Automating Submissions with Literarium

One of the most common questions I get from users is about how to submit using Literarium. In the modern world of everything being online it’s reasonable to expect that a web site should be able to make a submission for you to any market you choose. However, this is basically impossible for one reason: there’s no standard / agreed on submission format across the industry, and many markets have their own submission management tools.

The solution that sites like Submittable have to this is that they only list markets that are on Submittable. Obviously this is not an option for us, as it defeats the purpose of having all your writing stats in one place. The solution that sites like Duotrope have is the same as ours: only record the submission, don’t actually submit.

We’re trying to figure out the best way to get the best of both worlds happening. Not sure how that will look yet as it’s a complex problem. One way might just be to start supporting each whacky submission process (Eg. I’ve seen one which was ’in the body of an email, no formatting’) and slowly close the gap over time.

Any ideas or suggestions are welcome!

One possibility is we don’t try to control the submission format to markets (yet). It’s probably best left to the writer to compose an email in the format the market requires, attach their work, and send it off. What would be great is to be able to track this conversation in Literarium against a submission, so when you go to literarium and view your submissions, you can see the status of your submission and all of the correspondence that goes with it.

This functionality would be similar to how Google Trips use to work, or how Momondo works right now with tracking itinerary changes for your flights based off emails you receive in your inbox.#

The catch is for this functionality to work you’d need to give Literarium access to your Gmail or Outlook inbox so it’s able to monitor your inbox for emails relating to the submission. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think some people will find this a cool feature.

The other catch is this only covers markets that accept email submissions. We still have to deal with Markets that have a simple web form, or their own (or someone else’s!) submission manager (Eg. Submittable)

Aye, for those sorts of situations I think we would have to build tools for publishers to accept their submissions through Literarium, or to set up some sort of integration with them.

This is a great topic - I’ve only made 3 submittals since switching to the competitive world from the FanFic and in each case I identified the market and website through Literarium and then submitted. I’m clueless as to the Literarium toolset and how the RECORD, SUBMISSIONS, and TASKS tools work but I can definitely see the MARKET’s value of the data relative as to a market’s review cycle, accept reject history. and of course how well they pay the successful writers.

So, Tom, how about discussing how I would go about reporting back on a market’s response to a submittal. I can tell you that the editor of CLARKESWORLD was timely within days and provided helpful suggestions to this newbie while the L.RON HUBBARD WRITERS OF THE FUTURE was a months-long wait in limbo with no information other than a terse but polite rejection when the contest ended. My currently active submittal to MYSTERION is in a review queue but the staff does provide access to where I am in the review line (currently 184 stories in front of mine).

To conclude, I’m looking forward to building relationships with the toolkit and the editors at the other end for the types of fiction I like to read and hopefully write fun escapist fiction for.

You can use the Literarium submission tool to record information about a submission, but it’s not linked to the real world submission other than how it represents that submission. If you hear back from a market you simply update your submission record, and it shows in the market submissions statistics (visible on the market page). It’s really just a tool to give you oversight of your submissions that are out there. Once you have ten or so on the go at once it helps to have a single place to go to see which ones you are expecting to hear back from.

Heya @JeePers, thanks for the feedback.

We’ve received this feedback from a number of users now, so it’s clear to us that we’ve not done made the whole writers workflow with Literarium clear enough. It’s something we’re hoping to improve in a new version of the product.

As has been mentioned in this thread so far, we’d love to be able to allow users to submit directly to publishers through Literarium, although this is no small feat. Its something we’ve got a few ideas about, and would like to attack it later later this year.

For the time being, submissions within Literarium are quite basic. They’re a simple record that you create as a reminder that you’ve sent out work to a particular market.

So what’s the point of tracking submissions with Literarium then? For a busy writer with dozens of submissions out at any point in time it’s easy to lose track of what work is out and what needs following up on. If you tell Literarium what work you’ve submitted, then we can do the following for you:

  • Remind you when the submission probably needs to be followed up on, because it’s approaching / exceeding the market’s expected response time. We do this via an email notification and the writer’s dashboard on Literarium’s home page.
  • Inform you about the suitability of your work for that particular market.
  • Some markets don’t like you to submit your work to other markets if they’re currently considering your submission, so we’ll warn you if you attempt to send your work to another market in this situation.

Asides these features we also gather information about submissions people record in Literarium to calculate submission statistics against each Market in our directory. So we can tell you per market how many acceptances, rejections, and average response time for submissions.

As for Tasks and Work…

Tasks are essentially for tracking writing tasks like, “organise proof read”, or “research fly fishing for the back story of character x”, which you can record against your work. If you set a due date for these writing tasks then we can remind you when the tasks are due via the writers dashboard (the literarium home page).

The Work page is for recording all of the literary works that you’ve got to submit to markets. Recording information about your literary works (like their genre, manuscript type, length) in Literarium help us suggest to you markets you may be interested in. Having your work in Literarium also allows you to use the submissions feature for tracking submissions against your work.

Anyways, I hope that goes some way to demystifying some of the features in Literarium. We’ll be spending a good part of this year trying to figure out a better way we can show off these features without leaving our users confused.

Thanks for responding Duckaroy - yes I can definitely see the benefits once I have a number of stories and poetry out there. Right now I’m only juggling three short stories and four markets. Looking again at Literarium Markets I can see that there is ever so much more’.

Writing is going to be a great hobby (hopefully more rewarding than FannFiction) and Literarium and I will be doing a lot of future work together.

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Glad to hear it @JeePers. Keep the feedback coming!

Personally, I’ve found Literarium to be perfect in that it is not a submission portal. The last thing I want is for my works to become something editors can file away with an eyeroll as from a particular writing mill. In fact, the first time I was ready to record a submission and saw the “Submit” button, my reaction was, “Oh, [CENSORED]! You mean I might actually have to upload this thing where someone other than an editor or my pre-readers might see it?”

Actually clicking through and discovering that it was the tracking mechanism that I was hoping for, not a submission portal, was a major relief.

Since every market is going to have its own chosen submission methods and finicky bits, maybe there should be another sortable information field in the Market pages that specify how they like to receive their submissions. Literarium already appears to differentiate markets that require soft copy from those that require hard copy, but it would be nice to be able to narrow down to markets that like “e-mail” or “Submittable” (ugh) or “Market-specific portal,” or even “Submit through Literarium” when you devise your own automated solution. Until automation becomes a Literarium choice, such sorting would at least cut down on users who expect this to be a one-stop upload-submit-track shop.

…not sure if that’s a helpful idea.

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Yep this is exactly our plan. Have a clear section to show writers what the submission process for a given market is, and also build out our own submission portal so small magazines aren’t forced into the ridiculous $ sink that is Submittable.

Awesome! :+1: looking forward to the next version with additional fields, then! And best wishes with developing your own submission portal. :smile: