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Literary Mama

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Literary Mama is a proud member of the following organizations:

The International Mothers Network

The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses


Literary Mama features writing by mother writers about the complexities and many faces of motherhood. We seek top-notch creative writing: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction. We also publish book reviews, and profiles of mother writers and artists.

At Literary Mama, we publish writing with fresh voices, superior craft, and vivid imagery. Please review our Mission Statement and read the work on our site to find out what we like. Our specific submission guidelines are below.

General Guidelines for Creative Writing
Literary Mama seeks:
  • Short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, profiles and reviews (please see specific guidelines by department below).
  • Writing rooted in/inspired by the experience of motherhood.
  • Submissions written by writers of all ages who are also self-identified mothers: biological, non-biological, step, transgendered, foster, grand, or adoptive.
  • We prefer previously unpublished work. We will consider reprints, however, if you have the rights and the work is not currently available online.
  • Authors retain rights. Please credit us if your work is republished.
  • Standard response time from 3-12 weeks. Our reading periods vary; please check the specific guidelines for the department to which you wish to submit (below).
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed, as long as you notify us if accepted elsewhere.
  • Electronic submissions only. Please send submissions to the appropriate departmental editors (see guidelines below). Include a brief cover letter.

What we tend to like:
  • Revelation so stark that it hurts. Pathos can reveal, but so can humor and joy.
  • Superior craft (clarity, concrete details, strong narrative development).
  • Ambiguity, complexity, depth, thoughtfulness, delicacy, humor, irreverence, lyricism, sincerity; the elegant and the raw.

Special Issues
Although we usually accept writing by self-defined mother-writers on the topic of mothering, we seek submissions for three special issues from people other than self-defined moms (as well as self-defined moms) on topics intimately related to mothering. We need to receive submissions for the special issues at least three months before the month in which that special issue will be published. These special issues are listed below:

October: Desiring Motherhood
We seek writing about the desire to have or not to have children. This issue will explore issues of primary and secondary infertility; the effects on the human soul of reproductive technologies; concerns about having more children or not having any at all; the relationship of caregivers to the mothering role and their desires for mothering; and more.

May: Mother's Day Month
We seek writing that is about mothers from the child's perspective, or from fathers, partners or other family members about the mothers they love.

June: Father's Day Month
We seek writing that is about fathers from the child's perspectives; about the relationships between fathers and mothers and husbands and wives; about husbands as fathers; and by self-defined fathers about fathering and mothering (including lesbian or transexual parents who identify as fathers).

Unfortunately, Literary Mama is not a paying market. We are all volunteers here: editors, writers, proofreaders, and editorial assistants.

We seek mama-centric news you can use — including information about publishing opportunities and literacy efforts; essays and writing prompts that motivate and inspire; and announcements about events, classes, and workshops. We also participate in book giveaways and blog tours that feature mother-writers. Editors: Amanda Jaros and Jenny Hobson

lmblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com

We seek guest posts for these blog series:  After Page One, For Your Journal, and Op-Ed. Please search our archives for examples before submitting. Send submissions to LMblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com in the text of an email, and include the words “After Page One,” “For Your Journal,” or "Op-Ed" in the subject line.

After Page One: We’re looking for 300- to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude.

For Your Journal: We’re looking for 150- to 400-word narratives and an associated three- or four-sentence writing prompt that encourages readers to open their journal and write.

Op-Ed: We're looking for 500- to 750-word pieces that offer a new perspective on a popular topic or introduce an issue that hasn't yet caught the public eye. We're not looking for topics so obscure that most of the discussion is taken up with background information or arguments so familiar they no longer inspire readers.

We also publish calls for submissions, announcements about events, classes, and workshops; and participate in book giveaways and blog tours that feature mother-writers. Send us a press release and we’ll help spread the word!

Do YOU have a post you think our readers would like? Or maybe you have a book you’d like to give away? Send your idea to lmblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com — we’d love to work with you!

Editors: Jennifer Cognard-Black, Colleen Rich and C-Y Welsch

LMreviews (at) literarymama (dot) com

Please send a query first. Tell us why you're the person who should be reviewing this book, and why Literary Mama readers should be interested in it. Be sure to include the word Reviews Submission in the subject line.

We seek reviews exploring literary work -- fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry -- about any form of motherhood (biological, foster, adoptive, empty-nest, transgendered, grand, and more). We review both newly released work and older books that we consider to be important to the genre.

Try to give us a reasoned, fair, well-balanced and supported critique of the work, offered in a positive and supportive tone. If you include a summary, please be sure it serves a purpose in illustrating a point or supporting a thesis, and doesn't simply give away the plot.

Make no ad hominem attacks on the author; please restrict your critique to the author's craft, ideas, execution, arguments, etc., rather than critiquing the author herself.

Please bear in mind, our audience's time -- and our space -- is limited; we do not publish reviews of books we can't recommend.

We'd like to see reviews that consider craft as well as content. For example, you may want to comment on literary style; use of literary elements such as metaphor, symbolism, narrative structure, or narrative flow, cohesion, development; use of example and illustration; and appeal to the intended audience.

For more guidance, please read editor Katherine Barrett's article, How to Write a Book Review.

Format: specify title, author, publisher, publication date, price and ISBN at the top.

Length: 800-2000 words. After we have approved your query, please send submissions as an attached Word document, and be sure to include the words Review Submission in the subject line.

Editor: Alissa McElreath and Kelly Sage

LMcolumns (at) literarymama (dot) com

The Columns department seeks two kinds of submissions: long-term columns, which are contracted for 13 installments per year, and one-time submissions to our guest columns.

Long-term Columns

See The Well-Turned Column for details about what we look for in long-term columns.

Please send queries and submissions to lmcolumns (at) literarymama (dot) com in the text of an email. Include the word "Submission" in the subject line of your email, and allow 4 to 8 weeks for a response.

Guest Columns
We are always looking for contributors to our two guest columns: Faces of Motherhood and Op Ed.

Faces of Motherhood is about mothers rather than motherhood, opening a window into the lives of mothers who are outside the mainstream. We aim to give voice to mothers who might ordinarily feel silenced, and to foster awareness, understanding, tolerance, and compassion.

"Outside the mainstream" is open to interpretation, and can include mothers who are anything from filthy rich, on welfare, lesbian, very young, very old, adoptive, transgendered, runway models, prostitutes, gestational surrogates, in prison, Hollywood celebrities, immigrants, polygamous, addicts, Muslim, homeless, politicians -- anyone who is not June Cleaver (which we realize is pretty much everyone -- but that's kind of the point).

Word count: 1000-1600 words. Non-fiction, real-life accounts only. Pseudonyms are fine as long as we can verify the author's true identity.

Please send queries and submissions to lmcolumns (at) literarymama (dot) com in the text of an email. Include the word "Submission" in the subject line of your email, and allow 4 to 8 weeks for a response.

Editors: Lisa Factora-Borchers, Maria Gupta, Kate Haas, and Susan Ito

LMnonfiction (at) literarymama (dot) com

We read submissions from September 1st to May 31st each year. Submissions received between June 1st and August 31st, with the exception of submissions for our October Desiring Motherhood issue, will not be considered.

What We Are Looking For:
We are seeking personal essays and stand-alone creative nonfiction excerpts by mothers related to motherhood that read like fiction. We look for:

  • A distinctive personal voice.
  • Attentiveness to language, rich details, lyrical phrasing.
  • Vivid imagery, use of metaphor, simile, personification, symbols, setting, and other literary elements.
  • Illustrative anecdotes or vignettes.
  • Compelling narrative.
  • A fresh or startling topic area, or a fresh or startling take on a universal or common experience.
  • Character development.
  • A reflective element. We're looking for thoughtful pieces that take the experience of motherhood and use it as a jumping off point for exploring deeper issues of identity, relationship, family, politics, transformation, loss, and more. Make sure, for example, that your piece not only describes an experience but reflects, either overtly or metaphorically, on how the experience changed you.

What we aren't looking for:

  • Pieces that read like columns or intellectual reflections on personal experiences.
  • Work that fits the too often used formula of "I am flawed as a mother, but my children lead me to a realization that I am a good enough mother, and even though mothering is hard, it is all worth it."
  • Work that would be accepted by the glossy parenting magazines. If it would fit better in that market, send it there. We promote writing about motherhood that is too raw, too real, too long, too edgy, too lyrical or literary, or too full of big words for the glossy magazines. We don't want pieces that look like the ones you read in the big parenting magazines.

Submissions and Formatting:

  • Submissions should be double-spaced, 500-7,000 words.
  • Please do not send queries. We consider only complete pieces.
  • Please send submissions in the text of an email (please do not send attachments) to lmnonfiction (at) literarymama (dot) com
  • Multiple submissions -- If you are sending your submission out to more than one market, please let us know.
  • Cover letters -- please include a brief cover letter with your submission. This letter should include a short biography, mention of other places you have been published, and why your submission is right for Literary Mama.
  • Please include the word Submission and the NAME OF YOUR PIECE in the subject line of the email. If you do not, our computers may read your email as spam and we may never get a chance to read your prose.
    Submissions for our Desiring Motherhood should be marked "DM Submission: title" in the subject line of your email.
  • CNF is receiving so many first rate original submissions that we are not taking reprints at this time. However, if you have a piece that has been previously published and you think it is an especially good fit, we'd be glad to take a look at it for a future date. If your submission has already been published, mention that fact in your cover letter. If it is available on the Web, we are not interested in publishing it at Literary Mama.
  • Contact information -- All submissions must include contact information for the author: name, address, phone number, email.
  • Please send only your best work. We are not interested in rough drafts.
  • Please send only ONE submission at a time.

Editors: Suzanne Kamata and Marie Walden

LMfiction (at) literarymama (dot) com

The fiction department seeks short fiction of less than 5,000 words. We love:

  • Stories with strong narrative structure, great characters, interesting settings, beautiful language, complicated themes.
  • Fiction that reflects the full experience -- the hard parts and the joyous.

Please send submissions in the text of an email along with a brief cover letter. Please put "Fiction Submission from Your Name" in the subject heading. (We get an insane amount of spam.) You should hear back from us within three months.

Editors: Andrea Lani and Libby Maxey

LMreflections (at) literarymama (dot) com

Literary Reflections is open for submissions from November 1 to May 31.

We seek writing by mother writers, both established and emerging, focused on the creative process. We're looking for first-person reflections with an intellectual as well as personal focus. Potential topics include:

Writing as a mother:

  • The relationship between becoming a mother and becoming a writer
  • The influence of motherhood on your craft
  • The influence of writing on your mothering
  • The outlets for mother writers, from the private (journals, diaries) to the public (books and magazines) and those that attempt to bridge the gap (blogs)
  • The development and influence of communities of mother writers (on-line and real time)
  • Maintaining your writing life as a partner to someone who may or may not be a writer
  • Reviews of "how to" books on the writing process, by and/or focused on mother writers

Reading as a mother:

  • The reading that inspires and motivates your writing process
  • Returning to familiar childhood literature as you read to your child
  • Introducing your child to reading and writing
  • Giving feedback to and editing the work of other mother-writers

Working as a Professional: Teaching, Editing, Publishing, Archiving, and Marketing Mother-Writing

  • Developing a career as a professional mother-writer, from sending out queries, negotiating with publishers, promoting the work, doing signings and giving readings
  • Working as a professional editor or publisher of mother-writer work
  • As a teacher of literature and/or writing, your experiences with words and literature in the classroom and within the school/college/university environment

What we are not looking for:

  • Reviews of literary works or interviews with authors; these are published by our Reviews and Profiles departments respectively.

Please send submissions of 750-3500 words to lmreflections (at) literarymama (dot) com in the text of an email (please do not send attachments) along with a brief cover letter. Be sure to include the word Submission in the subject line. We respond in 4-6 weeks.

Editor: Sharon Kraus

LMpoetry (at) literarymama (dot) com

We are looking for poems extraordinary for their vision, craft, integrity and originality. Poems of any length and form are welcomed. Maximum of four poems per submission. Please send submissions in the text of an email (please do not send attachments), and be sure to include your full name and the word "Submission" in the subject line. Please expect a response within 2-6 months.

Editors: Rachel Epp Buller and Christina Consolino

LMprofiles (at) literarymama (dot) com

We seek profiles of writers who are mothers, or writers who write about motherhood (who may or may not be mothers themselves), or writers who have something to say to mothers. Interview (Q&A) or profile format; 750-2500 words.

Cast your net widely -- we're interested in profiles of well-known, living mama writers, of course, but are also interested in the off-beat, the less-known, the not-so-obviously a mama writer. Has anyone profiled Harriet Beecher Stowe as a mama writer, for example? Surprise and delight us.

Please send a query first. Tell us why you're the person who should be profiling this writer, and why we should be interested in her/him. Be sure to include the word Profile Submission in the subject line.

General Questions

For general questions or concerns about Literary Mama, contact the senior editors at LMinfo (at) literarymama (dot) com

We look forward to reading your work!