A NEW book by one of Wigan’s more colourful yet controversial characters has received national critical acclaim.
Stand-up comic Jimmy O’Neill, better known by the stage name Jimmy O, has had an eventful life.
His career in front of the microphone has had its ups and downs and that is reflected in his private life.
It’s one which he has been keen to document and has now released an autobiography called A Fool’s Errand: Volume One.
It’s a project which Jimmy took up a while ago but is now ready to go and was released as an e-book at the end of last week.
“For years I’ve thought about writing, since my early 20s,” said the Ince funnyman.
“But at that stage I had nothing to write about other than going to the shop or going to a den.
“In 2010, all my comedy ground to a halt and I was in a really dark place. In the winter I locked myself away writing furiously, it was the first time I had written to such a great extent.
“Some days I would do 2,000 words and others I’d go on a mission and do about 5,000. I found it really cathartic and I had the basis of what I have now.
“I carried on writing it in between dark depressions until February 2011. Unfortunately my mum took ill then and then she passed away.
“Everything just ground to a halt and I was grieving and putting a new perspective on my life and the book was shelved.”
He recently stumbled across his previously unfinished work and decided to get it going again though.
Upon completion, Jimmy wanted expert advice on what to do and how to get it released, so he contacted respected journalist and author Jonathan Margolis who gave him some sage advice as well as a glowing review.
“I sent it to him and his reply was polite but blunt,” said Jimmy.
“He told me that I wouldn’t make any money writing it because I’m not famous. It doesn’t matter on the content, it’s the bankability.
“He told me it was really good and it sparked my own belief, he took it around a few agents who said it was great but I just wasn’t a bankable name. I was advised to put it out as an eBook in parts.”
Jonathan, who has written for The Guardian, Daily Mail and Financial Times, said: “I actually read it while away in New York.
“I was transported by it. It was very rough at the edges. He’s not a massively schooled guy so it wasn’t perfect, but that was part of its charm.
“It was funny and honest, I got in touch and said it was poignant stuff and there could be a market for it.
“I showed it to my family who were as entranced as I and it was my son-in-law who came up with the idea of splitting into parts and selling it as an eBook.”
It was a piece of guidance that Jimmy followed and the first part is now available to download.
In its first week of sales, it has already soared up the Amazon book chart and every review it has received so far has been five star.
One comment included “The author is writing for you; he wants to share his memories with you – he’s taking you on a journey through his life and it’s often hilarious.”
He says he hasn’t held back throughout and wanted to be as down the line as possible.
“It’s the story of my life, warts and all,” he added.
“I know I’m a controversial figure and the book is just a story of a lad from Ince who does all sorts of things and ends up on a reality TV show.
“It starts with me as a baby and about growing up, my many careers and my stand-up comedy years.
“I’ve called it ‘volume one’ because your life is ongoing as you don’t know what is around the corner.
“It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve done and I’ve put more into this than anything else.
“I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s just been a great relief.
“It’s a new challenge, I’ll always do comedy, but this is just something different. life is about trying your hand at new things.”
The book is available for download for Kindle on Amazon.
For people who don’t own a kindle, a special app for smartphones can be downloaded for free by clicking here