Author shares shock as vendors cash Sophie Lancaster’s book


A former editor shared her shock at attempts by online sellers to ‘cash in’ a book she wrote after a Coronation Street screenplay spurred its popularity.

Catherine Smyth, who once ran the Rossendale Free Press office, has discovered people trying to sell her book Weirdo Mosher Freak for over £ 250 online.

The book, which Catherine wrote after being fired by Free Press in 2009, deals with the murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007 in an attack motivated by her taste for gothic fashion.

Interest in the book has been rekindled due to a recent screenplay on the ITV soap opera which is inspired by the story of Ms. Lancaster.

Since the script publicity, Catherine has personally sold 120 copies of the 2010 book and nearly 60 Kindle 2020 editions.

But she told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I sell new personally signed copies of the 2010 book on eBay, Amazon and Facebook Marketplace and the price I sell them has not changed since the scenario.

“However, there are now five Amazon sellers asking for up to £ 257.99 plus postage and packaging for used versions of The Sophie Lancaster Story ‘white cover’.

“Other than an extra chapter, it’s identical to the 2010 book I’m selling for £ 4.50 on eBay. Another online retailer was selling used copies of the 2010 version for £ 30.

“When I worked at Free Press, I was involved in fundraising for the Sophie Lancaster Foundation through the making and selling of ribbons and a group concert at Bacup.

“A key part of Weirdo Mosher Freak’s writing was to raise awareness and fundraise for the foundation and so far £ 2,209 from book sales has been donated to the charity created by [Ms Lancaster’s mother] Sylvie. I would be very surprised if any of these retailers contributed to the association.

The original version of the book, published in 2010, sold over 1,000 copies locally, around 1,700 nationally, and was renamed in 2016 by a true crimes US publisher.

Catherine, 54, said: “I don’t watch Coronation Street, but when I read that the attack on Nina and Seb was going to reflect what happened to Sophie and her boyfriend Robert Maltby in August 2007, I must have watched it.

“I found myself unable to take my eyes off the screen; it brought to life what I had only read in the transcripts and heard in a courtroom.

“While there were some obvious changes to the script, working with Sophie’s mother Sylvia I felt the writers captured the essence of what happened in 2007 and that Nina looked like hauntingly to Sophie on the surface.

“It also sparked renewed interest in the book, as people wanted to know more.”

She added, “I want to thank everyone who bought a copy and at the end of this year another donation will be made from sales.

“One lady even paid £ 50 because she knew that every penny over and above the cost of the book and postage would go straight to the foundation.”


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