Imagine that you search for "short story" in Google. More likely than not, any ads that pop up next to your search will (hopefully) be related to short stories, or fall within the realm of literature in general.
But what if the ads that showed up were actual short stories?
Such is the theory propelling Matchbook’s endeavor to publish short fiction via Google Ads. Asking for submissions on its website as well as Facebook, the literary magazine wants to subvert Google’s increasingly customized ads and use the advertising system in its favor, rather than against it. Take a moment and consider a reality where your ad experience might not involve unwanted products or sham literary agencies, but actual works of fiction about cats or days at the beach.
Submitting your own story is easy enough, though submissions have strict guidelines given the limited space per ad. Short stories (and we mean short!) have a 70 character limit—half that of #TwitterFiction—and must stick to a three-line structure. Titles (not included in the 70 characters) are required and must make sense as its own line, though they can also be used as part of the story.
Hyper-short stories are nothing new, but this seems to be the first project with a mission to use art as a pseudo-ad blocker. Or, as the literary magazine puts it, to "litter the Internet with stories where stories are not usually found."