Thursday, November 9, 2023

Keeping Track of My Poetry Submissions

 Image of the Day: The damp, yellowing leaves of my Asian Dogwood tree.

So I wanted to describe my way of keeping track of my poetry submissions. Everyone has their own way, but sometimes it's useful to find out how someone else does it. Here's how I keep track of mine:

On my computer desktop, I will have a folder with my name and the year. In that folder I'll have multiple sub-folders, one titled cover letters. In this folder I will again have two subfolders, one titled Acceptances and the other, you guessed it, Rejections. I will have all my current cover letters in this folder and once I get a response, I will copy and paste the response from editors on my cover letter from the journal and then move it into whichever folder it belongs to. 

For example, when I got a rejection from 32 Poems, I copied what they said--good luck placing these elsewhere--and placed it into my rejection folder. The reason I copy and paste is so that I can look back and find out if any of these responses are tiered--suggesting I send again, or if the editors singled out a particular poem, as the editors from Thrush kindly do. When I need to withdraw a poem from a packet, I will make a note on the cover letter how and when I withdrew my poem. 

For example, when I got an acceptance from Up the Staircase Quarterly, for my poem, "Self-Portrait as Chihuly Glass Flower," I went to my cover letter for Bear Review where I also had the same poem out for submission and wrote at the top that I withdrew that poem from submission via Submittable, on the note and message tab, and withdrew it on September 17, 2023. That's just in case I need to remind the editors that yes, I did withdraw it. And obviously, to keep myself informed and updated. 

I also have an Excel spread sheet where in the left column of cells, I will write out the titles of the poems in submission, and in the following right cells, write out the journal titles where I've submitted the poem. Usually, I try to have my poems out to five or six places at the same time. When I get a rejection, I will change the font of the title of the journal to red, and green for acceptance. When I have to withdraw a poem, I will change the font to yellow. This helps keep me informed as to how and where my submissions are at a glance, in case of an acceptance or rejection.  

It's a lot of work to keep track of so many poems and journals, but this system works well in keeping me informed so that I can keep my editors informed quickly and correctly. 

I'd love to hear how other poets keep track of their submissions! Drop me a note if you get a chance. 

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