I was reading a book the other day – yes really, I do read, I’m a voracious reader, in bed, the smallest room, during meals if I can get away with it, while not watching the television, you get the picture. But I gave DH (Dear husband) quite a fright when I shrieked with joy the other day. I’d not only found a typo but noticed a plot hole in a book by a very, very famous household-name writer. Yes!! Even the best of us and their top five publishing companies are not perfect.

I still cringe when I think of the mistakes I made with my first book, I probably shot myself in the foot at the beginning of a possible career as an author (who am I kidding I’m long past career time, I’m supposed to be retired). You know the kind of mistakes. The CreateSpace cover taken from a bad photograph, my own personal editing, heck I’d been paid in the past to edit a national magazine so of course I could find mistakes in my own work couldn’t I? No. The print was too small, the paper the wrong colour and it was riddled with typos.


However in my rose-coloured cloud I didn’t notice any of these things and I promptly ordered 50 paperback copies. What I was going to do with them all I had no idea, but it felt good and I sat for days gazing fondly at the boxes jammed full of my masterpiece.

Then the axe fell. A kind writer friend pointed out a typo, another mentioned a split infinitive, a third casually dropped that adverbs were last year’s flavour and a total no no in modern literature. I raced to my laptop. Called up the manuscript, made the changes and uploaded again in both kindle and paperback. Panic over. Until, I noticed the 45 copies (by now I’d bullied a couple of friends in buying a few) and wondered what to do with them.

Should I give them away? Sell them cheaply? Shred them?

From being a delight to behold, they sat accusingly in their boxes in the spare room.

“We are defective,” they screamed at me every time I walked past. “We cost you a lot of money!” They whined as I tried to ignore them.

“What are you going to do with us?” They wanted to know.

Eventually, as the tally of errors piled up, the corrections made and a new cover, then another new cover and then another one graced the book I bit the bullet and destroyed the lot. Now I finally have this.

Featured Image -- 5978

But that was not the end. Just as I breathed a sigh of relief, I noticed that every other author had matching covers on their series. I looked at Amie books one and two and no they had completely different covers, nothing to tell you they belonged together. I adored the covers, they were brilliant, but they didn’t tell the story inside.

Another, bitter, learning curve.

So back to the drawing board and now they make a set –

but yes, you’ve guessed it, I have several copies of the old versions on the shelves.  Should I give them away? Sell them cheaply? Shred them?

You see if I inflict them on people as Christmas or birthday presents they may be less than impressed and not look for my other books. Most times I’ve grabbed the new version out of the back of the car when someone has asked if I have any handy to sell. (You don’t carry your books around with you all the time? No? What about the bookmarks and the business cards and the inscribed pens?) Personally people are probably horrified when I squeak “Yes, I have all of them. Which one would you like?” The someone was probably expecting the conversation to go –

“Sorry, I have a few at home though.”

“Oh, what a shame, maybe next time?”

“Yes of course.” It was Christmas 2014 when we last bumped into each other wasn’t it?

But oh no, I’m prepared, and I whip open the boot/trunk of the car. But then my hand hovers over the old covers, do I, do I not?

“I must order more Amie 1 paperbacks I mention casually to DH over breakfast.”

“Whatever for? You have a shelf full of them.”

“But those are the old covers, and could you just redo the ones that have awards now?”

He gives me that ‘look’.

So what do you do with early editions?


I am thrilled to announce that the first book in the Amie series is now available in audio – so now there is no excuse for busy people not to read all about her adventures as you travel to work, go running, cook the evening meal and do the laundry etc. I believe it’s free if you sign up for audio books.



Till next week, take care.

19 thoughts on “OLD AND USELESS BOOKS

  1. Give them as special gifts! First editions are precious, you know 😉 Alternatively, sell them as signed first edition copies. I love Amie 1 & 2’s original covers…can I buy them? Signed of course 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent newsletter/blog Lucinda, really good darling. Love it, well done, and such a good subject too. What TF does one do with the old books. I never  had the courage to order more than 8 I don’t think.

    Very good.

    Back to A4 very soon,


    From: lucinda E Clarke Reply-To: lucinda E Clarke Date: Monday, 5 June 2017 at 19:02 To: Gabi Plumm Subject: [New post] OLD AND USELESS BOOKS

    Lucinda E Clarke posted: “I was reading a book the other day – yes really, I do read, I’m a voracious reader, in bed, the smallest room, during meals if I can get away with it, while not watching the television, you get the picture. But I gave DH (Dear husband) quite a fright when”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now I only them in batches of 8 otherwise I have to pay an extra tax on them to the DHL man at the door. The very first lot of WoE I irdered, they kept one box back at customs until they had vetted them. Rethinking scheduling right now, as if I can’t get Amie 4 out by mid July, I shall have to wait until September.


  3. I leave them in informal book swap places e.g. in Sainsbury they have a shelf where you can donate old books and other people can pick them up. I leave copies of my old ones like The Sausage Man there, then when they’ve gone, a week or two later, I leave another one. Some of those early ones are riddled with typos but I figure people picking up paperbacks from there won’t go on Amazon to review.

    Most holiday places have these too for people to leave finished paperbacks they’ve read by the swimming pool. There’s a couple of old dog eared copies of Global Cooling with the original bad cover floating about in the Canary Islands somewhere!


    • That’s a good idea Jason, but I was little nervous about those original books and did shred them as I was worried people would find the 15 typos on the first page and never buy anything from me ever again!


  4. I was at a book festival recently and we were giving away old paperbacks and old editions for each new book people bought and they were very pleased (to the point where some people only bought a book to be able to choose one of the other ones). I wonder if that might be an option. YOu can always explain you’ve published a new edition since. Or offer them to other writers to give with theirs as a bonus…

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a good idea Olga, except in Spain there are no English language book sales / festivals near us. What we do have are dozens of charity shops and book stalls in the markets selling second hand paperbacks at 25 cents each by the top authors. People walk away with handfulls of them 😦


  5. I never knew there were old and useless books. Nothing wrong with selling the old covers until they are all gone–Sometimes I buy a book and get into it only to realize they changed the cover and I already read it

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I am sure all author can identify with the errors that you discover AFTER you have the book printed. My mistake was I spelt Feilding wrong. I spelt it Fielding in the book. It was a town nearby so had to be changed. I cringe. Another great post, Lucinda. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you Julie. I never publish before I have got a proof paperback copy, use a ruler, go down each page with a finger under each word, read it aloud like a first grade kid. I swear those %^%%^^& typos breed on the way through to the Zon!!


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