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Editor Interview: Literary Mama

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Writing about motherhood

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: We love to read Brain, Child; Hip Mama; Bitch; Ms.; Bust; The Sun; Poets & Writers; Creative Nonfiction; Tin House; Writer's Digest. We seek out books published by Seal Press, Counterpoint, and The Feminist Press, plus of course the publishers publishing our contributors' and editors' books: Mariner, Simon & Schuster, Beacon, Leapfrog, Roost Books and others.

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: Our editors! Our staff is widely published and share a wide range of expertise with the writers whose work we publish.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: Literary Mama features writing by mother writers about the complexities and many faces of modern motherhood. We publish writing with fresh voices, superior craft, and vivid imagery, writing which is deeply felt and often funny, but never sentimental. We seek top-notch creative writing: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction. We also publish book reviews, and profiles of mother writers and artists. We also offer regular writing prompts (with editorial feedback and the potential for publication on our site) to kickstart a writing project and help turn our readers into writers.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: A potential contributor would do well to read our archives to get a sense of the wide range of what we like and what we've published in the past. We expect superior craft (clarity, concrete details, strong narrative development). We value ambiguity, complexity, depth, thoughtfulness, delicacy, humor, irreverence, lyricism, sincerity; the elegant and the raw. Be sure to read our submissions guidelines closely; each department has different slightly different requirements, so know your audience before you submit!

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: The ideal submission takes our breath away. It might be on a topic we've read before (we do read a lot of birth stories) but a talented writer can make the subject fresh and new. We want to publish work that makes us wish we'd written it ourselves!

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: Potential contributors should read our submissions guidelines closely and make sure to submit directly to the relevant department editor (fiction, poetry, CNF, etc) rather than to the editor-in-chief. We do not read attachments, and we only accept submissions via email. Some departments read year-round, while some take a summer break. While we do accept simultaneous submissions, we appreciate an email if the submission has been accepted somewhere else.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: A brief cover letter is helpful, but prior publication credits do not factor in our editorial decisions.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: We read each submission in its entirety.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: Each submission is read by the two or three department editors; if they agree that a piece is right for Literary Mama, it is sent to the senior editors for approval. Department editors will work on a piece with the writer before sending it to the senior editors, and senior editors also suggest revisions before publication.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: As the editor of an online literary publication, I do feel that modern technologies are important to keep great writing easily accessible to a range of readers. Our editors live in multiple countries world-wide, and our readers access Literary Mama from dozens more. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites extend our range and let our readers continue the conversation about our writing beyond our website.