I spotted her from, oh, maybe thirty feet away as she browsed the selection at the bookstore.
I’d never met her before, but I knew who she was, and introvert though I may be, I just had to cross the distance and connect with her. With uncharacteristic boldness and excitement, I stopped beside her and broke the ice.
Who was I fangirling over?
I’ll give you a couple of clues.
- This happened about two weeks ago in Saint Louis.
- The bookstore was part of the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference, an event that brings writers of all stages together to learn and connect.
- The same hotel also hosted a reader event called Storyfest that weekend.
- The woman in question was browsing the Romance table, where my books were displayed among some other fabulous titles.
- She held one of my books in her hand.
If you guessed this woman is a reader, you’re correct!
Social media—my feed at least—was filled that weekend with posts where readers gushed about meeting some of their favorite authors. Since authors also tend to be readers and avid fans of certain other writers, we certainly fangirl over our favorite authors too.
But did you know we also fangirl over readers?
You are so important to us!
We pour a lot of energy and heart into the stories we write, but we really never know how those stories will be received.
As we navigate the inevitable (though hopefully rare) low reviews or the sometimes disappointing low sales, we can start wondering if our stories are making a difference for eternity—or even just in the day-to-day of the lives of the people who pick up one of our novels. Is anyone picking them up?
People are wired for connection, and a huge joy of writing is getting to share our stories with others. Our characters help and shape us. Or, more accurately, God helps and shapes us through our characters and their stories. When that happens, it’s natural for us to hope the blessing doesn’t end with us.
We want to know people are entertained.
Bonus points if they start to think of our characters as real people!
And what higher calling is there than for a story to reveal some truth and hope to someone who needs it?
All of that happens in the hearts and minds of readers. Authors are often miles away from any impact our stories may have, so getting to read a real, live reader? It’s enough to make us giddy—and enough to encourage us to keep writing when the going gets tough.
So, if you see a writer, say hi and give us the chance to fangirl over you!
I took woefully few pictures during the conference, so I don’t have a picture of the readers from that first anecdote (when I approached the one reader I saw, she had a friend I also got to chat with), but here’s me and another reader, Vickie, who I first met online and then got to meet in person in Saint Louis.
Speaking of that bookstore meeting, the book I saw her considering is To Bring You Back, the first in my Rhythms of Redemption Romance series. Because Gannon and Adeline, the main characters in To Bring You Back, were impacted by a friend’s battle with depression and in honor of National Suicide Prevention Month, I’m donating $1 to a local crisis center for each copy of To Bring You Back sold between now and the end of the month. Even better, To Bring You Back is also on sale for $2.99. So you can get a good deal and support a good cause. Shop To Bring You Back and other romances for $3 and under here.
That’s an online event, so of course, I’m not going to see you and can’t interrupt your shopping to say hello, so let me say it here. Hello! I’m grateful for you!
If you can’t make it to an event where you meet an author in person, there are other things you can do that let us know our work has made an impact—buying books, giving them as gifts, leaving reviews, posting on social media, or reaching out through email or DM to let us know what a story means to you.
Since most of those things happen through computer screens, you may not get to see the author’s reaction, but you know that excited fangirl giddiness that wells up when you meet someone important to you? You, dear readers, are important to us, and that means you can stir that feeling in the heart of a writer.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for getting attached to characters. Thank you for all the time and energy you invest in stories.
Have you met any authors in person? Which ones? Or whom would you most like to meet, and why?