View Full Version : How do YOU keep track of rejections?

12-03-2004, 11:29 PM
Maestro's post in another thread got me thinking: What is your method for keeping track of your rejections? Do you have a file for what has been rejected where and when? Or do you, like me, use the computer copy of a manuscript to note where it's been rejected? Also, did you have to try different methods to keep track of your rejections?

12-04-2004, 12:14 AM
I keep a never-ending column file starting with Title. I also keep the actual rejections in a cabinet marked "Love Letters." Personal, positive rejections are in a "True Love Letters" file.

The cabinet-held rejections also have sub/return dates on them as a backup.

12-04-2004, 02:07 AM
I keep the small note from The New Yorker on my dartboard, the rest sit in a file that moves from drawer to drawer as it continually gets in the way.

12-04-2004, 08:13 AM
I don't bother. I have a list of mags (starting with the highest paying) and simply work my way down it. When something comes in from (a) it goes out to (b) and so on.

If it comes back from (f) it goes into a boxfile under the bed for when I'm rich and famous and they'll publish anything!



12-04-2004, 08:45 AM
Well, this is a subject I'm quite familiar with (gag!).

For each short story, I keep a chart labeled with the name of the story, which shows which mag I sent it to, date sent, date rejected. I paper clip the rejection to the chart. (And the stack is growing every day!) Like aq, when a story comes back, I try to send it out to another market right away. I figure if there's a lot of stuff floating out there each individual rejection won't sting so much.

I have a similar method for agent rejections: chart with all the agent names, date query sent, date query dinged.

How sad to be so good at managing my failures, er, I mean rejections!

Lori Basiewicz
12-04-2004, 10:33 AM
A friend of mine is really into freeware. For him, it's the thrill of the hunt -- like people who dumpster dive or really get into garage sales. Not too long ago, he sent me a link to a tracking program. I haven't really gotten into it to use it, but it looks fairly intuitive.

SONAR2 (http://www.spacejock.com/Sonar.html)

12-04-2004, 10:44 AM
Awesome, Lori!

Also, if you subscribe to Writer's Market, you can use their submission tracking tool to track all your submissions. It's an online tool, so you don't need to install anything and you can do it anywhere in the world.

12-04-2004, 07:26 PM
The most mundane way possible: a Word list. I have one column of submissions. When a rejection comes in I move their name from one column to the other.

I wish that 2nd column wasn't getting longer...

12-05-2004, 12:19 AM
I keep two folders on my PC for queries. One for queries/submission letters. When a rejection comes in, I move the query/submission file over to the "rejected" folder. The file already have everything I need -- publication/agent, date, ms title, etc. etc.

If I want I could rename the file to include a brief note, such as AgentA-[date]-welcome-future-submission.doc.

I don't really look at the rejected folder, least of all count how many files in the folder. I simply move the files there and call it done. I only focus on the files in the "query/submission" folder.

12-06-2004, 03:38 AM
I have three files on my computer--acceptances, submissions, and rejections. Each is a table.

The rejection table contains these columns:

Magazine Title (this is what I alphabetize by)

When a submission comes back with a rejection letter, I throw out the rejection letter, cut the information from my submissions table, and paste it in my rejection table.

In the Notes section I have things like: "Never submit to this publication again" or "Try "___" if it's rejected from ___" or "No response after 14 months; rejection assumed", etc.

I alphabetize by magazine title so that when I am getting ready to submit to a magazine, I can quickly find it on the rejection table to make sure I haven't already submitted the same work there before--and to make sure I don't have any notes like "this PO box was closed" or "this was for Asians only" or something like that.

01-06-2005, 12:46 AM
An Excel spreadsheet.

12-06-2008, 10:34 PM
I used a word document.

12-06-2008, 10:43 PM
I started with post-it notes if you can believe that - but it didn't take long for that system to fail.

Moved on to Excel spreadsheets - one for each MS - with columns for publishing house/agency, specific agent sent to, type of submission (snail vs email), query only or query with ms (for pb's), date sent, reply and date of reply.

I just started using Query Tracker and am now keeping the same info there as well.

Query Tracker is the easiest to use - all on a page I can see whom I've queried, with what, when, the outcome, etc - on the same page as agents I have yet to query.

12-06-2008, 10:51 PM
I too use a Word document. I'm too much of a computer dunce to keep up with a spreadsheet, although I tried it briefly. I keep track of the details religiously because I've found it's so easily to drop the ball if I don't. I've usually got a hundred things going on at once and with all the submissions and queries going in and out I could easily get lost if I didn't keep organized.

12-06-2008, 11:54 PM
Excel spreadsheet. Even a computer dunce can use it. :D
Makes it super easy to sort by story or date or magazine, so you can see your stats, etc.

12-06-2008, 11:57 PM
Oh look. More threadomancy.

I have an excel spreadsheet to keep track of my eleventy bajillion rejections. I also keep the letters send as well in two folders. :(

I haven't submitted anything in ages. That's shameful. Oh well. In 2009 I aim to submit as many times as I have rejections so far. That was so grammatically incorrect but you know what I mean.

I think that works out at me having to sub my work 65 times or thereabouts next year.

Karen Duvall
12-07-2008, 12:00 AM

Calla Lily
12-07-2008, 12:08 AM


12-07-2008, 03:56 AM
Color-coded Excel spreadsheet.

C.M. Daniels
12-09-2008, 12:34 AM
I keep a rejection letter portfolio.

It's a three ring binder with tabs that have each story's title on in, and each rejection goes into its respective tab space. It works quite well, for me.

12-09-2008, 02:26 AM
I used to keep them all in files. Now I just check off a list when I get a response. That said, when I sold my book, I threw a party and decorated with of all the rejections I had at that point (about 200, for about 6 different novels, some long since abandoned, others rewritten into other stories.). I papered the walls with them. Let me tell you, it was quite a conversation starter. Some people, reading through, actually got angry! One friend called it the "wailing wall." A few friends were over before the party, and we put them up by taping them together in rows of 10, and then hanging the row from the ceiling. After a living room wall was completely covered, we stood back and sort of stared. I broke the silence by saying, "I really wanted to publish a book." the friend said, "We can see that." It was a great moment. A sense of humor helps.

12-09-2008, 02:31 AM
P.S. That was before Internet submissions, so all the letters were on publisher letterhead.

Deb Kinnard
12-09-2008, 02:31 AM
"The Wailing Wall"! I love it!

Just got an R through my agent on a piece I'd pitched to an editor at a conference last summer. She seemed really interested but today my agent reports "declined without comment." Man! I HATE when that happens.

Going off to create my own Wailing Wall, even if it's only in my mind.


12-09-2008, 03:23 AM
"The Wailing Wall"! I love it!

Just got an R through my agent on a piece I'd pitched to an editor at a conference last summer. She seemed really interested but today my agent reports "declined without comment." Man! I HATE when that happens.

Going off to create my own Wailing Wall, even if it's only in my mind.


Like in The Secret Life of Bees. The chick in there had one too.

Sorry about the R *hug*

12-09-2008, 05:03 AM
Excel spreadsheet.

I divide into sections, with each 'block' being the story I wrote.

Publisher.............Date Sent..........Response Date..........Status......Comments

Best Mag.............12 Dec 07........... 22 Feb 08............Rejected.........You suck
Too Cool Mag..........2 Mar 08........... 2 Jul 08............Accepted.........Send more

that is how I do it.


12-09-2008, 08:28 PM
I've pretty much wallpapered my house ;)