Veronica Park might have left Hippocampus-Land last August, but our conversations haven’t ended. In fact, she’s a hoot to follow on Twitter. She’s full of practical advice, but also lots of fun. When these Twitter personalities come to life, it’s even better. We’re thrilled that Veronica, an agent with Corvisiero Literary Agency, is returning to HippoCamp this year. She’ll be part of the agents and editors panel and pitch sessions, and also she’ll be presenting in our craft track: All Hook and No Plot: How to Tell if You’ve Got a Good Story. We asked her a few questions about her upcoming trip to Lancaster, Pa., for HippoCamp 2016: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers.
HippoCamp: We don’t want to give too much away about your session, but please share with us a golden nugget that you hope attendees will take away from your talk that isn’t found on the program description.
Veronica: If you can’t tell me a definitive character trait about your character, and why the reader will immediately relate to them, you might only have a concept (and not a fully working story) YET. (This may sound like I’m talking about only fiction, but I’m not! Your POV character/platform needs to be VERY relatable–especially if it’s your real life self.)
Example of a trait: Jaded, bossy, sinister, skeptical, honest
Example of why your audience will relate to your platform and/or like you: Common interest, common gripe, common goal (personal favorite), common outlook, shared responsibility over an issue, etc. (Ideally, you’ll want to have lots of these in place before telling your story.)
Tell us who would benefit most from your session and why.
Anyone who has ever had a good, great, or ground-breaking idea…only to discover later that the execution of said idea seemed impossible. (It’s not impossible! It’s just really, really hard.)
What is your best advice for those attending a writing conference, whether it’s for newbies or veterans?
Be awesome. Ask questions and genuinely listen to the answers. Take good notes. Make friendships and fellow literary citizenships for life.
Aside from speaking, what you are most looking forward to about being part of the HippoCamp?
The whoopie pies. Obviously.
Since you’re a returning attendee as a first-time speaker, please share some thoughts on why you’re excited to return for another year.
Last year, I was a brand new agent with a lot of opinions and energy. I found THREE clients from this conference alone, and deeply love them all to this day. I also discovered (recruited, shang hai’d…) a local Lancastrian who became an intern for my agency soon after and is now a full-fledged agent. (Could NOT be prouder of this, and her.) You will meet her at this year’s conference, and she will almost certainly be cooler than me.
This year, I’m so excited to be able to share what I’ve learned about the industry (because really, you never stop learning things, and never should–the publishing industry is always, always changing) and hopefully bring more new writers and future publishing industry professionals into the cult. I mean, the business. Ha ha ha….
Because seriously, even though it’s changing, I personally believe that publishing is just opening up. Now is the time to get in, and make some noise, and figure out how to make a career in writing fit YOU (instead of the other way around).
What’s on your personal conference agenda?
I would like to play beer pong with Kevin Beerman. (Just kidding, but not really.) I can’t wait to see everything, but in particular the workshops my authors have put together (Amy Fish and Christoph Paul). Also Vanessa Robins is going to be a smash hit, as I mentioned before she’s way more awesome than me, and knows EVERYTHING about industry trends and bestseller best practices. And of course, the open mic night, which is guaranteed to be a good time.
What are you most looking forward to about visiting Lancaster?
Whoopie pies and craft beer, in that order. Also, if I can wake up in time for the Farmer’s Market this year, that would be beyond sweet. I’ve been thinking of investing in a butter churn….
Veronica, we’re already in talks with the Marriott about ordering some red Solo(tm) cups for your challenge to Mr. Beerman. Aside from fun and games, we’re so excited that you’re bringing your industry expertise to our conference.