Organizing Submissions

Developing a method to keep track of writing submissions does not have to be a daunting prospect. Every writer creates a system to keep track of where their writing is, in other words, which publishers have seen each piece of writing.

Reasons for having a system

It is necessary to keep track of the places where the writer has sent articles, poems, short stories or novels for several reasons.

  • Publishers don’t like to see the same work twice.
  • Some publishers do not want submissions to go to other publishers. Simultaneous submissions.
  • When a work is published, sometimes the writer will not be able to publish the work elsewhere.
  • The writer needs to know who to bill for the work in the case of short works and what to expect from the contracts associated with the longer works. Sometimes, the publisher’s accountant errs.
  • At the end of the year, sales figures are needed for tax purposes.
  • As the writer is published, publishing credits build a professional resume.

Methods of tracking submissions

The method a writer chooses to utilize to keep track of works completed, works in progress, works submitted and works sold depends on the writer’s individual preference. There are submission tracking programs on the market for those who prefer computers. There are companies that will perform this service for you for a fee. A notebook and some note cards can work in a low tech system. The main point is that the writer must be comfortable maintaining the system.

Submission tracking software

There are several places to find software to help track work submitted to publishers and works in progress. There are apps available for Android users on the Google Play Store. has free software created by a writer who wanted something to help with submissions. tracks submissions with participating publishers. Creating a spreadsheet on a device is easy and will be completely customizable to each writers individual needs.

Submission tracking hardcopy methods

Index cards are great for storing information about publishers, keeping ideas for new works, and keeping notes to document sources. They often come in different colors and sizes so the writer can easily distinguish which cards are for what purpose.

Notebooks can contain time logs to analyze how much time the writer worked on each project. They can provide the writer with a place to build lists of works in progress, works submitted and publishers contact information.

Filing cabinets keep it all together.

What to keep in the tracker

There must be a plan for managing what goes in the system whatever tracking system is used. There are many documents that are part of a system used to support the business’s efficiency.

Types of documents

  • Queries and lists of queries sent and their replies.
  • List of publishers contacted, their contact information and result.
  • Invoices and expense reports.
  • Notes on interviews with sources.
  • Media like photos, audio and video recordings made to include in or inform the work.
  • Lists of works in progress.
  • Lists of works submitted.
  • Lists of works accepted for publication.

Once the system is in place and the writer has learned to work it without missing a step, it will help maximize the writer’s productivity. This information matters to organize the writer’s work and minimize stress.

Happy writing.

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