Inman Porter gives gift of laughter with Little Bo
Inman Porter gives gift of laughter with Little Bo
Little Bo is Dublin native’s first work as children’s author
By CLAY REYNOLDS
The Courier Herald
September 3, 2016
Growing up as the youngest of four brothers taught Inman Porter early on the importance of being able to laugh at himself.
The baby of the family – and as fate would have it the youngest in a pair of twins by just a few minutes – he was inevitably the most picked-on of the four children. So for him, learning to enjoy occasionally being made fun of in some way by his three older brothers was simply part of growing up.
“I learned not to take myself too seriously,” Porter said. “I kind of saw that growing up with other kids that didn’t have that background and weren’t able to laugh at themselves.”
The message that “Laughter is a gift” is one he hopes to impart through his recently-released children’s book, Little Bo.
The story introduces a young clown, Little Bo, who grows up in the circus but doesn’t enjoy being laughed at. Convinced he’s not cut out to be a clown for that reason, Bo tries to find a different job, and in the process learns to let others’ laughter elevate his self-esteem rather than bring it down.
“I would see kids allow themselves to be bullied and picked on,” Porter said of the friends and classmates growing up whose struggles his main character represents.
The lesson his family taught him – also one that Little Bo learns from his father in the story – is this: “When people are laughing at you, you need to laugh with them.”
Currently a businessman and entrepreneur living in New York, Porter wrote the book on the recommendation of friend, mentor, fellow-author and Georgia native Kabir Sehgal.
He published the book earlier this year through CreateSpace Independent Publishing, a subsidiary of Amazon. Its illustrations were done by Iwan Darmawan – a freelance artist based in Indonesia whom he connected with online.
“It’s just amazing about this globalized wold we live in,” Porter said. “I interviewed and reached out to about 50 different artists using freelancer sites. I would review their work and say, ‘Hey can you draw a few scenes from the book?’ And when he submitted his drawings it was a no-brainer.'”
Putting the book together was a project Porter took on during his spare time. Though the story is a short one, turning it from a concept into finished product wasn’t a process that took place overnight.
“It’s a very short book,” he said. “It’s 34 pages, but it probably took about 3-4 years to make, write, format and get illustrations.”
Porter plans to turn the character into a series he’ll call The Adventures of Little Bo, and is already in the process of writing a sequel that he hopes can be published sometime within the next year. Darmawan has already signed on as illustrator of the second book, which will more than likely be followed by a third. Whether to continue with the franchise after that point will largely depend on the books’ reception.
Thus far, the feedback has been exceedingly positive.
“It’s been a success,” Porter said. “I could turn it into a Berenstein Bears and just keep writing as many as I can, but for the foreseeable future, it will definitely be a trilogy.”
He’s currently working to have a hard cover edition of the book printed to go with its initial paperback run, which will soon be available for purchase in a number of bookstores around Dublin and middle Georgia.
Currently, the place to buy a print or digital copy is online via Amazon, CreateSpace and the Kindle store, as well as the online headquarters for Little Bo and the SupPorter the kids foundation at littlebo.com.
Based in New York City, he works by day as a relationship manager for a publicly-traded real estate investment trust. On the side, he’s in the early stages of creating and launching the SupPorter app, a homemade fundraising platform for political campaigns and nonprofit organizations.
Both the app and new book have led to creation of the SupPorter foundation, which is in the process of seeking nonprofit status.
“Since the SupPorter app is the business of nonprofits, it kind of made sense to make a sister company that was a charitable arm,” Porter said. “We hope to do a few things like Little Bo and make them different arms of the SupPorter Foundation that will support different causes and charities. The first is ‘SupPorter the Kids.’ It’s a charity we’re working in with Little Bo and in future iterations of Little Bo that will go to part of the charity. It’s mainly to provide assistance to underprivileged children and fight bullying.”
In the future, he plans for the charity to branch out and support other causes, such as the military and the fight against cancer.
“It will be kind of a general purpose charity for all things giving,” he said. “We want to create a real force for good and just kind of give back a little bit ourselves.”
Since he’s not the most artistic of his four brothers, writing a children’s book wasn’t something Porter envisioned until he decided to do it. The creative venture has been a welcome getaway from his everyday work.
“It was a good creative process,” Porter said. “I was always the more analytical one in the family. My brothers are much more artistic than me. They all have that right-brain mentality. It was good to kind of dive into a form of art that I wasn’t used to. I didn’t do a lot of writing and illustrating in college. I went into finance. But it was kind of a great, healthy hobby. It was something to do outside of my day job that was kind of fulfilling.
Inman Porter wrote Little Bo
Little Bo, released this summer, is the first in a series of children’s books that Porter plans to make into a trilogy.
A Dublin native, Porter now lives in New York City, where he works as a relationship manager for a publicly-trade real estate investment trust.