Writing can be a daunting task. Whether it be a full-fledged book or even a blog post, getting quality feedback is essential if you want to produce quality work. But even if you do have a group of friends willing to take a look at your writing, it is often difficult to find engaged individuals who are willing to be committed to your work.
Brooke McIntyre, the founder of Inked Voices, answered all of these issues in her new website which allows for writers to create interactive peer writing groups. Built to your writing groups needs, you will have all of your manuscripts and edits ready to be privately viewed by your specific group.
Today, Brooke joins us today to discuss why she started the business, the platform, and the future of writing groups online.
Tell us about the product or service.
For many, writing is a passion and publishing a lifelong dream. But it’s hard to follow through and people often give up. That’s where writing groups come in. A group offers support and accountability – so writers keep writing. Groups also exchange feedback, which is critical for success in the competitive publishing market.
Inked Voices helps writers find and run small writing groups online. Writers either join with their pre-existing group or we help them match with a group on the site.
After joining a group, writers “meet” in a private web space where they exchange document feedback, share resources and provide mutual support. Feedback is a group’s core activity, so there is a built-in submissions process with deadlines and notifications to keep members on track. We’ve also developed a feedback system that makes it easy for authors to review comments. Our goal is to make running the group efficient and collaborative.
How is it different?
We’re focused on small groups. Inked Voices is for the writer interested in the connection and consistency typically found in person, but who needs the flexibility of participating online. Most of our groups are 4-15 writers and we even have partner groups. There are other critique sites and writing forums where members exchange feedback, but they focus on large or site-wide groups.
There are also sites where writers post their work publicly for reviews, building their author platform. Inked Voices is for the step before public sharing or publication. Our writers are working on drafts and revisions and want to get feedback privately.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Our core users are creative writers pursuing publication, be it traditional, indie or self publishing, but the platform could be used by a broader set of writers. Bloggers could use Inked Voices to workshop long-form blog posts, students could use it to exchange feedback on essays and teachers could use it to teach writing.
Inked Voices is a software as a service business. Writers pay a monthly or annual subscription to participate in writing groups and listen to our on-demand lectures on writing.
What inspired the business?
I started Inked Voices after working with my own writing group over email and Google Docs. Our manuscripts and critiques were scattered across our inboxes, making the experience disorganized, disjointed and time-consuming. We needed a private workshop environment where we could store things in one place and with a built-in workflow so we could collaborate efficiently. We also needed professional tools for feedback and review. Once I started building the idea, I realized finding a group is a huge challenge for many writers and that’s become a important part of Inked Voices’ service.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We’re working on getting the word out about our writing groups. We’re also starting Inked Voices’ first pro groups, where a writing professional will give each member manuscript feedback and line edits. And, we’re planning to launch an iOS app that helps writers follow through on their writing.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Developing a product is fun, but start marketing your solution well in advance of launch. Don’t worry that the product isn’t perfect yet—talk about it anyway.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Inked Voices blends the concepts of virtual teams, peer learning, online learning and, of course, writing. I’d be very interested to talk to other companies or investors interested in these spaces.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York has a strong literary tradition and is known as a haven for writers. The number of resources available here for startups has also surprised me, from educational and networking events, to programs targeting new businesses.
Where is your favorite beach?
I’m originally from farther south, so I have to admit we usually meet family at the North Carolina beaches. But I’ve enjoyed scouting sea shells and building castles with my kids at Jones Beach here, too.