Keep track of the submission guidelines for publishers which interest you. Guidelines are constantly in flux, and part of your job as a freelance writer is know exactly what publishers are seeking, and which forms and methods of communication are acceptable to each publisher. I have used different methods and combination methods for tracking publisher guidelines. I have bought books, printed out submissions, bookmarked them and tracked them in a database. Here are all the ways you can keep up with publisher guidelines. Use the method or methods which work for you.
How Non-Fiction Freelance Writers Can Track Publisher Guidelines
1. Identify Key Publishers in Your Field
Research information about the publishers by visiting the website. Look through their list of recently published titles. Find the submissions guideline page on the website.
2. Schedule an Update Day
Set an alarm in your favorite calendar program on your computer or on your phone as a reminder to check for changes on publisher guidelines. Depending on how much time you have and how many publishers you are tracking, the update day can be scheduled weekly, biweekly, monthly, or every three months. This is a good way to stay on top of what publishers are no longer seeking, and their current needs.
3. Use Online Resources
Check websites where someone else has started the job for you. Find links to submission guideline pages at Freelancewriting.com/guidelines/pages.
How to Organize Publisher Guidelines
I aim for paper-less office, but I have printed out certain guidelines before.
Print the Publisher Guidelines
Print out the submission guidelines and store them in a three-ring binder. If you use this method, always check the website page before using the information on the printed sheet, in case there was a change. I found it useful to print out some publisher guidelines which were long. I read them when I was away from my computer.
Bookmark the Publisher Guidelines
Bookmark the submissions guideline page in a bookmark folder. Create sub-folders in the folder to organize the guidelines by genre. Keep the bookmarks organized.
Use Google Notebook
Copy and paste the guidelines into a new notebook at Google Notebook. Google Notebook is useful for storing text and website addresses. It’s easy to update and you can access it from any computer.
Create a Database
A spreadsheet is not the right tool for this job. Use a database instead, to track information about publishers’ submission guidelines. A database will enable you to organize the guidelines by topic, by pay, by lead time, or any other feature.