The Catholic Geek Library
You rolled a crit on your Searching for Good Books check.
The Catholic Geek Library is an author co-op, brought to you by The Catholic Geeks, your friendly neighborhood source for Catholicism, geekiness, and geeky Catholicism.
It is a shared brand for self-published authors who write the sort of thing our audience is interested in. Spaceships, dragons, gaming, history, subatomic theory, and much more! It could be fiction (primarily SF&F) or nonfiction (covering topics ranging from history, literature, philosophy, and theology to gaming, TV shows, movies, and so on), as long as it fits under the CG umbrella.
Benefits of Membership
- A shared brand, including the use of the CGL logo on your book’s spine and in your own marketing.
- A shared catalog, letting readers of other CGL authors easily find your books, and vice versa.
- A private Facebook group to plot and conspire with other CGL authors.
- Group marketing and promotion.
- Discounts with editors and artists, negotiated by CGL. This includes a 30% discount on CG founder Matthew Bowman’s freelance editing business, and a flat $50 + stock photos for covers from Dawn Witzke.
Requirements for Membership
- Each title requires a one-time $25 fee. This is per title, not per format or edition; at this point there is no yearly membership fee. You keep all your profits from sales; we’re not a publisher and do not take a percentage.
- Your content must not be contrary to Catholicism and must be approved as suitable for the CGL brand.
- Content will be rated in our catalog on a number from 7 to 21, indicating the expected minimum maturity level needed for adult, violent, or other moral issues that might make a picky parent pause. Some forms of controversial content (such as “R-rated material”) may cause a book to be rejected for inclusion in CGL.
- Titles will be publicly added to the CGL catalog on a quarterly basis. If your book has not previously been published, we ask that you wait until one of these periods so we can coordinate marketing.
Submitting a Manuscript
- Please provide the following by email:
- An elevator pitch. (If you do not know how to make one, please read this article.) This shows you have an idea of the “cool factor” for your book, and gives us a place to start for marketing.
- A description, in 100 words or less, of why you think your book is a good fit for CGL.
- A summary of your book, in 400 words or less. If it is fiction, please include an indication of how the summary fits into an act structure.
- A detailed description of any content you think a Catholic nun armed with a ruler might object to, including the activities of villains. (Don’t worry about how “it sounds worse than it really is,” because it always does. We’re looking for information, not an excuse to reject you outright.)
- Do not send an unsolicited manuscript. Follow the guidelines.
- Provide the above for each title, even if it is a sequel to a book already accepted by CGL.
- Manuscripts will be evaluated for story/content, quality, and interest.
Please feel free to email us if there are any other questions; and be aware that, due to demand, there is a backlog for approving manuscripts!
Questions with Answers
Where’s your catalog?
We’re just starting up, but we’ll have books listed in plenty of time for the first October release (and we’ll delete this question when we do!).
I’m a book distributor/library/bookstore and would like to order CGL books. Do I contact you, or the individual authors?
You can contact the individual authors if you want, but it may be easier to contact us with the titles you’re interested in and we’ll coordinate things. The authors, as the publishers of their own books, have the responsibility of order fulfillment, but we’ll streamline that as much as possible to keep you from getting a confusing number of emails from different people.
What is your turnaround?
As long as it takes for someone to read your book.
What about editing?
We’re not a publisher, but some editors offer discounts to CGL authors. That still requires CGL approval, though, so if your manuscript isn’t ready for publication, keep that in mind.
So I still have full control over my book?
Absolutely! This is an author co-op, not a publisher. We don’t own your book; you do.
What if I already publish with someone else but want to also be listed in CGL?
If your publisher is fine with it, then sure.
What if I don’t want to use the CGL logo on my book?
We’d prefer that you do, but what you’re buying is the right to use it; it’s not a requirement.
What if I want to use the logo, but I don’t want it on the spine of my book because I already have something there?
There’s no rule that says you can’t have two logos on the spine of your book; it’s usually one, but that’s because there’s usually only one to use in the first place. We recommend the spine because that’s immediately visible when the book is placed on a shelf, allowing potential readers to see it. However, if you want to place the logo on another part of your cover, that’s fine too.
Do we really have to go through the same process for each title? I’ve already had five books accepted by you!
Yep. Every title is checked, and even sequels aren’t guaranteed. We want people to just glance at our brand and instantly have an idea of what to expect. We want people to see CGL’s logo and say “Huh, this is worth buying!”
Hey, I’m your really good friend. Can’t I be an exception?
Even Catholic Geeks site authors go through this.
Would you accept my rosary devotional?
Not unless it fits the geeky side of the brand as well, or you’re already an author with CGL. There are plenty of other avenues for more standard Catholic nonfiction, though.
What does “contrary to Catholicism” mean? Do I have to be blatantly Catholic? No characters can go against Catholic teachings?
We’re using Tolkien as a model for this concept. He never mentions the Church, Christ, the Mass, or any of the Sacraments or saints, but none of the content is contrary to Catholicism.
Another example is Catholic SF&F author John C. Wright’s Chaos Trilogy. It has a few Catholic elements, but is otherwise extremely heavy on pagan elements and concepts. While its content would push our preferred limits, nothing in the series hinges on the concept that Catholics are wrong, much less that God and truth don’t exist.
The negative examples would be authors like Philip Pullman and Dan Brown, who go out of their way to present the Church as wrong. You could also toss in the vast majority of Hollywood movies touching on Catholic history, theology, or themes; we’d take Hitchcock’s I Confess, but not Dogma.
What if I have a book I think Catholics will like, but I’m Protestant? Or Mormon? Or an atheist?
We’re more interested in the book than the author. None of us are perfect. It’s possible that we’ll decide an author is too much of a risk him- or herself due to scandal affecting the brand itself, but we’ve encountered a lot of non-Catholics with stuff we’d like. Do you think we’d turn away C. S. Lewis?
Okay, the idea of a Catholic nun with a ruler looking over my book is actually a little scary.
Well, we’re Catholics, not prudes; and sometimes, you have to include some truly ugly things in order to show the consequences of bad decisions, the depths that someone has to climb out of, or the reasons why the villains are villainous. Even hagiographies (saint biographies) tend to include the negative and even sinful things that a saint did before turning his or her life around, and the Bible itself has some R-rated content.
An extreme example of this is Regina Doman’s Rapunzel Let Down, which was edited by Matthew Bowman (founder of The Catholic Geeks, and currently the guy to convince to join the Catholic Geek Library). That book was dealing with why marriage is a good thing by showing how relationships can go wrong without it. After a certain point, trying to be coy about some content means it makes it more alluring, and so the author decided to come right out with it.
As stated above, we will rate books from 7 to 21+, indicating the expected minimum age of maturity from early readers to college students, and indicate whether it is due to sexual, violent, language, or drug-related content.