I had big plans for February. Friends February I was going to call it, a month filled with guest posts by my brilliant author pals around a single clever theme. That might yet happen, under a different name for a different month. We’ll see.
But I haven’t entirely given up on the idea of sharing this forum with others and making it useful. To that end, I’m happy to present this guest post by Tara Lynne Groth, a writer/blogger who is far more organized than I am, as you’ll see. That said, her blog is called Write Naked ~ A Writing Life Cut Open, so in some ways we are very much in synch.
Tracking Your Pitches
Creative writers submitting to literary journals, authors pitching agents, freelance journalists querying magazine editors—writers of all disciplines and writing habits have a lot to keep track of.
You don’t want to make the mistake of submitting the same item twice to the same market or of failing to follow submission guidelines properly. Without a system, writers who submit pieces often as well as those who experience weeks or months between submissions often find it impossible to remember when and where their queries were sent.
How can you juggle them?
Aside from a crafty Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet, there are digital tools and apps designed specifically to help organize your efforts.
Five Key Submission Tracking Tools
Here are the top five I’ve found:
- Query Tracker is a service that helps authors monitor submissions to literary agents. (It also helps writers find agents.) This no-cost utility dates and tracks the recipients of query letters, plus aggregates responses for easy viewing. Since other writers use this platform to track their queries, the site gathers the data to reveal which agents are responsive, and how a particular agent’s current response times compare to their past activity.
- Also free, Writer’s Database offers tracking for all genres. It also offers the ability to send multiple submissions at once. Users can save time organizing their submissions and sending them.
- Duotrope tracks story/poetry submissions to literary journals and, similar to Query Tracker, provides data analysis of response times other writers experience. Duotrope requires a subscription, for a nominal fee, and includes markets that publish both fiction and non-fiction, poetry, and visual art.
- Currently in beta, The (Submission) Grinder is a tool that operates similarly to Duotrope, but is exclusively for fiction (with more genres on deck). It’s free, although a ‘Donate’ button is a reminder to charitably-inclined visitors.
- Story Tracker Mobile App (for iOS only, requires fee) tracks submissions of all genres and can be set to automatically alert the user when a submission deadline approaches. No need to add your own calendar reminders!
Whatever tracking system you choose, one of its main benefits is bound to be saving time, thus making more time for what you should be doing: Writing!
Tara Lynne Groth is a full-time freelance writer in North Carolina. She resigned from 9-to-5 life as a marketing manager in 2010 and has made her living by the pen ever since. Her book All My Magazine Queries that WORKED is forthcoming in June 2017. She breaks down the misconceptions people have about freelance life at www.writenaked.net and Tweets at @writenaked. Learn more at www.taralynnegroth.com.