I've been wanting to share my super-secret Google Sheets Submission Tracker with the writing community at large for a while now. I have finally found the time and, I hope, the words, to put it all together and have it makes sense.
Why Google Sheets? Two reasons. 1). Because I could not figure out how to create a formula for counting down days in Excel, and for it to be useful, a submission tracker would need to do that...for what else would it be tracking but the time since you sent your story/poem/prose to X Magazine/Market? I was able to search the user information on Google Docs and found someone who created a day countdown formula. 2). Excel is a horrible drain on my computer's memory. I guess I could add a third and say I am just a fan of Google Docs, period. The automatic saving feature is wonderful, I miss that in Microsoft apps.
NOTE: Because Weebly sucks at both bullet lists and adding images to posts I had to use multiple text boxes to create this post. So the bullet numbering started over at the number 1 at the formula part of the post. I am still on the lookout for a perfect author website that is free or for cheap.
On with the tutorial!
If you are already proficient in using Google Sheets, then you can just gloss over much of this and head straight to the tracking formula information below. Scroll down to where the bullet list starts all over again at 1. Weebly also doesn't let you insert anchors. (>.<)
- Open Google Drive and Open Google sheets to a blank sheet.
- Name it in the naming bar. Unlike Google Docs, Google Sheets does not automatically assign the name as the first thing you type in the first cell. You'll need to give it a name. Mine is just named MK-Submission Tracker. See screenshot at the bottom.
- Next you want to label the columns at the top. I always start with the title of my piece. My columns are named as follows:
- Name of Piece
- Story or Poem (You could use "Type.")
- Market. Here is where I put the name of the magazine or publisher.
- Date Submitted. Enter the date you submitted the piece to the market...easy peasy, right?
- Days Out. THIS is the IMPORTANT column. In the first cell of this column we will enter the formula that will track how long you've been waiting on an acceptance or (goddess forbid) a rejection from the publisher. We'll get to the formula in a bit.
- Days Out. This is where the formula will go. Again, we'll cover that in a bit.
- For the next column I like to put a website address for the market. Sometimes they put news about the publication process on their sites. Also, if you use Submittable, you can check on the status of it and your other Submittable submissions periodically. I name that column "Weblink" but you can all it whatever you like.
- Confirmation. I put the date that the market sends me an email to let me know they received my submission.
- Pay Rate/Notes. I put in pay information $4/word or $20 flat or whatever the pay is and/or any other pertinent information I may want to know later. If the website says anything about how long it takes to get back with an acceptance or rejection, then I add that information here. It makes it easier to see about when I can be expecting the email from the editor, or if perhaps if is later then I might send a query email to ask for the status.
- You can add whatever other columns you want to suit your own needs. Here is a screen shot of my last columns:
Well, that is all there is to it. Now you know how to make a spreadsheet in Google Sheets that will keep track of how long your stories or poems or novels have been in the slush pile. It will help give you an idea of when it might be time to send the market a friendly query to check on the status of the submission, if it is really late.
Extra Tip: I also make similar spreadsheets in the same workbook document to record acceptances and rejections. I check those when submitting a piece to make sure I do not send it to a market that has already rejected it. It keeps you as the writer from looking foolish and maybe making a bad impression on a publisher.