Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Submission Guidelines: Creative Nonfiction

Editors: Maria Gupta and Kate Haas
LMnonfiction (at) literarymama (dot) com


We seek personal essays and stand-alone creative nonfiction excerpts related to motherhood that read like fiction.


What We Are Looking For:

  • A compelling narrative that includes scenes, dialogue, and developed characters.
  • 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.
  • A fresh or startling topic area, or a fresh or startling take on a universal or common experience.
  • 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. We promote writing about motherhood that is too raw, too real, too long, too edgy, and too lyrical or literary, for the glossy magazines.


Submissions and Formatting:

  • Submissions should be double-spaced; 500-7,000 words; 12-point type; left justify; one space between paragraphs; and straight quotes and straight apostrophes (don't use curly/smart ones.)
  • No queries. We consider only complete pieces.
  • We do not read submissions during June, July, or August, except for our Desiring Motherhood issue.
  • Please send submissions in the body of an email (no attachments) to LMnonfiction (at) literarymama (dot) com
  • If you are sending your submission out to more than one market, please let us know.
  • Include a brief cover letter that contains a short biography, previous publications, and explanation of why your submission is right for Literary Mama.
  • Please include the word "Submission" and the "Title Of Your Piece" in the subject line of the email. Submissions for our Desiring Motherhood issue should be marked "DM Submission: Title" in the subject line of your email.
  • All submissions must include contact information for the author: name, address, phone number, email.
  • Please send only ONE submission at a time.


Review our General Submission Guidelines and check out this blog post for more tips.