Saturday, October 29, 2011

Egomania, Runnin' Wild! #DownWithHacks Starts Right Here!

Do independent writers (or even writers in general) have huge egos?

Yeah, most of them (or should I say us?) do.

Hell, mine's bigger than the biggest late 1990's cock ever described to anyone on a Yahoo private message in the age of phones on wires and computers without web cams.

Let's just call that Egomania, brother.  I owe it all to the training, the prayers and the steroids.  WHAT'CHA GONNA DO WHEN EGOMANIA RUNS WILD ON YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUU?

Humph..... Well, I'll tell you what Michael C. Laney is gonna do, brother.

You see, I hear a lot about me, Michael C. Laney/Master Vyle being the go to guy.  Oh, yeah.  Yeah-Ya!  I'm the guy that's not afraid to tell it to you straight.  I'm the guy that tells it like it is.  And the people say, "Man, we love you.  We love you being you and telling it like it is.  Preach on, brother."

Yeah, except for a small segment of Egomaniacs who think it's all good unless it's them.  In the past several weeks I've gotten it from several people.  It actually began a couple of months ago with a friend who told me that they admired me for being who I was and never being afraid to say whatever I thought.  Until that person took exception so something I said.  Then all the sudden I found myself getting talks on fitting in, and playing nice with others.  But, I must admit that that situation is a little off subject, as that is something in my personal life.

Let me get into the writing world.  Independent and fairly independent authors know that place.  You know, the one full of catty and jealous little bitches that would stab you in the back for a penny, or if they feel somewhere inside that maybe you're a better writer than they are.  You know, the place where anyone with less talent than you will do whatever it takes because they're afraid, in a realm where the odds of an indy finding wild and outrageous success is an astronomical anomaly anyway, that you might make it unless they put the kibosh on you.  A world filled with drama queens who put their noses in the air so high it nearly breaks their necks because they're sure that whatever thing they've written is better than anything else anyone else has ever written PERIOD!

There's a term for someone who has no talent and will turn out whatever to make a quick buck, and that term is HACK.  And the only thing worse than a hack is a hack that's an Egomaniac.

Now, it's true that everyone has their own definition of success.  For myself I'll admit it's being out there.  Going to one of many sites that sell eBooks and stories and putting in my name, to see myself listed, to know I am there across the nation and around the world, and that on occasion someone will do me the honor of deciding, Hey, this looks good.  I think I'll buy it and read it.  (Oh, yeah.  I did say do me the honor, because as a published author it's an honor to be read, and not some privilege that I feel I'm granting to someone who wants to spend their hard earned cash to read my works.)

Are all my stories 100% perfect?  No, but I do make an effort to edit them as well as I can, being a one man show.  I continually re-read works I have put out, and I note anything missed in the editing to be corrected as soon as I get the chance.

Are my stories for everyone?  Again, no.  I know not everyone is going to like what I write, and many of my stories cater to a very small demographic.

Are my stories going to get totally positive reviews?  Are you fucking kidding?  In a world where everyone over the age of four has a cell phone or laptop and thinks it's their duty to say whatever they want the answer is no.  I had my first honest to goodness review last month, and everything else up to that point has been "comments".  Truth be told I would like to see a great many more reviews of my works, and that said I am not looking for glowing reviews and recommendations from every person that writes one.  In fact I'm very keen to know what is lacking or may be missing from a work.  Its weaknesses as well as its strengths.  Because I may be an Egomaniac like everyone else in this business, but I also strive to tell the best story I possibly can.

So what is it the Egomaniac hack wants?  Well, to quote the late Too Short. "If you ax-sss me what it's all about I'll say it's about that money."

Yeah, you know.  Money, the great motivator.  It's motivated writers with little or no talent to crank out stories and publish them by any means necessary in the hopes of getting a few quick bucks in their pockets for at least the past two centuries.  For years I used to look at so many crappy stories and know that the only difference between me and them was that they were writing shit, but somehow had enough start up money to hire an agent to fence their crap to third rate publishers, who would sell them to book brokers, who would in turn sell them to book stores.  Now in the 21st Century, the age of the Internet and eBooks, the opportunity has finally come for me (and many other independent authors and writers) to cut out all those middle men.  I write, I submit it to an eBook retailer, DONE.  Unfortunately most of the hacks have also figured that out as well, along with a new generation of slack hacks and plagiarizers.  Many of those retaining a middle man are in business with someone who also does not give a crap about the quality of the work as long as they make that money.

Now for months I've talked about wanting to start a #DownWithHacks movement, a way to mention whenever you come across a total turd disguised as a literary work and be recognized as someone who cares about quality stories and story telling.  Why care?  For the most obvious reason.  Hacks give real writers a bad name.  They're not authors, or even writers.  They're just people who strung a few related words together between 5 and 100 pages and called it a story in the hopes of making a quick buck or two.  I want to get this rolling and bring writers who actually care about their work together on Twitter and das FaceBooken.  So start using DownWithHacks on Twitter, and I should have a page for the movement on FB within the next day or so.

So why after only talking about this idea here and there for the past few months am I suddenly spurred into action?

I've had some correspondence in regard to reviews over the past couple of days that have really burned my ass.  The first was for a review I had offered to do when an acquaintance asked if I would like a pre-release copy of her new novel, which was an expansion of a short story of hers that I had really liked.  After reading the story I was left with the overall impression that it did not work as a novel.  There were some other issues with the work, so I sent her an e-mail to let her know my concerns and to say that my review would most likely contrast the two versions of the story and focus on some of the technical problems in the story.  This received an indignant response from her letting me know she was " to make money" and that "...It would be a shame to get a scathing review on a novel that was not published yet.."

Well, we all have our definitions of success, as well as our own priorities.  I'm refusing to review the work because I will not lie on a review, nor will I endorse a substandard story and suggest anyone reading this blog read it.  Because, yeah, I am the guy that tells it like it is.  I had no problem pointing out flaws from the One Buck Horror collections, some of Jason Darrick's stories, and Jim Bronyaur's novel, and they've had no problem with fault being found in their work.  I do my best to point out a story's weakness and strengths, unless it's a total hack job, which I reminded this author of in my initial e-mail.

Case two.  I was approached by the owner of a small press and her "executive assistant", about the possibility of doing a review on the first straight horror novel from that press because the owner of this little ePublisher liked my review for Ray Sostre's Their First Night Together.  I was flattered and delighted at the offer, especially since the owner of the company is highly endorsing both the novel and its author, assuring me that he's bound for greatness, and that " probably will not believe it was written by an 18 year old."

(Just a little spoiler alert, I will use these words again because hell or high water I'm reviewing the work in question as well as its publisher.)  Oh, yeah.  I can definitely believe it was written by an 18 year old.

Halfway through I stopped reading the manuscript.  The story does have a great premise, and the author has a great imagination.  However his inexperience in writing and in life shows a great deal, and the story comes off looking like a 11th grade creative writing assignment.  There were so many problems, so many facts that turned out to be incorrect that I decided to send the publisher an e-mail to let her know a few of the glaring flaws it had, and to let her know that based on what I had seen a review would be less than favorable.

Well, as an independent writer and owner of her own little publishing house she wrote me back in a fashion that let me know that she was an Egomaniac as well.  It was the most surprising thing I had seen since Twisted Twins Productions reviewed my review of Dead Hooker In A Trunk.  My e-mail was slightly reviewed by Madame Publisher, who informed me that readers of erotica and horror did not care about the facts.  Well if that's the case how does everyone know who Stephen King and Clive Barker are but have no idea who Patricia Wallace or Stephen Gresham are?  She also informed me that, and I quote, "I've virgins who write some of the hottest pieces of erotic literature I've read and obviously that comes from the imagination only."

Yes, boys and girls, I think I've found the 2011 House Of Master Vyle WTF! Statement of The Year in that one.

Who is this nameless author and publisher of which you speak?  You're the guy that tells it like it is, right?

All in good time.  Just a little suspense before the review.

The sad thing is with a little work and research the novel in question would be far from horrible.  Given a little guidance I think the author would go far, but it seems he's just another little cog in the great big hack machine who will never advance (or at least not advance as quickly) as an artist because his publisher doubts anyone who reads it is going to care about the facts.

Are you an independent writer or author?  Are you tired of having your work, or seeing the work of your friends stolen by no talent plagiarizers who want to make a buck and a name off your work?  Are you tired of indifferent publishers and third party brokers that want a cut of your work because they made you believe you would not make a dime without them taking your work to a retailer?  Are you sick of getting that look when you say you've been published either on a story site or in eBook form, and knowing that look means they think you will never have any success because "Everyone knows people that publish that way write crap"?

If you're answering, YES, then join the movement.  Show these little hacks, whacks and plagiarizers what you think.  Call them out.  Tag garbage with DownWithHacks.  You read something that rubs you the wrong way, review it.  Because the fact of the matter is, as writers, there's some of that Egomania in you too, and like me you can tell it like it is.


Master Vyle


  1. Well well... preach it, man! Nothing more irritating than a writer who thinks they're the shit and not above corrections. You do have a keen eye for story structure and your reviews are quite detailed - very few of your kind out there ;-) most in the Indie community are throwing out 4 and 5 stars with "I love this!" attached with no clear review of THE STORY! I get so tired of "get this! you'll love this character!" I won't when I don't know what they're about and who are y o u that I should take your word for it? Right? Right!

  2. Vyle, you've been in this business longer than me, and after having my work plagiarized by some lunatic, I wrote a poem dedicated to the poachers and the no-talent assholes who think they can get away with murder.