Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions About the Catholic Writers Guild

What is the Catholic Writers Guild?

The Catholic Writers' Guild is a professional group of writers, artists, editors, illustrators, and allies whose mission is to build a vibrant Catholic literary culture.

Is the CWG a non-profit organization?

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All of our funding goes toward educational and promotional programs for Catholic authors and their sharing of Catholic values. Our dues are tax deductible. With few exceptions, all programs are volunteer-run. (Our webmasters, accountant, and conference coordinators receive a small stipend for their work.)

What does the CWG do?

  • The Seal of Approval: a program for getting your book evaluated and approved for its Catholicity. The Seal of Approval is a signal to Catholic bookstores that they can carry your book without concern about its content.
  • Marketing Newsletter Program: a bi-monthly mailing to readers, bookstores, and others in the publishing industry featuring member books with an Imprimatur or CWG Seal of Approval.
  • CWG Newsletter: We keep our members informed on what's going on in the world of Catholic writing and in the Guild.
  • Critique groups: where you can work with others to improve your writing.
  • Group subscription to Animoto.com, so you can build promotional book trailers.
  • Writing conferences: We produce two writers conferences per year. The first is the Catholic Writers Conference Online, a free conference open to all writers Catholic and non-Catholic and the Catholic Writers Conference Live, held in conjunction with the Catholic Marketing Network (CMN) Trade Show.
  • CWG Booth: At the CMN trade show (and sometimes other shows), we have a booth where members can promote their books to suppliers, bookstore owners, and readers.
  • Work opportunities: Sometimes publishers come to us with employment opportunities, which we post on the forum. Several members have found regular writing gigs through the Guild.
  • Regular weekly chats: Open to the public, we pray, encourage each other and "listen" to engaging speakers on various topics related to our faith and writing.

What do people do in the CWG?

Obviously, you can take advantage of the many promotional programs we offer. In addition, we have a variety of other programs for our members:

  • In our forums, members can start up discussions on all aspects of writing, marketing, faith, social action, or just socialize.
  • Members can join our weekly chats, which are open to anyone, to meet in a more spontaneous setting to ask questions, share news and pray.
  • Join in on one of the many volunteer opportunities: 
  • ---Assist with the conferences
    ---Become a reader for the Seal of Approval Program
  • Share market news.
  • Get your news on the CWG home page--just send a media release to webmaster(at)catholicwritersguild.com
  • Got an idea you can't accomplish alone? Bring it up to the officers! All of our programs are member-generated.

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Who Can Be Members and How to Join

Why is there a membership fee?

One of the reasons for creating the CWG was to pool our resources for projects that aren't easy to do as individuals. The dues are for such projects. Dues fund the website and part of the conference fees--including our conference booth and hotel accommodations for volunteers--pay for group subscriptions to e-zines, provide stickers for the Seal of Approval recipients, and support other activities. It's a lot of benefit for $30 a year.

I can't afford the dues, but I want to join. What can I do?

We have, on occasion, given memberships to those in financial hardships. We ask that those who get a free membership do some volunteer work for the Guild in return.

Do I have to be Catholic to Join?

As the mission of the group is to support the Magesterium of the Church, writers need to be Catholic. However, we also recognize that the Catholic publishing field is narrow, while Catholic writers often write for non-Catholic Christian and secular publications. Therefore editors and publishers who are not Catholic but interested in joining are welcome, as long as they respect our Catholic beliefs and values.

Do I have to be a writer to join?

Members include all those involved in the publishing industry: writers, editors, illustrators, and publishers. "Writers" includes bloggers, reviewers, and those just starting out in their writing either as a career or as a hobby.

Do I have to be a published author to join?

No. We have writers at all levels--from those just starting out to those who are multi-published; novelists, magazine writers, bloggers... We're a diverse group.

My stories aren't Catholic--can I still be a member?

Yes. As our conference motto says, we "rooted in faith, writing for the world." Most of our members write works that are not specifically Catholic. However, if you are writing works that go against the Catholic faith, this is not the group for you. You must be a Catholic and agree to remain loyal the teachings of the Catholic Church.

How do I register?

Click here and follow the instructions.

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What Are the Benefits of Membership?

What benefits do members have?

  • You can get your book evaluated and approved for its Catholicity with the Seal of Approval (SoA). The SoA is meant to be a signal to Catholic bookstores that they can carry the book without concern about its content.
  • If your book has an Imprimatur or the CWG Seal of Approval, you can have your book featured in the CWG Marketing Newsletter which is sent to feaders, bookstores and others in the publishing world.
  • You can work with others to improve your writing in our critique groups.
  • Join one of the two writing conferences we host each year: the Catholic Writers Conference Online, a free conference, and the Catholic Writers Conference Live, held in conjunction with the Catholic Marketing Network.
  • Get your books posted in the CWG Showcase (currently offline until new website is developed).
  • Promote your books at the CWG-sponsored booths at various conferences throughout the year.
  • Take advantage of the employment opportunities posted on the forum. Several members have found regular writing gigs through the Guild.

How many members have become published because of their participation in CWG?

That is difficult to say. We have had members get published as a result of opportunities found through the Guild or Guild-sponsored conferences. Also, Guild members have found support and critique opportunities that have enabled them to improve their craft to make it publishable. We do not have specific numbers.

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The Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval

What is the CWG Seal of Approval (SoA)? What is its purpose?

The CWG Seal of Approval is a kind of  gatekeeping  device for Catholic bookstore owners and readers. Simply put, it s an endorsement that the book supports Catholic beliefs and values. We began the SoA after discussions with Catholic bookstore owners who said they often did not have time to fully evaluate books and thus often didn't stock books that came from unknown writers or smaller presses.

The SoA is not a critique of a work, but rather an assurance of its Catholicity and that neither the work nor its author go against the Mageristerium authority of the Catholic Church. We evaluate for Catholicity as well as for basic quality. The bottom line is: Would this book be an acceptable addition to a bookstore's inventory?

How does the SoA help authors?

Authors looking to reach a Catholic audience, but whose books do not qualify for an imprimatur (like fiction), or authors who do not have access to the process to get an Imprimatur, can submit their book for the SoA. A committee reads and comments on the book. If there are any concerns, they are brought to the author, who may respond to the committee or accept to consider for future editions. If necessary, a priest is brought in to evaluate the concerns. The SoA process has two benefits: It provides a tangible reassurance to readers and bookstore owners that the book does support Catholic beliefs and values; and in the case that it does not, it gives the author some useful feedback.

How does the SoA help readers?

Readers can be assured that SoA books will not offend their faith.

How does the SoA help bookstore owners?

Store owners can be assured that they can stock the book on their shelves, host the author for a signing, etc.

Who can receive the Seal of Approval? Is it only for CWG members?

The SoA is available to Catholic authors of Catholic books (or fiction that supports Catholic traditions and morals.) You do not have to be a member of the CWG to receive the Seal of Approval. It is for books only. The Seal of Approval does not transfer to other books by the same author, nor can it apply to websites, blogs, magazines or other non-static works.

The SoA can only be awarded to published books or manuscripts that are under contract. Manuscripts under contract should have gone through content edits already. The reason for this is to ensure no changes that might alter the Catholic nature of the book are made after the award is given. Self-publishing authors may submit manuscripts, but again with the understanding that the copy will not be undergoing content changes. The manuscript must be publish-ready before it can be reviewed.

How do I apply?

To apply for the Seal of Approval, you need to fill out a questionnaire, which you can get here. Those submitting electronic copies may attach them to their e-mail. You may also be asked to submit up to five copies of your book to evaluators. Please note that books are not returned.

Who evaluates the book?

Three to five members of the SoA Committee, who are members in good standing in the CWG. Evaluators are chosen based on Catholic character and familiarity with our faith. The review process is somewhat elementary; whenever we have a conflict or potential concern about any book, we then take it to one of the priests who are members of the Guild. They will answer concerns, often citing religious writings to support or refute the concern.

What are the guidelines for approval?

You can see the evaluation form here

If I receive an SoA , can I incorporate the seal into my cover art?

Yes, you may, as long as you do not change the content of the book in a way that might violate the intent of the award. Right now, CWG members are allowed to submit contracted manuscripts for the SoA ,so that, if awarded, they may incorporate the seal into their design. Recipients of the SoA will receive 25 sticker seals, and jpgs of the seal in color and grayscale for use in cover art or on their website.

What weight or impact does the SoA have on the overall sales and/or marketing of someone's book?

We can make no guarantee on its effect on sales. Too many factors contribute to a book's success, from the quality of writing to how aggressive the author and publisher are in marketing. What we can say is that we are developing a reputation among Catholic bookstore owners that a book with the SoA is one they can feel confident in stocking on their shelves, and among Catholic readers that books with the SoA will not offend their Catholic values. We promote SoA books at our booth at the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show, which is visited by thousands of retailers each year.

Can the benefits of having an SoA on my book be measured?

That depends on what you mean. We cannot guarantee bookstores will stock SoA books, but the SoA does improve your chances.  As the program grows in reputation, bookstore owners will consider these books despite the fact that they do not come from the usual large Catholic publishers.  CWG members also get the added benefits of Guild-sponsored marketing programs for SoA titles.  (These programs are open to member books with an Imprimatur as well.)

I have an SoA. How do I get more seals for my books?

You can order extra seals in groups of 25. The price is currently $10.00 per 25, plus shipping.

To order by mail, send a check (payable to Catholic Writers Guild) to: PO Box 39326, Indianapolis, IN 46239 OR you can pay via Paypal below (questions can be sent to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ):

Enter email address

Is there a list of SoA recipients?

You can see the list of SoA recipients here. The list is updated quarterly: January, April, July, and October.

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Catholic Arts and Letters Award

What is the CWG Catholic Arts and Letters Award (CALA)? What is its purpose?

The CWG Catholic Arts and Letters Award, or CALA, is a literary award for excellence, both in the writing and in the presentation of Catholic tradition and values. It is awarded on an annual basis to books written in the calendar year, and there is an occasional award to individuals who have made significant contributions to Catholic writing.

Unlike the SoA, the CALA is a competitive process rather than a simple evaluation of Catholicity and writing quality.

Who can receive the CALA? Is it only for CWG members?

The CALA is available to Catholic authors of Catholic fiction (or fiction that supports Catholic traditions and morals.) You do not have to be a member of the CWG to apply for the CALA. The CALA is for published works only. At this time, only printed books are considered; e-books do not qualify. We hope to be able to change this in the future.

To be eligible, your book must have the CWG Seal of Approval or an Imprimatur.

What are the categories?

See the CALA website for more details.

How do I apply?

To apply for the CALA, you need to fill out a questionnaire, which you can get here. There is an entrance fee and you must submit up to five copies of your book to evaluators. Please note that neither entrance fee nor books are returned.

What are the application dates?

You may submit books for consideration from April of the award year through Jan 31 of the next year. For example, books published in 2010 may be submitted between April 1, 2010 and January 31, 2011.

Who evaluates the book?

Judges' names will be posted on the CALA webpage.

What do the winners receive?

Winners receive a trophy, which is presented live at the Catholic Writers Conference Live/Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show in August if the author or publisher can attend. (If not, the book and author are announced and the trophy sent to them.) Winners also receive a graphic of the CALA seal to incorporate into their artwork or website, and can purchase seals to put on their books.

How to Use the Website

I can't access the forums.

First, be sure you are logged in. (You should see "Hi" and your user name below the menu in the sidebar. Otherwise, click on "Log In.) If you still cannot access the forums, and you are current in your dues, contact the webmaster at webmaster(at)catholicwritersguild.com.

The website is confusing--do you have any tips?

We have a detailed, illustrated document on how to use the website. Find it here.

I'm new to the Guild. Where do I start?

1. Log in!
2. If you're new to a forum-based website, download the How-To document. Find it here.
3. Go to the forums. From there, at least introduce yourself in the social forum. Then look at the different titles and see if any interest you.
4. Looking for a critique group? We have several. Check them out in the forums.
5. Join us for chats on Sunday evenings 9-11 EST. Follow this link or click on Chat in the menu.
6. Once you've got your feet wet and are ready to jump in, volunteer for something. Go to one of the project forums and make yourself known or go to the Help Wanted Forum and see what we need.

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About the Catholic Writers Guild Showcasee

What's the CWG Showcase?

Note: The CWG Showcase is currently offline until a new website is developed.

The CWG Showcase is where members can show off their works. We'll post your book with a purchase link (or a link through our Amazon store). We also post selected books of our conference presenters as a thank you for sharing their expertise with us.

So CWG sells books like an online bookstore?

No, we only provide another place where readers can find your books. You give us a link to where you'd like people to go to purchase your books--your publisher's site, your personal bookstore, etc. If your book is on Amazon, we post it in our Amazon Associates bookstore. Amazon handles the transaction and give the Guild a small referral fee.

How do I get my books in the Showcase?

First, join the Guild or present at the Catholic Writers Conference Online or Live. Then, send a jpg of your book cover, the title, summary, and purchase link (if not on Amazon) to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

How do I buy books in the Showcase?

You do not need to be a CWG member to purchase books through our showcase. Simply click on the link, and it should lead you to a purchase site--the publisher, Amazon or other on-line bookstore. CWG does not take any profit from these books, although we do ask for a minimum donation for our conference materials. These donations go toward future conferences and programs. (If you get a bad link, please let us know! showcase(at)catholicwritersguild.com)

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Helping the Guild

The Guild sounds wonderful! How can I help?

1. Pray for the Guild and its officers, volunteers, and members.
2. Join.
3. Volunteer to help in our many activities. Check the forums for a project that interests you, look in the Help Wanted forum for specific needs we have, or if you have an idea, bring it up to the officers.
4. Let others know about the Guild. We have brochures we can supply you to take to conferences or booksignings or to pass to your friends. Word of mouth is always good as well!

I'd like to write about the Guild--where can I get more information?

1. Download our brochure here.
2. Check our News section for Guild and member activities. Click here or find News under the main menu.
3. Look below for contact information.

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More Questions/Contacting the Catholic Writers Guild

Questions about/problems with the website? Contact webmaster(at)catholicwritersguild.com

Questions about/problems with the CWG Showcase? Contact showcase(at)catholicwritersguild.com

Questions about the Catholic Writers Conferences? Go to http://www.catholicwritersconference.com or contact CWGOnlineCon(at)cathlicwritersguild.com for the online conference and CWGLiveCon(at)cathlicwritersguild.com for the live conference.

Questions about specific programs? Members can ask on the forums; all others can contact the Guild Committee Coordinator,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Question on finances? Contact our president(at)catholicwritersguild.com

Member of the Press? Contact our president(at)catholicwritersguild.com

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Join Now

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CWG Prayer

Holy Family,

Guide our minds, our hearts, our hands,
as we write, speak, illustrate –
help our words to live in union with the Word.

Teach us discipline and skill
to use the talents God gives us.

Give us also insight and courage
to convey God's love through our craft,

and humility to be open
to His divine will, shaping our lives,
in loving loyalty to His Church.

In Christ's name,

Amen.