My song today is ‘The Story of My Life'. This song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was published in 1957. The song was a hit for the American country music western singer, Marty Robbins, which peaked at Number 1 in US Country Chart for four weeks and reached Number 15 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ and Number 2 on the ‘Australian Singles Chart.’ In the UK, a cover version by Michael Holliday reached the Number 1 spot in February 1958. In 1958, three versions of "The Story of My Life" were released in the UK. The song was also covered by Alma Cogan: Gary Miller: Connie Francis: Billy J.Kramer: Jim Reeves: Don Williams.
Since I had my first book published at the age of 48 years in 1990, I have written and had published a total of sixty-four novels. My moderate success as an author has enabled me to raise a considerable amount of money for charitable causes, as I have always allowed all profits from the sales of my books to be given to charity (Over £200,000 given to charity from total book profits between 1990-2003). Writing has also enabled me to raise greater awareness in our schools, homes, and communities abo topics that create too many problems daily for society at large which militate against the good health of the populace, social cohesion, and individual happiness. Writing also enabled me to meet hundreds of national and international famous names and faces between 1990-2002 (over 840)). These famous names agreed to read from one of my books in over 2.000 school assemblies held in Yorkshire schools, libraries, and occasionally in other parts of the country.
The reason I received such favourable responses from such famous people is because my work was personally endorsed by the late Princess Diane who asked me to send her two of my children’s books to read to her sons at their bedtimes when Princes William and Harry were aged 9 years and 7 years, respectively. Then, Nelson Mandela personally phoned me at my home to congratulate me on three of my children’s books he had read. Mandela’s praise of my writing was publicised on News 24. Then, the late Chief of Ofstead in Great Britain (all British Schools), Chris Woodhouse, read one of my books in a West Yorkshire school in Liversedge, and later described my work in an interview with the Guardian as being ‘high-quality literature’. That book of mine had been published after the late Dame Catherine Cookson (famous author of Durham county in Northern England had read some of my stories about a girl called ‘Annie’ and offered to personally pay for the first limited publication of the book as a wedding anniversary present from herself and her husband, Tom.
I also had personal endorsements from two English prime ministers, their wives and one Irish president, and the Jamaican Minister of Education and Culture. Along with over two thousand press articles, newspaper cuttings, media mentions, television and radio interviews, and daily photographs of some famous person reading from one of my books in Yorkshire schools over a twelve-year period, it would have been virtually impossible for me not to have had my books and articles about them, about me, and about their famous readers a surfeit of regular press and media coverage, the kind of which no amount of money could ever have bought.
The reason my books sold in large numbers in West Yorkshire is that they were ‘exclusive’ and the public demand for them exceeded their supply and purchase access. My books had never been written to be sold in large numbers. They were not written to publicise my name but to widely publicise my messages to society at large and young school children in general. As the founder of ‘Anger Management’ during the early 1970s (a method of working with aggressive people who could not control their aggressive and violent behaviour), and as one of the country’s leading authority in Relaxation Training Methods, my two most popular story themes were selling out in Yorkshire schools faster than we were able to get them physically printed. These most popular of all my books for school children contained relaxation training and anger management advice in the storylines, sold in their tens of thousands every print run we could manage over the decade of my prominence.
I have always considered myself less of a writer and more of a social crusader masquerading as an author. We could have sold ten times as many copies of any book I ever wrote had I so wished, but I was more interested in raising awareness of certain issues and themes that I considered essential to promoting the health and well-being of little children’s daily lives. I wanted to write several books in any given year and to be able to focus in school assemblies upon several themes each year. I would write books about these story themes and promote the stories and books in school settings only (my only selling source) and in the community at large to the children’s parents. To assist me in this charitable and social venture, over 800 national and international celebrities agreed to help me at no charge. For every school day daily over 13 years, somewhere in a Yorkshire school or library, some famous person of national or international fame would be reading from one of my books to school children aged between 5-15 years. Also, hundreds of community workers would give me their time and efforts to arrange certain cultural/charitable/community awareness events between 1990-2003.
So, you see, I was the frontman of a large charitable and cultural enterprise that had been conceived, created, put in place, and was administered by me largely over 13 years. The press may have portrayed me as being a one-man band but let me assure you that I had hundreds of people constantly supporting me throughout, and without, I could not have achieved one-tenth of what I did achieve. Schools would pre-order my books before I had even written them, and I would cover around one dozen popular themes in the children’s books that teachers knew to be beneficial to their pupil's lives and overall behaviour. Such themes included: separation: bereavement: bullying: aggression: anger: love: racism: sexism: discrimination: environmentalism: jealousy: greed, relaxation, etc.
By restricting the print run of every book I wrote and had published to half of the demand, and making them purchasable in Yorkshire schools only, I was effectively making my books an exclusive item that the public wanted more. Tell the public that you are an author whose books cannot be bought by the general public outside Yorkshire schools, and they want to buy your books more. Their inaccessibility makes them more desirable to own, and it was not unknown for second-hand copies of my books to sell on E-bay for more than the original purchase cost. By limiting their print run to 5,000 each book (a figure that was always less than half their demand), I was making my work ‘exclusive’ and hard to come by. By producing less than any tangible annual demand, I was in fact creating a demand that may or may not have otherwise existed. I was able to establish a one-man band which I organised for thirteen years in addition to being a full-time Probation Officer during the day and a Community Relaxation Trainer and Anger Manager worker at the weekends.
Since I developed several cancers since early 2013 (two of them terminal), I have provided daily advice to people of ill-health and with cancer conditions of their own on my Facebook page. Having spent a lot of my life helping people to live happier and healthier lives during the first half of my working life, I have spent the past eight years helping people to die more peaceably and happier than they otherwise might have.
My own website which I have created over the past decade, essentially tells a lot of the story about my own life, my beliefs, and the many wonderful and mysterious experiences I have so far encountered. Without the slightest doubt, however, the most important bit of the story of my life has only come about since I met my wife, Sheila in 2010 in Haworth.
Love and peace Bill xxx