Lynn Roberts : This Be the Curse

(With apologies (not many) to P. Larkin)


They carve you up, your publishers; I’m sure they mean to – and they do;
they make you pay for all they can and add some charges, just for you.

Their eye for colour and design and illustration’s made of glass;
their traps are steel, their scruples tin, their nerve is simply solid brass.

Your book may vegetate online a month or two, or slightly more;
your publisher’s PR machine may squeak a bit, but seldom roar,

and then you’ll be unshelved, marked down, remaindered, used to fill a road;
your publisher is lit. fest bound, whilst all your hopes and dreams implode.

They carve you up, your publishers, in ways to which I am not partial.
Lord Byron would have skewered them: epigrammatically – like Martial.