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Online Submissions: 2 Sites to Make It Easier | IFW
I admit to sometimes barely remembering back so long ago, but there was no internet when I began sending out my stories, essays, and articles. Instead, we writers had to maintain a supply of printer paper, printer cartridges, manila envelopes, business-sized envelopes, and plenty of postage stamps. Putting together a submission package took serious time and labor: first printing out the completed manuscript, rereading it one last time and occasionally finding an error and printing it again; preparing a self-addressed, stamped envelope; paper-clipping everything together and getting it into the 9” x 12” manila envelope.
It was easy to spend an afternoon just assembling submission packages and meticulously charting what it was, where it was going, and when it was sent for each one. I would schedule a submitting day every other week and send out all of my packages, often driving them to the post office since they were sometimes of varying weights.
These days the submission process is easier. Although some editors still prefer mailed-in submissions, they are becoming fewer as markets today accept emailed manuscripts and online submissions directly through their websites.
Aside from those methods, there are now online submission programs that greatly streamline the process and are easy to use. There is no reason not to check out these sites and see how they can work for sending out your manuscripts.
Here are two popular ones:
It seems that monthly, more and more editors and publishers are migrating toward Submittable, a site that manages online submissions and is an easy way for publishers (although other organizations use it too) to collect manuscripts and review them in an organized and efficient way.
Users register with the site—it is free—and upload their manuscript and anything additional the editor or publisher has asked for. Once the submission has been confirmed as successfully uploaded, it is easy for the writer to log in at a later date and check the site to see their manuscript’s status: whether it has been looked at, is being considered, or is still waiting for human eyes to review it.
Since so many publishers and editors use this software now, writers can have all their Submittable submissions’ status at their fingertips. Those manuscripts that were submitted and not accepted will still show on the site when you log in, making an interesting hub for these online submissions.
I spoke with a representative from Submittable to find out whether the software assesses word count, spelling, grammar, and other important components of a manuscript. She said that the client—the publisher, editor, or staff person at the publishing house—manually reviews all submissions and that the software platform is not set up to provide the specialized information I asked about. It seems just a matter of time before the program can help with that type of manuscript assessment as well.
The next time you see that a publisher wants your work sent through Submittable, open an account and enjoy using this interesting program.
Query Tracker—often called just QT—is another type of software that has quickly gained popularity with agents and writers. It is a free, online query tracking program that helps writers find agents and potential publishers.
Writers register with the site and then are able to peruse its many offerings. Probably the most useful component of the site is its listing of publishers and literary agents. There is data about each agent so writers can know what genre each is pursing, the number of queries each receives, how many are accepted and rejected by the agent, and the response time for each agent. This is valuable insight that is not as readily found elsewhere.
QueryTracker has a wealth of helpful material for writers interested in getting their work to the right publisher or agent, and once you set up an account it is a sure bet that you will spend quite a bit of time reading through the information accumulated there. Writers are fortunate to have access to this free of charge. (It notes on the site that they aim to build the “largest collection of query data” online.)
I found that QueryTracker has a strong presence on Twitter with some interesting current tweets about success stories and general questions about the site. It seems worth following QT if you are a Twitter user.
Submittable also has a strong social media presence but since the company is involved with much more than just writers’ submissions, it is necessary (but worthwhile) to scan through the tweets and replies if you decide to follow them on that.
The days of postal submissions may largely be over, but these have been replaced by far superior (and much less hassle and expense) software programs. There is really no reason not to submit your work when it has been made so easy to do so.
Related Links – Online Submissions
Susan Ludwig, MA has been an instructor with the Institute of Children’s Literature for over 17 years. Susan’s writing credits include teacher resource guides, English language learner books, and classroom curriculum for elementary through high school students. A former magazine editor, she assesses students’ written essays as a scoring director for the SAT exam. When she is not writing or working, she is usually found playing with her grandsons or curled up with a good book.
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