Lisa Romeo returns this year’s HippoCamp with two sessions: I’ll Take Titles for a Thousand, Alex is a flash session focusing on grabbing the attention of readers and editors, and Submission Strategy: Beyond Wish Lists, Tiers, and Industry Buzz, which helps writers create an effective publication strategy for their work. Lisa spoke to us about returning to Lancaster for HippoCamp 2017.

Lisa Romeo

Hippocampus: Without sharing any spoilers, what can attendees expect from your sessions?

Lisa: We’ll be looking at how writers can create a submission strategy that serves each individual piece; what the writer hopes to get out of the publication experience for that piece and at that point in the writer’s career; and how an individual strategy might save your sanity, as well as move your work out into the world. We’ll break down some of the more commonly offered submission advice to determine what might apply and what doesn’t. And we’ll talk about searching out venues that make sense, especially those that don’t appear on popular lists, but offer a particular benefit.


Who would benefit the most from your sessions?

Anyone who submits—or hopes to one day soon begin submitting—their short work for publication in print or online venues, including literary journals, websites, major blogs, newspapers, magazines, anthologies. It will be helpful for: those who are struggling to nail their first publication; writers who have been getting published but aren’t satisfied with the results of their random submission activities, and want to develop a submission strategy.


Literary citizenship is so important today, and by being part of our conference, you’re contributing to the CNF community — why is sharing with others important to you?

This conference, since it first began, quickly became my favorite. I simply LOVE the collegial atmosphere, the way every writer in the room is valued, regardless of level of success, genre, years of experience. There’s something about the way that Donna has infused it with a very particular spirit of camaraderie and acceptance that’s inspiring. I think that’s partly possible because there’s a size limit, which encourages interaction at more than the superficial level. (But mostly I think because Donna had a vision for this.)

I just realized that doesn’t really answer the question you asked, but maybe it explains why I (and others) choose to present here. And, I suspect, because we just love helping fellow writers, period. Many people helped me (and still do), and so I think it’s understood that once you are able, you pass it on.


Taking off your presenter hat, what are you hoping to learn as an attendee at HippoCamp?

I try to go to any conference with an open mind, and see what happens!  Last year I attended a pre-conference workshop, and I may pick one to do again this year if my travel schedule allows. At HippoCamp, I love that I get to meet writers in person who I’ve already interacted with and gotten to know a little only online. Mostly, I just look forward to being immersed for a few days with only CNF writers. That doesn’t happen often!


Lancaster is an amazing city – if you’re from the area or have been here before, what suggestions do you have for those who haven’t been here yet, and if you’ve never been here, what about visiting the region excites you the most?

Because I’m from New Jersey, I had already visited Lancaster many times before HippoCamp began. My family and I always enjoy the area, but when I’m there for the conference, I only leave the hotel/conference center to walk a very few blocks for a restaurant meal or an ice cream with fellow writers. Being able to do that is a nice bonus.

However, when the conference over, before getting on the highway, I take the long, slow, back roads for the first 10 miles or so of my drive back home; looking out over that farmland is very calming and peaceful. But lest you think I’m more zen than I actually am, there’s also a clothing store (Ruthie’s) I always stop at (yes, it’s open on Sunday), and I buy a scarf or pair of earrings to remember the trip.


What was the a recent and memorable work of creative nonfiction you read – whether a book or shorter piece? (And what did you love about it?)

I just finished the book Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, which is a different kind of memoir, blending her path to becoming an accomplished laboratory scientist, personal stories of friendship and struggle, with sections on the science and life cycles of trees, soil, dirt, plants, etc. Odd combination and not easy to do as a writer! I wasn’t sure I’d like it (I never took a science course that wasn’t required, and that was back in high school), but the way she organized the book and wove the science into memoir held my interest and taught me something about structure and transitions.


Anything else?

As long as there is another steady supply of chocolate peanut butter whoopie pies, all will be well.


Register today to join us this September for HippoCamp 2017!

Interested in registering for HippoCamp? Get details here. Registration closes 8/28.

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