Hooked’s Big News

Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Hooked Favorites, Reading & Writing, Women in Fishing | 54 comments

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

(Hang on, sweeties… We’re going to take the scenic drive.)

On February 22, after meticulously shepherding my proposal through revision after revision, my agent Pamela pronounced it ready to shop. “Let’s go,” she wrote. Time passed in a dizzying blur. I couldn’t have dreamed the response we’d get. Multiple publishers courting Hooked? From our respective sides of the country, I followed Pamela’s frequent updates in a cloud of disbelief.

Remember I mentioned cutting back on coffee? That was because I was utterly out of my head before every phone call with a potential editor. Shaky hands, sweaty palms, knotted stomach. To calm down, I wrote myself pep talks like this:

Freaking the fuck out, I am. Twenty minutes ‘til I’m scheduled to call X, who wants to talk about Hooked’s structure. I can do that. I can do this. This doesn’t have to be scary. Hooked is going to have a home… It may be with X, it may be with someone else, but I have to be able to discuss it – to sell it, to show my confidence in the story and myself as its writer – even when I feel this shaky. Seriously, get it together, sweetie.

Friends beamed excitement. I mostly felt like the universe was handing me a golden egg, and my hands were coated in Crisco. A precious, priceless shell; my book incubating inside. Please don’t drop it. I wondered how I could keep this fragile gift from slipping through such greasy fingers, shattering, spattering my face with the yolk of defeat.

Despite my anxiety, those phone calls were genuinely enjoyable. Each editor voiced generous enthusiasm and asked insightful questions, honing in on a different thread. Each forced me to articulate my vision verbally – not my natural strength – and made me consider Hooked through a new lens. They all made me laugh. Every time I hung up, I marveled at the respect, joy, and love that each editor held for books and their task in bringing them to life. Hooked would be in skilled, smart hands with any one of them.

I polled writer friends, those who’d already been down this road and those soon to follow. How had they known that a particular editor/publisher was the right one? What would they base their decision on? How would I know I’d made the right decision?

As someone who remembers clearly the childhood lessons of being picked last – or not at all – the hardest part of this process was saying “no” to people who would clearly devote their best work to Hooked.

Saying “yes,” however, was very easy. Two things made it so.

Of the four editors I spoke with, only one used the f-word – feminist – when talking about my work. That mattered.

What also mattered: knowing myself. As much as I want to be a low maintenance, self-possessed writer, in this situation I am not that cool cat. This publishing business is a shiny new world that leaves me feeling young and uncertain. Of course it does – how could it not? But my learning curve will be eased by partnering with a small literary press that will have the time and patience to raise not only Hooked, but also its author.

I’m delighted – over the moon! – to tell you that Hooked has a home with editor Sarah Stein at Riverhead Books. I’m a longtime fan of Riverhead; their values resonate with me. I’m honored to join them.

(Honored? More like stunned, intimidated, awed, thrilled, giddy with disbelief.)

As soon as she heard the news, my sister Sara texted, “It’s like Tele’s version of finding out she’s pregnant!” I laughed out loud at her analogy’s perfect resonance. As an avowed non-breeder, this book is indeed the life I’m compelled to create and share. She added, “Now comes the labor. If you ever need a doula, I’m here for you!”

Again, her words were spot-on. Hooked will have a long, intensive labor. I’ve got about a year (minus the fishing season) to deliver a draft I’m proud of. And Hooked will need many doulas – including you. Your readership, comments, and unfailing support have been an essential part of our journey thus far. Though there’s much work ahead, please join me in celebrating this weekend. I’ll be raising a glass (Martinelli’s sparkling cider, ‘cause I’m tame like that) to all of us!

How It Feels to Sell Your Book



  1. A HUGE congratulations to you, Tele. I never doubted it for a moment. Your work is fantastic and you deserve every ounce of success. I’m so happy for you! The news puts a smile on my face.

  2. Realize, of course, that you are a natural!
    I often get comments from people mentioning how much they enjoy watching and listening to you in the video we posted in a sidebar about “Lost at Sea- the man in the tote.”
    Congratulations, Tele, BH

  3. What FABULOUS, over-the-moon news, Tele!! I’m thrilled for you. I, too, am a big fan of Riverhead and they’re lucky to have you. Take time to bask in the glow of your well-deserved success. You’re a helluva writer (LOVE the image of your being handed a golden egg while your hands are covered with Crisco) and I can’t wait to hear how everything progresses for you. Would love to hear more about how you found your agent, sold your proposal, etc.

    Best to you, Tele!

    • Many thanks, Nancy! As far as the agent/proposal process goes, I’ll write a little something about this for the Bellingham Red Wheelbarrow Writers. (www.redwheelbarrowwriters.com) Any specific questions you’d like me to address? Whenever that article is, I’ll post a link here.

      Hope you had a wonderful sunny weekend!

  4. So. Awesome. Thrilled for you and love the lines in the sand. Also love Sara’s analogy. Let me know where you’re registered.

  5. Always believed in you, Tele. You are a fabulous writer, storyteller, human being. And a gifted writer. May the words continue to flow through you.

  6. So so happy for you Tele! Congrats!

  7. Hi, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and your articles in Pacific Fishing (I’m the copy editor for the magazine). I’m thrilled for you — congratulations!

    • Thanks for saying hello, Brianna! Beyond being a longtime reader of PF, I’ve appreciated the support you guys have provided over Hooked’s past couple years. Maybe we’ll cross paths at your Fish Expo booth next year!

  8. Ah! You know I’m SO thrilled for you, proud of you, and in awe of you!

    • Speaking of awe, thank YOU for being such an inspiration, and one of the most generous, insightful mentors I could dream of. Couldn’t have gotten this far without you, my friend.

  9. Congratulations! I am new to your blog, your story, and to meeting you at the Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat, but I’m glad to finally be getting onboard! Good luck with your writing, and I will look forward to reading your book!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Lisa! Getting to talk with you at Wild Mountain was such a pleasure, and I’m glad we can stay in contact. I’m looking forward to following your sailboat adventures!

      For the rest of you: Lisa and I met at the Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat, where Cheryl Strayed was our keynote speaker. Cheryl’s phenomenal success isn’t hype – she’s a remarkably powerful writer, speaker, and human. Lisa wrote a great post about Cheryl’s presence at our retreat, which you can read here:

  10. Woot! Woot! Woot! Congrats Tele! So proud of you!!!

  11. Tele, so happy for you. I know you have worked hard this far and will be up the excitement that comes. HOOKED is a great title.

  12. Hi Tele:

    I was introduced to your site by a long-ago deckhand and long-time friend. I wrote a note but my poor typping skills may have sent it into the ether instead of to you. Anyway, I’m a 40+ yr B.C. troller, still in the game, and really appreciate your work. Congratulations on the book deal.

    I’ve known a handful of feminine(ist) skippers over the years, and have always liked the civility and community they brought to our rough little industry. I have had a number of XX deckhands, and my wife Lynne comes from a Japanese-Canadian fishing family; lots of stories there! Our two sons have fished with me since they were smolts.

    Once again, congrats! Check out our little website for a chuckle at how small our fishing world really is!

    Regards, Ian

    • Hello Ian!

      I have a terrible admission – both terrible, and terribly embarrassing. Hooked migrated over to our fancy new site back in January, complete with that handy “Contact Me” button. It was about mid-March before I realized that any of those messages folks wrote went to my email’s spam folder… and I regularly bulk-deleted the spam without giving it a look. I’m certain that your typing skills were perfectly good, and that it was actually me who unknowingly sent your message to the ether! Apologies to you and anyone else who thought I’d ignored them; I’m so glad that you wrote again!

      Thanks for your appreciation, and mine right back to you. I visited the BCTFA Board page… What an impressive collection of sea-time among all of you! I wonder if you guys, like our Alaskan fleet, are experiencing some “graying of the fleet,” and how that’s impacting your advocacy. I imagine you’ve shouldered more than your share of meetings, travel, and paperwork; thank you for your service.

      Please pass my thanks on to your long-ago deckhand/friend for introducing us – I’m enjoying our small world, and am glad to know you’re standing by. My best to Lynne and the (presumably grown?) smolts!

  13. Of course you had publishers fighting over your book. Your writing in this post shows why. I’m so thrilled for you. You bring such a unique perspective to everything you write. Now I must get back to my own writing so that one day I have this thrill. Later I’ll check out Riverhead to see what other great literary decisions they’ve made.

  14. Kudos to one who is following her dreams. It’s good that you have 2 seasons to follow 2 paths. Love your writing. Congrats.

  15. As an author of three books I know how you feel Your writing is some of the best I have ever read and I wish you all the luck in world.

  16. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!! So happy and proud and in awe for you.

  17. You are such a star! So very happy for you and all your future readers. Bravo!

  18. Congratulations! I never doubted your story would sell. You writing is beautiful, your story compelling, and your dedication unfailing. Congratulations, may the joy and gratitude you feel today multiply as you push this book out into the world. Blessed Be!

  19. Tele-I am thrilled for you!

  20. Congratulations, Tele. Enjoy your journey ahead—it will be an exciting time for you.

  21. Yes!!! I am so happy for you and so not surprised that publishers were fighting for your story. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

  22. I only just became aware of you and your amazing blog at Village Books a few months ago. And after reading several entries, I realized I really wanted “Hooked” as a full book in my hands. And now there will be one! As a reader, I am SO happy for you and for myself because I get my wish.

  23. “Opportunity wits between things ended and things begun.”–Kobi Yamada
    And now, what wonderful adventure will you pursue. Congrats. Always.

  24. Great heartfelt congratulations! I love reading your material and know your book will be even more outstanding. What a great and natural progression for you. Cheers

  25. I am not surprised, not one bit surprised. But I am thrilled for you, Tele! This is FANTASTIC! And cause for celebration! Thanks for sharing.

    And I love your sister’s wit.

  26. YES!!! WooHOOO! Congratulations! I’ll be raising a beer for sure. You rock! I can’t wait until I have a copy in my hands…

  27. *pompoms waving* Congratulations, Tele! It was only a matter of time! I’m so happy for your happiness and well-deserved recognition! Onward!

  28. Well-deserved!

  29. Tele!! I am so overjoyed for you! I won’t lie, I’m not surprised. You remember when I told you that I was reading Fish Camp, and I realized that you should tell your story, and that I felt it would be terrifically engaging? Well, obviously editors agree with my sound opinion. In just a few short years you are here. Congratulations, and so much love.

  30. Wonderful!!

  31. Congratulations! Such wonderful news. I look forward to reading it.

  32. Congratulations! I am an Alaskan tourist and in love with all things in the oceans that sustain us. Your writing brings with it the experience of living the sea. You are admired and wished the strength and courage of the sea. May it sustain you in your writing endeavors,

  33. Hurray and congratulations. I echo so many comments above. I’m not surprised, you combine talent, amazing stories and hard work. I’m so happy for you.

  34. Deep deep heartfelt congratulations, Tele!!! You make a difference.

  35. Awesome news! I am so happy for you and look forward to reading the book! I hope the whole process is exciting, enriching and rewarding.

  36. Darling Tele,

    WOW!!!! No surprise. Still WOW!!! I’m thrilled for you. CONGRATULATIONS! Could use some help with my book proposal. It’s about ready to go. Loved your sand writing. Big is Bold and Beautiful and so are you! I expect a Signed Copy! Love, love, love, Aunt Lynn

  37. Far Out!! You had the right bait, spoon, hoochie, herring… – a sharpened hook, and clearly all the love required to pull aboard that shiny silvery gift from the great ocean of life. A hundred thousand congratulations to you!

  38. Tele, I’m so happy for you. Your story is important. I’m so glad you get the opportunity to share it. XO

  39. Hell yeah! Best news I’ve heard in a while! I’m super excited…

  40. Such fabulous news. Your writing deserves a wide audience.

  41. Sorry I’m late to the party, but congrats! Great news, and I know you’ll do a wonderful job on the book! 🙂

  42. Your humble awesomeness continues to inspire me. Tele, I am so happy for you!! Best of luck through the process & let me know if you come down my way.
    Lots of love and blessings.

  43. That is fantastic news! I’m so glad to hear it, and will be among the first in line to buy your book as soon as it’s available. I can only imagine the multitude of feelings vying for your attention as you dive into this amazing project. It is incredibly brave of you, and those of us that know your work have already been made better for it, so thank you for that. I can’t wait to see where you go from here! Sincere congrats. You really deserve it!

  44. congratulations tele!!!!

  45. no one could be happier for you then i. tele you will see my thoughts elswere your friend tom

  46. Tele,
    Your writing has made me laugh and it has made me cry. Thank you for making your world in the fishing industry and the literary world come alive for us. Congratulations.

  47. Can hardly wait to add your book to the Women’s Maritime Association booklist and to my own bookshelf… you’ll be an inspiration to all of us and the ones who follow in our bootsteps.

  48. Congrats Tele! Such wonderful news! I’m so happy and proud of you 🙂

  49. Tele! Congratulations! What wonderful, well deserved news. I can’t wait to check your work out in print. You are amazing. I lo0k forward to connecting next year at FPG. <3