Friday, July 18, 2008

Poetry Tips: Submissions Organization

Some of you who aspire to be published may have already organized a way to keep track of your submissions, and others of you may not have or are just getting started. If you hope to be published I would say it is vitally important to have some semblance of organization in regards to submissions.

The easiest way to keep track of submission is to make a simple tracking chart whether you draw one, create one in Excel, etc. My own was made on Microsoft Word with the following title columns: Poems Submitted, Journal/Press (where the poems were sent to), Date Sent, Rejected with Form Letter, Rejected with Personal Comments, Accepted, Date
Returned. On top of all that, you could also put in a column for Letter/E-mail to determine which publications/presses receive submissions via e-mail or through snail mail.

This is a very simple approach that I’ve taken but it also lets me make sure I don’t have simultaneous submissions going out to particular places, and whether any particular poem has shown promise through editor comments. This also helps me keep track of how often I am sending poems to the same places.

With some organization you can learn how long it takes certain presses or journals to contact you and whether you may even be a good fit for the place depending on how fast the poems came back and the type of rejection received. Acceptances also let you keep track of who likes your kind of poetry and where to submit again in the future.

Then there is your snail mail pile. If you send poems through snail mail often, (and I do so in waves), then you need to have your submission materials close together and easy to find. I have a box of envelopes and stamps tucked in just for submitting. When I receive free return-address labels I also stick those in there so I can quickly put together an envelope to mail things out. I also make sure I have .10 cent stamps sheets for places that accept more than 4-5 poems so that there is plenty of postage to get the poems there and back on the Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope.

Don’t forget that many journals and sites post their submission criteria in very clear terms. Always check their guidelines on-line when available. Usually you can see the kind of work they produce if they provide samples on-line which can be valuable savings in time and money for all involved when submitting.

Finally, I also keep a file on my computer of poems that I feel are ready to be sent out. Once I think a poem has been worked out to satisfaction, I copy and paste it to another file to get it ready for submission when I have the time and interest to send more out.

If any of you out there have other ways of keeping organized, please feel free to share by posting in the comments section. If you are an editor, feel free to explain what you look for in receiving submissions. I know some people send in items hand-written on stained/torn paper in illegible hand-writing or forget to place enough postage on their envelope and this can make it difficult if not confounding for the editor on the receiving end. Be sure all submissions are clean, typed/legible, and have enough postage or at least have the word “Submission” in the e-mail title.

Thank you for dropping in, good luck on your submissions, and please stop by Monday for another featured site…


Dave King said...

Thanks for that: a really hrlpful tip. Okay, it's common sense, you might say, but I've been not doing it for a while now. You may well have helped to change that.

grh said...

Good solid advice, that I need!

Poet Hound said...

Glad to be of help! For some it is repetition, for some a reminder, and for others a beginner's course. Good luck on your submissions, gentlemen.