When I first started submitting stories to journals, magazines and competitions I didn’t keep track of them. I didn’t really need to because it was intermittent and rare for me to actually complete a story and then send one off.
These days I submit stories on a regular basis. Even if I haven’t written anything new in a while there is usually something somewhere that has either been rejected, expired or I’ve just forgotten about it (it happens!).
So far all my short stories have been rejected at least once before being published. Currently I have four stories being considered and two that are waiting to be submitted somewhere new.
Trying to keep track of what stories are currently submitted, where they’ve been submitted before (so I don’t resend them to anyone) and how long it’s been since a story was published (so I can start submitting it to markets and anthologies accepting reprints) can be a daunting task. Unfortunately, not everyone uses Submittable to manage their incoming submissions, and even if they did that doesn’t include a publication date or how much you were (or weren’t) paid.
I prefer writing things out by hand than using an excel spreadsheet, so, adapting a process I used to use to manage my Etsy sales, I devised a template with which to manage all my short story submissions, from the day they’re submitted to the day they are published.
I’ve found it endlessly useful not just at keeping track, but also at keeping motivated. When a rejection comes in I wallow for a few minutes, but then I update my manager and resubmit. Turning rejection into a clerical task takes some of the hurt out of it and you can start treating the whole submission process as part of business rather than a personal slight.
Keep writing, keep submitting and keep track.
If you have any tips on how you manage the submission process please share them in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.