Go Ahead and Gush

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.

About Kat Heckenbach

Kat grew up in the small town of Riverview, Florida, where she spent most of her time either drawing or sitting in her "reading tree" with her nose buried in a fantasy novel...except for the hours pretending her back yard was an enchanted forest that could only be reached through the secret passage in her closet... She never could give up on the idea that maybe she really was magic, mistakenly placed in a world not her own...but as the years passed, and no elves or fairies carted her away...she realized she was just going to have to create the life of her fantasies. She shares that life with her husband and two homeschooling kids. Kat is a graduate of the University of Tampa, Magna Cum Laude, B.S. in Biology. She spent several years teaching, but never in a traditional classroom--everything from Art to Algebra II. Her writing spans the gamut from inspirational personal essays to dark and disturbing fantasy and horror, with over forty short fiction and nonfiction credits to her name.

11 comments on “Go Ahead and Gush

  1. My Dearest Kat,

    Well said! I shall gush as soon as I get through all the books I still have not read, up to and including the edited version of Ocilla. Sigh!!!!

  2. Yes, let the gushing commence. There should definitely be more of it. LOTS more. 😉

    • I am trying to practice what I preach here, too. Trying to put up more reviews on Amazon, and mention the books I’m reading on FB. I know it can be hard, and time consuming. But now that I understand more fully the author side of books, I realize how much power readers really have.

  3. Gushing also often results in a new book.
    Enjoyed the first one? Tell the author or another reader, or it may be the last book you read from that author.

    • So very true, Robynn. I don’t think readers understand the power they have. If they tell others about a book, or the author, or the publisher, it means more book sales. Authors make money from book sales, of course, but generally not nearly as much as readers think–the thing we need sales for is simply to keep the book out there and to guarantee that we’ll be signed on for more!

    • Actually, I was thinking of the self-esteem aspect more than the fiscal (which is important – don’t get me wrong. I need money to buy food). Authors like to hear that readers liked their stories. It’s an awful lot of work for just a paycheck. I mean, unless you’re in that top 1% of best-selling authors, you can’t make enough money to offset the blood, sweat and tears going into one quality book.

      • I wasn’t really meaning money so much either–but rather that if a book isn’t gushed about, if the word isn’t spread, the book won’t sell and other people who would have loved it will never get to read it.

  4. I’ve had someone gush over a story of mine. It was first draft too.

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