Thursday, January 15, 2009

aacalend: The Most Boring Post Of All!

I planned to blog last night but hit the hay early instead. I'm catching up on my sleep and that's good. Because of that I'm feeling better though still sick with a strong cough. The former wife went to the doctor yesterday. The doctor looked down her throat and actually said "Eww!" That's not a good sign. Her tonsils are infected. Swallowing anything other than cold water has been agonizing for her. Fortunately, one day into the antibiotics and she can feel improvement.

Last night I updated my story log, tracking which stories of mine are at which magazines. I really should do this as soon as I get new info but I've been a bit slacky lately. Then I sent out a friendly reminder to someone who needs to get back to me on one story and withdrew another story from a mag that never got back to me even after a reminder. I usually give a mag four months before querying on a submission, unless their guidelines suggest otherwise, or it's The New Yorker. I give another month and a half and if I haven't heard anything by that point, I withdraw my story. Of course, the two editors I wrote to last night told me in November they'd get back to me ASAP after getting my first query. I have reason to believe there could have been an e-mail problem with the first so I sent another query. I'm sure all of this fascinates you.

I use some version of Quattro Pro from 1998 to track my stories. I often used a WordPerfect from the same era to write my stories before I got a MacBook. Anywho . . . The file is called aacalend because I first created it back in 1991 on a Packard Bell (1 MB hard drive! No, really!) with MS Works and it would only allow for file names of up to eight characters. I wanted to call it calendar, but I also wanted it to pop up on the very top of my list of files so I stuck the aa on the front. I stuck with the name as it jumped from computer to computer. Now I back it up on Google Documents and it's still called aacalend there.

This is how I set it up: I made fields called TITLE, MARKET, DATE SENT, EDITOR, DATE RETURNED (rejected), DATE ACCEPTED, DATE PUBLISHED, PAYMENT and COMMENTS. This way, I always know where a story is, and I won't make the mistake of sending it to the same place twice. I have three pages on my spreadsheet. I sort the first by DATE RETURNED, so I can look at the bottom of the page and see everything that's out at the moment. I sort the second by TITLE so when I want to send out a story, I can quickly see where it's already been. I sort the third by MARKET so I can quickly see if I have another story at the magazine where I'm thinking about sending my current story.

That's about it. Any questions, class?

Class?

5 comments:

Grant said...

Instead of a spreadsheet, I use the excellent Sonar from author Simon Haynes. Windows only, it's free and does a great job.

Diane said...

Zzzzzzz

:-)

Church said...

Right now, I use my fingers...

Matthew Sanborn Smith said...

Grant, I've heard of Sonar and looked into it a little bit, but I'm thoroughly attached to my system. I think a new spreadsheet would have to do everything mine does plus wash my dishes before I change.

Diane, I know. Can I get you a pillow?

Church, even the best inks disappear after a couple of days of hand-washing. I think you should reconsider.

Church said...

No, I mean I've named them. My left thumb is "Jonathan, " etc. Once I get to ten I'll have to adopt a system like yours. Well, twenty, but same idea.

Maybe twenty-one...