amazon, author, christian filmmaking, ebook, groundhog, juvenile fiction, kindle, literary agent, middle grade, nate fleming, noah, noah's ark, publishing, self publishing, thimblerig, thimblerig's ark, unicorn, viral
My mouth is continually hanging wide open. This blog typically averages about 25 hits a day. And in the past twenty four hours, I’ve gotten over 40,000 visits. All because of my innocently posted article, “What’s Wrong with Christian Filmmaking?“. My mind has officially been blown wide open by all the people who have come here and read my words.
I want to use this mind-blown opportunity to set aside the topic that interested so many people – just for a moment – and testify to the goodness of God.
It’s kind of long, for which I hope you’ll forgive me, because of the whole mind-blown thing. Here goes:
I finished writing Thimblerig’s Ark in December, and immediately started trying to find literary representation. At the same time, I was planning on leaving my teaching job in China to return with my family to the U.S. after fifteen years living overseas, to fulfill my dream of teaching theater in a small Christian university.
Get the picture? At the same time I was submitting Thimblerig’s Ark to literary agents, I was also submitting my CV to university hiring committees, and contemplating a major life move for my family of five.
Yes, I’m a glutton for punishment.
If I lived on Bizarro world, I would have been in heaven, because every day held a rejection from either a literary agent or a hiring committee. But I don’t live on Bizarro world, and and so it was just plain depressing. Darned depressing. Absolutely and unequivocally depressing. Rejection from an agent! Rejection from a university! Rejection! Rejection! Rejection! Depressing!
After a few weeks of enduring this, and asking God every day to show me clearly what I needed to do, an attractive transfer option came open to a cleaner and less polluted Chinese city where I would be teaching subjects I would enjoy to high school students, including theater. My wife and I believed that God was in the offer, and so we took it.
Days later, I had a long conversation with Andrew Derham, an author friend who has self-published his crime novels, and that conversation gave me the courage to choose the same route for Thimblerig’s Ark. It wasn’t an easy decision because most authors would certainly prefer the stability and safety of an agent and a publisher to going it on their own, but I felt like it was the correct – and the risky – decision.
With both next year’s job choice and the question of self-publishing behind me, I began to work on getting the word out about Thimblerig’s Ark. I was tweeting, blogging, Facebooking, Goodreading, youtubing; anything I could do to try and get people to notice my little book, but it was like trying to sell a ticket stub at the Super Bowl. Nobody was interested.
The whole enterprise started to become depressing again. But I continued praying, asking God to show me what I needed to do.
And then yesterday, I read Gospelspam’s review of God’s Not Dead and was inspired to sit down and write the article in question. After writing and rewriting until it said what I wanted it to say, I threw it onto Facebook and then promptly forgot about it, thinking I’d get the typical twenty or thirty hits.
Out of nowhere, people began visiting my little blog. It started as a trickle – just a few dozen visits at first, then it became hundreds, then thousands, and over the course of the day I saw that number grow into the tens of thousands.
And just like that, the name “Thimblerig” had gotten exposure like I could have never bought, planned, or imagined.
If that’s not God at work, then what is?
I don’t have a clue what it means, for me or for Thimblerig’s Ark, but I honestly feel like I can’t waste an opportunity that He has given me. Therefore, I ask you to please allow me to end this post with a shameless plug, and I hope it will not drive you away. I’m proud of my book, and I’m so incredibly grateful that God has opened a door that I couldn’t have opened if I had the strength of Samson.
You already know about Noah. Just wait until you read the animal’s story.
Thimblerig’s Ark is Nate’s big debut. Inspired by an Irish pub song about why the unicorn missed out on Noah’s Ark, Thimblerig’s Ark is a Narnian-style fantasy novel that looks at how the animals all made it there in the first place, focusing on a con-artist groundhog named Thimblerig.
If that little blurb sounds like something interesting to you, just click here, and you’ll be whisked away to Amazon, where you can check out the book. I would really appreciate the support, and if you’d help spread the word. Especially with Noah’s Ark on people’s minds right now, thanks to the big epic film.
To conclude, I’m working on a second part to my earlier article, where I unpack some of the issues and thoughts that were raised with the comments many of you left here. I’m humbled and honored by the kind words I’ve read, and especially blown away by the substantial numbers of kindred spirits that are evidenced in these comments.
I look forward to continuing the conversation.
Sola Dei Gloria!