Saturday, January 22, 2011

A gift for other writers

Yesterday, I came across a post on Nathan Bransford's forums where a writer had inquired about ways to keep track of submissions. I responded, telling about a program that I created to do just this. It's called Submission Tracker. I made this program last year after reading a different post somewhere where a few writers were commiserating over the chore of keeping track of manuscripts during the submission process.

As a software developer (yes, that's still my day job), I decided I would create an application for myself to help keep track of my own submissions because there was no applications out there that already did this (I didn't do any extensive searches to determine this, but it's been my experience that there are few apps out there for writers). I created a rudimentary program and added functionality to it when I deemed it necessary throughout my own submission process.

I've been using it ever since to keep track of my stories, markets, and submissions. Since reading that post in the forums, I've decided to make my program available to other writers who feel a desire to use it.

Some of the features:
1. Ability to enter story details. This includes: Title, word count, genre, number of drafts.
2. Ability to enter publisher information. Name, publication type (webzine/print, paying/non-paying), approx. response time, two web addresses (useful for home page and submission guidelines for quick reference).
3. Quick reference history for stories that have been submitted. Shows current submission location and prior submitted locations (if applicable) with publisher's response.
4. Grid view listing of current stories on submission, stories written, and publishers, each on their own tab.

I'm making it available free of charge, downloadable at the bottom of this post on a couple of conditions.

1. The software is available as-is.
2. Do not contact me with any bugs you find in the software. I created this app for myself and I program every day. In my spare time I write and do not want that time to be used programming. It's a free program, after all. If you find you don't like it, simply uninstall it.
3. This is a Windows application. Unfortunately, anyone using a different operating system will not be able to use it.

With that said, I would like to add that I will more than likely enhance the application by fixing any bugs I find and adding new functionality to make the app more robust. But, as I've already said, I don't enjoy programming during my time away from work, so these enhancements may be slow in coming. While I do not want people sending me bug reports, I am open to receiving wish lists for features. If there is something lacking that you think would make the application better, feel free to email me.

Here are a few screen shots:

This is a detail view of a submission.

This is a list of publishers I entered into the program.

A shot of the new story and new publisher dialog screens.

This is the submission history from a single story. Notice the context menu (right-click) to view detail, edit the entry, or delete it.

If you find yourself interested in using the Submission Tracker application. You can download it here. Check back for future updates. Perhaps I will add a feature that you find useful and, remember, if there is something you'd like included, you can always send me an email requesting it. I may or may not include it depending on how useful the suggested feature is, but you never know. I hope the program makes tracking your submissions much easier. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Georgia's deep freeze

Woke up this morning to snow. I was happy to learn that my company closed due to inclement weather. That gave me an opportunity to edit my novel. I was able to finish the first pass of the hit man novel I'm working on. Now I'm ready to begin the second edit.

I took time out to go outside with my new Canon Rebel T2i camera and take some pictures of the snow. It was nice to come back inside with my family where it's warm and watch news coverage of people trying to navigate the treacherous roads. If you've been following me, you know I was involved in an accident in December when I rolled my Jeep after encountering an icy bridge on my way home from work. Well, needless to say, I learned a valuable lesson from that and won't dare drive when there's a chance of having icy roads.

The photos above show the beautiful snow we received. Let's just hope that when everything freezes tonight we don't lose power, which is typical in Georgia during winter weather like this.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, New Opportunities

We're five days into 2011 and I'm excited by the opportunities that await. Most blogs I've read since the first have discussed resolutions. I'm not going to do that. Why? Simply because I don't believe in resolutions. Instead, I want to tell you what I'm up to and what I'm planning to do this year.

Currently, I'm four chapters from finishing the first pass of my editing process for one of the novels I wrote last year. Many times, when I do a read-through of one of my first drafts, I am embarrassed by how horrible it reads. There are so many awkward parts that I wonder if I will ever get the damn thing published. Of course, that's why the edit process exists, to chisel away all of that awkwardness and confusion and finely tune the prose to be smooth and beautiful (hopefully). I'm pleased to announce that am very satisfied with this first draft's story so far. I was expecting the clunky awkwardness, but it has been a pleasure to edit so far. I hope the other two novel manuscripts waiting their turn will be as enjoyable on the first read through.

In addition to my ongoing editing, I am preparing to circulate two short stories to publishers and hope they find homes. With the new year, many publishers submissions should open to fill empty slots within their magazines. So, needless to say, I'm anxiously waiting for that to happen. I'll be even happier to receive another acceptance letter, those are always exciting!

Also, I am considering entering NaNoWriMo again this year. As I write this, it sounds like it will be fun. I guess my annoyance of feeling rushed from last year's has worn off. Not only that, but in retrospect, I came away from it with a third novel for the year. I didn't complete the novel within the specified time, but it was close and if I can do that again, then I think it's worth the effort. This time, however, I'll make sure to get my notes and outline complete before November 1!

I love reading and I buy books every week from Barnes & Noble. I should also admit that I'm a slow reader, so my queue of books to read is much larger than the books that I've finished reading. I'm thinking about whittling down my queue before I buy anymore books. Otherwise, I'll have to build another set of bookshelves, which is inevitable, but at least I can put it off for a long while.

On another artistic note, I purchased a DSLR camera around Christmas because I wanted to dabble in amateur photography--I really enjoy looking at great landscape photos. I asked myself, why not take pictures that mean something to ME? I mean, that's how I became a writer, right? I'm extremely new to digital photography...hell, photography in general. My first lesson was that the hobby I chose is very expensive! The camera I bought is a Canon Rebel T2i. It set me back a substantial amount, so I'm working on the basics and learning the camera's functionality before spending anything further. I hope to shoot my own videos--did I mention it also records video? cool, huh?--in addition to photos so I can put together book trailers in the future. If I become worth a shit and take any photos worth posting, I'll probably post them on the web site.

Well, that's about it for now. Plenty to keep me busy. I'm hoping 2011 will be a prosperous year for my artistic outlets. Now, time to go edit.