Posted by: nancyisanders | July 7, 2016

The Parable of the Shoemaker: Part 4

A parable about writing…
In the first three parts of the story posted earlier this week on my blog, the shoemaker tried to sell the shoes she made, but all she got were rejections. Until one day, she met a new friend who invited her to study the websites of the places she tried to market her shoes to and learn more about the exact kind of shoes each one was looking for…

Part 4
After studying the website and reading the interview, it was as if a light suddenly dawned in her head. Quickly, the shoemaker sent an e-mail. In the e-mail, she said, “I have studied your website and see that you all wear cowboy boots. I also read your interview and understand that you wear sizes 4, 7, and 15. However, I didn’t see anywhere that you have a matching pair of cowboy boots for your whole family to wear. I have an idea for a matching set—would you like me to show you the idea?”

To her surprise and amazement, the shoemaker got a reply the very next day. The owner sent her an e-mail! In the e-mail, the owner said, “I like your idea of matching cowboy boots for all four of us to wear. Even though they will look the same, however, I would like mine to have comfortable innersoles included inside. Plus, the two matching pairs for the twins need a special arch built inside because the twins need the extra support. Can you make these for us?”

Excited, the shoemaker replied that yes, she could make the cowboy books like the woman described. So she signed a contract to make them, started work on them right away, and soon sold her first four pairs of shoes.

From then on, the shoemaker never mailed another pair of shoes randomly to someone again. First she studied the websites of different places to see what kinds of shoes they liked to wear. Then she looked for interviews of people who explained the exact size of shoes that fit. Finally, she contacted the people personally to see if they would be interested in having her make them a pair of shoes like they said they were looking for in the interview. From then on, she sold many, many pairs of shoes and her shoes were always the perfect fit!

(Did she ever sell the little blue jogging shoes that she first made? No, but just last month the shoemaker’s daughter had the sweetest little baby boy you ever did see. And the little blue jogging shoes fit her new grandson perfectly—which makes a perfectly delightful end to this story about the Parable of the Shoemaker.)

The End

This is really a parable about writing, not about making shoes. I’ve tried to show you how I’ve had success landing book contracts over the years—and I hope you can do the same.


  1. That’s a wonderful story Nancy. Thank-you for sharing it with us. I know I’ve been making the same mistake because,” not the right fit” is the the reply I normally get back, so I know I need to do more research from now on.



    • I’m glad this is helping Penny. Sounds like your manuscripts are strong. Just look for the right fit.

  2. I’ve enjoyed your parable, Nancy! Interpreting what trade editors want is hard. Going to conferences and actually showing them a shoe/first page is the only way I’ve found to tease that information out.

    • Glad you enjoyed this, Wendy! Actually there are other ways to do this…let me give you some ideas in a future post!

      • 🙂

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