Woke up with these words reverbing through my brain:
Quid. Pro. Ho.
Just that, nothing more. No clue as to what my trickster mind meant by it — but I could almost hear her snickering behind her tiny trickster hand. Always the naughty little scamp, my trickster mind likes riddles, and she loves poking fun at me. Someday I hope to squash her, like one of the fairies in Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book.
But not until I squeeze the truth out of her.
See, the thing is, my trickster mind is a little bit psychic. Or psycho. Or a bit of both. Take what happened later that day, the day I woke up to her shouting “Quid Pro Ho”: I started reading Chuck Wendig’s 500 Ways to be a Better Writer. And what did I find right in the middle of the book, there? Actually, not there, no, no, a little to the left — on page 47% of an ebook with no table of contents, so I couldn’t have known ahead of time — under a chapter called 25 Things You Should Know about Social Media:
11: Be An Escort, Not A Whore (and)
12: Just Say No To Quid Pro Quo.
Before I speculate on what this means to me, much less you, let me say I don’t believe in fairies, or dragons, or astrology, or deities of any kind except in fiction — where all these things surely exist. If there is such a thing as precognition, there is a scientific reason for it. Probably some “Doctor-Who-wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey” universal reason that, when revealed, will make all humankind smack its collectively unconscious forehead and utter a resounding “duh.”
On to the speculation. After reminding writers to vary their online content and avoid participating in “pissy Internet rumpuses,” Chuck says in Be An Escort, Not A Whore:
“Speaking of self-promo… the reality of the modern writer’s existence is that self-promotion is inescapable. Whether you’re published by the Big Six or published by your buddy Steve out of his mother’s basement, you’re going to have to serve up some self-promo. Social media is your online channel for this. It has to be. And it isn’t a dirty word — if I follow a writer, I want to know that their new book is out because I may have missed that news. I just don’t want to hear it 72 times a day. And there’s the key to self-promotion — like with all things ([Chuck lists a few here]), everything in moderation.”
and in Just Say No To Quid Pro Quo:
“Controversial notion: do not re-share something purely as a favor to someone else. [….] The thing is, if one is to assume you are a writer to trust, then those who listen to your social media broadcasts want to know that the information you share is, in a way, pure.”
I guess what Chuck’s trying to tell me is that it’s all too easy to get caught up in link-love, in the mutual scratching of backs… even though, yeah, we might sell more books… but all that scratching has to mean something. We have to really like the back… back.
So now I’m pissed. How dare my fairy bitch trickster mind accuse me of link-lust, of click-counting, of slut-sharing?! And Chuck, Chuck… I love your novels, but I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. Did I not just make fun of My Major Award? Did I not just not spread that chain letter link — which might have gotten me some “hits” and sold me some books? Did I not just use a whole bunch of double negatives? Huh?
No, you and my tiny mind don’t know me. Or do you? Could it be that you know a potential future me, one I would not be proud of? One with, say, psychic dinosaurs on the payroll?
So, note to self: “Psychic or no, don’t be a Quid Pro Ho.”
“And buy a fairy flyswatter.”