books offered for sale that day. Reviewers can post their comments about your work for all the world to see.

And on-line critics are not always very nice. Sometimes they are critical just because they can be. Sometimes they are critical because they don’t understand what they’re doing. Sometimes they are critical just to be cruel.

The would-be writer of virtual books has simply substituted having to deal with criticism instead of rejection. Either way, you have to have a pretty strong ego to be a writer.

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