A couple weeks ago, I discussed the importance of getting your work out there, and a couple months ago, I gave some pointers about submitting to literary magazines. Now that I’ve given you the how and why, you’re at the stage where it’s time to start defining your submission plans. What would I suggest?
Aim for one hundred rejections. That’s right. This may sound like a glass-is-half-empty kind of approach, but I’ve put a positive twist on it. If you set a goal of one hundred rejections a year, then that means you’ve submitted your work one hundred times. Think about that for a minute.
But if 100 rejections feels like a little too much your first time out, then lower the goal. Either way, make one. Lay out your plan.
Don’t hang your hopes on one piece
The more work you’ve completed and prepped, the better your odds that something gets published. While one piece is away, don’t stop to wait around for the responses. Put it out of your mind. Work on something else; make it even better than what you’ve sent out. You’d be surprised how quickly time passes when you’re focused on something else.
Track your progress
Keep track of when and where you send your stories. If you’re — like me — ridiculously lazy, then I’ve got great news for you! There are tools out there to help you keep track of your story submissions. Thanks to Robyn, I was acquainted with one some months back, and I’ve been using it ever since, but I’ve since learned of others that I think may be beneficial to share with you all. See below.
Sonar: A simple, free program developed by author Simon Haynes. It lets you plug in your manuscript name and when/where you send it. When you get a response, you simply check a box, fill out any relevant information, and Sonar does the rest. It tells you how long the submission has been out, too. This is the one I am currently using.
Duotrope: Not free, but apparently quite extensive. Membership (after a free trial period) is $5.00 a month. They have a search that allows you to sift through the market, which makes finding the ideal submission places much simpler. They also have their own custom submission tracker.
Writer’s Planner: Unlike Sonar, this one is an online tracker. I haven’t tried it, but I’ve seen it recommended elsewhere, so if you’d rather keep it online, then perhaps this one will work better for you.
The Writer’s Database: This one is also an online tracker, and I quite like the layout of it. In addition to the submission tracker, they have a searchable market database and a word count tracker. It’s free, too.
Matt Bell’s submission tracker: For the Excel lovers, this one is a pre-made template, so if you like Excel, but you’re too lazy to make your own tracker (as I would be), then you’re in luck.
In conclusion . . .
The submission process doesn’t have to be a stressful, daunting task. Using current technology can greatly ease the transition into publication. If you’re dealing with multiple or simultaneous submissions, then tracking your output is one way of ensuring you don’t bite off more than you can chew. And since so much of it is free, there’s really no excuse not to give it a try. So there you have it. Submitting made easy! Get your work out there!