06 May 2013

tracking your own writing submissions

May Submit-O-Rama: Tracking Your Own Writing Submissions
Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you:
You check your mail or email inbox and find a note from a literary journal, magazine, or publisher thanking you for your submission. Unfortunately, they are unable to publish it at this time, but would like you to send them something else. As your heart leaps at the fact that this editor is at least interested in seeing something else, your heart suddenly drops because you realize … you have no idea what it was you sent in the first place. Was it that story you sent out to five different journals last month? Was it that set of poems that were already accepted elsewhere anyway? And then your heart really skips a beat … because you forgot to send out notices to the other places you submitted that a piece was accepted …

Beyond building up the courage to submit your work at all, probably the hardest part of the submission process is keeping track of where you’ve sent your work! If you’re not writing it down somewhere, chances are at some point you’ll be left wondering what ever happened to that story, poem, or art piece. Although it sounds wonderful, no writer really wants to wind up in the situation where they have the same piece accepted by multiple publishers because they forgot to let the others know it was already taken. It makes the writer look bad. Bottom line is, you need to keep track of your submissions.

The question is, how do you go about keeping track? There are plenty of online submission trackers, but to tell the truth, I prefer tracking on my own. Sure you miss out on the stats and figures other trackers can give you, but you gain a little more control. When I track on my own, I get to analyze my own results: see which types of journals are taking my work, which types of poems are getting accepted, and so forth. I also get the reassurance of seeing multiple journals’ time schedules at the same time: rather than sitting back and biting my nails because I haven’t heard back from one journal, I can easily see it’s taking all of them two months to get back … so I know I shouldn’t start fretting until two months have passed.

If you happen to be someone who doesn’t track regularly, I offer you this: My submission tracker. It’s available now as a free download from Scribd. It’s a very basic tracker, but keeps track of some pretty vital information. Check it out and give it a whirl!


My Question to You: How do you track your submissions?
Are you a spreadsheet user or do you keep track in a handy dandy notebook? Do you track on your computer or post your submission grid on your wall? Do you color code, use stickpins, or something else? Please share your tracking techniques in the comments below!


*****

Want to stay connected? I invite you to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Please also sign up for the free email updates from Our Lost Jungle!

***** 

Check out the six Our Lost Jungle Submit-O-Rama Challenges!:

15 comments:

  1. I started using Duotrope before it became a subscription service and have continued to use it (the subscription was a Christmas gift). I like Duotrope because I can keep notes about each poem that goes out. For example, I have a note about my work poems and include the last revision date on every poem. The service also lets you know when lit mags are open for submission, and most importantly, if they have closed for good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pamela, I keep hoping someone will read my mind and gift me Duotrope :) I love those same added features you mention; while it's possible to keep track of at least some if it on one's own ... it's definitely a lot more work! Thanks for sharing (and rekindling the flame of my Duotrope-love!)

      Delete
  2. (that's me up there, but I no longer use the handle, had to sign out and sign back in with another).
    Thanks for the download Khara. I've been using http://querytracker.net/ which is fine for finding agent names, but the tracking on it for submissions is more complicated (at least for me). I tried Duotrope, but left it when it became a subs. service.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard a lot of good things about Query Tracker for fiction, Monica; thanks for bringing it up! It seems the bottom line for any tracker is finding what works best, even if it means taking a little time to learn that new system. I'll have to give QT another looksee, too!

      Delete
  3. I use a spreadsheet. I just put in basic information: publication, deadline, what I submit, when they say they will respond and result. I also use it to track submission opportunities. If I see a notice that interests me, I'll put in the name and submission period. I have found this helpful, especially if submissions aren't open when you first see information about the publication.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing, Michelle. I like that idea of tracking the submission period, so at least someone could take note of a journal if interest, even if they had to wait to submit there! Great ideas!

      Delete
  4. I also use a spreadsheet. You can find it here, if you're interested. ;)
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/x7s63eo071i3yhp/Submission%20Tracker.xls

    ReplyDelete
  5. Khara, I downloaded your sample, however it only opens in notepad and isn't the same as it looks on the screen. @ Rebecca: thank you for your spreadsheet, it downloaded fine. Thanks both for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! Did the summarizing stuff download easily as well?

      Delete
    2. The tracking sheet in the post requires Adobe Reader (PDF) to be displayed properly.

      Delete
  6. I, too, use a spreadsheet. I boiler-plated the initial one, and customized that for specific areas of my submitted writing. This worked well for me when I submitted nonfiction as a freelancer. It works equally well since I've entered the fiction and poetry worlds. Thank you for your post––a good reminder how important tracking is.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I sue Bento (a software database) ... and I record current listings on a publications blog as these occur. http://www.filemaker.co.uk/products/bento/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing, Caroline; I had not heard of Bento before. It looks like an interesting program.

      Delete

Thank you so much for your comments! Please feel free to share your thoughts here; I look forward to engaging in conversation with you!

Featured Post

Sankofa: The Power of Known History

I recently took on two challenges in the sphere of political and cultural advocacy: understanding the roots of our democracy and national l...