Normally I'd profile an author, and then write about his book. Last week, I did it backwards because I learned on Facebook that Travis Erwin, busy working on a video, was obviously not available for an interview. That done (classification: work), he produced another video about a week later. Classification? Well, .... It is funny, and you can view it through Facebook.
And his book, The Feedstore Chronicles? You can still buy it. Launched just over three months ago, Dee Burks of Tag Publishing told me it's already turning a profit. That's quite a feat for an almost unknown author whose slightly fictionalized memoir is published by a small press located in the Texas Panhandle.
Dee credits the book's success to Travis' outstanding promotional activities. The wall-to-wall people at his signing party could certainly attest to that. But it takes more than promotion to motivate people to attend an event. And it takes more than being a really nice person (which he is) to sell multiple copies of a book. Travis Erwin writes with style.
It began when he was a youngster. A single parent, with limited budget, his mother took her sons to the library. "It was our recreation," said Travis, and they'd take home armloads of books to read. With all those stories providing models, he learned to entertain his friends with tales of his own. Logic tells you they were funny, because he became known as the story teller among his friends, and when hanging out, they pushed him for more.
More... nurtured by reading the works of acclaimed humorists such as Christopher Moore and Carl Hiasson, and prompted by his ability to find humor in everyday situations, Travis pours out more. Find it on his blog, One Word, One Rung, One Day, his web page, Traviserwin.com, and a number of sites the blog and website are linked to.
Marketing anecdotes could fill another book, said Travis. Dee Burks pestered Travis for publishing rights to the coming-of-age stories he had strung into a book. He finally agreed after New York houses turned it down as too regional. Won't it be fun to see The Chronicles go into a second printing? What would the big city folks think if they knew the book is selling throughout United States, plus New Zealand and Canada. The Chronicles even placed first on one of Canada's best- seller lists for a day. Not bad, when much of Canada has never heard of the Texas Panhandle.
And it's ironic how big business can't think regional, so they send work off to China. Kudos to Tag Publishing for producing an American made product. A United States artist (88 years old) designed the cover and a company in Tennessee printed the book..
What's next for Travis? The Chronicles is no flash in the pan. He has works in progress. In an interview with blogger Wendy Russ last June, Travis said "... my wife and boys inspire me. They believe I can do the impossible so I keep battling along trying to prove them right."
(c) 2012 Bernice W. Simpson