I sent out my new short story to Penumbra just now. I got the story logged in my submission tracker at Duotrope, but I want to talk to you guys about setting up your own submission tracker at home. I think it’s important to keep your own paperwork on the side of the “official” stuff. It’s like keeping track of finances. Sure, you could check your register online with your bank nowadays, but I always think it’s helpful to have a little bit of redundancy.
My tracker is taken right out of Writer’s Market, but it’s basically an Excel file with the following columns:
- Manuscript Title: The title of the submission.
- Market: The name of the magazine, agency, or publisher you’re sending your story to.
- Contact Name: The name of the person at the market getting your work.
- Date Sent: The date you send in the work.
- Date Rejected: The date your work was rejected.
- Date Accepted: The date your work was accepted.
- Date Published: The date your work was printed.
- Payment Received: How much you were paid (if applicable).
- Comments: Any additional notes about your experience with that specific market.
I keep a separate spreadsheet for each year, and because I’m a visual guy, I like to highlight and color-code things. Submissions that are out are highlighted in blue. Submissions that have been accepted and published are highlighted in orange. Submissions that are unmarked are likely rejected. Not that there’s anything wrong with those markets that have rejected you (and you may be accepted by them at a later date), but it’s important to skim your tracker and see what’s out pounding the pavement, and it’s a nice confidence booster to see where you’ve had victories.