Sonar2: Tracking Those Subs
By Guy Anthony De Marco
Copyright © 2008 by Guy Anthony De Marco, All Rights Reserved
After spending hours
laboring over your literary children, tweaking and polishing until they
shine from their own light, you bundle them up in a manila envelope,
lovingly paste the postage just so, and drop them in the outgoing
mailbox with a prayer.
If this is the first
manuscript you've sent out into the harsh world of editors and
slushpiles, you've probably memorized the exact date and time it left
your hand. However, if you have a large portfolio of manuscripts,
remembering which one you sent to which editor can be confusing.
Enter Sonar2, a submissions
tracking program from Spacejock Software. Written by Simon Haynes, the
author of the Hal Spacejock science-fiction series and numerous short
stories, Sonar2 provides a system for untangling which story was sent to
Sonar2 can track a large
volume of manuscripts. Some of the most useful features include the
ability to add details, such as how much a manuscript earned, how many
days since you've submitted a manuscript, and which stories are lounging
The user interface is
intuitive and familiar; it reminded me of Microsoft Excel. The menu is
straight-forward, with each major function logically grouped. The
Stories/Articles section allows the addition, deletion, or editing
of your manuscript details. The Markets section allows easy
recording of editors and publishers, with quick links to their web
pages, guidelines, and addresses. The Submissions section matches
your story to the market you sent it to. Each section allows you to view
all entries in each group, and the ability to print or copy-and-paste
the data to the clipboard. Useful utilities include a backup/restore
function built into the software.
The program takes up little
disk space and works with many different operating systems, including
the troublesome Microsoft Vista.
The best part is the cost.
The program is free, and unlike many pieces of shareware or freeware,
Sonar2 does not install advertising generators or spyware. The software
is well-supported, and the software author is very responsive to
questions and suggestions.
When I started using Sonar2,
I noticed the tab order was wrong. Normally, a touch-typist would hit
the tab key to proceed to the next box on the form. I emailed Mr. Haynes
with the suggestion that he re-align the tab order, and within a day I
received a reply that he would be working on it.
The program is stable, and I
have it running on several computers. At the time I write this article,
I have 22 stories and articles submitted to science fiction, fantasy,
and horror markets. I can see at a glance how long they've been on the
editor's desk, how many words each story has, and how much income each
manuscript has generated.
Once a manuscript has sold,
many authors assume they're done with that story or article. With
Sonar2, you can easily track which stories can be sent to
reprint-friendly markets, including the oft-overlooked audio sites.
Sonar2 is available for
download from the Spacejock Software website: http://www.spacejock.com/Sonar.html
Spacejock Software has
several additional programs for authors, including yWriter, a free novel
writer's word processor. Mr. Haynes has graciously posted useful
articles for writers, and he provides a link to his Hal Spacejock series
for interested readers.
After a short time, I found
I couldn't do without Sonar2 running in the background. Knowing my
manuscripts are out in the marketplace helps to inspire additional
stories. I highly recommend Sonar2, especially to those who use
Microsoft Excel or a sheet of paper to track their literary children in
the tough publishing world.