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An easy entry into the new year, and an overhaul of my submissions spreadsheet
I have not worked on the novel since before the holidays. I’m about to dive back in — literally, today, because I have the day off work but my child somehow miraculously has school, and this will probably be the only time that ever happens?! — but I spent the end of 2022 seeing family and friends in Illinois and catching up on sleep, and now I’m easing into 2023. I thought I would have GOALS to share with you by now, but they are taking their time in forming and so I’m giving them space.
I did do a lil recap my favorite books of 2022 over on ~reelz~ and I also added some of them1 to my lists on Bookshop.2
The other endeavor I have undertaken this new year season is a complete overhaul of my submissions spreadsheet.
I started this spreadsheet six or seven years ago, when I got serious about publication, and it’s been useful to see my progress over time. I have tabs with my “goal” magazines/organizations for fiction, nonfiction, residencies, and grants, and then separate tabs where I track each individual submission — date of submission, date of response, content of response, etc. Everything is color-coded, and I rate my rejections a 1, 2, or 3, with 3 being an impersonal form rejection and 1 being a personalized rejection with an invitation to submit again.
I also have a tier system for the magazines themselves, with 1 being my dream magazines, and this is where the overhaul is most needed. My dreams have changed! For one, I only submit to paying publications now. It’s not about the money; it’s about taking my self and my work seriously. But also I have been reading some of these magazines for several years now, and I have a better idea of which ones are a good fit for what I do. There are specific editors I want to work with. My focus is narrower these days, my approach more intentional.
Beyond my changing dreams, a lot of the info in my good old spreadsheet is simply outdated. Magazines have closed down or changed names, submission windows have shifted, guidelines have changed. It’s time for a refresh.
So as part of my easy entry into this new year, I’m updating these simple homegrown systems. I hope to come out on the other side of this process with a clear vision of what I want to go after this year and where I want to invest my time and energy.
More novel news next week. Until then, I’m wishing you a soft beginning, too.
Deborah Shapiro’s Consolation is not (yet) available on Bookshop, but you can buy it from her website! And if you do, message me because I want to talk about it!
Affiliate link, you know the deal. :D