|May Submit-O-Rama: Tracking Your Own Writing Submissions|
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!: