Submission Work

This past year I’ve been working on writing and submitting short stories. I’m always amazed at the work involved in getting the writing out there. Slowly, I’m figuring out ways to streamline this process. I’ve come up with a few ways to make it easier.

First I’ve made a binder that holds all of the guidelines for places to submit to. That way I have it all in one place when I’m getting ready to send a piece of writing out. I can easily check word counts, genres, and refresh my memory of the details each publisher wants included in a submission such as format, biography, cover letter, etc.   

Second, I have a file saved with various biographies about myself. When researching publishers I’ve found that they all have a certain style. Some are very serious and businesslike while others are more lighthearted and humorous. I’ve written a variety of biographies, all of them short, to match the different styles. This makes it easy to include one with only minor tweaking.

Third, I have a file of cover letters. Again, each place has their own preferences so I try to have a few formats of those as well.

Fourth, I need to keep track of the submissions. There are a lot of software programs available out there and just trying to figure all of them out takes time. For now I use two. I found the StoryTracker application for my itouch. I like this because it’s pretty simple and automatically figures out the response date. I also found a program called Sonar3, which is free (you can donate to the programmer if you feel it’s worth it, and so far I do, even though I just started using it) and helps keep everything organized at a glance. These two programs help me keep track of what I have submitted, how long it has been, whether the piece has been accepted or not and so on.

This is a learning process that I am constantly reworking.

How about you? Do you have some tricks of the trade you can share to make things easier for writers? I’d love to hear your suggestions.

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