View Full Version : Do You Have a System for Submissions?

10-28-2007, 08:41 AM
Hi Everyone,

I'm really glad to have just found this site. I have a bit of an organizational problem and I'd like to hear what other writers do...I have looked around to see if this question was posed elsewhere but I haven't been able to find it.

I write short stories. They are all in a folder on my computer. Some are finished, the rest are in varying stages of development. I have begun the process of submitting the stories.

But there are many literary publications. I can see my stories fitting in several different places. Some are simsubs, some aren't. Some are online, some aren't. Some only have reading times in the fall, some in the spring.

How do I choose where to send stuff first? More specifically, do you keep a chart? Some kind of Excel spreadsheet? I have made a document with divisions where I put down the dates, the location, and then the result - so far, that box has been marked "REJECTED". But that's ok...

So...do you keep track, eventually sending everything to everyone you think might have a chance? Or do you pick your battles? How do I choose?!

Thanks for your time!


10-28-2007, 09:38 AM
The standard rule of thumb is to submit to the ones that are the best credit. You evaluate this based on their pay rates and the magazine's reputation. The ones with the best pay rates and best reputations are the ones to start with, then work your way down. As you get more experienced, you'll also get a better feel for your own writing and know whether or not a story is really a good fit for the best paying publication or if you should start with a lesser market because you know the idea is hackneyed, the story has problems that you don't want to take the time to fix, etc.

There's different tools and methods for tracking subs out there. Personally, I use a freeware tool called Sonar (http://www.spacejock.com/Sonar.html). It allows you to enter information about the markets, so you can refer to them later for other subs, as well as basic information about the sub itself.

10-28-2007, 11:26 AM
Prayer and Talisker.

Helps make up for the dejection and hopelessness.

A little.


10-28-2007, 12:19 PM
I use www.writersplanner.com

It's mostly got science fiction and fantasy markets added, but there's nothing stopping someone from adding other markets to keep track of. I find it a really useful tool.

L M Ashton
10-28-2007, 03:37 PM
I use WriteTrack (http://www.farook.org/bytes.htm).

Linda Adams
10-28-2007, 04:45 PM
If you don't want to spend money on another software program, Excel will work fine for what you need to do. One of Excel's greatest strengths is for people making lists, and that's pretty much what a submission record is.

The advantage of other software tools will be that once you close a item (i.e., receive a rejection), it moves programmically out of the open items so you don't see it until you need it. In Excel, unless you physically move the closed item to another tab, it'll stay on the list and become clutter. Realistically, once you get the rejection, the item isn't worth looking at, except to confirm that you've already sent it to a particular magazine.

An easy way to copy the entire spreadsheet and formatting over to a new worksheet is to click the blank button between the A and the 1 in the upper left corner of the worksheet. This selects the entire worksheet. Then copy and paste into a new one. Delete the rows you don't need, and after that, you can just cut the row containing the rejected item and paste into the closed sheet.

For places to submit to, you can use Excel also. Make a list of the magazines, including the source for the listing and the page number or Web site so you can find it again. Then add a priority column and number it one to three, with one being high priority and three being low priority. Then you can sort by priority and delete magazines as you submit to them.

10-28-2007, 05:26 PM
I use Duotrope (http://www.duotrope.com/index.aspx) and also keep a written record of where I've submitted each story and when.

10-28-2007, 10:44 PM
You guys are awesome.

I don't know which program I'll start with, but I will check them all out. Thanks very much for the advice!


10-29-2007, 12:26 AM
I would say to submit to the places that you especially want to be published with first. Then work your way through the others. As you submit more and more you'll probably figure out which places you prefer to submit to first etc. The ones that respond, the ones you sell to, etc.

I keep track of all submissions in a notebook, everything done by hand. Columns include: The "project," Market, Date Sent, Date of Response and Response.
Lately because I find myself going back to see where I submitted pieces and having to scour my submission notebook for the piece, I have created another notebook with looseleaf paper, where I keep one page for each piece and list where I submit the piece. When it's sold, I toss the page out. This comes in handy for seeing in one glance where I've submitted a piece.

I hope this helped a little and wasn't too confusing :)

10-29-2007, 02:34 AM
I use Duotrope (http://www.duotrope.com/index.aspx) and also keep a written record of where I've submitted each story and when.

Duotrope and writer's planner are both free online services. You have to register for both, but registration is free.

The advantage of Duotrope is, if you're submitting entirely within science fiction and fantasy, the major markets are already there, and it'll let you know when your piece has been kept above the average time for that market, etc.

The advantage of writersplanner is, if you're not submitting entirely within those genres, or if you're submitting to small/new/invite-only markets (Which aren't in the current database), you can add your own markets to said database. So it's more flexible.

Apart from that, and some user interface differences, they're both pretty much equivalent.

L M Ashton
10-29-2007, 05:04 AM
I use WriteTrack (http://www.farook.org/bytes.htm).I should have mentioned it before - WriteTrack is also free.

Susan Lanigan
10-30-2007, 09:20 PM
I'm a programmer by profession, so you'd think I'd have a decent system, but no. What I end up doing de facto is creating a folder on my USB disk for whichever competition I'm entering, copying suitable stories not currently in submission to that folder, bashing them about so that they fit the wordcount and sending them off. The disadvantage to this is that I can have several different versions of the same story floating about so I try and reflect back to my hard drive what changes I have made (but don't always succeed).

When a story gets published, I usually regard it as "fixed" and I make no further editing changes.

10-30-2007, 09:24 PM
That sounds less like a tracking system and more like a writing method.

Susan Lanigan
10-30-2007, 09:26 PM
well if I open the folder I can see what stories I submitted so there is an element of tracking there. And if I don't get placed in the comp then I know those stories are freed up again.

Norman D Gutter
10-30-2007, 09:58 PM

This thread http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=69131 in this forum a few months back covered the same thing. As stated in that thread, I use a manual, dual entry system for tracking. It's working well, though based on less than twenty submissions a year.


10-31-2007, 01:31 AM
My system is insanely simple.

I pass the finished pieces to my wife, and she deals with that. :D

I HIGHLY recommend this method.

Though you should go get your own wife. Mine's busy.

10-31-2007, 01:36 AM
I use Query Tracker (http://www.querytracker.net). Then I start at the top (oh professional SFWA markets! Why don't you love me?????) and as each story is rejected I move down to the next most favorable market.

*scratches head*

that doesn't sound very positive, does it?

11-02-2007, 09:28 PM
I have been just abusing Duotrope the last few days, opening far too many tabs at once. Great, great site.

I think I'll keep with the Excel document. I downloaded the other programs but different strokes for different folks. I suppose as long as you keep track then whatever system works for you.

As my martial arts teacher says: "A good block? Well, if you didn't get hit then it was a perfect block. End of story."

11-02-2007, 10:30 PM
I use plain old Excel, but I keep multiple worksheets in one file--one for current submissions, one for planned/prospective submissions, and one for previous submissions. I keep the previous ones so I can see which mags I've subbed to, keep notes about their responses, and possibly sub to them again.