Hello, hello! Thanks to my friend and fellow Stonecoast alum, Tony Pisculli, I actually have something halfway productive to talk about today. After my last post, he asked me how I keep track of my submissions and gave me a couple of ideas for how to improve on it. So, I’m going to ramble a bit about three options for keeping track of the things you submit and where you submit them. The first two options are things I currently do, but the third is one that I hope to implement in the near future.
1. Duotrope. This is a nifty website that offers a searchable database of magazines and anthologies looking for submissions. It keeps track of acceptance rates and a bunch of other useful tidbits like what word count and genres these places accept. Its information is fairly accurate, but always check the submission guidelines of each venue before you submit, just in case. One of its main features is the ability to track what you’ve submitted where. It’s currently my go-to way of keeping track of everything, but it is flawed in that some smaller venues aren’t listed, so I need a backup way of tracking those. But for $50 a year, it’s a great tool for writers to invest in.
2. File names. I learned a long time ago to use the date, the story title, and the name of the publication when I’m saving my work for submission. Labeling the file something like 2019.03.20_story_publication keeps everything in a neat chronological order. However, the more submissions you make, the more unruly this method becomes. One thing Tony suggested to help improve this was to give each story its own folder, that way everything isn’t mixed together and it’s easier to scan through and see where you’ve submitted individual stories. I plan on giving this a shot before I send out too many more submissions.
3. Spreadsheets. This is something I’ve been meaning to create for a while now, but I keep putting it off because it’s going to take at least a couple of days. It has been a long time since I’ve made any kind of in-depth spreadsheet for anything, so I’ll have to teach myself all the ins and outs of it again. But I would love to not only track where I’ve sent things, but where I want to send them in the future and when. It’s difficult to keep track of which venues have open submission periods. I’ve almost missed a number of windows because I didn’t write it down anywhere. Plus, a spreadsheet would allow me to personalize the information I keep track of, like which venues encourage me to submit again or random encouraging words for a particular story to look at when I’m considering trunking something. When I do get around to creating a spreadsheet, I’ll make sure to give you all a glimpse!
What about you? How do you keep track of your submissions? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Have you ever considered a spreadsheet? What kind of information would you include if you created your own tracker? Feel free to comment here or on my social media profiles!