You will need to keep track of your submissions — especially if you choose to send multiple submissions — for several reasons. First of all, it is just good to know where your manuscript is. By noting the date you sent it, you can keep track of how long it stays with a particular publisher. Second, if your manuscript has been declined several times, you don't want to make the mistake of sending it to a publisher that has already seen it. Finally, if your manuscript is accepted by one publisher and is still out with three others, you will want to let the three publishers know that they need not consider it any longer.
Set up an organizational system that works for you. Many writers use Excel spreadsheets or Word documents listing all the relevant information. Create a file and e-mail it to yourself — this way it will always be available to you.
Regardless of how you decide to set up your tracking system, there are certain things that you will need to include: title, type of submission (query letter, proposal, full-length manuscript), publisher's name, editor's name (if you have a specific contact name), date sent, date returned, and any comments that accompany the returned manuscript. You may also choose to add information that pertains to each submission. For instance, if you sent along a confirmation postcard, you may want to note the date the editor received the manuscript. Or maybe you decide to send follow-up letters or make phone calls and want to note these as well.
Once you get involved in the submission process, you will be able to design an organizational system that suits your needs. In the meantime, consider using the following table to get you started.
YOUR MANUSCRIPT'S TITLE HERE