Today, I received a nice rejection on some poems I submitted to Thieves Jargon. I also sent out a group of poems to Burnside Review. Since I went through the process of marking a submission and rejection on the same day, I got to thinking about how I submit poems, including how I keep everything organized. It’s extremely lo-tech.
This is how I organize my poems: I copy them by hand into those black & white marble composition notebooks. I number each page to help with referencing where each poem is.
I reserve around 10 pages of room at the end of each notebook to make submission notes for the entire book. Basically, I make four columns: Date of submission; where the submission went (for instance, Burnside Review today); which poems (I include poem titles and page number in the composition notebook); and the result (whether poems were accepted or rejected and the date of response).
When I make a submission of poems, I mark the columns with the appropriate information in the back. But to ensure that I don’t accidentally send the same poem out to several publications, I also create columns beside each poem that I cross-reference with the information in the back: Name of publication; date of submission; date of acceptance; and date of rejection.
If a poem has no response or has been accepted, then I know not to submit it elsewhere. If a poem’s current status is rejected, then I know it’s available to submit. If it’s been rejected several times, I know there’s a possibility it should be revised or abandoned.
So, that’s how I do it. Submitting multiple poems to multiple publications can be confusing. However, with this system, I’ve had no problems keeping on top of where my poems are.