5 reasons your favorite authors love BookCon - and why you will, too

Can you guess which author calls BookCon "a brain explosion?"

"A brain explosion."

"A giant party for bookworms."

"Books and authors are treated like rock stars."

That's how a few of your favorite authors describe BookCon, a once-in-a-lifetime event for booklovers coming Saturday, May 14, to McCormick Place.

And who better to describe it than the master storytellers who keep you turning pages? We asked them to tell the BookCon tale from their perspectives, and as it turns out, all the reasons they can't wait to attend are the same reasons you won't want to miss it:

1. Authors are as excited to talk to you as you are to meet them.
Whether at a Q&A, meet and greet, panel or signing – authors want to hear your thoughts about their books, so don't be shy!

"[My fans ask] brilliant questions," says Danielle Paige, author of "Stealing Snow" and the "Dorothy Must Die" series. "YA readers are so smart and discerning, and sometimes they make fan art which is just the best, seeing how they imagine my characters."

What you say to an author might even help inspire their next book. "I'm always learning something new about my work that wouldn't be possible without talking to my fans and listening to their reactions and ideas," says John Corey Whaley, author of "Where Things Come Back," "Noggin" and "Highly Illogical Behavior." "I walk away with the urge to push myself to keep evolving as a writer."

2. You could take home a priceless souvenir
When Sabaa Tahir, author of "An Ember in the Ashes" and the upcoming "A Torch Against the Night," signs your book, it's not only her autograph you'll see. "I draw a picture in everyone's book that I talk to so they feel like if they have something to say they [have time to] say it," she says. "I want them to feel comfortable with me, and I've had some of the best discussions because of that."

She actually picked up the drawing trick as a fan in the signing line of Laini Taylor, another BookCon 2016 guest. "It was really wonderful because it made me feel like I wasn't taking up her time because she was drawing a picture anyway," Tahir says.

3. Panel discussions feel like you're hanging out with your BFFs

"You get to see authors connect and talk and joke and have fun, and you get great crowd-author interaction," says Tahir, who will appear with Veronica Roth and Lauren Oliver on an Epic Reads panel this year. "You get questions you wouldn't normally hear and discussions you normally wouldn't have time for."

Paige likewise gushes about the panels. (This year, hers will cover story retellings, like her most anticipated release "Stealing Snow," which retells Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, "The Snow Queen.") "The best panels are a cross between a YA writing masterclass and a night out with my best girlfriends," she says. "I end up learning something and having the best time with the audience. I always walk away a little smarter and smiling."

4. Geek-out with new friends as wild about books as you are

Just like you, authors are dying to talk about books and meet other booklovers. And whether you're a famous writer or a reader, BookCon is the place to do it.

"I'm excited about every part of BookCon, and not just as an author, but as a reader and fan of many of the speakers attending – it's always great to catch up with author friends and make new ones," says first-timer Whaley. "But mostly I love conferences like BookCon because I get to meet and chat with so many of my readers. There's nothing like it."

Connecting with like-minded readers is Tahir's favorite part of BookCon, too. "As fans of books, we can fangirl together, and talk about other books we love," she says. "My readers and I, we have the same taste and it's awesome. They'll tell me about stuff that I haven't heard of."

5. The energy will lift you up

Paige calls BookCon "a giant party for bookworms" because of the crowd's enthusiasm. "It's incredible to see how many [fans] gather into panel rooms and wait on signing lines to meet their favorite authors," she says. "At other conventions of this size, you rarely see authors or books front and center, but here books are treasured. That's what makes BookCon so special."

What else makes it can't-miss: That you can cross off so many items on your book bucket list in one day, under one roof. "It's really rare; you could conceivably see 10 or 15 of your favorite authors and have your book signed and get one-on-one time with them. That's pretty incredible," Tahir says. "You walk into BookCon and everybody is so excited... it's just paradise."

--Tribune Content Solutions for BookCon

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