Writing can be a very busy profession. Just look at the proliferation of magazines and newspapers on the shelves of your local newsagent and you’ll see what I mean. There is so much to write about, so many publications to target and only so many hours in the day to tap into all this potential.
Once you get into the swing of things and begin selling your articles, you’ll find a few things start to happen:
• you’ll become accepted and trusted by those publications you sell to
• you’ll find it easier getting your ideas for articles accepted
• you’ll find editors start approaching you more often
• you’ll begin to feel like a working writer
• you’ll find it difficult keeping track of your output
My experience as a full time writer has taught me the importance of setting up systems in my office. This was because I soon started loosing track of what was going on and this rapidly became counter-productive.
With just six or seven articles in production at the same time, you’ll find things can get out of hand pretty quickly. This is because each and every media outlet has different requirements, lead times, schedules and deadlines. Some plan their editions a month out while others take a very much longer approach. And to make matters even more complicated, many don’t like it when you make simultaneous submissions. Some might want exclusive rights while others might not be so fussed.
How do you keep track of all this without losing your hair in the process?
The answer lies in tracking software.
I use an App called Story Tracker for Mac (www.andrewnicolle.com). It does a wonderful job of keeping track of all my stories, books and enquiries. It easily handles hundreds of submissions and prevents me making otherwise unavoidable or embarrasing mistakes. In the past I even made the basic mistake of offering the same story twice to a publication and only noticed this when the editor told me he had already rejected it! Ouch!
The nice thing about Story Tracker is that you can manage your writing business on the go simply by installing the App on your iPhone too. You can then easily transfer your database between your computer and your phone.
Story Tracker consists basically of three databases: your stories, your markets and your submissions. It is available from the App Store or direct from the web site and costs a very reasonable $15.99.
For those using Windows PCs, there is a Windows version due out soon.