Triple Tracking Method
It is very important to track your submissions. You will want to know where they have been sent, how long they have been there and what response they receive. There are many ways to do this. The triple tracking method is very easy to use and allows you to track both how your manuscript itself does and how you fare with a particular publication.
You will want to keep one general list. Even if you do not use the triple tracking method, you should at least keep a general submission sheet. Take a sheet of notebook paper or open your favorite spreadsheet on your computer. Create columns for
- Submission No#(Sub No# for short)
- Date Submitted
- Response Date
Date Submitted is the date you sent the manuscript to the publication.
Title is the name of your manuscript.
Publication is the title of the publication.
Response Date is the date you received a response from the publication.
Results or response is the kind of response you received, which can be anything from form rejection to published. We like the following codes for response:
- R for rejection, form letter style.
- PR for a more personal rejection.
- VPR for a very personal rejection.
- NR for no response at all. It happens.
- RW for a request to rewrite the work.
- P for published, probably with exclamation marks after it!
|Sub No#||Date||Name||Publication||Response Date||Response|
|1||11-3-96||Cool story||Joe Smith's Gazette||12-1-96||R|
|1||11-7-96||Thoughtful poem||The Poem Thing||11-17-96||PR|
|2||11-18-96||Thoughtful poem||The Sensual Reader||12-23-96||*P|
|1||11-25-96||Scary story||Horror in Motion||3-5-97||NR|
|2||12-25-96||Cool story||Bent Metal Fiction||12-25-96||RW|
|3||1-14-97||Cool story||Bent Metal Fiction||1-17-97||RW|
|4||1-21-97||Cool story||Bent Metal Fiction||2-5-97||*P|
|1||2-3-97||Bird story||Bird Stories Unlimited|
|2||3-6-97||Scary story||The Horror Factory||3-26-97||*P|
From this fictional writer's general submission sheet you can follow the progress.
- The first story, Cool Story, was rejected by Joe Smith's Gazette on 12-1-96.
- The second story, Thoughtful Poem, was rejected with comments (PR=Personal Rejection) by The Poem Thing on 11-17-96.
- Thoughtful Poem was sent out again, Sub No#2 to The Sensual Reader and accepted 12-23-96.
- A third story, Scary Story was sent to Horror in Motion, but the writer never heard back from them (NR=No Response).
- Cool Story was sent out again, this time to Bent Metal Fiction, and the writer was asked to rewrite or edit Cool Story by them.
- After three revisions Cool Story was finally accepted by Bent Metal Fiction.
- Bird Story was sent to Bird Stories Unlimited but they have not responded yet.
- After giving up on Horror in Motion, the writer sent Scary Story out to The Horror Factory where it was published!
This should give you a better idea of the process. You can see that it can be complicated, but imagine if you were not even keeping track. Also, with simultaneous submissions tracking is even more essential.
Why isn't a General Submission Sheet enough?
It is, but if you want to be really careful and statistically oriented you should use two more. Each is very similar to the general submission sheet. One is for tracking the results of each of manuscript individually and the other is for tracking the results with each publication. The sheets look almost identical to the general submission sheet above.
For example, say you had the story, Cool Story, from above. You would title the sheet, Cool Story, and you would track just the submissions for it. You would keep Cool Story's submission sheet in a file with a copy of the story itself and whatever other information you wanted.
Individual Manuscript Tracking Sheet Example
Cool Story's Submissions
|Sub No#||Date||Publication||Response Date||Response|
|1||11-3-96||Joe Smith's Gazette||12-1-96||R|
|2||12-25-96||Bent Metal Fiction||12-25-96||RW|
|3||1-14-97||Bent Metal Fiction||1-17-97||RW|
|4||1-21-97||Bent Metal Fiction||2-5-97||*P|
Here you can see the individual tracking for Cool Story. It is has a short record as it was published quickly, but imagine how quickly your general submission sheet will become crowded if you have several manuscripts with lengthy track records. This is what makes individual manuscript sheets important.
Also, for each publication you would keep a submission sheet. The title of the sheet would be the publication and you would keep a list and the results of any manuscript you submitted to this publication in a file along with responses you received from the publication, any guidelines information you had, etc.
Individual Publication Sheet Tracking Example
Submissions to Gold Rush Stories
|Sub No#||Date||Name||Response Date||Response|
|1||11-25-96||The Gold Bar||12-5-96||PR|
|1||12-14-96||Broke and Dirty||1-17-97||VPR|
Here you can see the individual tracking for the e-zine Gold Rush Stories. The tracking has been important because the writer gradually got a feel for what the publication wanted. At first the writer had a form rejection (R) and then started getting more personal rejections. Finally, the writer sent in a piece and was asked to rewrite it and after it was rewritten the manuscript was accepted for publication. Tracking individually with publications also makes it easier to avoid sending the publication a story when they are already reading another one of yours.
Overall, the last two are not necessary, but if you plan on doing a lot of submitting they are a good idea. You can get by on the general submission sheet alone, but you would get really confused without any kind of submission tracking whatsoever.