Matthew Kelly says “we become the books we read.” So don’t we want to read fiction with virtue? If you’re searching for great Catholic fiction, it is out there. I promise! Here are seventeen ways you can support Catholic fiction and the authors who create it.

This year (2022), I became a self-published author with my first novel, The Love We Vow. Through my journey, I’ve been able to meet and learn about so many other Catholic authors who share my passion and I want to support them and their efforts! There is demand for Catholic fiction.

A note to authors: Let’s support each other! We’re all working in the same vineyard. It can be tempting to get competitive and compare yourself with other authors over sales/reviews, but I think being a Catholic author necessitates that we approach our work in a spirit of charity and community. There is room for all of us at the table.

1) Borrow their books on Kindle Unlimited (KU) and read the whole thing!

Authors get paid based on number of pages read in this program. You can sign up for Kindle Unlimited (KU) through Amazon. Not all authors participate in KU. Personally, I have some books in the KU program and one outside of it.

2) Buy their books in whatever format you prefer.

I know this seems like the most obvious one, but there are actually many ways to buy books. Some authors sell directly from their website, often signed copies. They typically make more per book this way because they’ve cut out the middle man of a retailer.

Another lesser known way to buy fiction in general is through bookshop.org, where you can support your local book shop at the same time. Of course, there’s the big retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Don’t forget your local bookshop!

3) Search for “Catholic fiction” or “Catholic novels” on Amazon

Amazon needs to know there is demand for Catholic fiction. Unfortunately, many Catholic novels don’t show near the top of search results on their site. There are many reasons for this, but one thing that can help is searching for “Catholic fiction” or “Catholic novels” or “Catholic romance novels” (or whatever Catholic genre you prefer).

Then, scroll through the results and click on a book that interests you. That lets the algorithm know this particular book fits the search description you put in.

4) Join Catholic Reads’ newsletter to get reviews and deals on Catholic fiction!

This is how I’ve been introduced to so many new authors. I interviewed the founder of Catholic Reads, ARK Watson on my podcast.

5) Listen to podcasts/Youtube shows about Catholic fiction to learn about new books and authors.

Some include: Cath-Lit Live!, Tales with DeSalesA Seeking Heart, The Catholic Author Show

6) Leave reviews for books on GoodReads and Amazon

Reviews are like gold for authors! More reviews often lead to more visibility and, in turn, more sales/downloads of that book.  

7) Sign up for author newsletters.

Here’s mine, the Nothing Fancy Monthly-ish Newsletter, where you can get a FREE digital copy of my first novel, The Love We Vow. Authors often keep their readers abreast of discounts on their books and their progress on current works.

8) Check out the work of the Catholic Writers Guild

I’m a member of CWG and it’s been one of the best decisions for my writing career. I highly recommend their online annual writer’s conference.

They also have a program called the Catholic Seal of Approval, where authors can submit their work to be considered for it. A book with a Catholic SOA lets readers know that they’re picking up a piece of fiction that is grammatically sound, in line with Church teaching, and doesn’t disparage our faith.

CWG also has an awards program called the Catholic Arts and Letters Award. You can find a list of past winners here.

9) Check out self-published Catholic books at Thy Olive Tree Market

This is a really unique marketplace because it features Catholic books that are self-published. To my knowledge, there’s not another shop out there that focuses on this.

10) Write and share your own fiction! 

Whenever I publish new work, it is humbling. How are people going to react? Will negative reviews follow me? But this uncertainty always draws me closer to God. I ask him to remind me why I’m writing and to root myself in my identity as His. Even if I sell no books, I can grow in virtue.

If you’re more interested in sci-fi and fantasy, you can find a like-minded group of Catholics at legendfiction.com for support on your own writing journey.

11) Request Catholic fiction at your local library.

Most library websites have a form where you can request a book they carry. If there isn’t a form, just call and ask or email your request! 

12) Tell your friends and family about Catholic fiction you liked.

It’s hard to beat word of mouth book promotion. Many ebooks now have a feature where you can lend them to people for a short time. While this doesn’t generate revenue for the author, it could be a way to get a skeptical reader to try them out (and hopefully become a long-time fan)! 

13) Start a book club at your parish.  

You could even invite the author of the book to speak at your book club! If the author doesn’t live in your area, then consider doing a virtual meeting so that the book club members can ask questions and hear about the writer’s process.

14) Pray 

Fiction can shape our culture, so let’s pray for the authors who craft it! Here are some:

15) Drop a Catholic fiction book off at a free little library in your neighborhood! 

I just heard this idea from a colleague and I love it! You may have seen a tiny library outside of a neighbor’s house or in your city where the concept is often the same: take a book, leave a book. Why not leave your favorite Catholic fiction in there for others to discover?

Update: I’ve done this myself and it’s exciting to go back and check to see someone has taken your book! I’ve done this locally and when traveling.

16) Follow authors on social media.

Many authors spend time engaging with their readers online. It’s a great way to keep readers aware of what you’re up to and also let them know when you have new releases. Giving them a ‘follow’ shows you support the work they do and you’re cheering them on!

Self-published and traditionally published authors usually have to take their marketing efforts into their own hands. It’s not easy to write a book, and it’s not easy to market it. There’s so much an author has to go through before their book falls in your hands. From an author, it’s encouraging to know that someone notices my work.

My only social media is my author Facebook page.

17) Subscribe to the email newsletters of Catholic publishing houses.

Another way to discover good books and get deals is by signing up for the email newsletters of publishing houses that cater to Catholic fiction. Here are a few:

Other Ideas

I got such an amazing response from other authors on the internet that I wanted to add in some more of their ideas to support Catholic fiction:

  • Ask a Catholic author to be the keynote speaker at an event
  • Buy an extra copy to give to a friend
  • Collaborate with other Catholic authors to do a book giveaway
  • List your book on the “Buy Nothing” app for people in your neighborhood to discover and enjoy
  • Share and/or ask for Catholic book recommendations in Facebook groups
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