So I am finally back to submitting my stories and now remember why I stopped. It’s kind of a job in itself. It took me almost two hours to submit one story to three journals and they were all via on-line. Add another hour, at least, if I had to print out each story, write and print a cover letter, print labels and run to the post office. Besides all the rejections I had accumulated, the time it takes to coordinate and keep on top of the submissions is why I stopped. But this is part of the writing life, getting your work read by eyes other than your own. So, submit I must. It’s just so tedious. Which markets are currently accepting work? Does my story fall within the word count ( a common problem since many of my stories come in at over 7000 words)? Can I submit on-line or must it go by snail mail? Then there is the criteria specific to my work: have I submitted this particular story to this particular journal already? Have I submitted a story to this journal during this reading period? Am I allowed to submit another story so soon? Have I received an encouraging response from this journal for a previous submission and so need to subtly remind them that they actually invited me to submit more work to them?
This involves all kinds of left brain, organizational skills, not usually a creative person’s strength. I’ve created and found some tools to help. I’ve started using duotrope.com as a resource to fins current market and as a way to track those submissions. Apparently they will even send you a notice if the response time has passed. But I am an old-fashioned gal. I still keep an actual address book as well as an actual day planner instead utilizing all the techno options available. So it makes sense that I also have charts that I created and printed all tucked in a manila folder in my filing drawer. I have one for each story, keeping track of where I submitted it, when, to whom, by what method, expected response time, result and my response (if I receive a personal rejection of any kind that warrants a follow-up thank you). Then I have a list of all the journals that I might submit to with the stories submitted written underneath, as a way to cross-reference and make sure that I don’t send a story to the same editor twice. My system works but I am not eager to work within it. I put it off. I do laundry. I mop. But ultimately I must submit my work. It’s just part of being a writer. Until I can afford to have an assistant deal with it, I’m all I have got. I am sure that there must be some other less complicated, less time consuming method for submitting stories out there somewhere if only I could find it. Some magic spreadsheet that can track and cross reference all-in-one. Or maybe I’m just dreaming.
Do you submit your work? On a regular basis? What’s your system? Do you even have a system? I would love to hear how other writers deal with this aspect of the writing life.