Keeping Track of Your Freelance Writing Queries

When doing freelance writing work or when submitting your written work to various publications, it becomes very easy to lose track of what was sent where and to whom. Here is an easy way to keep track of all those queries by using Microsoft Excel or a similar spreadsheet.

OPEN YOUR SPREADSHEET and give it a title. I title mine Queries.

CREATE DIFFERENT FOLDERS for different kinds of queries. I use five separate folders titled Contests, Freelance, Magazine, Online and Other. Creating separate folders simply makes tracking your queries that much easier.

DECIDE WHAT IMPORTANT INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KEEP TRACK OF in your Query spreadsheet. I track the following details of a query: Name of publication, Contact information, Type of query (email, phone, or snail mail), date query was sent and Other. The Other column is for any other pertinent information.

TRACK ANSWERS YOU RECEIVE to your queries by highlighting in different colors. For example, you can use yellow for queries that have been sent but have not been answered and green for queries that have been answered and given the green light. You get the idea.

ADD A COLUMN FOR NOTES. This column becomes very useful when talking to an editor on the phone or through email because you can refer back to the dates and times you have spoken with the editor before.

KEEP COPIES OF YOUR QUERY SPREADSHEET so that you can double-check to see if you have submitted to a certain venue before and what their answer was.

UPDATE YOUR SPREADSHEET on at least a weekly basis.

BACK IT UP! Don’t forget to back up your work frequently!

TRACK IT ONLINE. Use an online query tracker like Duotrope to track submissions or try this online Writer’s Tracking Tool.

Want to learn more? Order the Freelance Writer’s Toolkit!

About Karen Y. Hamilton

Walt Whitman says about his autobiography, Specimen Days “…At any rate I obey my happy hour’s command, which seems curiously imperative. May-be, if don’t do anything else, I shall send out the most wayward, spontaneous, fragmentary book ever printed.” This is what I feel at this juncture of my life, the need to gather together memories of my ancestors as well as my own memories into some semblance of order. Because all of those fragments, all of the fragments that make up any life, become stories. I am the mother of three sons, who affectionately (I hope!) call me 'gypsy mom' because I tend to wander around a bit soaking in the universe's wonders. I am currently working towards an MFA in Creative Writing at Florida Atlantic University. I have published essays with Heritage Press, Florida Living, and the St. Pauls Review. I am currently working on a book of poems about the Florida Everglades pioneers and a memoir about grief and the bonds of friendship. I live in my hometown, Jupiter, Florida and work as a freelance writer and curriculum specialist.
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One Response to Keeping Track of Your Freelance Writing Queries

  1. anu says:

    GetaElance.com has neat and clean layout. All features are listed clearly. I was using this website and really felling good. I just created my account there.

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