Friday, January 18, 2013

Tools

One of the more onerous tasks a writer must undertake is keeping track of stories and story submissions.

Several web-based tools come to mind.

Duotrope is probably the most extensive of these. You can not only track your stories and submissions there, but it also provides a rich array of statistical data to help you search for the best market for your work. Recently Duotrope started charging membership fees ($50 per year), which has raised some debate over its value to writers. A serious discussion of this topic can be found at Nate Tower's blog.

Another very useful tool is the Submission Grinder, available through Diabolical Plots. I have not used the grinder yet, but it's set up similarly to Duotrope, except that you cannot track your stories on site, or search by story for a market (yet). The site promises to remain free forever, which is a definite plus, and they offer more in depth submission stats than Duotrope. Definitely an option.

A new tool under development is Submitomancy, which sounds very encouraging indeed. It promises to add a social layer to the submission database idea. They're into the final week and a half of startup funding at Indiegogo so be sure to check it out soon and drop your contribution into the bucket if it sounds like something you will use. It's certainly got my interest.

Another site that has proven durable over the years is Ralan.com This is more of a search site for markets, but it regularly hosts important announcements and news, particularly within the speculative literature field.

And for those of us who write flash fiction, Jim Harrington's Flash Fiction Chronicles is an indispensable market resource as is his Six Questions blog.

What tools do you use and/or recommend for keeping manuscript tracking at bay?

11 comments:

  1. A log book in spreadsheet and a card index! This is my second year of writing so I may need to progress to something better, so thanks for the post.

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  2. This useful blog post just got starred for future reference. Thanks!

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  3. I keep track of all my stories in a sophisticated excel spreadsheet - I can even make cool graphs to track my progress and submissions.

    But what I really miss about Duotrope is the extensive market search they provide for both broad and narrow searches - I have yet to find one like it. I will decide after this year, or perhaps half way through it, whether it is worth $50 or not.

    Thanks for the references, Steve.

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    1. I miss the searches too--great way to find new markets. I don't know if it was worth $50 but it was fun to use.

      As for me, I have a really awesome leather-bound notebook that has all my story submissions PENCILED IN!

      Be amazed.

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    2. Challenge accepted -- I stand amazed.

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  4. My spreadsheet is far from sophisticated, but it's color-coded. I've been using the Grinder, and it works well enough for my purposes. Ralan's is great, too. Might want to add the Flash Fiction Chronicles' list of markets, but I don't think they update which ones are currently closed to subs...

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    1. Good idea, Milo. I've added it to the article.

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  5. I've set up a spreadsheet (colour coded of course) I have a sheet for short stories, one for novels etc It's not very complicated but it works for me.

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  6. Great post, Steve. I enjoyed Nate's articles and Submission Grinder looks promising.

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  7. Thanks for these links!! A poet friend introduced me to this yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CRWROPPS-B/ The owner, Allison, shares lots of great submissions and contest information with the group. She's a poet, but her market posts include poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

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  8. Writer's Market allows tracking also, I believe.

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