Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Keeping Track of Submissions

I am currently at the beginning of a short story blitzkrieg which will probably last till the end of the year, and which will hopefully result in my being published in at least one major magazine.  What this means is that I'm preparing as many short stories as I can, and I'm sending them off to different magazines.  The plan is one submission a week (as long as I have an eligible short story to submit).

Problem: How do I keep track of all my submissions?

This is a very important question.   There appear to be two main rules to follow when submitting short stories (with some exceptions):

1) Only send a particular story to one magazine at a time.  (If two magazines like your story, you have a problem.  They may both drop you.)
2) Only send one story to a particular magazine at a time.  (Most magazines don't like to be barraged by all your stories at once.)

So, while the Intergalactic Medicine Show is reviewing one story, I can send a separate story to Asimov's.  However, without some kind of aid, I may make a mistake and inadvertently break rule #1 or #2.

The Answer: Simple spreadsheets.

I have one spreadsheet where I collect information on each magazine.  I list the name of the magazine, their home state, website, acquisition editor's name, whether they accept simultaneous submissions (rule #1), anticipated wait time, extra notes, and payment notes.  Each line in the spreadsheet represents one magazine.

I have another spreadsheet that keeps track of the stories I submit.  It lists the story name, the magazine to whom I sent it, the date submitted, their response, and the anticipated wait.  Each line in the spreadsheet represents one submission of one story to one magazine.  This is going to have lots of line filled in by the end of the year.

Spreadsheets are nice, because I can sort the data in any order - in particular the second spreadsheet (the submissions).  Let's say I want to see how many times I've bothered IGMS.  I just sort by their name and submission date, and I can see how many stories I've sent, and whether or not they're currently reviewing one of my stories.  Or, I can sort by story name and submission date to see how many magazines I've burned with that story.

I also have separate spreadsheets for keeping track of agents and publishers and novels.

Well, I've got to get back to my blitzkrieg.  Happy writing!

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