Using Software to Track Submissions: Part 2 – Using a Spreadsheet
The simplest way to track submissions is using a spreadsheet program like Excel. You could also use an online spreadsheet like Google Docs. Create a new spreadsheet and put the following as column headers:
Title of Piece | Length | Genre/Type | Query or Submission? |Market Submitted to | Market’s Address | Pay | Date Sent | Response Time | Response (Y/N) | Accepted? (Y/N) | Due date | Publish date | Pay date | Paid? (Y/N)
You could also create another sheet with market information, in which case you can skip the “Market’s Address” and “Pay” columns.
As you send pieces or queries out, you fill in a new line. When you receive a response, you go back and put a Y under “Response?” and select either “Yes or No” under “Accepted?” If your piece was accepted, you can add the date it will be published and when you’ll be paid. If it was a query, add the date the finished piece is due.
Using a spreadsheet has an advantage over paper, in that you can sort your columns. So, for instance, you could sort on the “Response?” column to find pieces that are still under consideration by their respective markets — and check the “Response time” column to see whether you should have heard back from them or not. Maybe it’s time to send a reminder?
Or you could sort on “Market” to see who you haven’t submitted anything to in a while. Or “Accepted?” to see what pieces you should be looking at resubmitting elsewhere. Or “Paid?” to see who might be just a little behind in paying their authors. I’m sure it just slipped their mind…
If you have some spreadsheet savvy, you can also add drop-down selectors or check boxes for different options — for example, a check box can replace “Yes/No” in some columns, and a drop-down could list all the different genres or formats you write in (e.g. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Fantasy Romance, Fantasy Horror, Fantasy Horror Romance, Romantic Horrific Fantasy, Fantastic Romancy Horrismcy, etc.).
Using a spreadsheet offers basic functionality, but as it gets larger and larger it’s going to get more and more unwieldy. Plus, every time you submit the same piece to a new market, you’ll need to create a new line, making tracking the history of a specific piece or query idea somewhat difficult. Next, we’ll look as specialty software that addresses some of these issues. Stay tuned!