I’ve been freelancing a little since my move to DC, and it’s only served to remind me of how badly I need a way to keep my ideas, submissions, queries, and other files organized.
When I used a PC I used Sonar (more on that later), but on my Mac options seem to be few and far between. The ideal program, for me, would be a simple database with separate tables for ideas, manuscripts, potential markets, and submissions. Ideas can be turned into manuscripts, and all the manuscript data could be linked up with Word or RTF files for easy opening. And it would all sync up to my Google Calendar so I’d know when it was time to follow up.
Ah, a lovely dream. Nothing that cool could exist. Maybe I’ll build it myself.
Until then, here’s a roundup of free submission trackers on the Web:
Sonar is a free download for Windows PCs. This did almost everything I wanted. I could store data on markets, manuscripts, submissions, and enter lots of notes. The author of the software is accessible, which is nice, and even implemented some bug fixes and suggestions that I’d emailed him on a whim. Unfortunately, I think I may have broke its primitive brain by overloading it with too much data. It seems a new version’s been released recently, so PC users, check it out and tell me what you think!
Sandbagger’s Automated Manuscript Management Software for Windows and DOS (though, as the author says, “Does anyone use DOS anymore?”) I’ve never used this program, but it looks much like Sonar, only a little flashier.
Write Again costs $50 for the “professional” version and $35 for the “standard,” but “light” is donationware. If the screenshots are any indication of the software’s performance, it’s well worth the money. If I had a PC, I would definitely give this a try.
Slushomatic looks to have fairly standard features, but offers the bonus of printing cover letters and automatically formatting your manuscripts for you. It’s open source, too, which nerds like me love.
Super Simple Submissions Tracker from John Hewitt at Poewar.com is an RTF document containing a table with a few headings. A little too old-school for me, but I can see why lots of people would use this.
Luminary Writer’s Database is a free online service. Isn’t too robust, but you can search their database of shared market information, essentially piggybacking off other writers who may know just which editor at XYZ Magazine handles the front matter.
It’s also worth noting that Writer’s Market also includes a submission tracker. You must subscribe to their service, but I believe a year’s subscription is still included free with any purchase of their book.
Oh hey! There is a program for Mac users!
Manuscript Tracker is simple but seems, at least upon initial review, to work pretty well. This is what I’ll be using until I can figure out how to develop my super-beast tracker.
Share your submission tracking tips in the comments. Or write me a program. ;)