As discussed in “Organizing Your Folders for Maximum Productivity,” a system for organizing your writing and submissions is an important component of writing for multiple publishers and publications. An essential component of your overall article organization system is naming and organizing the files that contain your articles. When you submit an article to multiple publications, you are likely to have made some adjustments to the article in order to make it appropriate for each publication. That results in multiple versions of the article. In addition, you may submit the same article to different publications at different times. How are you to keep track of which version of which article has been submitted to which publication? How do you know if you have had an article published with an exclusive agreement? There are probably as many systems writers use to organize, but the one I use may be helpful to some.
How you name the file containing your article and where you put it is vital to keeping track of your work, where it is, and where it can go. If you like to compile statistics, which may be helpful to you down the road, then name files in such a way that the names provide you with useful information. For example, this article took the following path to publication. I started the article on March 27, 2007 and it was about organizing articles, so I named it “ORG ART032707.” By the way, I use caps in the name, because, at my age, it is easier to see and, therefore, locate when I’m searching. In the filename I include the date I started the article. That assists me in tracking article progress specifically, and my overall production. This system will also tell me which publishers are publishing my work the fastest, and that can be very vital information.
Although I knew that I was submitting the article to Associated Content, it wasn’t a solicited article and I wasn’t sure if I would be submitting it elsewhere. As such, as discussed in the folder organization piece, the article was saved in my primary writing directory’s “InProg” folder as I worked on it. As I wrote the piece, I realized that it might actually be two pieces in one, so I broke it into two articles, one on folders and another on files. The article on folders I named “ORG_FOLD032707” and this one I named “ORG_FILES032707.”
Once I finished the piece, I moved it into the writing directory’s “Complet” folder and changed the filename to “ORG_FILESfin032807.” Notice that “fin” has been added to the filename and the date contained within the filename has changed. Within the document itself, I wrote the start date and complete date under the title so that even though the date in the filename is changed upon completion, I still have a record of when I started the article (ex: “Organizing Your Files for Maximum Productivity” 3/27 – 3/28/07).
Once I submitted the article, I saved a copy of it as “ORG_FILESsub032807nex” in my “AC” folder, to indicate that I had submitted it to Associated Content as a nonexclusive piece. If I submit the article to other publishers, I will save copies in the folders that correspond to those publishers and make changes to the submit date as necessary. All such filenames would have to include “nex” since the article would be a nonexclusive submission. Had the article been an exclusive submission, the filename would have been “ORG_FILESsub032807ex.” The “ex” at the end of the filename would let me know that I didn’t and, perhaps more importantly, couldn’t submit this article elsewhere. Once the article is published, the “sub” changes to “pub” and the date of publication would be included in the filename. In the sample below, the publication date is incomplete since I didn’t know when it would be published.
C:my documentsWritingInProgORG ART032707
If perchance I choose to submit the article to WiseOrb on April 5, 2007 and they publish it on April 7, I would then save a copy of it in WOSubmit directory as “ORG_FILESsub040507nex” and a copy in the WOPublish directory as ORG_FILESsub040707nex. If, two months from now, I want to know where I have published the article, I could do a search on the file name and the results would show the piece in both the AC and WO directories. Or, I could take a look in the directories of publishers and see if the article has been submitted and/or published.
In the article on organizing folders, I indicated that the organization pattern of folders created for articles written on assignment is slightly different than the setup of folders for unsolicited pieces. Assignment pieces are usually exclusive, but not always. Below is an example of the path taken by an article that was assigned by Gasparilla Magazine. The filename contains all of the information that the unsolicited article contains, but “nex” ending is changed to “ex” to let me know that it is an exclusive submission. The article was first saved in the “InProg” folder set up for that publication, moved to the “Submit” folder and finally copied into the “Publish” folder with “sub” changing to “pub” and the date changing in the filename according to when the article reached each stage in the process.
C:my documentsWritingGaspSubmit NATVGARDsub122106ex
A system such as the one above may take a little getting used to initially. However, Once you get into the habit of naming your files in an informative manner and saving them in directories and folders that also help you navigate through your growing library of work, it will be smooth sailing to time saved and money banked.