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!