Yes, per a recent article I've read, there is no real automatic way to submit articles. You have to submit these manually. Now people will sell you a package which allows you to "automatically" publish articles to "hundreds" of websites - for a price. The problem is that you don't know what websites these are posting to.
I can already think of a scam on this. You can set up any number of CMS sites which can use the same database, only having different themes and names. Yes, that would take about a week or so to create, but it would be a simple scene. Then the person logs in, posts a single article - and then the script makes that single article available on those hundred subdomains. To give them credit, the site owner would then be able to ping Technorati for the changes to every single site (many of these are supported by blog architecture) and so actually then get an intense amount of links back. But then these same pinged sites would have scripts which look for a single IP address generating a lot of pings and then devalue it accordingly. There is simply no free lunch except the one you pay for and give away.
So my simple technique of setting them up on a single list and then opening them up in Firefox looks to be the most efficient method.
Now, those links should be the top sites on Google - say the first twenty or so. Check out "article directory" and "free article directory". If you take the top twenty links on each, ruling out duplicative sites and the ones requiring paid submission, you then have about 40 or so sites to submit to. (Don't forget to click on the adsense advertisers - but verify and then trust.)
Another interesting scene is to make each article into a Squidoo lens. And this is only because they rank pretty highly by Google. You simply become an "expert" on the subject of that article. Means you get your links out through their network and raises your "expert" ranking by being linked to all over the place. It's a lot faster than trying to link to yourself on others' blogs.
Here's my plan. I wish to write once a week, about 1000 words, meaning that I'm writing a book every year which is 50k words long. Then the following year, I continue to market that book. So I keep track of my blogs and take the longest one to make it into an article (or edit that week's blogs into a single article, if they are on the same theme). Then I post the article to those 40 or so article directories above. Done deal for the week. As each article points to my bookstore/storefront, I can then get my sales increased by providing a better service to anyone who is interested. In that way, I provide a free service which points to a paid service - and that is all there is to Economics.