With a name like Shoes Never Worn, you’d think that the blog had something to do with the fashion industry. Maybe it has something to do with history and how certain clothing items never made it into the mainstream and, thus, were never worn. However, that’s not what it’s about at all.
Instead, the blog that serves as the subject of today’s review is geared more toward fans of independent writing, particularly when it comes to non-legacy and non-traditional forms of publishing fiction. What’s more, the blogger and writer behind Shoes Never Worn says that it’s not about the money and it will never be about the money.
The Shoe on the Other Foot
Let’s start with some general first impressions of Shoes Never Worn.
It’s clear from the beginning that the overall design of the site is meant to evoke an “indie” type feeling, moving against the norm and allowing for more personal expression. Despite this, it’s clear that the voice wants to be heard, offering all sorts of social integration by way of Facebook like buttons, Google Friend Connect widgets, and so on.
The about page isn’t so much about the writer as it is about the value of fiction, as well as the “philosophy, the process, the publishing the indie way.” The only thing we learn about author K. Syrah is that she is a “starting, small-time Indie writer that doesn’t care about the money.”
Doesn’t Care About the Money?
Would it be fair to say that K. Syrah is hypocritical? Perhaps, but perhaps not. The blog is mostly about getting the unfiltered word out, skipping the traditional publishing route that may otherwise shackle her creativity. However, it’s clear that the site also aims to make money.
Under the Friends section in the sidebar, you’ll find a series of advertising banners. There is a sponsorship page for soliciting this advertising. Addressing this seemingly large contradiction (since the advertising features quite prominently), K. Syrah recently published a candid talk on the profession of indie writing.
In it, she writes that she does make money at this, but it’s only “enough to pay the bills of one very high-maintenance quarter-lifer.” She says that if she was the primary breadwinner of her family, they would “all be living at the shelter, eating stale soup.” I’m not sure if that adds or takes away from her credibility, but there you have it.
What About the Content?
Shoes Never Worn is almost two blogs in one. On the one hand, you have editorial and opinion pieces like the one described above with the profession of independent writing. On the other hand, a large proportion of the content is fiction, mostly in the form of short stories and satirical writing.
One example is a short story inspired by a photo she found and it discusses a fictional tale on the Bataan Death March. Creative art being what it is, it’s up to you to decide whether you think this is a good piece of fictional writing or one that isn’t quite so good.
For my part, I think it paints a powerful picture and the overall flow is quite good. The thirty comments and counting (though half are from K. Syrah herself) demonstrates that there is a readership here that is interested in these types of short stories.
Suggestions for Improvement
Seeing how the goal of Shoes Never Worn is the encouragement of independent writing for the sake of unfiltered expression rather than for the sake of earning a buck, I won’t go into monetization. What I will say is that I would like to see more on the “about” page where we learn more about K. Syrah, why this blog came to be, and why we should be reading it. I’d also argue that the posts should clearly dated, as the nature of a blog is to understand its timeliness and relevance.
Then again, “it’s about getting a good product out there without the creative constraints put on writers to sell,” so maybe that against-the-grain nature of Shoes Never Worn is half the point.