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Manuscript Management

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About Allan Izen, Creator of INK LINK

Allan Izen´s my name and as you can see from my picture, I was not always a propeller head. In fact, before I (s)tumbled into the programming biz, I was well on my way to becoming a human being. I spent more than 12 years playing and teaching banjo and writing for music magazines. I also squandered a godawful amount of life failing as a magician, batik artist and farm hand. I used up even MORE of my precious time working in laboratories as a clinical chemist and research associate.

Through it all, through everything I´ve done since my early teens, I wrote. Writing is my way of transubstantiating the strident chaos of my life into something meaningful. I managed to peddle about 35 short stories and a number of articles. Does that sound respectable? Well, in order to successfully hustle those 35 sold stories, I had to write more than 200. And submit each 20+ times. What I lack in talent I make up for in persistence. And what I lack in persistence, I make up in apathy. Herein lie the roots of my fascination with manuscript management.

The State of Hawaii, my current source of predictable income, was good enough to send me to programming school in the mid `80´s and I went on to make a number of programs for them. Thus, I was blessed with the benefit of being surrounded by users of my work every day, all of whom felt perfectly comfortable about providing an unending stream of valuable feedback (usually prefaced with, "Hey, what´s wrong with this damn thing?")

When I finally got the hang of it, I became a consultant and contract programmer for about 5 years, making custom programs for small business, non profits and state agencies. After a wildly mediocre career, I was encouraged to develop Ink Link by writers who had seen the crude submission tracker I had cobbled together to tame the disorder in my writing life. I tinkered with the project for many years, adding to it as I continued my journey up the programming mountain.

Eventually I put together the earliest version of Ink Link and sent it out for beta testing to approximately 60 working writers. The feedback I received was humbling and very valuable. I used almost all of it. I've since received lots of feedback from customers (I'd expect no less from writers) and from a second cohort of beta testers who were kind enough to evaluate version 2. By incorporating their comments and suggestions along with a few ideas of my own, I've tried to make Ink Link a user-friendly adjunct to writing that will take a load of management and organizational busy work off of the productive writer.