Archive for November, 2017

Cordwainers and Writers

November 19, 2017 | Writing

Rant: Commercials for mascara. Cosmetic companies advertise that their product will make your lashes longer and fuller. Wow! Really? Not really. If you read the small print at the bottom of the screen you’ll read the model has lash inserts. You need the mascara AND additional lashes to get the full effect.

Okay, rant over. Now to the topic at hand. Cordwainers and writers. Cordwainer is the proper name for a shoemaker. Let’s begin with why my addled brain sees a connection. My gold standard for shoe shopping, Nordstrom, on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Every time I come home I am required to make at least one visit, maybe two, okay three. I also have to hit up the cosmetics and Eileen Fisher departments. I walk in, drop to my knees, tears run down my face, not ruining my waterproof, long lash mascara, and cry out ‘I’m home!’ Nope, I don’t want to be carried out before I spend my money. But my mascara does holds up.

The only other time I feel like this is when I walk into a book store. It’s almost orgasmic.

I digress – as usual. So into Nordstrom I walk, my irises enlarge, and to my left is the beginning of their awesome shoe department. It extends the length of the first floor. Bright lighting, shoe displays catching your attention inviting you to walk around, pick up the precious, check the heel height, color, price, and ask ‘Do you have this in my size?’ You mentally calculate if you can afford to purchase one, two, or five pair. Same response in a book store. I pick up books as I wander from aisle to aisle seeking out my favorite authors and possibly new ones.

FYI: Unless you can afford it, don’t go to the back of the shoe department. I’m talking house payment prices. So far never had this problem in a book store – until I reach the register.

Cordwainers and writers do the same thing. Create.

Shoemakers spend long, hard hours drawing designs. They study how to create a shoe, work as interns for shoe companies and designers, determine their market, the demographics and age of potential customers.

Writers learn how to write, what genre they believe they can write well, plot out stories, create characters and give them goals, motivations, and conflicts. Long, hard hours to bring a book to life. We write for a specific group of readers historical romance readers, paranormal readers, gay readers. We look for our tribe.

More similarities. Shoemakers research shoe trends, seasons, potential markets. Writers study an ever-changing publishing landscape. Shoemakers create samples (writers first, second drafts) try them out on models (Beta readers). They haul their portfolio around, send emails (query) to companies (publishers and editors) and make presentations (pitches). They might strike out on their own (self-publish) like Vince Camuto once designed for Jessica Simpson. We both want one, just one company to look at (read) our design (manuscript) buy (contract) and stamp their name on a shoe (book). Thus creating a brand. Both want great sales, fantastic reviews, low returns, repeat sales, and loyal customers who spread the word about how great a writer/shoemaker we are.

It’s hard work. Commitment to the craft is our number one obsession. Rejection, years of ‘I’m sorry but I don’t think your book (shoe) fit our needs’. But we still write, commitment becomes more like maybe we should be committed.

But when it happens. Oh BABY when it happens! When we see our book in print whether ebook or paperback, on a shoe/book shelf we burst with pride. We’ve arrived. But we don’t rest on our laurels or kick off our new shoes, we keep writing. More books and of course more shoes.

A sample of my debut novel, Resurrection, is available below.


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