Converting to Write Again from Ink Link

Posted: March 25, 2007 in Uncategorized
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And now, for something completely different — just for writers.

My wife and I use a submission tracking program. Years ago, I looked around on the web and found very little out there. A lot of other writers hesitatingly suggested Ink Link. with the caveat that it was clearly oriented toward article submissions, not short stories, and could be frustrating for a fiction writer, especially a novelist. Sarah took the plunge anyway, even contacting the author with suggestions and beta-ing version 4.

On a related subject, we’ve found that laptops work for about 2-3 years before we have to replace them. Over the last couple laptop changeovers, we found that Sarah’s Ink Link diskettes were damaged, and she can no longer install the software on her new laptops. So I figured it was time to look for an alternative.

I looked around a few years ago — on the first laptop changeover — and didn’t find anything, so I decided to write my own. I did a rough design, changed jobs, moved, and forgot about it, since Sarah was mostly selling novels by then. I thought about it again when she did another laptop changeover about a year ago, and looked around the web again.

This time, I found Write Again!. It was designed pretty close to my own rough design, with differences I could live with. The author, Tom Dullemond, clearly understood the rapidly-changing fiction magazine market, and submission process. And the free version does pretty much everything Ink Link does, plus some (e.g. novels, closed markets, bibliographic references, etc.)! (The full version does even more than Ink Link (e.g. task manager), and it’s only $50. I highly recommend it.)

I contacted Tom and asked him about converting data from Ink Link to Write Again. He didn’t have any import process, and didn’t expect to have one any time soon, but he did recognize the dissatisfied Ink Link user demographic. With Tom’s help understanding his database fields, I set about converting Sarah’s data myself.

Recently, I decided to codify the process, and the result is this Excel spreadsheet on my website. You’ll need a SQL Tool to use it — I used the free Execute Query. There are instructions in the spreadsheet explaining how to use it. Note that this process is intended for the current version of Write Again, v1.3.x

I tested the process with a few sets of data, and it worked okay, but there may be some bugs. Part of this it because the way things are stored in Ink Link is vastly different than Write Again. You may have to do more manual editing in Excel than I did. Use it at your own risk.

If you’re not currently using a submission tracker, or you’re using a homegrown one, take a look at Write Again! Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.  (No, I’m not getting any kickbacks from Tom; I’m just trying to help you be more productive and organized.)

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Comments
  1. cordova829 says:

    Hey Dan, can you go into more detail as to how this could help me though? The website is vague, and I’m stupid.

    • danielmhoyt says:

      The basic process is pretty straightforward:
      1) When you start a short story, novel, novel chapter, outline, etc., you create a new project in the Projects Manager with the status “In Progress”.
      2) When you finish the project, change the status to “Completed”.
      3) When you decide to physically submit the project to a market (magazine, publishing house, agent, etc.), you select an existing market or create a new one in the Markets/Contacts Manager. If you don’t know the markets, check out the 3 weblinks under the “Market Info” button. I’ve only used Ralan.com, but it’s been a lifesaver, believe me. (Side note: I suggested Tom consider offering an annual market service, where you can download a current market list for Write Again — don’t know if he’ll get with Ralan.com, etc., and do it, though.)
      4) After you physically submit the project, you track it by selecting the market in the Markets/Contacts Manager, clicking the “Submit” button and then selecting the project in the Submissions Manager, or by selecting the project in the Projects Manager, clicking the “Submit” button and then selecting the market in the Submissions Manager.
      5) When your project gets accepted or rejected, you open up the Submissions Manager, click “Find” to locate your submission, then change the status accordingly.
      That’s all there is to it. Anywhere along the way, if the “Modify” button isn’t grayed out, you can click it to edit an entry. The “Modify” button will be grayed out and the “Save” and “Cancel” buttons will be enabled. Since some of the screens look the same, but do different things while editing, pay attention to those buttons.
      Of course, there’s lots more (e.g. market suggestions, based on the genre of your story and the genres accepted at a market) that can be done with the Write Again (sometimes accessible from a right-click context menu). The best thing to do is just download the program (Professional features for 30 uses, then automatically reverts to the Light version, which does everything I’ve mentioned here).

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