Next submission period
Volunteers are needed to help the Seal of Approval committee evaluate the many books we receive for review each quarter. Contact us at [email protected] for information.
The next submission window will open on Monday, January 15, 2024 at Noon EST. The application form remains open for 24 hours.
When open, you can access the Seal of Approval Application Form. Outside of the application period, the form will not be visible.
2024 Submission Dates:
- Monday, January 15
- Monday, April 15
- Monday, July 15
- Monday, September 16
If your book has received an Imprimatur and nihil obstat, you may not apply but automatically receive any privileges associated with having the Seal of Approval.
What You Need to Know
By conferring an SOA on a book, the Catholic Writers Guild is saying, “This book represents CWG as an organization dedicated to quality writing as well as to faithful Catholic teaching.” SOA evaluators comb through their evaluation assignments to make sure these books contribute positively to the reputation, not of their authors, but of the Catholic Writers Guild.
In other words, the SOA is hard to get. A book doesn’t just get it by default for having been written by a Catholic author.
On the flip side, not giving a book the SOA simply means that the CWG as an organization is not in a position to promote this particular book. Nowhere will you find a list of titles submitted for but declined the SOA. Nowhere will you find a list of authors who have applied for but failed to receive an SOA. Not having the SOA does no harm to anyone’s reputation. The SOA process is kept as confidential as humanly possible for this reason, among others. The author’s freedom to promote said book in virtually all other forums, including among other CWG members through more traditional, more personal networking means, remains unchanged.
On the human side, every SOA evaluator is involved in writing in some way, whether as writer, editor, publisher, or all of the above. We all know the sting of rejection. However, if we are honest with ourselves, we must realize that rejection is an inevitable part of the writing life. Rejection by publishers, harsh edits, bad reviews, loss in award contests… if you are a writer, rejection is all but unavoidable. Alas, as Christ Himself was rejected to the point of death, we cannot imagine ourselves too good for rejection’s sting.
If an author has submitted one’s work for the SOA, rejection is a possibility. If a writer can’t accept rejection without retorting in some way, that writer has unrealistic, dare we say unprofessional, expectations. A retort in this case may include trying to argue with the source of the rejection, insulting those who may have had a hand in the rejection, or enlisting friends and family to participate in the argument.
Applying for the SOA is entirely voluntary. If you cannot imagine that your work could possibly be denied the SOA, or if you fear that having the SOA denied your submitted book could cause you irreparable emotional damage, it might be advisable that you reconsider applying. In the meantime, many members of the CWG find great comfort and strength in praying the Litany of Humility as we all work together to write the good fight.
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus bring us all consolation, and may Jesus make our hearts more like His each day.
For a book to be considered for the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval:
- Book has an ISBN and is published or will be self-published or book is under contract with a publisher
- Author is a Catholic in good standing
- If not a CWG member, the author has paid the $10 application fee
- Book is Catholic in nature (for fiction, this means Catholic themes and characters)
- Book does not contradict or disparage Catholic teaching
- Book does not speak disparagingly of an accepted Catholic practice (such as Novus Ordo Mass or Tridentine Mass) nor give the impression that only a particular Catholic practice is the right way to salvation
- Book does not support heresies or New Age philosophies
- Book is neither based on nor includes private revelation/prophecy
- If the book is self-published, author must submit proof of professional editing & professional proofreading (the finished book has been read to address spellcheck errors, lack of close quotes, and other small details which add up).
- Does not have an Imprimatur or nihil obstat. (Books wtih those designations automatically receive any benefits associated with the Seal of Approval.)
For more specifics, before applying, authors should view the criteria against which SOA evaluators will evaluate each submitted book.
How the Process Works
Under normal circumstances, the Seal of Approval team accepts applications four times each year, approximately the beginning of January, April, July, and September. Exact dates will be posted on this page and in the private member Facebook group.
In advance of each quarter, the Seal of Approval Committee reviews available evaluation resources and sets a cap for the number of books that will be evaluated that quarter. A waitlist for each quarter is maintained by the SOA Committee.
On the assigned day each quarter, the Seal of Approval Application Form opens at noon Eastern (New York) time. In order to apply, besides your name, contact information, and book title, you will need to provide your book’s ISBN, year of publication, word count, formats available (electronic files only: .epub and/or PDF), short synopsis/book blurb, and, for self-published works, professional editor’s name and contact information.
Authors may submit only one book per quarter for evaluation. If an author's book from the previous quarter's waiting list will be evaluated this quarter, that author may not submit an additional book for evaluation in the same quarter.
The application will remain open for twenty-four hours. At the end of that twenty-four hour period, the application page will be closed and will not reopen until the next quarter. Please note that outside of the open application period, the form will not be visible.
If the number of applicants exceeds the number of available evaluation slots, the slots will be awarded by lottery. You will receive an email from the SOA Author Coordinator from [email protected] informing you as to whether your book will be evaulated during the quarter or waitlisted until the next. The Author Coordinator will give you instructions on how to provide the team with electronic copies.
If your book is on the next quarter's waiting list, you may not submit another book during that following quarter.
One of the concerns we face as an organization is the quality of the work we stand behind. While we do reject titles when we have concerns with poor editing and proofreading, there is an opportunity for one resubmission with proof of professional editing.
Please note that resubmissions require the author or publisher to re-apply by again filling out the Seal of Approval Application Form in its entirety. Resubmissions are subject to the quarterly lottery, same as first-time submissions.