Have you ever lost track of where you submitted a story or article? Or had to go searching through your email to remind yourself of the status of one of your submissions? Or are you simply unsatisfied with your current system for keeping track of your submissions?
If you find your self answering yes to any of these questions, then Story Tracker is likely the solution you are looking for. It’s an app for serious writers that submit articles, stories, and more to multiple publications, and want to keep track of them all. Let’s check it out.
Database or Spreadsheet?
For an app like Story Tracker to be “worth it”, it needs to bring additional functionality that a spreadsheet or project management app lacks. To be frank, Story Tracker is not for everyone. In my opinion, serious writers juggling upwards of ten submissions at a time will find Story Tracker useful.
Ask yourself if you need a database to keep track of your submissions, or if a simple spreadsheet will do. If you are thinking database, think Story Tracker. If you are using a spreadsheet now, you can import it into Story Tracker—no need to reenter all the data.
Basically, the utility of this app comes down to if you need a database rather than a spreadsheet to track your submissions. A database is usually preferred over a spreadsheet when you have a large amount of data and you are not looking to tabulate rows or columns. But another advantage of using a database packaged in an app like Story Tracker are the flexible options for viewing the data. Read on to see what I mean.
Storytracker allows users to view the data they have entered into the database using three views. Each view has two sortable columns—title and status. The status column is especially helpful because it shows when the next submission for a particular story or market is due. First, let’s look at the Story View. Here you get a list of all of the stories (or articles in my case) entered in your database.
From this view you can add new stories, or double click a story to edit it or view the submission history.
If you ask me, the Market view is better thought of as the Publisher view because this is where the user keeps track of where they have submitted stories. There are several useful entry fields here including information about the editor and the pay rate of the publisher, which is then used to calculate earnings from submissions.
Finally, the Submissions view lists all the submissions you have ever entered into the database. So if you have submitted a story several times, each submission will show up as an entry in this view. Similar to the other views, a new entry can be added or edited from this view.
The user interface is what makes this app great. The ability to view your data by story, market (publisher), or submission brings a level of flexibility and organization that you can’t get from a spreadsheet or task management app. Take this situation for example: you need to know how many submissions you have sent to a certain publisher. Double click on the publisher in Markets View click on Submission History and you have your answer.
Other Features and Weaknesses
Although you cannot tabulate your data like you can with a spreadsheet, Story Tracker does allow quick and easy access to statistics about your database.
Income is automatically calculated based on information provided in the database. Keeping track of how much you are bringing in off of your submissions couldn’t be easier!
Another great feature StoryTracker provides is the ability to create multiple databases. This could be useful if, for whatever reason, you needed to keep data completely separate.
Story Tracker for Mac also includes an iOS companion app. While full cloud synchronization between the Mac and iOS versions is not available, it is very easy to get stories, markets, or databases from your iOS app to the Mac version or vice versa. All you need is a a wifi connection with the two devices connected to it.
Up to this point, I have been lauding the flexibility of viewing your database using Story Tracker. Unfortunately, the app is not as flexible as it could be. Users are forced to use the predetermined fields for each story, market, or submission. The ability to create custom fields would be a much welcome addition to the app’s functionality. Also, I found myself wanting to rename the main data types almost immediately (story to article and market to publisher ). A few more options in this area could go a long way towards improving this app.
Story Tracker is for serious writers. While definitely more of a niche app, Story Tracker does what is says it does and does it well. I would recommend this app if:
- You are having a hard time juggling dozens of submissions.
- You need more flexibility for viewing data on your submission than a spreadsheet provides.
- You need a simple and effective way to keep track of income you make off of your stories or articles.