Friday, May 1, 2009

Organization and the creative type

How do you track your submissions to magazines and literary agents? Well, if you spend your free time (when not writing) creating financial statements in Excel, Excel probably seems like the natural solution to all your problems. (This is not true, however. Sometimes Visio is the answer, and other times, Powerpoint)

So I track everything I send out in Excel, adding notes when I receive rejection letters, a request for a full or an acceptance (I have seen two of these so far, and I do not believe that it will ever, in my life, cease to be an exciting dance-around-the-living-room-and-scare-the-cats moment).

The First Line actually gets it own page, since, as described in my last two posts, I enjoy creating something to meet their requirements. This is what it looks like:

1 Issue Story Title Submitted Response

3 Fall 2006 The Way We Say Love 30-Jul-96 Rejected 16 Aug with nice note asking me to try again

5 Spring 2008 The Perfect Girl 17-Jan-08 Rejected 19 Feb w/ encouraging personal note

7 Spring 2009 Starlets at Work and Play 20-Dec-08

My novel also gets a page, although I've taken a hiatus from sending that baby out. I feel maybe it's a "ten year novel", one that I will re-work many times before it is published. Hopefully the next novel goes faster.

1 Literary Agent Date Sent Type of submission Response Notes
2 Levine Greenberg Literary Agency 18-Dec-08 Electronic

3 Donald Maas Literary Agency, Jennifer Jackson 19-Dec-08 Electronic Rejected - 20 Dec
4 Laura Dail Literary Agency 23-Dec-08 Electronic Rejected - 13 Jan
5 Irene Goodman Literary Agency 2-Jan-08 Electronic Rejected - 14 Jan
6 Aaron Priest Literary Agency, Lisa Erbach Vance 5-Jan-08 Electronic

7 The Writers House Literary Agency, Maya Rock 6-Jan-08 Electronic Request for a full on 07 Jan! Full sent on 08 Jan, Rejected
8 Folio Literary Management, Rachel Vater 6-Jan-08 Electronic

9 Dystel and Goderich, Chasya Milgrom 6-Jan-08 Electronic

10 Brick House Literary Agency, Sally Wofford-Girand 12-Jan-08 Electronic

11 Trident Media, Jenny Bent 30-Jan-08 Electronic

Hours of research, hours of designing and tweaking the perfect cover letter, and it all boils down to 44 cells in Excel. And no advance.

Last but not least, I keep my goals in the same Excel doc so that I can be inspired at the same time as I enter the latest news--

1 2009 Goals: Intermediate Goals: Completed:
2 Secure an agent for Shards Market novel to 30 agents 11
3 Complete a second novel
56,000 words
4 Sell 5 more short stories or poems

5 Enhance my personal marketing Update writing blog 2x/weekly Did NaNoWriMo '08 Interview
Create professional website
Read & apply 6 books on marketing

Hey, I may not be a brilliant published author (yet), but at least I'm organized.

So let's here it from the peanut gallery - how do you organize your work? I've been thinking that each market-ready story and poem really deserves it own Excel line in a worksheet, at a minimum, so I can keep on top of sending them out.

Oh, wow. I think I just added to my To-Do list.


Stephanie said...

I have a very very similar Excel document for novel submissions!! I keep that quite organized. As far as magazine submissions go, for a while, I didn't have much, so all i did was at the bottom of the piece, I'd make a little note. I did open a Word document just for those submissions, but nothing fancy.

morrow said...

I have not submitted much as this point so I lazily just save the emails.

But you have inspired me to get organized and submit more! Thank you. :-)