Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday Tip #16: Keeping Track

Of course it is absolutely ESSENTIAL to keep track of what stories you've sent to which publishers at what time. But what is the best way to do that? I've tried several different methods and the easiest for me is a simple spreadsheet in Microsoft Works or Excel. It is so easy and you can even print up reports at the end of the year to add up all your totals: total submissions, total rejections, total acceptances, total $$ raked in, etc.

Mine is a simple table that looks something like this:

Manuscripts 2009 (this is the heading)

Title..........................Publisher.......Date Sent.........Reply............Comments 

Grace's Big Chase          Henry Holt         10-18-08            Rejected         Responds if interested

That is a sample entry. In the past, I have included a column for "publication date" and "payment," mainly for magazine pieces. I'll probably add those in if I ever get around to submitting to magazines again. Make sure you keep a back-up file of this spreadsheet in case of unforeseen computer trouble (gasp!).

Other fairly simple methods of keeping track of your manuscript submissions is to keep an actual file folder with manuscript tracking forms in it--one sheet per story. Put the title at the top and then make columns for publisher, date, reply, comments, etc. Of course, this is a little more tedious and harder to search. Then again, if you do it that way you won't lose it if your computer crashes. You could also do the same thing with index cards and keep them in a recipe box. Sort them by genre/format/age range if you're a really versatile writer like me (grin).

Whatever your method, keep it as up-to-date as possible. 


  1. Anonymous12:36 PM

    I can see how this would be useful.

  2. I've used querytracker.net and it seems to be pretty much the same info as what you are doing! The good thing is, it allows you to look up the agents response times.

    You may want to check it out!

  3. I track sent manuscripts the same way ... on a Word file. And, you're right, it's so important to keep up with it. It serves as such a great history of who you've sent to, what they liked, what they weren't interested in, how long it generally takes to hear back, etc.!

  4. Any tracking method is useful, as long as it works for you. I've looked into query tracker, but for someone who sends things out to book publishers, agents, magazines, a simple spreadsheet works the best. Querytracker is great for searching for agents, though!


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