What do you think of when I say “gushing fan”? Sweating / stuttering / babbling / shaky hands as someone asks for an autograph from their favorite celeb? Teary-eyed tween-agers squealing and fainting at the mention of Justin Bieber’s name? Is it something you equate with embarrassing behavior?
I received an email from a teen reader, who “apologized” for “gushing” about my book. Of course an apology wasn’t necessary. She wrote sincerely and sweetly, and if anything it made me want to drive cross-country to hug her and thank her.
Authors do get gushed at by fans. But I bet the list of celebrities who get gushed at is far, far longer. And the reasons for gushing are vastly different.
Celebs get gushed at because they are beautiful, handsome, stunning, glamorous, cool. But when was the last time someone gushed over a writer for those things? Writers are only recognized if the characters and stories in their books come to life.
The characters and stories in their books come to life.
See? It’s not the author who technically gets gushed over. The characters and stories the author has created are the true recipients. They are what the reader falls in love with, not their creator.
How many books get truly gushed over, though? And why aren’t there more?
Most readers pick up a book and read it, then set it on the shelf. Or drop it into the return box at the library. Or delete it from their ereader. And move on. Maybe they mention the book to a friend, but most often they don’t. No matter how much they loved the book, most readers just move on to the next in line without gushing to anyone.
Well, I’m here to tell you that needs to change. Readers need to gush about books. It’s not stroking an author’s ego, I assure you. A celeb may love the spotlight, the cameras, the oohs and aahs that come with their mere presence, but authors want their books to be loved. Their characters, and the world they’ve created. Most of us authors are not celeb material. Most of us shy from even the smallest spotlight. The idea of screaming fans and cameras flashing is enough to put us into full-blown panic mode. But we want that and more for our books.
It truly is the books. And gushing is what gets those books in the hands of other potential fans. Gushing is what spreads the word, and keeps those characters and stories alive.
So please. Please. Go ahead and gush.