You and Your Power


A moment on empowerment…… How many times have you heard an author say they were lucky? I hear it, all the time. So let me step on my soapbox for a moment.

Luck is out of your hands, out of your control. Anyone who’s been to one of my Twelve Easy Steps to Breaking In workshops knows that I believe your career IS in your control. There is no so-called “luck” that doesn’t occur as a result of being in the right place with the right manuscript BECAUSE of how hard you worked and how persistent you were. Unless you’re Paris Hilton and your daddy can buy you a publishing house, don’t look for luck to help you sell a book and don’t assign any achievement in your career to luck. The “normal” everyday writer does not need luck and it’s an empowering thing to take your career in your own hands and to control your own destiny. It’s *disempowering* to assign it to the Fates.

Example: Between finishing My Lady Knight (the last in my medieval trilogy) and arriving at SIM, I sent out over 200 submissions in little over a year. When one of my books landed on the right desk one day and an editor in a generous mood picked me up out of the slush pile, called me to tell me I’d submitted the book to what she felt was the wrong line, walked the book down the hall to slap it on another editor’s desk with a strong recommendation to buy me, was I lucky? Maybe if it had happened the first time AND if my daddy had owned the publishing house. But my daddy didn’t own the publishing house and it took 200 times. That is NOT luck. That is persistence and hard work and it was ALL in my control. It wasn’t up to the Fates or the whimsy of luck. =I= made it happen–and the uplifting thing about that is that so can you, so can anyone, you control it, you alone. Study the market, work hard, market aggressively–total empowerment. There is one person (and probably only one) feeling generous in New York every day. You don’t land on their desk by being lucky, you land on their desk by hard work.

I’ve heard it said about Nora that when she submitted a manuscript with more misspellings than anyone on the planet, she was lucky Isabel Swift picked it up and saw the gem within that poorly spelled manuscript. I’m here to tell you that Nora wasn’t lucky at all–Isabel Swift was the lucky one to get to discover her. Believing editors are lucky to find YOU, not the other way around, is part of owning your power. You must also own your value. If YOU believe you are so hot that THEY are the only ones experiencing any luck, then you feel a whole lot better while you’re beating all their doors down since you ARE doing them a big favor, after all, to let them discover you.

Women in particular have a bad habit of putting down achievement to luck. I would dare to say that in a profession made up primarily of men you would not find so many willing to put their hard-earned achievement down to luck. (It’s a self-denigration, which is something women are quite good at!) Men know how to “own” their power in a way too many women don’t. Women may feel “impolite” and “ungrateful” or “arrogant” in claiming their power by assigning their success to their own hard work. It’s really not as trivial as it appears on the surface because “owning” your power is about your attitude, your thought process toward your career. What you believe, what you think, is what you are, what you become. Owning your success as a result of your own work as opposed to luck can change your life. If you’ve ever read any motivational writings by people like Robbins, Schwartz, Covey, etc, you’ll find a common theme of owning your power–because owning your power is about a successful mindset–which is where all success begins.

That’s the power of believing in yourself, not luck. Luck is a disownership of your power.

Now, go forth, own your power. :yes:

***Addition: My latest column, The Fall-Out of Fall, is up at DotMoms!


  1. MartyK says:

    Thank you for the much-needed reminder. I believe that we give too much power to the others in the industry. We have to take responsibility for getting ourselves out there and finding success, and dealing in a positive way with the rejection we know will come from somewhere. I hear people talk a lot about ‘timing’, but if you have 200 submissions out there, your timing is bound to be better than an author with one tenth of that. Kudos for not putting all your eggs in one basket.

  2. Cheryl S. says:

    I’m not a writer but I think you’ve given us all something we can use in our everyday life no matter what our vocation. Thanks, Suzanne!

  3. Biddy says:

    Suzanne – Thanks for this post! It reminded me that you have to be “in it to win it”. At the moment I am concentrating on something other than writing and you have just given me the kick up the backside I needed to get out there and win. If I don’t get my demo done and send it out, how one earth can I get a radio show!! Sheesh! Sometimes I’m a little slow.

  4. Joely says:

    Great post, Suzanne. Definitely something I needed to read today. Getting my fanny in gear TODAY!

  5. Beth C says:

    That was an awesome and inspiring, read, Suzanne. Thanks for the morning charge. I needed it! 💡

  6. Katie Crawford says:

    GREAT Post, Suzanne!! And so true.
    Off to make my own luck!

  7. Jill says:

    Great, inspiring, empowering post! Gotta MAKE it happen, and you gotta believe.

  8. kacey says:

    Suzanne, GREAT post! I don’t know why, as a rule, women do say it was luck or whatever. Yours was HARD WORK, and persistence. And of course following all the rules :rolleyes: :fryingpan: Uh, huh. :mrgreen:

    this post is also good to apply to life in general. If we don’t like something about our life, then DO something to change it! Make our own “luck.”

    Thanks for the motivation!

  9. Mary says:

    Great post. I don’t think any person really knows how hard published writers work.

  10. Carol Burnside says:

    I heartily concur with the others – thanks for the reminder. After the very first rejection I got, my husband asked me “what happens now?” When I explained the whole process of submissions and rejections to him, he just shook his head and said he’d just give up. THAT coming from a man who sets goals and plows through them like they’re nothing.

    Guess that means we women are pretty darn tough, eh?

  11. Stacey115 says:

    All I have to say is —- Well said.

  12. Robyn says:

    I agree, this totally works in all areas of one’s life. Well said, Suzanne.

  13. Kelly says:

    Suzanne, awesome post! And I just blogged last month how it was luck that got me an agent, you should have cyber slapped me. :fryingpan:

    I may not be that confident in my writing yet, but I’m surely determined enough to sell one day. 😀

  14. Tori says:

    Suzanne, as always, you rock!!! :guitar::bananadance:

  15. Lynn says:

    Women tend to be the most self-deprecating creatures on the face of the earth, don’t they? Must be something in that chromosome.

    Thanks for the reminder. It was definitely something I needed to hear.

  16. Jordan says:

    I appreciate the reminder. It’s so easy to forget. I believe culture and upbringing turn women into self-deprecating beings. I imagine the world would be quite frightening to men if they weren’t. LOL!

  17. Crystal* says:

    YES! YES! YES! :yes::yes::yes:
    Absolutely brilliant post. I believe this wholeheartedly. That’s why when I receive my agent “passes” I place them to the side and continue my writing.
    I own my power. :shocked: I harness it. I use it. And by God, it will work.
    Now, only if my last name was Hilton. :rotfl:

  18. Lis says:

    Great post Suzanne :yes:
    So true!!

  19. Rene says:

    Great post Suzanne. I’m not much of a believer in luck, but writers do seem to sling the term around quite a bit. I do think there is good fortune, but no writer that has been the recipient of “good luck” hasn’t worked their butt off first.

  20. Amy K. says:

    How did you know I needed my butt kicked today? Excellent post. Thanks!

  21. Michelle says:

    So true! I appreciate all the support and encouragint words you give.

    Multiple-submissions rule the world! 🙂

  22. mary beth says:

    Woo Hoo Suzanne!
    This is exactly what I needed to hear.

  23. Melissa Marsh says:

    What an inspiring post, Suzanne. Made mel ook at things in an entirely different way. THANK YOU!:bananadance:

  24. Gina says:

    Great post, and a much needed reminder. The only one that is going to make it is you based on what you do. Luck is no part of it.

    Reminds me of the lyrics of one of my favorite songs:

    “Luck ain’t even lucky. Got to make your own breaks.”

  25. Mary Stella says:

    My favorite quote is:

    Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
    (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

  26. Jaq says:

    Great post, Suzanne. Take a bow lady.

  27. Teresa H says:

    Well said Suzanne!:thumbsup:

  28. Steph T. says:

    This was wonderful, Suzanne. Thanks for the reminder – I’m printing this one out for my keeper file.:smile:

  29. Kate says:

    yeah! hear hear! I’m so inspired, I feel like exercising or even….writing!

    *but still, I can’t help feeling that I am entirely lucky to be published. :bananadance: