Submission tracking for freelance writers

Tara Lazar once again provided a worthwhile blog topic when she told me:

I am really in need of a good organizational tool. Probably several! I’d like to know how writers organize their various drafts, and then how they track submissions, acceptances, rejections—and publication. Is it as simple as making a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet? Are there available software programs or online tools?



Surprisingly, there are quite a few software applications designed for the specific purpose of tracking submissions. Following is a list of programs used by writers, and at least one created for editors, to organize queries. The list isn’t comprehensive, so please feel free to leave a comment if you’re using something else and are happy with it. I’ll add it to the list.

a digital service for registered users
[Updated on May 19, 2013]

HighWire’s manuscript tracking service for scholarly publishers
[Updated on January 20, 2015]

Critique Circle Submission Tracker
a web-based tool

Duotrope Submissions Tracker
a fee-based online service
[Updated on November 12, 2013]

for a $300 fee, Cactus Communications, Inc., formats the manuscript, drafts a cover letter to the journal, and completes the submission
[Updated on September 22, 2015]

Editorial Manager
an online manuscript submission system used by scholarly, university, and commercial presses
[Updated on February 9, 2015]

Excel Submission Tracker
a free downloadable Microsoft Excel spreadsheet offered by Neon Books
[Updated on August 26, 2018]

The Grinder
a free web-based service for fiction writers
[Updated on November 12, 2013]

Hey Publisher
an online service
[Updated on November 12, 2013]

The Industry Edge
“phone, talent, and submission-management application built to track, manage, and archive”
[Updated on February 22, 2014]

Literarium (formerly Write Again)
a cloud-based submission tracking service
[Updated on June 25, 2014]
designed to be used by scholarly presses to facilitate the manuscript review process for academic journals
[Updated on June 24, 2011]

a web-based service used to streamline scholarly manuscript submission and peer review at a cost of $10 per manuscript
[Updated on September 6, 2012]

Aries System’s online service for scholarly manuscript submissions, tracking, and peer review
[Updated on September 6, 2012]

Power Tracker
$29.95—$49.95 or included with bundled software

Ritsah Software’s $39.99 application for Mac users requires OS X Lion 10.7 at minimum
[Updated on April 6, 2012]
a web-based service including a database of literary agents and a social network for writers
[Updated on November 18, 2009]

free manuscript tracking software compatible with the Macintosh OS, Microsoft Windows, or DOS

ScholarOne Manuscripts
product of Thomson Reuters, used by scholarly journals as well as commercial publishers
[Updated on January 27, 2015]

a management platform for peer-reviewed journals
[Updated on February 9, 2015]

a free software application for tracking magazine submissions

an online system designed for magazines and presses to facilitate the acceptance and management of submissions, offered by the Council Community of Literary Magazines and Presses at a cost of $300—$600
[Updated on August 26, 2018]

Submission Manager / Green Submissions
$99 software sold by Prolific Press Inc. for use by literary journals
[Updated on February 13, 2015]

Submittable (formerly Submishmash)
a web-based system founded in Missoula, Montana, to allow magazines, book publishers, employers, and contests to facilitate the acceptance and tracking of submissions in a variety of file formats, offered at a cost of $319—$1,100
[Updated on October 2, 2013]

an online service allowing writers to track and submit their work at a cost of $30 per year
[Updated on August 9, 2015]

Tell It Slant
a fee-based online service for writers submitting to certain literary journals
[Updated on November 12, 2013]

Writer’s Database
a free database system designed by writer Simon Kewin

The Writer’s Database
Luminary Publishing Service’s free web-based database for tracking freelance markets and submissions

Writer’s Market
a web-based subscription service with contact management features that can be used for tracking submissions (Full disclosure: I’ve contributed to one of this publisher’s Writer’s Digest Books projects and its Guide to Literary Agents Blog.)

The Writer’s Scribe
Douglas Swatski’s $39 software with a free, fully functional 20-day trial download
[Updated on March 8, 2014]

Writers Write’s Greg Knollenberg describes the how and why of organizing the work you submit for publication in his article “Tracking Your Submissions.” The article is 10 years old and some of the links are broken, but his advice is still excellent. Like Lazar, Knollenberg mentions making use of spreadsheet software for submission tracking, as most of us probably own Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet application. He also acknowledges that a good old-fashioned filing system is often adequate.

Photos courtesy of Richard Dudley

16 Replies to “Submission tracking for freelance writers”

  1. You know me. I’d look at the freebies first. After that, frankly, I’m biased, but an annual subscription price of $29.99 isn’t bad for access to the database listings, news, tracking tools, and advice offered on the Writer’s Market website. You can try a subscription free for 30 days, like some of the other tracking software.

    I hope you’ll let me know if you decide to use one of the programs. Come back and post a link, if you blog about the experience.

  2. Robin,

    I just released: “The Writer’s Scribe,” for tracking submissions, for both PC and Macintosh computers. A free trial is available. A Home tab provides an overview of all of your stories, then easy-to-navigate tabs provide give you access to Stories, Publishers, Submissions, and Alerts. The Full Version adds tracking for Sales and Expenses, along with a collection of 18 reports. Please see the Web site: for more information.

    I started with an Excel spreadsheet but found that it just became too cumbersome, so I developed “The Writer’s Scribe” with a database tool that allowed be to quickly flip back and forth between my stories and potential publishers. I can easily see what I submitted, where I sent it, along with a full history. The application guards against accidentally sending something out that already has a submission pending, or to a publisher that is currently closed to submissions.

    Thank you.


  3. Robin,

    A quick update. I’m now up to version “O” with many new features, including iPad support for use with FileMaker Go, pushing Alerts to iCal and tracking rights, and many more customization capabilities and user interface improvements. The free-trial period is now 20 days.

    Thank you.


  4. Pingback: Quora
  5. I use a app called Published! on the Mac it’s really cool. I can track revisions to my manuscripts in addition to submissions, publishers etc –also revenues and expense. Its available on the Mac Store but they have a limited lite version on their web site

  6. Thank you for this. BTW as of 3/8/2014 Luminary’s Writers Database seems offline with a 404 error. Frustrating.

  7. Another quick update. The Writer’s Scribe is now at version 5.0 and includes a database of Publishers.

    Thank you.


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