Writing Advice for Catholic Fiction Writers Seeking Publication
by Therese Heckenkamp
The road to publication can be long and difficult (perhaps even more so for specifically Catholic fiction writers, as this is a niche market and not many publishers are willing to take a chance on whether Catholic fiction will sell well or not), but if you work hard and do your research, publication is attainable. For what it’s worth, here’s my advice:
Before submitting for publication, make sure you have made your manuscript as perfect as possible. Make sure spelling and grammar are impeccable. If you haven’t already, it’s always a good idea to read up on novel-writing and manuscript formatting. Keep in mind that people read fiction for entertainment, and don’t want to be preached at, even if they are reading a Catholic novel–captivating stories with real characters and plots are still a must. The lessons and Catholic aspects must appear naturally in the course of the story; they should not break up the story. Let family and friends read your manuscript and offer real criticism. If all they do is gush, “It’s wonderful! It’s perfect! Don’t change a thing!”, well, that is highly thrilling to the ego, but it won’t help you produce a better manuscript.
Try not to be overly-sensitive to criticism. Instead, take comfort in the fact that your words are not set in stone and can easily be changed; rewriting is a major part of writing, and if revision will make your work more publishable and more enjoyable to others, then it will be well worth the effort.
As a Catholic writer, I HIGHLY recommend checking out and joining the Catholic Writers Guild. You’ll find many resources there for both before and after publishing your work.
For a Catholic novel, here is a list of some publishers I recommend checking out (always be sure to follow their specific guidelines for submissions):
You could also check out OakTara.com. While not specifically Catholic, this is a Christian publisher that is not against publishing Catholic material.
Finally, please remember that many, many writers seek publication, so competition is fierce; try not to get discouraged. As long as you have researched your options, there is also nothing wrong with looking into self-publishing (such as CreateSpace.com and Lulu.com) and deciding what is best for you and your book.