The perils of publishing is a little humourous article inspired by a question on a forum and ‘Up Pompeii’. Actually it is also meant to highlight the exceptional and non-commercial returns policy in the industry and the plight of writers who often receive least for their creative effort.
Sinister,dexter,sinister,dexter. A funny thing happened on my way to the forum this morning. I met Youngus Foolius, the scribe. He was pushing a cart piled high with odes to the Gods. “Wherefore art thou bound, Youngus” said I. “ To deliver these odes to my friends and the booksellers who have all promised to buy them” said he. I wished him good luck.
In the forum, we had a lengthy debate on whether the Vestal Virgins gave good value for money. I knew one who certainly did and I daresay one or two other Senators and especially Caesar himself could give an informed opinion. Prudently, we kept our intimate secrets to ourselves and the Virgins kept their positions.
Wending my weary way home, Youngus Foolius nearly ran me over with his now empty cart. “Hail Youngus, you seem to have had a good day” said I. “Yes and no” Senator said he. I wondered how he’d learned to talk like a Senator and bid him explain. “Well, Sir I sold all my odes bar two that I donated to the Temple of Hymen but no one has paid me yet. They say I must wait until the Christians eat the lions in the Circus Maximus. The worst thing is that the Tax Collector saw me and he wants Caesar’s share tomorrow and I only have five cistercii”
“Don’t fret, Youngus, odes are books and, according to the Senate law of Junius 30, they can be returned for full credit within six months. Therefore, you may make a loss and owe no tax at all. That being so, you can defer payment now and pay more with interest later if you manage to make a profit.” “Thank you, Senator, said he. I’ll write an ode to you” I considered charging him five cistercii for my advice but my kinder nature prevailed and I bid him farewell.
Sinister, dexter, sinister…