Who’s going to write me a short fiction tracking app?

I asked that question on Twitter, and got a couple of “I/someone I know is working on that!” Which I was glad to see.

I also got some folks saying they keep a spreadsheet on Google Docs, and/or pointing me to wikis or spreadsheets keeping track of award-eligible fiction for this year. And those things are awesome! But not what I want, not exactly.

So, this is the thing. When you make up your mind to be a Hugo nominator (or Nebula, for that matter), you read (one hopes) a lot of fiction. There’s quite a lot of short fiction out there. And January rolls around and nominations open up and you say, “Right, what did I read this year that I want to nominate?” But maybe you don’t recall what you read earlier in the year (you have, maybe, an impression that it was actually the year before and so not eligible) or things slip your mind and later noms close and you go “Oh, yeah, “Aliens Ate My Ant Farm” was super awesome and I forgot about it, but I’d have nommed it if I’d remembered….”

Folks who are using spreadsheets, or Evernote, or whatever, are making sure that doesn’t happen to them come nominations time. And I think that’s great, but I also think a lot of people won’t do that, for one reason or another. Yes, it seems like a very small initial setup, but things happen and maybe spreadsheets aren’t that easy for you to navigate or whatever. And I would love to make it as easy as possible for people to nominate for the various short fiction categories. I would love to have more participation in those categories.

What I think would be super awesome would be an app that would, say, give you a button to put in your browser–like Pinterest, say. And in fact, what I’d like is something like Pinterest, only that doesn’t require large (or any) images. Something that lets you click a button and bookmark a story, add tags and notes, and then go in and look at your list of bookmarked stories.

The ability to show (or not) your list of bookmarked stories to others would be an extra. Something that would count words, and tell you what category a piece might be eligible in, would be really, really nice.

Someone pointed out that what I wanted was essentially Pinboard. And I think they’re right, except Pinboard costs. Now, it doesn’t cost much, but even that little bit might be a barrier, and my hope is for something that would make it super easy for folks to keep track of their short fiction reading specifically in order to look back at the end of the year and think about award noms.

All this is to say–someone write us that app! And in the meantime–do y’all know about Pinboard? Maybe think about starting a spreadsheet or setting up some tags in Evernote?

And there’s a great list of award eligible work here, check it out.

Editing to add–on twitter someone suggested that Instapaper would do the trick nicely. I’ve never used it, and will poke around a bit and see what it’s like.

10 thoughts on “Who’s going to write me a short fiction tracking app?

  1. n
    nm says:

    Google has a thing called Pocket https://getpocket.com/login?ep=3 that looks like it ought to work for this, except that it’s Google and they want to see all your information, which prevents me from wanting to sign up for it.

    1. ESC says:

      Hey there, just FYI that Pocket’s not a Google app — it has a Chrome extension and is based off of Google log-in, but is not owned or managed by Google.

      1. n
        nm says:

        Hmmmm. When I tried logging in (through Google), I got a message about Google wanting all sorts of access. Strange

    2. Samuel M_B says:

      I use Pocket to add “I want to read this story eventually, put it on the queue” but I haven’t tried using it for keeping track of things I recommend later, after I’ve read them, which generally happens when I’m offline, more often in “dead tree” format (or audiobook/podcast) than when I’m sitting in front of a device pointing at the right page to fiddle with the tags.

  2. W
    Wilson F says:

    Interestingly, Chad Orzel called for something related:


    1. Ann says:

      I’m not surprised–I think it’s something we need.

  3. C
    Cat Rambo says:

    For SFWA members, remember we’ve got a Nebula recommended reading list on the discussion forums! We’re working on upping the numbers of people recommending and voting this year, and on showing the recommendations as they come in.

    I wish there were a way to pin imageless pages, since you’re right that a Pinterest group board would be ideal.

  4. R
    Rick Redus says:

    I really liked “Aliens Ate My Ant Farm” too.

  5. Spriggana says:

    Maybe this would do the trick? http://saved.io/

    I did not use it, but according to the desription it allows to create lists of links (so you could make separate lists for short stories, novelettes and so on), and the links can be annotated.

    The problem is what to do if a given short story cannot be linked to (but this would be a problem for the app as well).

  6. David Goldfarb says:

    There’s also a wiki. I find it easier to use than the doc.

Comments are closed.