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Help Wanted: A Very Belated Inked Update

To my family this is not new knowledge, but I feel like I need to update the community and those who have supported us for so long. In every project there are always hurdles, roadblocks and other barriers to success. No dream, project, or organization is without them.

We had a few things planned for this year. Some really cool projects I can’t wait to find time to work on.

But then Covid happened. Navigating online school slowed many of us down, myself included. The day job picked up due to some escalations. I understand I am one of the lucky ones. Some of us, like me, have been able to maintain our day jobs with minimal risk to our livelihood. I count my blessings every day for that and will never forget how difficult it was growing up on food stamps or sleeping in my car just to get my college degree.

During that time, we’ve had some changes at Inked. Shailo and Sam have taken on some amazing personal projects that have taken them away from Inked. My responsibilities at WriteHive have increased as our nonprofit has grown and expanded. So many good things have happened for us, but I am reluctant to give up on my dream to expand Inked into what it was originally intended to be—a nonprofit organization advocating for and sharing the stories of those left misunderstood and misrepresented by our society at large.

Which is why this message is so hard for me write, but it’s been burning a hole in my mind for a long time now. I hate asking for help. It feels like I’m being a burden. But seeking others with similar dreams is not a burden.

The cause is bigger than me, and the little voice inside my head says it’s time. Covid is wearing down (knock on wood) and people are becoming vaccinated. Hopefully soon we can start repairing our communities and rebuilding our lives and mental health. We miss those we’ve lost to this terrible tragedy, but I hate to think they would want us to be miserable.

This year has a lot in store for us. We are deepening our partnerships with WriteHive and Indie Story Geek and revamping our Indie Resource Directory. The plan is to expand Inked one more step further in the direction of a 501(c)(3). We have an Editors As Mentors program planned that has been burning a hole in my Gdrive since 2016, before I founded Inked and discovered Twitter. Another expansion is a program to provide virtual resources (financial and otherwise) for physical, mental, and basic needs – funds to pay for counseling and transition, therapeutic writing programs, critique groups, workforce resources, the whole nine. We tell stories and publish works from those who are now in a better place. But what about those who are still left fighting? They deserve to overcome their barriers so that they may have a chance at the same success we had.

Turns out I can’t do all that with two people. Shocking, I know, right?

So, I would like to put a call out into the universe. Would you like to join the cause? Looking for passionate people who don’t mind putting in a few hours a week for various aspects of building up Inked to be an all -around support and voice for marginalized individuals. Specifically, we are looking for individuals with the following interests and/or skills:

• Marketing, advertising, and graphic design
• Editing – dev and/or copy
• Blogging
• Project management/outreach

We value passion and drive over knowledge, so even if you feel you do not profess extensive expertise, that is not a barrier. Our ideal candidate is someone who shares the same values and would like to be a part of this family we’ve created with WriteHive, Indie Story Geek and our collective literary communities.

If you are interested in joining the team, please send us a note about your experience and why you’d like to be a part of our family. Please send questions, inquiries and applications to contact@inkedingray.com

Thank you!

Kota and Sangy

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Our Message to You About Rejections

As we begin to send out responses to the over 300 authors who’ve submitted to the Inked in Gray survival-themed anthology and contest, we are overwhelmed with gratitude at how many individuals submitted. And we are impressed with the stories we’ve read alongside Val, our judge, who will be making the final decision as to the winner of the $75 contest prize.

Please know that we read every single email. And while we’d love to respond to everyone personally, we are a small press. We simply don’t have the bandwidth to provide feedback to everyone as we’d like to do.

We sincerely thank everyone for believing in us and submitting to our anthology. It takes courage and bravery to put your work out into the world, and we do not take that lightly. Obviously, we could not pick everyone, and even still, there were a lot of difficult choices made in regards to which stories would be a part of our anthology.

If you are reading this and your story was rejected by Inked, or from any press, I wanted to provide you with some reasons as to why this may have occurred.

Rejections are not a reflection of the author. It doesn’t mean you aren’t a talented writer. It could mean that your story wasn’t a good fit thematically, or that it tried to address themes other than survival. There may have been multiple stories with your genre, in which case, we had to decide which story was the best representative for said genre. It may have been something as simple as your story needing a little more time in the oven before it’s ready to be consumed by eager readers. Whatever the reason, it does not mean you aren’t worthy of success, or any less of a writer.

Making these decisions weighed heavily on our hearts. Inked wants to make everyone’s dreams come true. We anguished and re-read submissions. Then reread them again! Be proud of your work. Reward yourself for putting a part of your soul onto the page, then sending it to grumpy editors *cough* Sam and Crowe *cough* who tore their hair out deciding which stories would make it into the anthology, while Kota whined about wanting to publish them all.

Keep writing. Keep querying. And remember: just because we could not pick your story does not mean we didn’t love it. Thank you for sharing a piece of your soul with us.

We hope you continue to write and seek out opportunities for publication and to improve your craft. If you are looking for an amazing writing community with FREE resources for both traditional and indie arenas, we highly recommend the WriteHive discord community. Nowhere else can you have a conversation with industry professionals, share your work, and find resources all in one place.

Because of the high number of submissions and the quick turnaround, we were not able to craft detailed notes. If you’d like additional feedback, they will be happy to provide notes, however we cannot guarantee the turnaround time as it will depend on the number of requests we receive. If you would like Crowe to review and provide comments, please respond to our email, but change the email subject line to RE: Feedback Request – Crowe.

So again, thank you for submitting your work to us at Inked. We hope to see your work again. 

Sincerely, 

The Inked Team