It’s as important as Santa’s list!
All your hard work is summed up in this simple spreadsheet, exercise book or typed list. However you choose to track your submissions, this list is gold to you. And in many cases as important as the manuscripts you submit.
Please click on the thumbnail image above to view the spreadsheet sample
Below we have provided a detailed guide to help you track your submissions.
A checklist is an integral part of the writing process, admittedly not as much fun but nonetheless essential in your publication journey. Think of it as a shopping list; generally you don’t leave home without one otherwise you end up buying things you don’t need and forgetting the things you do. Well that’s what happens to me.
There is nothing more embarrassing or unprofessional than sending a publisher the same manuscript twice. You await that all important reply only to read ‘you have already submitted this story for our consideration and unfortunately our list has not changed’. Gulp!
Hence, the checklist.
With our lives becoming busier everyday relying on memory, sticky notes or discarded shopping dockets is no longer practical.
It’s time to get serious! The best form of tracking is an Excel spreadsheet or for those who aren’t quite ready to do away with the old pen and paper an exercise book will also work nicely. The latter is also handy as a quick reference without having to switch on your computer. But with that said the Excel spreadsheet allows you to sort by columns should the need arise.
You can also adopt the same format of tracking when approaching agents instead.
I have taken a snapshot of my checklist as a visual reference. Be sure to include as much detail on your checklist as possible.
Have a worksheet or page for each manuscript you submit. See at the bottom of my spreadsheet eg Arthur, Turtle etc.
- Publisher’s name – Make sure you have the company name spelt correctly. Address in the exact way they have listed on their ‘submission guidelines’ page.
- Name – a contact name is great, it’s more professional to address your submission to Mr Smith but if you don’t have a name ‘The Editor’ would suffice.
- Type – some publisher’s sites allow you to submit your manuscript directly through their website. Again take care when submitting in this manner. Once you hit the ‘submit’ button there is no going back to make corrections.
- Email address – note the address you sent your submission to. This is good if you need to re-email them at a later date.
- Email or post – with more publishers accepting electronic submissions, emailing your manuscript is a more cost effective method. But be careful when preparing your cover letter. A written or typed letter should always have your contact details listed at the top right of the letter. When submitting by email your contact details should be listed at the bottom with your signature.
- SSAE (stamped, self addressed envelope) – only required if posting, but necessary to ensure your manuscript is returned with the response letter. Ensure you have enough stamps to cover postage costs.
- Sent – list the date your manuscript was sent. This is a useful column to use with your ‘response time’ column.
- Response time – this is where you can list the projected response time. This information can be sourced from the publisher’s ‘submission guidelines’ page. Eg. 3 months, 6 months etc.
- Reply received – Again this can be sourced from the publisher’s website. If you are lucky enough to receive a personalised response, note that and the comments in this column. If a publisher accepts a manuscript or comments favourably about a submission it would be a good idea to put them at the top of your submission list for subsequent submissions.
- Comments – In this column use it for information pertaining to the particular publisher eg. How many pages from your manuscript will they accept?
- More information requested – This is the column you would like to see full and hopefully with the wording ‘accepted’. If the publisher requests more of your manuscript, a re-write or ‘we would like to proceed’, add these comments here.
You may find using colours on your spreadsheet another helpful tool in identification.
It’s important to keep the publisher’s details up to date. Regularly check their websites to ensure you have accurate information. Some publishers may only accept submissions during certain times of the year. The method of submission may change or their contact details could change. Be sure to do your homework before each submission.
Most importantly always, always read the submission guidelines before submitting your manuscript. After all, this is the first impression the publisher will get of you. If you cut corners and don’t follow their request they will be less likely to take you on.
Please see our comprehensive list of Children’s Book Publishers (CKT Members Only).
A tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere.Mark Twain