Monday, 27 February 2012

[Satire-Free Zone] $4.99 for Professional eBook Formatting (ePub and Kindle)

Independent authors can use all the low-cost help they can get, including a basic professional formatting service to get their books ready for uploading to many major outlets. I thought I’d lend a helping hand.

If you need simple, professional formatting for your book (anything up to 25,000 words), I’ve started offering my services for $4.99. I aim to deliver your book as quickly as possible. Depending on my workload, you can even expect to receive your book back within 24 hours.

For this, you receive:

1. Two files:
  • Mobi (for the Kindle)
  • ePub (for the Barnes & Noble NOOK, Kobo eReader, iPad, Sony Reader, Bookeen Cybook Opus, iRiver Touch, Adobe Digital Editions)
2. An Interactive Table of Contents

3. An embedded cover (if provided), well-formatted headings, text, paragraphs, symbols etc

Sample images of the type of formatting applied to your book (Click on the links):

To use the service, please visit:

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Disciples of Ink - We control literary destiny

The Disciples of Ink was founded in 1546 as a secret society to advance the art of writing. Many of history’s greatest writers covertly worked in our organisation and references can be seen in their works.

The three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth represent three harlots who turned down the bard’s advances during one of our infamous Masquerade Balls. Mark Twain was notoriously bad with financial matters, and based Tom Sawyer’s entrepreneurial trickery on one occasion where we gave him the ‘privilege’ of painting our headquarters in return for an increased share of his book royalties.

Even authors who were denied membership based novels on us - Herman Melville’s Moby Dick drew upon his anger at being left out and his unwise decision to spend the rest of his life battling us. Others choose not to think of us as the giant white sperm whale of the literary world, but as the real handle that turns the gears. Ernest Hemingway once put it best at one of our speakeasy book gatherings:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and shed blood for The Disciples of Ink.”

Of course for obvious reasons, our agents changed the accepted version of this quote to “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

What we do

This can be summed up quite simply: 

We guarantee the success of any book that is published by our members.

We pick our potential authors based on their previous works and welcome them to our organisation. In return for a 50% share of future royalties, our extended agent network guarantees its success.

How? Now that would be telling…Stephen King once asked too many questions about our organisation and…well the less said the better.

Why reveal our existence now?

At our most recent convention, one of our elders interrupted J.K Rowling’s reading of the last meeting’s minutes to bring up an interesting point. With the latest advances in independent publishing, the advanced state of social networking and increasingly lax governance on private institutes, it would be foolish to spend more money on maintaining a cloak of invisibility. Incidentally, the cloak of invisibility in the Harry Potter books was inspired by technology that our agents use on a daily basis.

That’s why we have privately purchased Amazon and are discretely announcing our presence to the world through this blog. We review every independently published book that is published on the Amazon website, and are midway through plans to purchase the remaining major outlets.


Independent Authors: Be on the lookout for a black envelope with our wax seal. That represents initiation into our ranks and a better life for you and your books.

We shall leave you with a parting quote from one of our most successful member authors so far this century, Stephanie Meyer:

“I wish they would remove Bram Stoker from the Ink Hall of Fame. Vampires are kinda meant to be my deal, you know?”

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The MedicAd Corporation - Free Private Healthcare!

The citizens of the United States have been calling out for cheap healthcare, without having to worry about the evils of ‘universal government programs’ and ‘helping fellow citizens with tax money’.

The MedicAd Corporation has proudly decided to step up and fill this gap left by the government and insurance companies. No longer will you be turned away at the hospital gates for medical insurance purposes. You can rest assured that the only patients we throw out onto the street are the ones who hate freedom and compassionate capitalism.

Recently, we have acquired a network of private clinics and hospitals around the country, where we treat all known ailments and conditions. Everything from sprained ankles and cosmetic issues to complicated neurosurgery procedures are treated by our medical staff. We also offer a helpful ear to our patients with interactive artificial intelligence chat functions.

Read on to discover what it costs (or rather doesn’t cost) you.

Advertising Your Good Health

In our experience, advertisements make the world go round. Apple could never have become the pioneer of technology and Chinese workers' rights that it is today, without a little help from Ridley Scott and his famous 1984 advertisement. You would not be able to pry into the lives of people you don’t know on Facebook, if Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t let various corporations pry into yours. The advertising business model works wonders, and it is now poised to gift the United States its greatest innovation yet.

Free Healthcare!

Using simple technology and with the help of some of the largest marketing firms in the country, we can wean you off your high medical bills & insurance premiums, and put you on a healthy diet of targeted advertisements. 

Here’s how the process works:

Take aim at your bills

1. Visit one of our centres. We verify your details, take care of the legal mumbo jumbo (such as a full liability waver) with an easy-to-understand contract and welcome you as a member for free!

The MedicAd Screen BraceletTM

2. We attach one of our MedicAd Screen BraceletsTM to your wrist. These light and comfortable screens are worn for the entire duration of your contract with us, and deliver targeted advertisements directly to you.

More money for non-medical drugs!

3. Your future medical and pharmaceutical bills at our hospitals and centres are completely free.

The MedicAd Screen BraceletTM

Our patented bracelets are no larger than an iPhone and easily fit on your wrist. When you join us, our sales team will note your preferred interests and appropriately beam exciting new advertisements for useful products and services straight to you on a regular basis! In order to best serve your interests, we ask you to adhere to these conditions:

1. Depending on the amount of medical bills you have incurred, you must 'acknowledge' a set number of advertisements per day.

Example code highlighted in red

This is done by viewing the advertisement, noting the random 4 digit code generated and entering it on the number keypad. Example advertisement acknowledgement numbers that we expect for treatments (please note that these figures vary for each person):

No outstanding visits: No extra acknowledgements necessary
Regular checkup: 3 adverts per day for a week
Cold Treatment: 10 adverts per day for a week
Breast Implants: 50 adverts per day for 6 months
Heart Surgery: 100 adverts per day for a year

Note: Patients who fail to meet these targets once will be fitted with our ‘second chance’ bracelet. These occasionally emit a harmless electronic shock when a new advert appears, to remind the patient to view and acknowledge it, until the day’s target is met.

Please refer to the end of these conditions to understand what happens if this bracelet is refused or a patient fails to meet ad-acknowledgement targets for a second time.

2. You must not attempt to remove or deactivate the bracelet at any point. Any issue with it must be attended to by a certified MedicAd representative (for maintenance / repair / any other purpose). The bracelet is tamper-proof and comes equipped with sensors that alert MedicAd to these actions.

3. The bracelet also tracks your daily movement. We only use this information to further tailor the advertisements to your preferences. Therefore, please go about your daily business as normal, without worrying that we will use any incriminating information against you in the future.

Breaking any of these conditions will result in the immediate cancellation of your medical plan, and immediate court proceedings for the sum of all medical costs incurred by the member to date.


We are always looking for new advertisers to promote their businesses on our bracelets. Please contact us to request a full brochure of advertising costs for types including:

  • Regularly Scheduled Adverts
  • Electronic Shock Adverts
  • Adverts with Sound

Enquire now!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Dark-O-Late Ltd - Mind-Bendingly Great Chocolate!

Dark-O-Late Ltd was started in 2012 by a retired British government worker who wanted to fulfil his dream - share his grandmother’s delicious dark chocolate recipe with the world!

The heavenly dessert with a trademark bitter aftertaste and numerous health benefits, dark chocolate has found its way into the palates and hearts of millions. But at Dark-O-Late, we go that extra mile by infusing our chocolate bars with more than just sugar, butter and affordable labour.

The Base Ingredients

Our cocoa workers aim to please

We start with pure dark chocolate, made from the finest Ghanaian cocoa beans. Many other companies these days opt for ‘fair-trade’ chocolate made by workers who are paid a higher wage. We set ourselves apart by not participating in this scheme, since we believe in quality and trust that the free market will adequately reward these workers if their chocolate is delicious!

Our bees aim to please

Then we add our healthy sweetener - honey. While pesticides are being publically blamed for the recent 'mass extinction event’ of honeybees, you will be pleased to hear that this decrease in their population is actually due to our collection efforts. We have captured and nurtured honeybees in our loving Level 3 industrial treatment facilities for years, all to serve you, the ardent chocolate-lover.

Our mercenaries have perfect aim

Finally, this rich base is seasoned with a bounty of mixed nuts - cashews, macadamia, almonds, brazil nuts and walnuts all make the cut! These ingredients are sourced using the same standards as our cocoa, with workers lovingly watched over by our ‘fun-mercenary’ (funcenary) teams.

Once these ingredients are mixed together in just the right quantities (our secret!) and hardened, our trademark chocolate bars are made!

Oh but hang on…

Where are our manners? We’ve left out the most exciting part of our recipe! One more special ingredient is added before the hardening process, giving our bars an irresistible edge.


Our version of 'Green Energy'!


Our founder wanted to add even more to the experience of tasting his secret family recipe. He managed to synthesize a wonderful and safe new additive that gives our bars that extra zing! By adding a mere 100ml of SF-8999 (nicknamed SUPER FUN 8999 by our lovely cooks) to each large batch, our chocolate bars possess the following qualities:

  • A caffeine-like boost without the addictiveness
  • Positive mood-altering effects

Some media sources have also affectionately nicknamed this chemical the ‘mind-control drug’. Hilariously, one newspaper even stated that the actions of those who consume the chemical can be controlled by an outside source with specific radio signal frequencies. How funny is that?

By coincidence, some people who have eaten our chocolate bars have gone on to attack the offices of our competitors, left-leaning politicians and ex-employees who have attempted to slander our good name. We assure you that the only ‘control’ we could possibly exert over you comes from brand loyalty!

In fact, we argue that those unfortunate events were carried out by normal customers who weren't brainwashed, but loved our chocolate bars SO MUCH that they simply had to attack our opponents. We do not condone such behaviour, but we do encourage you to buy our bars!

Special Offer: For every chocolate bar that is purchased, 10 pence will be donated to the Chamber of Commerce in a country of your choosing.

Order our chocolate now!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Gulag Publishers Inc - Free Publishing & Marketing!

Gulag Publishers Inc has been set up to introduce a dynamic new model of publishing, and adapt to the growing popularity of eBooks.

We offer the full package of eBook publishing services:

  • Our experienced creative team will polish your manuscript, design a sumptuous cover, prepare a beautifully finished version in all available digital formats and publish them on every online retailer (and select large retailers).
  • Our dedicated marketing executives will expertly package your book and sell it to a public that will come soon come to adore you.
  • You won’t have to worry about any thorny legal issues once your sales hit the stratosphere courtesy of our world-class legal division.

The best parts?

1. We take any book, regardless of length, genre or perceived quality by other publishing outlets.

2. While you can usually expect to wait for years to publish your book through other major companies, our guaranteed timeline from manuscript submission to publishing is two weeks.

3. The entire service is FREE!

Our Business Model or ‘What’s the Catch?’

We do not take any monetary compensation for our services. That’s a fact.

What we offer is a mutually beneficial contract that helps our business grow. Not only will you sign a lucrative publishing contract with us, but you also receive the opportunity to freshen up your resume with a highly sought-after work placement at one of the divisions of our growing corporation!

Gulag Publishers Inc is a division of Gulag Mining Enterprises, a growing global force in precious metal mining activities. We whisk you away to one of our precious metal mines and temporarily employ your services as an unpaid worker. You will spend your days working in a magical environment surrounded by sapphires, rubies, diamonds or gold, depending on the location.

One of our happy author/miners
Other benefits include:
  • Improved fitness and coordination with the help of our mine supervisors
  • A chance to experience the wonders of a new country for free!
  • FREE catering services1
  • FREE shared accommodation with other aspiring authors
  • FREE protection gear and equipment checks
  • FREE insurance against mining accidents2
1 Our menu in currently limited to two forms of low-protein gruel, but plans are being made to add a third form.
2 Please note that the policy is taken out against your name, with Gulag Mining Enterprises as the benefactor.

How long will this internship last?

Our fabulous accomodation

Your legal mining work contract (some would call it an extended active vacation!) begins on the day we publish your book, two weeks after you submit your manuscript. With our new flexible model, it ends on the day your eBook makes a mere 1000 sales! After this, you are free to go back to your loved ones and reap the ongoing rewards of your newfound success as an author.

With our publishing team at work, some authors have reached this target in as little as a week! Do not worry if it takes longer, you will be treated well at our mining facility.

Think about how exciting this opportunity is:
  • A fast, free professional publishing service
  • A free ‘working vacation’
  • A high potential for fast success

It’s no wonder that our inbox is full of eager applicants.

Hurry and apply for our scheme now!

Friday, 17 February 2012

3 new ways to lure readers to your ebook

(Light warning: Following these steps might result in a few angry emails and bullets being fired in your direction. Unfortunately, the popular saying “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” only applies to the emails.)

Getting your book sales to take off isn’t easy. Contacting reviewers, hosting giveaways, participating in interviews, going free for a while, building connections on social networks and good old advertising are basic methods used by authors and publishers to give their book a shot at greatness. As with any other product, the results of these efforts vary greatly. You can take two identical author twins, have them write the same story and follow the same marketing plan, but there could still be a large difference in sales.

What's the solution?

There are two schools of thought. One involves authors attempting to manipulate the ‘butterfly effect’ by flying to a different country and killing a butterfly, in the hope that chaos theory sets in and somehow results in more sales for their book. As expected, this has produced mixed results and probably a few hurricanes.

The second, more effective route is to use tactics that are frowned upon in public. Here are three tips, (not) guaranteed to increase your sales figures!

1. Take hostages at a large book signing

Hugely popular ‘Young Adult Author X’ is hosting a book signing at one of the largest bookstores downtown. Hundreds, if not thousands are expected to turn up to grab a signed copy of her highly anticipated epic about the post-apocalyptic love between two vampiric zombies.

This is your opportunity to orchestrate a lucrative hostage situation. Remember to follow the principles of branding, by making sure that the name of your own book appears everywhere during your gun-toting rampage. This could include:

  • Wearing custom clothing that advertises your book, instead of a dark criminal outfit
  • Forcing ‘Young Adult Author X’ to read the first chapter of your book and give it a glowing review
  • Talking to the negotiators at length about your book, and agreeing to release a hostage if the police announce details of your upcoming blog interview to the crowd
  • Demanding a million unmarked kindle book sales instead of cash
  • Refusing to talk about anything but your book at your eventual trial

You might spend the rest of your life in prison, but we all have to make sacrifices as aspiring authors.

2. Start a gang of innovative pickpockets

Pickpockets in major high street locations usually work by covertly relieving you of your valuables and leaving nothing in return. You can strike a blow for their reputation and increase your book’s readership by changing this model! After you hire and train a gang of such thieves, give them cheap USB flash drives containing a copy of your ebook. Instead of simply robbing their targets, your gang will replace the wallets with these copies of your book.

The downside? Your book’s name might become synonymous with theft and the ensuing rise in crime statistics. It might be worth it if your book is associated with that genre.

3. Lobby for heavy sanctions against nations where your book isn’t selling well

If you have the appropriate connections to get this done, then you’re probably rich and important enough to explore better avenues of promoting your book.

Nevertheless, even if you choose this path and the sanctions don’t go through, you can be sure that your book will at least get extensive media coverage. Most of it will be in the form of angry protestors burning effigies of you, but any publicity is good publicity. Right?

Good luck and let me know how this strategy works out for you! Suggestions and additional methods are always welcome.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Top 4 Recent PR Bloopers in the Financial Industry

Financial organisations have stolen a rather large share of the negative limelight in recent years. Other prominent self-styled supervillain entities such as Monsanto and Academi / XE / Blackwater / Pointless-Name-Change-Number-4000 are probably ecstatic at the temporary lull in scathing media coverage.

Meanwhile, helpless entities like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are being ripped apart by the public. Their only meagre consolation is that they are in bed with regulatory agencies that will never bring them fully to account for their actions, but what good is that? Once you lose the love of the public, it will take more than buying your 3rd yacht to console you.

This witch hunt has also brought out some unfortunate bloopers by these financial firms. Let us look at the top 4 and take note on how to avoid such PR no-nos in the future.

4. The Rich are the new Poor

An unnamed banker recently complained about Morgan Stanley capping their bonuses at $125,000:

"After tax, that’s like, what, $75,000?" an investment banker at a rival firm said as he contemplated Morgan Stanley’s decision. He ran the numbers, modeling the implications. "I’m not married and I take the subway and I watch what I spend very carefully. But my girlfriend likes to eat good food. It all adds up really quick. A taxi here, another taxi there. I just bought an apartment, so now I have a big old mortgage bill."

Don’t get me wrong, I spat out my caviar myself after reading about these capped bonuses. However, talking about your plight if you’re a banker in this current climate is unwise. Once this economic mess dies down, you can start negotiating a better pay packet and not have to suffer the horrors of public transportation or women who date you for your personality rather than your wallet. Hang in there.

3. Champagne Supernova

During the Occupy Wall Street protests, bankers were caught 'toasting' the protestors with champagne from the balcony.

Of course some people decided to take this as a sign of arrogance, rather than what it really was - hard working bankers inviting them in to the building for a party.

If you’re a banker, you can avoid this by holding these parties in private secluded locations. It would also greatly help your company’s image if you were to donate your champagne surplus at the end of these events to the local orphanage.

2. Holy Avenger

Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs and revered Captain of Industry, made a well-publicised blooper in 2009 when he declared that his bank was doing “God’s Work”.

Critics might argue that god’s work might consist of more than just misleading investors about the value of stocks and then secretly selling them behind their backs, but this can be disproved with a simple handy quote from the Bible:

Leviticus 25:14
"If you sell or buy property from one of your countrymen, don't cheat him…”

..wait that wasn’t it, here’s the right one:

Colossians 3:23
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Ah there we go. He truly was doing god’s work. But the next time, it would help to carry around a holy book and back up your statements with ancient wisdom.

1. Didn’t you get the memo?

A delightful letter was thrown at the Occupy Chicago protestors. In it, the bankers calmly stated that they needed jobs too and if Wall Street was put under any more pressure, they would have no option but to steal the jobs of teachers, landscapers and other lower income workers. Here’s a copy:

“We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money. Whether it’s a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn’t matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. I didn’t hear America complaining when the market was roaring to 14,000 and everyone’s 401k doubled every 3 years. Just like gambling, its not a problem until you lose. I’ve never heard of anyone going to Gamblers Anonymous because they won too much in Vegas.

Well now the market crapped out, & even though it has come back somewhat, the government and the average Joes are still looking for a scapegoat. God knows there has to be one for everything. Well, here we are.

Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you’re only going to hurt yourselves. What’s going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We’re going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that.

For years teachers and other unionized labor have had us fooled. We were too busy working to notice. Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching 3rd graders and doing landscaping? We’re going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a year and whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America. Say goodbye to your overtime and double time and a half. I’ll be hitting grounders to the high school baseball team for $5k extra a summer, thank you very much.

So now that we’re going to be making $85k a year without upside, Joe Mainstreet is going to have his revenge, right? Wrong! Guess what: we’re going to stop buying the new 80k car, we aren’t going to leave the 35 percent tip at our business dinners anymore. No more free rides on our backs. We’re going to landscape our own back yards, wash our cars with a garden hose in our driveways. Our money was your money. You spent it. When our money dries up, so does yours.

The difference is, you lived off of it, we rejoiced in it. The Obama administration and the Democratic National Committee might get their way and knock us off the top of the pyramid, but it’s really going to hurt like hell for them when our fat a**es land directly on the middle class of America and knock them to the bottom.

We aren’t dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to survive. The question is, now that Obama & his administration are making Joe Mainstreet our food supply…will he? and will they?”

Poor people should heed this message. After all, it has been scientifically proven that only bankers are capable of waking up at 5 in the morning (Kids at home: Do not attempt this dangerous feat).

Nevertheless, the Chicago bankers made one mistake, and that was to reveal their plans to the enemy. Instead of secretly stealing blue collar jobs and cutlery, their scheme has now been widely read by the public. Does a poker player show his/her cards before burning the host’s house to the ground? NO. Come on!

Anyway, this concludes our brief roundup of banking PR disasters and how to avoid them in the future. Stay strong and consider cutting back to 4 vacations a year, the industry still has a storm to ride out.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Just want to clear something up

I mean really, come on.
I want to launch a pre-emptive strike and clear up a misconception that could arise among potential readers. 

I am not the popular Batman supervillain Ra’s Al-Ghul, trying to sell the secrets of my life under an assumed name. Very few people (zero) have been blackmailed and assassinated so far on my journey as an author.

Just to re-iterate, buying the book won’t result in a wacky Armageddon scenario, unless of course you decide to follow the advice and make it work for you. 


Ras Al…I mean Ashcroft

Thursday, 9 February 2012

This could be the start of a beautiful blogship

I’m sure that at some point or the other, you have considered what it would be like to rule the world. I mean, what sane individual hasn’t?

Supervillain: The Concise Guide is a book that caters to these thoughts by offering you a foolproof way of fulfilling this fantasy. There are no downsides to following the advice in the book as a grown adult, no sir-ee.

Anyway, I’ve launched this blog to try and stir up some publicity for it. It only weighs in at around 26,000 words, so hopefully it’ll provide some entertainment on your occasional lunch break. I’ll also occasionally throw in my other thoughts on various subjects, including the daily journal of a cat that is growing sick of its master’s efforts to take over the planet.

Well not really.