When I met a Publishing Me Monster

Yesterday I read this post by Micheal Hyatt about two kinds of leaders, one narcissistic and one other-centered. It reminded me of an encounter I had at a book trade show one year. I was relatively new to the author scene at that point. A new friend, gracious and famous in his own right, took me around the floor of the show, looking for a specific author to introduce me to. He felt we were a good match in terms of what we wrote about and figured we’d like to meet.

We did run into the author. My gracious friend introduced me. The man half-extended his hand to me, then looked over my head, not catching my eye. I could sense my friend’s alarm as the famous author continued to “uh huh” while he looked around for more important people to meet. In short, he was a Me Monster.

After that meeting, I vowed that if I ever became “famous” (ha ha ha), I’d try my best to be deeply engaged when I met people for the first time. I’m sure I’ve had times of distraction. But the idea of engagement reminds me of author Randy Alcorn’s advice at the first writing conference I attended. He said any fame that comes our way is simply an avenue to serve more (not to be served.)

I’ve run into supersar authors who are gracious and engaging. And I’ve encountered superstars who love their stardom more than people. May it be that we as authors become the former–deeply interested in people, not buying into the press about ourselves.

Before I attended that first conference where Randy Alcorn spoke, I had a painful encounter. It was as if the story of my life flashed before me, particularly the trials. “Jesus,” I said. “I’ve had a lot of trials.”

His answer to me has haunted and spurred me: “Yes, you’ve withstood many trials,” He said. “But will you withstand the trial of notoriety?” That’s been my prayer ever since–to not only withstand that trial if notoriety comes, but to do well. I don’t want to be a Me Monster. I don’t want to have my books be all about me, my sales, my fame, my my my…. I want to serve, to listen, to facilitate healing in others. And I certainly can’t do that if I’m filled to the rim with myself.

What about you? Have you met a publishing Me Monster? What do you do today to prevent yourself from becoming one?

Mary DeMuth writes about healing from the past, the subject of her fiction and nonfiction, at http://www.marydemuth.com.