If you want your work to be published in a traditional publishing house (Catholic or otherwise), actually writing the book represents just a fraction of the overall effort you will need to invest in order to make that dream come true.
The chances of a first-time author sending a query “cold” (just picking a publishing house out of the 2015 Writer’s Market at random) and getting a contract are roughly the same as winning the lottery. Just sayin’.
On the other hand, studying the Writer’s Market to get a feel for which publishers might be a good fit and to create a list of possible houses to research is a great first step. From there your research can take many forms:
- Going to your local library to see what other current books have been written recently (in the past 2-3 years).
- Going to your local bookstore to see if those books are in stock (if not, that might give you a feel for how well the book is sold — books that don’t sell are generally returned to the publisher to make room for new titles)
- Checking the titles on Amazon.com, which can also give you leads on similar titles as well as a sense of how strong the demand is (based on ranking)
- Researching prospective publishing house websites, to see what books currently on their front (new release) and back lists and how they compare to your book. (If you see strong candidates, read those books in order to be able to articulate how yours is similar but different and better.)
- Attending writer’s conferences, book trade shows, and other events to meet editors, media “influencers” and other industry professionals. This kind of networking is indispensable if you want your book to get rescued from the slush pile.
- Networking with others who write for similar markets, to get their advice and feedback. Writer’s groups, writing classes, and book clubs can all be good places to get feedback on your project. (Friends and relatives, while they tend to be encouraging, may not be the most objective source of feedback unless they are themselves established writers.)
- Be persistent! Receiving your first rejection letter is a rite of passage for any writer. If you get even a few lines of encouragement . . . good for you! Consider other options: a different publisher, getting an agent (especially for fiction writers), self-publishing, turning your book into a series of blog posts to build your audience, starting over on a different project. There are many ways to reach your goal. Pick a road, and start walking.
“Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”