I pulled the trigger and submitted a short story at the top of the week with a couple more to go (hopefully) before the weekend’s over. With the submission calls, deadlines, agents open for querying, and all other writerly endeavours out there, I realized I needed to get organized before all the details piled up.
A lil’ spreadsheet goes a long way.
I created a handy-dandy file in Google Sheets and currently have three sheets in the works.
The first sheet is for Submission Call Outs that include paid gigs or contests. Currently, because of financial constraints, I’m focusing my attention primarily on no-fee to submit calls. I’m reserving the submission fees for projects that really speak to me or that come with feedback from the publication or event. That way, I’m getting more bang for my buck. Once I have locked in a steady income from these or other writing jobs, I’ll branch out further to the places that have submission fees, because I know that there are reputable places out there that I shouldn’t ignore. Speaking of, I’m also keeping track of scam contests and publications. It would do me little good bragging in a query letter about being published in ABC literary mag or winning a top prize with XYZ, if they aren’t on the up and up in the literary world. The fields I created are the submission window (open and close dates), URL, details (theme, word count, etc.), fee, and the link or email address of where to submit. I currently have it sorted in order of deadline, but I like to organize it based on word count, as well.
The next sheet is for literary agents. I’ve organized it with their name, whether they’re open for queries, their wishlist (what stories/genres they’re seeking), their website, social media links, and where to submit (Query Tracker, email address, etc.). This sheet is easily organized by the agent’s wishlist and reading windows.
And, of course, we have the Submission Tracker. This sheet includes date of submission, submission link/email link, if they received it (via form email or confirmation email), and current status. I can also add details such as date to follow-up on, or whether the piece had been simultaneously submitted elsewhere.
This has kept me more organized, and it’s helped me take a step further into the business mindset of my writing journey. Sure, writing is my passion, but as I’ve learned recently through various websites, webinars, and dialogue with fellow writers, agents, and editors on social media, it’s important to treat my writing like a business.
The word authorpreneur has also come up a lot. It makes sense. This is a scary, but exciting time transitioning from writing because it’s your passion to writing for your future because it’s your legacy. You become your own boss and you’re solely responsible to ensure if your business thrives or not.
How do you keep track of your submissions? Do you prefer high tech with apps and software programs, or do you like to keep things old school, as many still do, with planners and notebooks? There are also those who do a bit of both. Everyone has their own approach. These are definitely scary and exciting times, but I’m looking forward to a new month with plenty of opportunities, now all neatly organized for my perusal and reference.
Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.
Until next time,