Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Organizing your Queries and Submissions

Post by Kerrie Flanagan

Last week on Twitter, writer Melissa Taylor asked me to write a post about organizing query submissions. So, Melissa, this one's for you (and anyone else who needs help in this area).

When I started freelancing over a decade ago, it was clear early on that I would need to find a way to track my query submissions. My first plan of attack was a basic, red, spiral, wire-ruled notebook. I would enter the date and what I sent out. This worked okay, but I couldn't sort anything and what if I lost it?

I then came up with a system that I still use today. I have an excel spreadsheet that I keep for anything I send out (queries, articles, proposals...).  With excel I can sort my information by date, title, publication... It really makes it easy when I want to see what I have already sent to a certain publication or where I have already sent a particular query.

Here is the spreadsheet and what I put in each of the columns.
Sent Out: The title of what I sent out
Type: query, article, proposal...
Publication/Agency: Where I sent it
Sent To: Specific person I sent it to
Email or address: The email address or snail mail address I sent it to
Date: Date I sent it
Response: The response from the editor. Yes, no, maybe
Follow up: The date I followed up on what I sent
(Optional) Notes: you can add a column with misc. notes to yourself. ie "Comment from editor said I was on the right track--send more"

I am thinking about sometime changing this over to a Google Doc, that way if something happens to my computer, I still have all the info on the Google Doc server.

Well Melissa, I hope that helps. It has helped me stay somewhat sane and not send out duplicates to publications & editors--unless they change their company name, but that is a whole different story.

So Writing Bug readers, do you have any other organizational tips that have worked for you?



Kay Theodoratus said...

At the moment, I'm avoiding queries. But, I like the nice need spread sheet. Much nicer than drawing lines on binder sheets.

Michelle Mach said...

This is almost exactly the same spreadsheet I use. I have a few more columns, including "other markets" which was very helpful when I started. I'd note any other possible markets for a piece, so that if it got rejected, I could send it right out again and not mope too much. :)

Charmaine Clancy said...

This is excellent! I'm just approaching querying stage and am so befuddled by it all - thank you for your organisation! :-)

Tricia said...

For magazines, I use Duotrope's submission tracker. For when I begin to query agents, I'll use Query Tracker.

Also, I use Evernote for any other kind of organization, such as by genre or by response times and acceptance rates.

Melissa Taylor said...

Thank you, thank you! I'm thrilled you shared this!!!! Now, I'm going to get organized . . .


Kerrie said...

Melissa, I am so glad this helped.
Michelle, I like your idea of an Other Markets column.
You're welcome Charmaine.
Tricia, I will have to check out these submission trackers. Thanks for sharing.

Bob McDonnell said...

Thanks for the article. I think many of us try to keep track of our queries.

One column I have added is the response time, if known. That way I know if they normally respond in a week, six weeks, etc.

Share a Post