Submitting with Submitomancy

What Submitomancy might show a submitterRecently, Duotrope’s announcement that it was going paid caused some stir among speculative fiction writers. One of the results has been to create some new alternatives. I asked Sylvia Spruck Wrigley to guest post about her new system, Submitomancy.

Here’s Sylvia:

Submitomancy is my vision of a social site for manuscript and submission tracking for writers and poets. I created it in order to solve my own problems but I’m hoping that others might find it useful too.

I’ll be honest: I find submitting difficult. When I’m writing, I’m floating on a cloud of potential. Submitting brings me down to earth with a bang. I’m torn between desperate hope that someone will love my work and abject fear that all the slush readers are sniggering. “Oh, it’s her again.”

In order to keep myself from going completely insane, I need my submission process to be as fast and as painless as possible. I don’t want to open multiple applications, fiddle with spreadsheets or spend hours trying to find information.

When I started thinking about Submitomancy, the goal was efficiency. I wanted a single location which would track my work from the moment I stop revising until … well, until I have truly exhausted every resource. A story’s life begins when I write The End but it isn’t finished just because I’ve made a single sale.

Submitomancy breaks this story life into stages but they all interlock. Once I finish a manuscript, as a paying member, my interactions with Submitomancy would look like this:

  • Enter the manuscript details
  • Search for submission opportunities
  • Star the markets I like most
  • Choose a market and verify the guidelines
  • Generate a cover letter

The only thing I have to leave the system for is to verify the guidelines at the market and to do my actual submission.

  • Confirm the submission
  • Set notifications

As standard, I would set one alert when someone has entered a response which has the same days out as mine and one alert when the standard query time has passed.

If I receive a rejection, it’s relatively painless to find the next market: my search parameters have been saved and the stars will appear to the markets that I selected last time, so that I can work my way through them if I choose.

If I receive an acceptance, then my display explodes in confetti. But we’re not done yet! There’s a whole new set of information that needs tracking: pay rate, contract received, payment received, publication date, exclusivity clause. Rights can be complicated but on a general basis, I can set a date to alert me when this piece can be sent to reprint markets.

Finally, I have a whole selection of (interesting if not always useful) statistics. I can find out how many stories I wrote, how many submissions, what markets I submitted to most, how many personal responses I received and what types of sale (print, online, audio) I had the most success with. Eventually, I’d like to be able to set myself challenges (one short story a month, min 15 stories on submission) to keep myself motivation over the year.

All of this should – I hope! – make it easy for writers to write more and submit more. And that, of course, is the point.

It’s my dream system. However, it needs a strong userbase to be useful which is why I decided to put it forward as a crowd-funded campaign. If there are enough people who think Submitomancy would be an awesome resource, then I’ll make it happen.

So here’s my request. If you think you would gain benefit from a website like Submitomancy existing, even if you only want the free service, then please support the Indiegogo campaign for Submitomancy and tell your friends.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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