Give the gift of the groundhog this Christmas!

Thimblerig's Ark Cover Art

Now it’s a bit cheaper to give the gift of the groundhog for Christmas!

Amazon.com has a special going now through Dec 13. Use the code “25OFFBOOK” at checkout under the “Gift cards & promotional codes” section to receive 25% off Thimblerig’s Ark!

In the interest of full disclosure, this is good for any book, but why would you buy another book when you can get a copy of Thimblerig’s Ark?

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Six Things to do after Downloading a Free Kindle Book

The best thing two things about owning a Kindle (or other e-reader) are (1) that you can carry a ton of books around in a tiny device and (2) so many free books are available.  I purposefully avoided the e-reader experience for years, because I loved the feel of holding a real book in my hands.  However, since I live overseas, I finally took the plunge and I’ve never looked back.

And the multitude of free books you can download on a Kindle!  It’s amazing, and fantastic!  I’ve spent quite a bit of time filling my Kindle with free books.  It’s a brave new world, indeed.

Thimblerig's Ark Cover ArtAnd then last March, I self-published my first novel.  Suddenly, one of those free books out there had my name on it.  And just as suddenly, the books in my Kindle device took on a different meaning.

Now, they weren’t just freebies meant to be downloaded and forgotten, they were dreams put to the page.  Each free book I’d downloaded now represented years of hard work.  Stories that had been taken from idea, to draft, to beta readers, to revision, to hard critiques, to killing the darlings, to more revision, to putting it aside and picking it up three years later, to becoming determined to finish even if it resulted in death, to typing until callouses formed on fingertips, until at last, that final copy emerged.

jpegThis is true of every single free book that you have downloaded, with the possible exception of Baboon Fart Story by Phronk.

And so, I want to make an appeal to you Kindle free ebook downloaders.  These are six things you can do after downloading a free Kindle book if you really want to help the authors who are giving you this free entertainment.

Understand that each step involves a bit more effort and investment on your part, but each will be increasingly appreciated by the author.

1)  Download the book!
It seems pretty obvious, but it needs to be said that if you see a book that looks interesting, go ahead and download it.  Self-published authors really want to see their books climb as high as possible on the Amazon lists, and your solitary download will help that to happen.  So if the book looks interesting to you, go ahead and hit that “buy now” button and get your free book.  That action alone will be doing the author a favor.

2)  Share the free book info with your friends

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 12.27.33 PMA book is only free for a limited time, and so the author is depending on you helping to spread the word in a timely fashion.  After you download, go ahead and share the info with your friends, and water the author’s attempts at grass roots marketing.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, whatever your social media outlet of choice – let folks know that an interesting-looking book is out there for free.  Just use Amazon’s handy share buttons.

3)  Actually read the book!

imgresThis is where it starts to get a bit more complicated.  As I said before, I also have a Kindle full of free books that I may or may not get to, but as we head into the new year, I am making a commitment to actually go through those books and give them a shot.  At some point, they looked like something I might want to read, so I should give them the benefit of the doubt.  Right?  Who knows?  I may discover a great new author!  This happened for me when I downloaded and actually read Marion Harmon’s Wearing the Cape – a great new take on the superhero genre.

4)  Write a review.

For some reason, this seems to be the most difficult step for people.  For example, I’ve given away literally a couple of thousand digital copies of Thimblerig’s Ark since it was first published back in March, and since that time, I’ve had 22 people write reviews.  It’s actually quite simple to write a review, but it might just be one of the most important things you can do for the writer – especially when they are self-published.

Understand, I’m not suggesting that you go all Kirk Cameron on this and inflate the reviews, but if you will actually take a moment and write an honest critique of the story, it will help immensely.  Even if your review is negative, it shows future potential readers that the reviews are honest.

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 12.37.05 PM
And don’t be intimidated by the idea of writing a review, because it doesn’t have to go into great depths.  For example, one of the reviews that Thimblerig’s Ark has received says simply, “Loved it….reminds me of Watership Down almost. Reading it to my son now! Good book to read to a class!”, and that was a great review!

5)  Buy the Book.

I know, I know.  The book was free, you downloaded it, shared it with your friends, read it, and reviewed it.  And now I have the gall to suggest that you drop some of your hard-earned cash on a book you’ve read?  As I said before, this is a list that involves increasing commitment.  As a writer, I am very happy when someone reads and reviews my book.  However, several friends told me that they could easily drop the $2.99, and that small support meant the world to me.

But what if the self-published author isn’t your friend?  It will still be a huge encouragement to them if you liked the book enough to actually take the time to invest in it.  Remember, they haven’t been contracted by some big publisher to write – they are writing because they love writing.  And if they are anything like me, they would love to be able to do it full time, and deliver new books year after year.  Certainly your one purchase won’t enable us to quit our day jobs, but it will be an enormous pat on the back and encouragement to keep on writing.

6)  Gift the Book.

And if you really, really liked the book, then take the plunge and order copies for your friends.  Give the print copy of the book as a gift!  Send it to friends for birthdays, or give it to your dad on Father’s Day, or to the ladies in your life on International Women’s Day.

This will accomplish several things.  First, it will be a financial support to the author as you purchase multiple copies.  Second, it will help get his or her writing out there to new potential readers.  Third, it will drive up sales, which will help the author to be taken seriously by others.

And you have to get friends and family gifts anyway, right?  Give a gift to a budding author at the same time.

So,intrepid Kindle downloaders, get out there and collect the free books.  But don’t stop there!  Read, review, spread the word, and actually buy some!  This is what will enable writers to continue doing what they love to do, and you’ll be able to continue reaping the benefits!

Author Nate Fleming at a book signing at the Bookworm, Chengdu, China - summer 2014

Author Nate Fleming at a book signing at the Bookworm, Chengdu, China – summer 2014

And – in the shameless self-promotion portion of this blog post, I’d ask that you go ahead and start by downloading my book, Thimblerig’s Ark, which is available for free until December 28, 2014!

 

Thimblerig Climbs Amazon Charts!

Thimblerig’s Ark is the 6th top best-seller in Amazon’s Children’s Literature and Fiction today!

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What an amazing story!

Today, the little un-represented, self-published book about a groundhog weathering the Great Flood has climbed to the top of Amazon’s charts, storming the free download section like the world’s coming to an end!

The best part?  You can help Thimblerig reach #1!

Here’s how:

1.  Download Thimblerig’s Ark for free yourself!

2.  Share the picture below with your friends, and encourage them to go and download Thimblerig’s Ark

3.  Be happy that you were part of something very cool!

4.  And after you read Thimblerig’s Ark, run back to Amazon and write a review.

The free download offer is open until September 14.

Thanks for supporting an indie author and self-publishing!

Free Thimblerig U2

An Open Letter to Readers of Thimblerig’s Ark

Dear Reader,

First of all, thank you so much for reading Thimblerig’s Ark!  I hope that you enjoyed it.

Thimblerig's Arc_3 (1)I had so much fun creating the character of Thimblerig, and making him truly despicable so that we could be surprised when we wind up rooting for him.  Apparently others liked him, too, because many readers have written me asking what happens to him next! Well, if you are one of those readers, don’t go far, because Thimblerig’s saga isn’t over yet.  He and the other members of the company will be back for Thimblerig’s Ark, Book Two.

I really have appreciated the feedback I’ve received, at Amazon, on Goodreads, at my blog, and through private messages.  And one of the things that I’ve discovered in this process is that I really do enjoy feedback!  As I have just started diving into the second book, I would really enjoy hearing what you liked, what you loved, even what you hated.  In short, I’d love to hear from you!  You can reach me at info@thimblerigsark.com or the website, www.thimblerigsark.com.

Finally, I need to make a request.  I’d love to have you review Thimblerig’s Ark.  Was there something that you found meaningful?  Did you love it?  Did you hate it?  Some people are thrown off by the idea of writing a review, but this extremely low pressure.  It can be a couple of sentences, or a few paragraphs.  Either way, I would really appreciate your feedback.

It’s really difficult to get reviews, because folks are all busy and it takes enough time to read a book, let alone the time it takes to craft a comment.  But the truth of the matter is that you – the reader – have the power these days to make or break a book.  And I would love your help!

You can write your review on Thimblerig’s Ark Amazon page here:  http://amzn.to/1sfGN8G

And/or at Goodreads here: http://bit.ly/1l5qgR1

I really am grateful that you read Thimblerig’s Ark, and hope you’ll be around for the second part in a few months!

And if you haven’t read Thimblerig’s Ark yet, what are you waiting for?  A flood?

Sincerely

Nate Fleming

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And special thanks to thefutureofink.com for the idea.

 

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