Jimmy Barnes memoir hits No.1
REVERED rocker Jimmy Barnes has confirmed he is now one of Australia's most successful authors with his Working Class Man memoir debuting at No. 1 this week.
Appropriately enough for a man who has just knocked mystery king Dan Brown off the top slot, the legendary singer will turn his hand to fiction writing next year, possibly penning a horror novel.
He said some of the more painful memories of his life which didn't make his first memoir Working Class Boy or its sequel, could be told in fiction.
"I've got a few ideas I am playing around with and a horror story is one, loosely based on our lives, my childhood, as a starting place," he said.
"I have enjoyed the process but writing the books has been quite painful and this could be a good way of letting go some of that pain.
"I couldn't write about some of the things that happened to me because it was too hard but within the confines of fiction, it might be a good thing to attempt once I finish the tour next year."
Working Class Man's first week sales makes the second instalment of his autobiography one of the biggest selling memoirs in Australia in the past six years, up against traditional bestsellers from sports stars and prime ministers.
His publisher Harper Collins has now extended the hardcover print run to a phenomenal 160,000 copies.
Harper Collins CEO James Kellow revealed the good news yesterday, saying: "Based on combined print and digital sales, more than 20,000 readers have bought a copy of Working Class Man this week. We believe this makes Jimmy's book the biggest debut of any autobiography in the Australian market."
It replaces US author Dan Brown's Origin as No1 one new book in the overall market as measured by Neilsen Bookscan.
The first instalment of the Barnes story Working Class Boy, which detailed a harrowing childhood punctuated by family violence and poverty, has also re-entered the bestseller charts this week.
His latest book, which focuses on his years with Cold Chisel, launching his solo career and starting a family, also made a shocking revelation about his struggles to confront his childhood trauma.
Barnes revealed he hit rock bottom five years ago after decades of alcohol and substance abuse and attempted suicide in an Auckland hotel room before deciding to deal with his past.
His raw honesty and natural flair for storytelling has not only helped him to heal but deeply resonated with thousands of Australians whose lives have been shattered by suicide or substance abuse.
He has met thousands of those people in the past week on his book tour, signing a massive 30,000 copies which has given him repetitive strain injury.
Hearing the shared experiences of his fans at the instore signings has overwhelmed him.
"I've had a lot of blokes thanking me for talking about this, a lot of young women and mothers who have lost husbands, fathers and sons to suicide and it has been emotional, very moving to hear their stories," he said.
"At the same time, there are a lot of music fans, people who want to read about Cold Chisel."
Seven confirmed last week they will screen the Working Class Boy documentary next year, to be directed by award-winning filmmaker Mark Joffe.
Barnes said he has been regularly approached about giving his blessing to a film or television adaptation of his life but had feared a "sensationalised" version and knocked back pitch after pitch.
"Jane and I thought if there was going to be anything at all, we would prefer it be factual, to be real. Mark Joffe is a close friend of ours so we knew we would have a say in the quality of it," he said.
The first week success of Working Class Man places Barnes among sports stars including Darren Lockyer and Jim Stynes and former prime minister Julia Gillard as the biggest selling biographers in Australia.
"If I had played cricket and football as well as rock'n'roll, it would be all over folks," he joked.
"I think the important thing about the books is I wrote them myself, I write the way I speak and I tried not to be too high falutin; with it.
"I knew when a few pages were crap and I would start again."
The next chapter for Barnes will be the Working Class Man: An Evening Of Stories and Songs tour, with 35 shows already announced from March.