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 look for quality literary criticism about mother-centric literature, book reviews, and profiles about mother writers.
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.
for Creative Writing
Literary Mama seeks:
# Short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction (please see specific guidelines by genre 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# We prefer previously unpublished work.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. Manuscripts are read year round except for June and December.
# 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 genre 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.
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.
Editors: Susan Ito and Suzanne Kamata, email@example.com
The fiction department seeks short fiction of less than 6,000 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.
# Fiction at a flat-out, heart-racing run.
# Fiction that meanders slowly and irrevocably.
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.) We report in 3-8 weeks.
Editor: Rachel Iverson, firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking for poems extraordinary for their vision, craftsmanship, 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.
Editor: Jennifer Margulis, email@example.com
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 BOTH in the text of an email AND as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org
# 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.
# 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.
Dawn Friedman email@example.com
What we're looking for:
# Opionated pieces with a strong focus and argument
# Timely essays of issues important to mothers and/or writers
# A new perspective on a popular topic
# Or an introduction to an issue that hasn't yet caught the public eye.
What we're not looking for:
# Topics so obscure that most of the discussion is taken up with giving the reader background
# Sprawling topics impossible to keep to our tight word count
# Arguments familiar and/or uninspiring.
Submissions and Formatting:
Op-ed runs a tight 500 to 900 words. Please send your piece in the body of the email or in an attached word document. Please fix all curly quotes and do not double-space after a sentence. Make sure to put "submission" in your subject line or you may get caught and lost in our spam filter. Dawn will try to respond within three weeks -- if you don't hear from her by then, please feel free to send her an email nudge (again, make sure your subject line reads "submission").
Literary Criticism about Mother-Centric Literature
Editors: Libby Gruner and Caroline Grant, firstname.lastname@example.org
We seek writing by mother writers, both professional and amateur, 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 (weblogs)
# The development and influence of communities of mother writers (on-line and real time)
# Balancing your writing life as a partner to someone who may or may not be a writer
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, whether fiction, poetry, cultural commentary or memoir. Literary Reflections welcomes reviews of “how to” books on the writing process, by and/or focused on mother writers. Please submit reviews of literary works to our Reviews section.
# Interviews with or profiles of writers, which we publish in our Profiles section.
Please send submissions of 750-5000 words to email@example.com
n the text of an email and/or attached Word document, along with a brief cover letter. We respond in 4-6 weeks.
The Literary Criticism Collection
We seek reprints of scholarly articles about literature whose main theme is motherhood and written by mothers. These articles can address motherhood/mothering/mothers as subject matter, theme or image. We hope to gather materials to make it easier for teachers and scholars of mother writing to do their work.
Please send queries or articles to firstname.lastname@example.org
Editors: Sybil Lockhart email@example.com
and Rebecca Kaminsky firstname.lastname@example.org
for Literary Mama Reviews:
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 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.
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.
Format: specify title, author, publisher, publication date, price and ISBN at the top.
Length: 800-2000 words. Please send submissions as Word document AND in the text of an email.
Mama Writer Profiles and Interviews
Editor: Joanne Catz Hartman, email@example.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.
For general questions or concerns about Literary Mama
, contact Editor-in-Chief Amy Hudock at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to reading your work!