How to Stay Organized While Submitting Your Work
Updated: Feb 24
Writing a killer article is one thing.
Getting that article published is a whole other animal, and one of the most important details to keep track of as you pursue your career is the organization of where you sent things, if they accepted it, what they paid, and if you can ever publish it a second time.
Now, there are a few different ways and reasons to do this.
We’ll start with why and then move to how.
I’ve had multiple articles and devotionals published, and the most fun thing is that you can usually publish nonfiction multiple times. Before you try to do this, however, you have to check the publication’s website and submission guidelines. Because while some people are totally fine with reprints and simultaneous submissions, others won’t work with you ever again if you accidentally lose track of if you’ve sent it elsewhere or if you’ve already had that one published.
So whether it’s to keep yourself safe in the legal matters or whether it’s just to keep a timeline so you can know if you’ve been automatically rejected because of a “no news in three months” clause in the submissions guidelines, you must keep track of how long your submissions have been out and where you’ve sent them. This is also a good way to keep hope in the submission trenches, because many people will say no. But if you have a list of places to go after, you can just keep moving forward.
My favorite way to stay organized is through Google Sheets. I usually make a table with the labels across the top marking the Title, Publication, Date Submitted, Accepted? Date, Paid? Date, Genre, Can Publish Again, and Notes.
The title of the piece helps me know what article I’m referring to, the Publication is the title of the magazine or website, followed by the date I sent it out, whether they accepted it (Y for yes or N for no), the date they accepted it, if I get paid (another Y or N), how much, and the pay date, the genre of the piece (if fiction, or theme if it’s something like a devotional), if I can ever publish it again and when, and then any notes, such as how I submitted it for publication and if there has been any other correspondence.
It’s a lot to keep track of, but the better I am at keeping track of these things, the better I am at running my writing like a business (like I talked about in this post last week).
Do you have any tips for staying organized? Put them in the comments below to share them with the world!
J. J. Hanna graduated from Taylor University with a degree in Professional Writing. She's currently working with literary agent Cyle Young as a literary scout. In what free time she has left, she also works as a freelance writer and editor. To hire her for editing, writing, speaking, or consulting, see the services tab. She can often be found cuddling with a cat, reading the latest suspense novel, or filming YouTube videos about the publishing industry.
Follow her on most social media @authorjjhanna