By Mary Beth Baker
As a Catholic author, you know that the books you write have the potential to be more instrumental in people’s lives than any other books they might read. You’re not just grappling with ideas or telling great stories, you’re sharing Truth—and that means you also have the responsibility to ensure that what you write is in line with the Church’s teachings. This is so important that the Code of Canon Law requires that many books written on topics of faith and morals be submitted to a bishop (either the author’s bishop or the publisher’s) for judgment before publication. At Our Sunday Visitor, we take this responsibility seriously, both for our authors and for our readers, and we submit many of our titles to our bishop for review and approval before publication. When the bishop gives a book his approval, this is known as the imprimatur, which means “it may be printed.”
According to Canon Law, books that should be submitted for imprimatur are prayer books, catechisms and catechetical works, and books on Sacred Scripture, theology, canon law, ecclesiastical history, and religious or moral disciplines. While some of the books we publish do not fall specifically into any of these categories and therefore do not require an imprimatur, OSV still seeks theological review of many of our titles before publication. We are deeply committed, with our authors, to publishing works that can truly do good and help people know, live, and love their faith better. If you have questions about the imprimatur or think that your book may need one, ask your editor. We will work with you to ensure that your book has everything it needs to be an authoritative, inspiring, and maybe even life-changing resource.
Everyone needs a little (writing) help sometime! Here’s a handy roundup of tools for you that are FREE!
One of our favorite writing/marketing consultant/bloggers, Jane Friedman, has an excellent email newsletter today, including a link to a “big list of free online courses for writers” from The Digital Reader. There’s other good stuff too, including something for type geeks, drumming cat lovers, and researchers. You can read the entire newsletter, with links, here.
The free courses include graphics stuff, marketing, writing, social media and more.
We love author webcasts! Have an idea for a webcast about your OSV book? Let us know — email webcast coordinator Tracy at email@example.com.
This week, OSV authors will be hosting (with help from Tracy) these webcasts:
For Those Who Grieve, by Jeannie Ewing: When you’re hurting from the aftermath of a loss, grief can be a difficult journey. Jeannie Ewing’s new book, For Those Who Grieve, offers prayers and reflections to use on your grieving journey. These small, but meaningful devotions offer you a way to be led by the Holy Spirit to hope and healing.
Lovely: How I Learned to Embrace the Body God Gave Me, by Amanda Martinez Beck. This webcasts details the author’s journey beginning with the challenges faced by overweight people in the Church and in the culture at large. Join us as author Amanda Martinez Beck talks about how she found a way through the teachings of the Catholic Church to be at peace with her body.
Grieving Together, by Laura and Franco Fanucci: Grieving Together is the book Laura and Franco Fanucci wished for after their miscarriage. Practical resources include Scripture, prayers, and official Catholic rites. It also speaks to the unique concerns of fathers, and includes many real-life stories from couples in many different circumstances.
Find more information, and sign up, for the webcasts here.
Do you receive the Grammar Girl email newsletters? As writers and/or editors, there’s always something new to learn, and Mignon Fogarty (aka “Grammar Girl”) is a master at making that learning interesting and (gasp) fun.
You can follow her a bunch of ways — on her website, on Facebook, on YouTube, by the newsletter, by podcast, and more. Find links to all those places here.
In a recent newsletter, Grammar Girl discussed the “middle voice”:
I got a comment on YouTube from a listener named Steven, who asked about verbs like the ones in this following sentence: “The screw screwed in more easily than I thought it would.” Clearly, the screw didn’t screw itself in. The person who uttered the sentence screwed it in.
You might think phrasing a sentence this way would lead to total confusion, but it doesn’t. How is that possible? Steven wondered if this grammatical phenomenon has a name.
In fact, there is a name for it. It’s usually called the middle voice, although if you want a more jargony name, you might prefer “mediopassive construction.”
If you find this as interesting as we did, click here and read the whole post, or listen to the podcast.
Mary Beth Baker
Acquisitions Editor Mary Beth Baker started at OSV in October 2016. Mary Beth has worked as a book editor for a Washington, D.C.-based publishing house, an associate editor for a national daily newspaper, and as a writer and editor for a public relations firm. Prior to joining OSV, she spent some time in formation with a Dominican religious order. Her favorite topic areas include personal growth, individual formation, and youth and young adult issues.
Mary Beth holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Christendom College. A Navy brat with roots in Virginia, she now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. When she’s not elbow-deep in a new manuscript, she enjoys playing the piano, writing, running, and traveling.
Mary Beth’s fav things
Saint: Thérèse of Lisieux
Hymn: “Adoro Te Devote” (Lyrics by St. Thomas Aquinas)
Bible verse: “Do whatever he tells you.” (Jn 2:5)
Senior Trade Marketing Leader Jill Adamson has been with OSV for 29 years. Jill’s areas of responsibility include creating campaigns for trade books which includes direct mail, digital marketing, and advertising. She serves as the marketing liaison with authors supporting their efforts and supplying them with tools they need to promote their book. In addition, Jill is the public relations contact at Our Sunday Visitor helping set up interviews with authors and the media.
She is known as the walking encyclopedia of information on all things OSV — and for her famous frosted sugar cookies!
Over the course of her career, she has served as president on two national boards, the Association of Catholic Publishers as well as the National Catholic Education Exhibitors Association. When she’s not working, Jill is very active at her parish in Fort Wayne, Indiana. During the summer months, Jill can be found working in her flower gardens and yard.
Jill’s fav things
Saint: St. Francis of Assisi
Hymn: “Blest Are They”
By Raven Johnson, consumer marketing specialist
When OSV first started offering free downloads based on our books — which we call “freemiums” — the strategy was mainly focused on drawing in new book customers. As we learned from these first efforts, we were able to refine our offerings in a way that made a bigger impact on sales, while still acquiring new names for our consumer list.
Our new freemium model focuses on a “try it before you buy it” idea. We work with authors and members of our editorial and book acquisition teams to come up with extra content that we use to create our free downloads. Having these free options allows consumers to get a feel for what the book will be like before actually buying it. Offering something free also shows readers our priorities it really isn’t all about sales. It’s about helping people know, live and love their faith.
We promote all our freemiums to our growing consumer email list, and on our social media platforms. Freemiums are also a great tool for authors to use too! To check out all our free downloads, just click here.
Have an idea for a free download that goes along with your book? Just let us know! Email Polly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We found some! Annie Sullivan has a guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog today — she has tips on hashtags, giveaways, engagement, posting, and more. Read it here. And be sure to follow us on Instagram.
The August edition of the OSV Author Toolkit newsletter is out! If you didn’t receive it, just click here and you can read it online. Toolkit Team members Rebecca, Alyssa and book editor Darrin contributed to this issue.
If you know a prospective author who might enjoy the monthly enews, let us know! Just email Cathy at email@example.com.
Is there anything you’d like us to cover on the blog or in the newsletter? Email Cathy and let us know.