I was talking to my mom this weekend, like all obedient children across the country, when she told me that she didn’t know what The Strip was. Now that The Strip, Volume 1 is out and the Egoists here have made something real out of what was in our heads, I realized that I should take a moment (after Mother’s Day well-wishing) to remind / explain what we’ve been working on for the last four months.

Since November in earnest, I’ve worked with Hilary and Melissa (two awesome friends and co-editors) to find great stories and make a way to distribute them. We began The Strip out of frustration. We were frustrated by publications that claimed not to care about an author’s bio, but are filled with celebrity names. We were frustrated by publications that couldn’t figure out an online submission process and thought they should be paid for being obtuse. And we were frustrated by rejection letters that were inscrutable, often leaving us to wonder if anything had been read after the letterhead in our submissions. So we decided to make our owblackjack-bendern publication / literary journal / story thing.

What we made is irreverent, rough, and has a lot of room for improvement. But it’s also honest and I don’t think anyone is doing what we are.

First and foremost, The Strip is simply a series of 10 stories that we, the co-editors, liked reading and bet that you will like reading too. They’re quick (some might say short) stories that get to the point. It’s how we write, it’s what we like to read, it’s American writing (even if the author isn’t). That part isn’t too radical. The 8 contributors to The Strip, Volume 1 were read blind (we didn’t look at their names) and that doesn’t stray too far from the norm there either.

So what’s not to like? Strong, short stories, you choose to buy one or all of them, and if our Gamble pays off, everyone wins.

We began to deviate with our decision to make everything open and honest. Submissions are online, no need to figure out postage or who to address a letter to. The Strip is 21st century writing, makes the most of modern technology (hell, we’re even on Amazon), and contributors don’t have to be masters of navigating arcane submission processes, they just have to have a good story. We also decided to tell everyone who submitted but was rejected exactly why we passed on their stories. We tried to tell each submitter what made us say no and what could make us say yes next time.

To go a little further from the norm, we thought there was no reason to shackle all the stories together. Don’t get me wrong, I think buying all the stories together for less than 5 bucks is the best way to go, but what if you just want to read everything by Bruce Robinson and don’t care about anyone else? Well you can just pick up Bruce’s story and leave. We want you to choose.

Finally, all the contributors that we accepted have a stake in The Gamble. The Gamble lasts for 3 months, and the rules are basically: if we break 250 downloads, everyone gets a share of the profits. The more downloads, the more we share. At 500 downloads, this even includes our readers.

So what’s not to like? Strong, short stories, you choose to buy one or all of them, and if our Gamble pays off, everyone wins.

If you’re worried or still have reservations, let me buy you a copy. I’m not going to give out anything free (have to be fair to The Gamble), but tell me what kind of device you have, and I’ll buy your copy for you.

Please share this if you like it. Better yet, go download a copy and share it or leave a review.