I owe my writing career to literary journals in Canada and the United States. Some writers secure deals through agents, but I got my book contract because Silas White, publisher of Nightwood Editions, read my story "How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?" in Event. Silas contacted me to see if I had a manuscript ready, which I did. A few months later, he told me that he wanted to publish my story collection.
Event entered the same story for the Writers’ Trust of Canada / McClelland & Stewart
Journey Prize. One day last year I received an email from Anita Chong at McClelland & Stewart informing me that the jury had selected "How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?" for the Journey Prize Stories anthology. This is something I'd been hoping for since I first started submitting to journals, so I was beyond elated. On September 30, 2013, I found out I was a finalist for the prize.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that writing and publishing one story can be life changing. You must send out your work for consideration; nothing will happen if your manuscripts languish on your computer. In order to be eligible for a creative writing grant from the Canada Council, you must first publish four stories (or a book).
Here is a link to a list of the 33 journals that contributed to the Journey Prize 2014. There are additional magazines that are eligible to submit to the prize for 2015, but may not have yet taken advantage of the opportunity, or are newly launched, such as The Overcast.
A list of literary journals and their submission guidelines:
The Antigonish Review
Border Crossings Magazine
Brick: A Literary Journal
Broken Pencil Magazine
The Capilano Review
The Dalhousie Review
ELQ/Exile Literary Quarterly Magazine
Event: The Douglas College Review
filling Station Magazine
Found Press Quarterly
The Malahat Review
The New Orphic Review
The New Quarterly: New Directions in Canadian Writing
On Spec Magazine
One Throne Magazine
The Rusty Toque
West Coast Line
The Windsor Review