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We Need a Better Writer's Database

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Writer's Database is a submission tracking system I developed for my own use a few years ago. It's basic but works well enough. Essentially, it keeps track of things you have written, publishers/magazines you have come across and then any submissions you have made. So, the sort of things an agent does if you're lucky enough to have one ...

I've found it invaluable for keeping track of what has been submitted where, how many times a piece has been submitted, which magazines I haven't heard back from and so forth. This is all basic stuff if you're going to adopt a professional approach to being a writer. I must have used it thousands of times since I developed it.

It's freely available for download here. And lots and lots of people have done just that over the years.

But the application has its limitations. It doesn't let you sort or categorise things as freely as you might like. It doesn't let you record some fairly essential information about markets, such as whether they accept simultaneous submissions or what they pay. It doesn't remind you when something is overdue. There is plenty of scope for creating a much, much better system. One day, I can see it even downloading market information from a central internet database rather than each user having to type it in. Maybe it could even have some sort of shared comment/rating system for magazines. Certainly it could collate useful data about response times etc. and make that information public.

But a lot of that is down the line. For now, I want to spend some time on the first version of a new Writer's Databse. Not sure what it will be called yet but something snazzier than "Writer's Database". The first version won't be too far removed from the existing system but it will have much greater scope for enhancement and improvement.

Development will probably be quite slow - the writing has to come first - but I'll post here about progress as and when I make any. In time, I think it could become an absolutely invaluable tool for writers everywhere ...


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