Organize and Track Your Submissions

Writers are creative people. Creative people often live in chaos because they’re so busy creating they don’t have time to organize.

If you’re writing for publication, however, you’re in business and need to stay on top of your submissions. You can create a form in your word processing program, use a table format you like, or create a spreadsheet. The important thing is you find what works for you so you keep it updated.

Once you’ve determined which tool you’ll use (form, table, spreadsheet), you need headers. Here are some for your consideration.

  • Title or subject. Use the title of your piece if you have one, otherwise enter the subject you’re writing about. Avoid abbreviations because you’ll tend to ignore or forget what they stand for after some time has gone by.
  • Type of writing. This is a reminder to you regarding whether you’re sending a query letter, an article, a short story, or a novel.
  • Status. A quick glance will show you what you’ve submitted (submitted), what you’ve completed (final), what’s at the editor (editing), what’s being rewritten (revising), what’s in research (researching), and what hasn’t quite made it to the writing stage yet (idea).
  • Where submitted. This is the place to track where you’ve sent your work. NOTE: If you’re keeping track on the computer, you can insert another line to list a second place for submission without repeating the title, etc. so you know how many places you submitted your query or article or fiction.
  • Date. This is the date you submitted your work, not each date you make a change to your tracking document.
  • Deadline. This is the date your writing is due after it’s been accepted.
  • Future submissions. You may want to create a list of other places to submit your query or article in case your first choice doesn’t accept your submission. Having a list of additional places to send to will keep your pieces going out because you won’t have to think about where else to send them.

You can’t be published if you don’t send your stuff out. Better to track your submissions so you don’t send the same thing to the same market/person a second time. Figure out what system you will work with (not start, then stop) and use the headers I’ve provided. Happy writing!


2 Responses to Organize and Track Your Submissions

  1. kevinsterne says:

    I keep a stack of note cards because I’ll typically reach out to 15-20 publications with 2-3 saying they want to publish and only 1 actually going through with it. From the time I finish something to the time it’s published, over a month elapses.

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