I haven’t had much time to myself, let alone time to think about sending out stories for publication, so this weekend I’ve been rounding up my markets and guidelines and blitzing all the places within a 1,000-mile radius from my house that accept short fiction.
So far I’ve sent out at least six different pieces to seven different markets (whose identities shall remain a secret, for the time being), and have been experimenting with different ways of keeping track of my submissions. I’ve currently got an overly convoluted system happening that involves an Excel spreadsheet, a series of index cards, and a pretty great free program for Mac called Manuscript Tracker written by Mike Blaguszewski. I probably don’t need both the spreadsheet and the index cards, but since I like to have a paper trail, I’ve been collecting index cards the way 10-year-old boys collect baseball cards. (Or used to, anyway. Do people still collect baseball cards, what with the Internet and all?)
I really like Manuscript Tracker, because it allows you to view by individual pieces, “events” (i.e. submissions, rejections, acceptances), or publishers. You can keep track of all the email addresses and online forms you’ve been using to submit, the names of the editors you sent stuff to, and even word counts so you can easily see which pieces ought to go where.
Assuming you’re the type who actually reads submission guidlines, of course. (And you should, because let me tell you: as an editor of an online magazine, there is nothing more irritating than getting a 9,000 word novel excerpt when you specifically stated you only accept stories of up to 2,500 words!)
In any case, I like being able to see at a glance what I’ve got where, how long it’s been there, where I should be sending it next, etc.
If only it’d just automate the process of actually sending the work, then it’d be totally brilliant. (Shyeah, right, kid. Dream on!)