Goodreads Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

Do We Need Submission Tracking Software?

Sunday, 2 May 2010

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote some fairly basic software for myself called "Writer's Database". I had just started writing poems and short stories and found I needed something to keep track of what I had written and where I had submitted it to. I wanted to be a professional godammit! I wanted to be able to maintain my own library of interesting markets and record my experiences with them. I wanted to know exactly what work had been sent where and with what result. And so I knocked up the software.

It took maybe a week to do and by the end I had something usable. Limited, but usable. And, in fact, I've been using it almost every day since, to keep a track of all my acceptances (and you know, those occasional rejections). What's more, quite a few other people use it too. It's available for download via my web site and gets a steady trickle of hits. People occasionally email me to ask for this or that feature and I generally explain that I'd love to create something better but don't currently have the time. Very occasionally I bung in an enhancement, but the system is more or less as it was when first written. It does a job.

Every now and then, though, I think to myself that I really should develop something better. A while back I blogged that I'd made a start with a new system to be called Subtract (geddit?) But, to be honest I've put 0.0001 hours of effort into it. The writing comes first! I had great plans for it though. I imagined a centrally maintained list of markets (à la Duotrope) that would automatically synch to your desktop and allow you to easily match up what you've written with places to send it. It could alert you to new markets of interest. It could allow comments and ratings to be aggregated back to the central database so everyone could get a feel for what a market is like. It could have all the bells and whistles and cool stuff that clunky old Writer's Database lacks. Even, ooh, a Blogger widget to automatically list what you're working on and/or what's currently submitted/accepted.

But my question is, is it worth the effort? Does anyone else even use software like this, or do you rely on spreadsheets or scribbled notes or simply trying to remember what's gone where? In short, would a super new system be of interest to anyone or should I stop wasting my time and get that bloody novel finished?

If you have any opinions I'd love to hear them ...


  1. Well I rely on scribbled notes. It may be messy, but it is organised - almost!

    I'm seriously impressed you developed software to keep track of your writing, Simon.

  2. Donna,

    Nothing wrong with scribbled notes! If that works for you that's good.

  3. Much of what you're describing is already available in this free web app:

  4. I agree,with this submission tracking software. Its really helpful to me.

  5. Charles,

    Interesting - thanks for that, I'll take a look. I'd prefer something that works without an internet connection myself but I might sign up to try it out.

  6. Project Management Team,


  7. Anyone who is putting serious effort into their writing could really use a decent submission tracker. The current options are limited or prohibitively expensive. Bottom line: I think Subtract is an idea well worth the effort.

  8. Thanks, Marissa - the input is appreciated.

  9. Thanks, Marissa - the input is appreciated.


I'd love to know what you think.