So, I am a good submitter. But I am not the best submitter I can be. The number of stories I have out waxes and ebbs according to my enthusiasm for submitting. And the longer I go without sending them back out, the bigger a task it becomes to send stories out again. Furthermore, sometimes I have a story that I don’t want to send out and I don’t want to retire. This leads to my submissions volume being a bit smaller than I’d want it to be (although it is still pretty large, as every editor of every pro-zine can attest).
Recently, though, I fixed this problem, with the magic of conditional formatting in Excel. I’ve programmed my submissions spreadsheet to light up in a warm green tone whenever all my stories are out. The moment one of them gets rejected, the green tone is gone! Replaced by that awful standard white!
Since this obviously cannot be, it is a spur for me to immediately (and I mean that minute) turn around the story to another magazine.
Sometimes I don’t want to turn it around. In those cases, I just retire it from submission.
Another problem solved.
Now I just need to figure out how to get my spreadsheet to urge me to send out more literary submissions. There it’s not a question of whether the story is out or not (it’s always out), but how many publications it is out at (since almost all literary markets allow simultaneous submissions). When it dips under 5 or so, that usually means it’s time to throw it back out there.