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Evil Stick Man:
How to make a fortune from e-books

Since the launch of Delayed Gratification in January 2011, a Machiavellian doodle known simply as Evil Stick Man has shared his devious get-rich-quick schemes with readers in each issue.

When the Man Booker Prize longlist was announced in July 2015, Evil Stick Man worked out an easier way to become a bestselling – and extraordinarily wealthy – author. Note: we do not condone his unscrupulous behaviour.

This edition of Evil Stick Man appeared in issue #20 of Delayed Gratification, which is available in our shop. For a lucrative compendium of stick man skulduggery, invest in our new book ‘How to be evil‘.


Use online trend engines to see which subjects are getting significant traffic online. Sports stars, pop stars, financial schemes, addictive substances… Anything or anyone is fair game.


Find your subject on Wikipedia and copy and paste the text, along with the text from all linked pages, into an e-book template. Call your book something like: ‘The Naked, Jaw-Dropping Truth Behind X by the Only Person Who Knows’


Invent an authorial persona that the reader can relate to. If the book is on addiction, be a recovering addict; if the subject is a celebrity, be an “insider”. Publish your e-book in multiple e-book marketplaces at the lowest possible price.


Pay a “review plumping” service to download multiple copies of your book and add five star reviews to each of the e-book sites as a verified purchaser.


Watch your book rise to the top of the best-reviewed list within its subject category. Add the words “Number 1 best-seller” to the front cover and raise the price.


Report any bad reviews of your copy-and-paste book as “abuse”, to get them masked from the general public.


Run your book through a free online translation service and publish revised editions in all major languages.


Receive royalties from each sale of each book across the multiple marketplaces. Repeat steps to 7 until you are barred from all marketplaces.


You are now rich. Pay a team of journalists to print your most evil deeds in a book. Sell it online as a jolly gift.

A slower, more reflective type of journalism”
Creative Review

Jam-packed with information... a counterpoint to the speedy news feeds we've grown accustomed to”
Creative Review

A leisurely (and contrary) look backwards over the previous three months”
The Telegraph

Quality, intelligence and inspiration: the trilogy that drives the makers of Delayed Gratification”
El Mundo

Refreshing... parries the rush of 24-hour news with 'slow journalism'”
The Telegraph

A very cool magazine... It's like if Greenland Sharks made a newspaper”
Qi podcast

The UK's second-best magazine” Ian Hislop
Editor, Private Eye
Private Eye Magazine

Perhaps we could all get used to this Delayed idea...”
BBC Radio 4 - Today Programme