Did My Blog Really Just Go 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:

FINALI 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.

THIMBLERIG’S ARK

You already know about Noah.  Just wait until you read the animal’s story.

cropped-thimblerigs-arc_1-1-copy.jpgThimblerig’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!
Nate

 

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13 thoughts on “Did My Blog Really Just Go Viral?

  1. God really spoke through your post, I believe. It was something that all of us who follow Christ need to hear. It was especially interesting for me, as I am a Christian who wants to be a filmmaker when I grow up. It was a great read for me. Praise God, both for giving you the words to write the article and for Him using Facebook to lead me to the article! I’ll also be checking out your book as well, it sounds really unique and fun!

    • Hi Dan,

      I think you nailed it. Something like this couldn’t be planned, or scheduled. And I think God does this sort of thing all the time – we’re following him, we speak from our heart, and he uses our words in ways we can’t imagine. Makes me think of Ephesians 3:20.

      And as you are setting off on your own journey as a filmmaker, just hold tightly to Him. I’m working on a new post that will talk about this.

      Thanks for the encouragement and the comment!
      Blessings,
      Nate

  2. You said what a lot of people were thinking but perhaps were reluctant to say, in light of the film’s enormous popularity. I made a few grumbling comments on fb about it yesterday and was promptly shot down.. lol. So thanks for elucidating the reasons I didn’t jump up and down about it. In fact I think I may have said, “I wouldn’t cross the street to see it for free.” But that was sour grapes over the previous Courageous/Giants/Fireproof debacles.

    • Hi Sarah,

      I appreciate the comment. I do want to say again that I wasn’t criticizing God’s Not Dead (which I haven’t seen), more the process and the Christian subculture’s audience expectations.

      What I would criticize is that you were “shot down” when you expressing your own thoughts on the film. Are we somehow sinning if we don’t like all art made by fellow Christians? We’re not permitted to say that we think something stinks, if we think it stinks? That kind of groupthink really bugs me.

      I’m guessing that there will be plenty of people who think my book stinks, and while that might bum me out, it’s a part of artistic expression, and not everything is for everyone.

      Thanks for your comment!
      Blessings,
      Nate

  3. 40,000 not bad.

    Congratulations.

    But, would the powers of WP have selected your post had you been negative about Hollywood and positive about the Church?

    Wayne
    Luvsiesous.com

  4. Reblogged this on luvsiesous and commented:
    Friends,

    Here is the power of control that the people at WordPress exercise over all of US.

    And when I pointed out their obvious use of power, they locked my account for almost a year.

    From 50 to 40,000 views in one day, and probably his followers were doubled, if not even more. Why? Because the godlike reviewers at Word Press decided he was not too Christian, enough to make them look like they supported fairness in Religion. But, not enough to make them uncomfortable with that Jesus thing.

    It would be nice if Jesus was not an offensive story to be told. Then we could have 20 Christian bloggers each day on the Freshly Pressed hall of fame.

    Instead, the list is full of profanity, anti-Christian literature, and occasionally a decent Christian is thrown a compliment.

    I wish the world was better than this. Don’t you?

    Wayne
    Luvsiesous.com

    • @luvsiesous – Haters gonna hate.

      WordPress is a business. They promote content that will, in the end, promote their platform. This article was promoted because it was already gaining traction and came across their radar.

      I appreciate that, in America (where WP is located), our freedoms allow us to do what we want for the most part. WP is allowed to promote what it wants, and they know the qualities of a “viral” post.

      If you were locked out of your WP account, I would assume that you were posting things antithetical to their platform.

      Be happy for Nate and support his efforts rather than point out how little content on the internet is good quality and decent. If you’d like a platform that promoted only what you promoted, you can create it!

      @Nate – Kudos! I very much agreed with your viral blog post, and wish you all the best for Thimblerig’s Ark!

  5. I can very much relate to you…I wrote a simple blog post for my family and a few stragglers who happened upon my words. Next thing I know I have 10s of thousands f views and more Twitter retweets than I can count. Overwhelming by far. Congratulations on your success!

    Anyway, I stopped by your blog because, as a liberal Christian, your blog title grabbed at me. You were able to take my feelings on the Christian film industry and put them to words. I think you hit the nail on the head.

    As I read your posts, your book captured me. I want to read it. I have it bookmarked so that when I have extra resources I can buy it.

    My question is, would you recommend it for a precocious 12 year old? He has already read To Kill a Mockingbird, Dracula, the original Three Musketeers (not the abridged children’s novel), Sherlock Holmes, all the Narnias etc, etc.

    • Hi! I’m glad you found the blog, and it’s glad to “meet” someone else who had this happen to them! There should a support group to help us know what to do next, because I’m definitely making it up as I go along.

      Regarding your 12 year old, I hope he would enjoy it, because that’s the age I aimed it for. My son – a voracious reader – read it when he was twelve, and he enjoyed it. Of course, he is a bit biased in that his old man wrote it, but anyway….

      And the book is free today and maybe tomorrow (still figuring out Amazon), so go and grab it! If you don’t mind letting me know what your son thought, too, that would be really helpful.

      Blessings!
      Nate

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