How to Submit to Literary Magazines

I remember when I first began submitting to literary magazines in Canada I found the whole process to be a bit intimidating. I had a lot of questions. Which publications were the best fit for my stories and poems? What goes in a cover letter? What should my manuscript look like? How should I keep track of my submissions?

I answered all these questions (and more) during a workshop I gave on this topic at the literASIAN festival last weekend.

Click here to download a PDF of my presentation, Don't Let Your Stories Languish: How to Submit to Literary Magazines. I broke the process down step by step and gave examples. I even shared my own personal manuscript submission spreadsheet; you can get a glimpse of all the failure I suffered along the way before I landed my book deal. As well, I offered quick tips and direct links to publishing resources in Canada.

Go forth and submit!



Publishing Resources: Literary Journals in Canada

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
carte blanche
The Dalhousie Review
ELQ/Exile Literary Quarterly Magazine
Event: The Douglas College Review
The Fiddlehead
filling Station Magazine
Found Press Quarterly
Grain Magazine
Little Brother
Little Fiction
The Malahat Review
The New Orphic Review
The New Quarterly: New Directions in Canadian Writing
On Spec Magazine
One Throne Magazine
Plenitude Magazine
Prairie Fire
Prairie Journal
PRISM international
The Puritan
Queen's Quarterly
Room Magazine
The Rusty Toque
SubTerrain Magazine
Taddle Creek
This Magazine
Urban Graffiti
West Coast Line
The Windsor Review