Record Keeping: Submissions and Rejections

Earlier this week I had a lesson in why it is so important to keep careful submission records.  I was taking a break when up popped a new e-mail.  Because I would never stop and look at an e-mail when I’m writing.  Never.

Anyway, the e-mail went something like this:

Dear Sue BE, 

Thank you for sending us “The Best Manuscript Ever.” We appreciate the chance to read it. Unfortunately, the piece is not for us at this time.

Thanks again for sharing your work with us. We wholeheartedly wish you the best of luck. Happy writing!


Madeline McEditor 
Groovy Publications

Hmm.  I had heard of the publisher but didn’t know much of anything about them except for the fact that I have never sent them a manuscript.  Never.  And I didn’t recognize the editor’s name either.

I pulled up Excel and the file I keep on all submissions and rejections.  First, I searched on Groovy Publications.  Not only had I never sent them The Best Manuscript Ever, I was right.  I had never sent them any of my work.

Next I scrolled down to The Best Manuscript Ever.  One editor and one publishing house had never responded.  I did a quick Google search on the publisher I had sent it to.  They had been bought out by Third Party Press (yes, another made up name) and Third Party had changed the name of the recently purchased publisher, now an imprint, to Groovy Publications.

As if an unknown publisher and an unfamiliar editor weren’t surreal enough, I had sent in my manuscript 2 and a half years ago.  30 months. Add the time factor to the reality of buyouts, mergers, name changes and musical editors and it what all but impossible that I would have connected the dots without my handy dandy Excel file.

This, my darling writing friends, is why we need to keep good records.  Because some day you too may get a rejection and think, “Who are you and why do you have my work?”