Using Software to Track Submissions: Part 1 – Introduction
One of the least glamorous parts of a writer’s job is keeping track of submissions. Knowing who you sent a query or a finished piece, what you sent them, when you sent it, and whether it’s been accepted or rejected is crucial, but mundane — especially compared with the far more fulfilling work of actually writing our work.
A lot of writers get by with a binder or note-book, flipping through pages and updating each entry by hand, but this can get messy pretty quickly if you’re at all prolific — and if you’re not, remembering to update your binder (or even remember where it is) when the changes you’re tracking come infrequently can be a problem.
Submission tracking is simple, formulaic, and repetitive — exactly the kind of task that computers are especially good for. There are quite a few ways to track submissions on a computer, from plain text files that reproduce the format of pen-and-paper systems to specialized programs designed particularly for the task.
Any system you use needs to do several things easily and reliably. You need to be able to tell when a piece was sent, whether you’ve heard back yet, and what the response was. You also need to be able to link submissions to the market it was sent to, in case you need to follow up. If you send out queries, your submission tracking system needs to tell you what ideas you need to work into full pieces and when they’re due. And it needs to tell you when to expect payment, and how much — again, so you can follow up if necessary.
Over the course of the week, we’ll look at several different ways to track submissions. Check them out and decide what system is going to work best for you.