Any good writer knows it takes a lot of work, and many attempts, to get published. I am relatively new to professional fiction writing, but I have started to develop systems to make the process run more smoothly.
Below is my method for keeping track of everything. My experience as a staff NCO in the Army has led me to like using Excel spreadsheets–we call them trackers–for following the moving pieces.
As can be seen here, I currently have 11 short pieces at publishers in various states. This is less than two months’ work so far, so I feel like I’m being productive. One of my pieces has recently been accepted for publication, and others are pending. I have found several different publications to send to, as I find diversification is good for my publication chances and a good way to build an audience.
As also can be seen, this tracker anticipates rejection. Writers should expect rejection and not let it slow them down. If you get a rejection letter, do another revision on the story and get it back out into the market. But it’s important to keep track of where a story has been so you don’t send it to the same place mistakenly in the far future. And you should keep a lot of space on your sheet for rejection–I don’t know if even four is sufficient.
If you write S.F. or Fantasy shorts, it would behoove you to look up the publishers on this list and try to send them something. It can’t hurt.
I hope this tool is helpful for those of you who are starting to consider publishing.