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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Guest Blogger Matthew Horn and The Good Fight


MATTHEW HORN is an aficionado of fiction. Spending his life reading authors such as Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, and C.S. Lewis, Matthew has gained an appreciation for a good story. His first book, Heroism, written in 2009, is the compilation of ideas that have been building since childhood. Since then, he has developed many different stories and plans to continue his writing as more than just a hobby.

Matthew, 30, graduated from Rochester High School in 1998 and from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management in 2002. He is currently the Chief Financial Officer for Modern Materials, Inc. in Rochester Indiana. He is married and likes to spend his free time writing and learning about the publishing industry. “As a new author, you probably spend more time learning the industry than you do writing.” Matthew’s second book, The Good Fight was published in March 2011. It is his first published work. “You always want to write from the heart,” he says from his home office in late October, 2010, “but it takes a special book to be from the heart and still reach out and make people want to read it.”

If you want to contact Matthew, please email him through his web site. You can follow Matthew on Facebook and Twitter.

by Matthew Horn
Published by Brighton Publishing


Jeffery Scott had always made it on his own. Unwanted by his family, Jeff spent his childhood being shuffled from family members to orphanages before finally ending up alone, homeless, and on the street. One night, in a dark, cold alley behind a local restaurant, Jeff’s life was saved by a dark suited, masked vigilante whose true identity was unknown to him.

Sixteen years later, he crosses paths once again with the dark suited stranger. This time, it is Jeff who saves the vigilante’s life. And this time he discovers the masked man’s identity. Jeff learns to understand the quest of good versus evil and becomes the protégé of the masked hero. Ultimately, he arrives at a crossroad where he must decide whether the quest itself is good or evil. Jeff’s inner struggles ultimately draw the line between what he wants to do and what he must do.

His decisions not only affect those he cares about, but they alter and shape the course of his young life. Through the mask of the vigilante, Jeff finds the courage and determination he needs to get an education, change his life and become the person even his own family believed he could never be.

Readers, buy your copy of The Good Fight today!


The Two-Sided Life of a Fiction Writer
By Matthew R. Horn, author of The Good Fight

The gorilla in the room for any new writer is that if they want to sell even one copy of their book, then they must do the selling on their own. Rarely, if ever, are new writers free to simply write. They must spend a portion of their time writing and the rest of their time building their platform.

A platform is like a fingerprint. It’s different for every writer, and every writer goes through the learning process of what their platform means to them. Will you have a larger presence in social media or in person? If you choose social media, what venues will you choose, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, Shelfari, Anobii, Bebo, Flickr, etc.? Those are only a few of the options.

If you choose the real world to have a larger presence in, will you do a lot of book signings, appearances, and talks? Some authors may even try to do it all, but of course this leaves zero time to continue doing what all writers actually want to be doing, writing.

An author has to find a true balance between doing what he/she loves and doing what he/she must. This is where the fingerprint comes in. I find that some social media sites are simply more “my style” than others. For example, Twitter and its 140 character entries are simpler and less time consuming. I love that I can post 2-3 sentences and get out. I find with other sites that I tend to linger and wonder if what I’m writing is too long or should be changed.

Goodreads and LinkedIn are wonderful for making connections by getting into groups and talking about topics that we all have in common. I’ve met lots of wonderful people by getting into groups like these and the connections are invaluable. However, once I’ve joined 3 or 4 groups per site it can get tough to follow them all. It requires time, time I would rather spend writing.

The toughest question any author faces is what to do and how much of it? How is it possible to sell a lot of books while not risking your day job because of the hours and still finding time to write? Frankly, there is no good answer.

This elusive platform that I’ve been searching for has only recently started to show itself and I’ve been working at if for a year. How do I get more followers, friends, likes, etc.? It’s a mess, but I can share one thing that has significantly changed my perception and tactics.

In October 2010 when Brighton Publishing signed me to publish The Good Fight they told me that authors make terrible salesman. I didn’t believe them. The proof that they were right is that I have only just discovered that there is software that exists that can allow you to manage several social media sites from one page. Many of you probably knew about this long before I did. However, finding it has helped me immensely. However, what it truly taught me was to see the value of where I was putting my time. A salesman can’t afford to waste time on targets that don’t offer some type of encouraging response. I have a horrible time trying to inject The Good Fight into conversations with people for fear that they’ll feel it was the only reason I spoke with them in the first place. I have a horrible time hearing that someone isn’t interested in reading my book. As a result, I either don’t talk to people at all or I talk to them for long periods of time and never get a word in about being an author.

Once I discovered this software, I sat down with my wife to show her how neat it was. She has worked in sales since 2008 bringing half-million dollar accounts to our small family business. She pointed out to me my obvious failures. After my horrible initial reaction, I actually started to listen to her.

“You need to engage them, but don’t waste so much time on someone who has already told you that their not interested,” she said after looking at some of my Twitter conversations. “You need to move on to the next target, and quit chatting with everyone so much. Once they start talking with you, let them know you’re an author. Ask them if they want to read your book.”

“But won’t they be insulted?” I asked. “Won’t they be frustrated that I’m only talking to them to see if they’ll buy my book?”

“Why would they be? You’re selling your book. If they aren’t interested, then move on. There are something like 50 million people on Twitter. You’ve got your work cut out for you anyway if you’re going to try and get to all of them.”

Listening to my wife and remembering the words of my publisher seemed to create a new vision for me. I started to be able to see what on earth a platform was to me. I needed more confidence, a thicker skin, and some nifty software to help me manage it all. Since then I may have sold only 5 more books than normal, but its 5 books that I earned and my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. groups are actually growing in numbers.

I’m still a new author and as such I cannot look back over a full career and tell everyone how to sell a lot of books. However, the advice that I can give is that you have to turn yourself into a salesman. Maybe none of us can do it by simply hearing the words. Maybe I don’t even know what it means yet. I’m not selling as many books as John Grisham, but maybe I’m on my way. Either way, I think all authors would do very well to quit worrying so much about what one person thinks about us or our work. Ask people if they want to buy a copy and if they say no, simply move on to the next. As my wife would say, “With billions of potential customers out there, it’s silly to care so much about what one thinks.”

* * * * *

Thank you, Matthew, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: How would you describe your platform?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free eBook copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.


Unknown said...

I would like to thank Tiffany for allowing me to take part in her site. It's quite an honor.

Cheryl said...

Great post, Matthew. Selling yourself or your work is never easy.

I'm still honing my platform. I have a faith-filled journeys for kids brand that has one book and one that is in the process of being written. I rely on social media a great deal to spread the word, but I also spend time in our schools giving workshops. We don't have any independent bookstores in town, so local newspaper interviews and attending some church events is what I've used to spread the word around here.

Wishing you the best,



Unknown said...

I live in a small town so I don't have access to any independent book stores either. In fact, I don't have access to a whole lot of things. As a result I depend heavily on social media as well. For me, software has been of the greatest importance. Thanks for taking the time to comment on the article.


Mary L. Ball said...

Love the interview. As a new author myself learning to be a salesperson has been daunting, but it's a must!
I am still wrestling with my platform. It's a bit of social and person. I have found that I'm definitely not a good blogger. I hope that's not the kiss of death for me.
Mary L. Ball
Inspirational Author
"Escape to Big Fork Lake."

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Mary, no worries. Not blogging isn't a kiss of death for you in terms of marketing. There is a wide variety of options out there. The key is to find what works best for you and stick with it. Once you pick what works, be consistent, so your followers will know they can depend on you. It's good that you know now you're not a good blogger. You can check that off your list. :)