Writing Life: Keeping Track of Your Shorts

While I was working through the Story Match challenge, I was wondering what on earth I was going to do with the stories I was producing, and I toyed with the idea of submitting them to external markets, which meant I would have to be very careful to make sure I didn’t put them in any anthologies if they were accepted, and that I would have to be prepared to track their availability and any periods of exclusivity to which they might be subject.

I also considered some of the competitions I’d entered in the past which considered only the first year of a story’s publication, anywhere, for eligibility, and came up with another important reason to track them.

The resulting Excel spreadsheet listed the title of each piece vertically, had columns for the date each was created, completed and first published, as well as length and genre. Beside the ‘first published’ date was a column for recording where.

I keep separate pages for poetry, flash fiction and short stories, and then colour coded for submission and publication status. This made me consider how I was going to track submission status, so I duplicated the title lists onto new pages and then ran columns for creation, submission status, date submitted, earliest date to query, date an outcome was received, and the market. I’m glad I thought of this now, and not in another twelve months, when I’d have over 700 entries for both flash fiction and poetry, but it did take a while to go through everything and note where and when publication and submission had occurred.


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