C. Lee McKenzie, author of many Young Adult and Middle Grade novels including The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, Sudden Secrets, Alligators Overhead, and The Great Timelock Disaster provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Lee worked with Mark to improve her pitch materials and manuscript, which resulted in representation by Italia Gandolfo, the CEO/Founder of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management. Scroll below to learn more. Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews. And click here to learn more about Literary Agent Undercover and The Bestselling Author after you read the review about Mark Malatesta below by C. Lee McKenzie.

Mark Malatesta Review by C. Lee McKenzie

C Lee McKenzie Photo and Review of Mark Malatesta“The day I found Mark’s website, I was ready to quit. Now I’m represented by Italia Gandolfo, the CEO/Founder of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management. That’s a full-service literary and dramatic rights agency with a presence in New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville. They work in publishing but also film and TV with many bestselling and award-winning authors. After I signed the contract, I emailed the other agents who still had my manuscript to thank them and say I’d accepted another offer. Two of them apologized for their delay in responding and asked me to consider them for future manuscripts!

I don’t know if it was a mystical hand or what that led me to Mark’s website, but I’m grateful. I tried to get an agent over the course of two years before, but it’s devilishly hard to get an agent for middle grade and young adult books. I kept thinking, nobody is really noticing so why should I keep doing this? I might as well sit home and read to myself or just pass my books out to my friends and neighbors. But then I decided to give it one last try and research agents again. 

The Great Timelock Disaster Book Cover and Mark Malatesta ReviewMark looked honest in his picture and I thought that’s interesting. Here I am ready to toss this whole writing thing aside and here’s someone who says he can help. What if he’s right? Obviously, he was. I guess the best way to describe what Mark did with my query is that he made me look better than I did. He put things up front that caught the agents’ attention and made them keep reading. I immediately started getting requests, including five requests for the full manuscript. Mark’s query was more effective than the one I’d sent out before.

The agent list Mark sent me was excellent, too, and up to date (I checked). I practically kissed that list when it came in because I’d researched agents before. I know how much time it takes to put that kind of thing together. It had every agent that might want my writing but it also showed me the agents’ bios, all the kinds of books they handled, and what they wanted in terms of submissions (query and/or synopsis and/or sample pages, etc.). I didn’t have to go to any of their websites, unless I wanted to. That in itself saved me an amazing amount of time.

Mark also sent me several detailed documents that laid out, very clearly, what Mark was going to do and what I would need to do. They also helped me get three well-known authors to say they’d read my book and consider giving me a testimonial. One bestselling author asked to read my manuscript and gave me a blurb right away. Mark’s guidelines also explained how to format my email submissions for agents so they’d hold their formatting. When I saw that I cheered because that had been a struggle for me. The documents Mark sent me also told me to respond to agents once they were interested. I didn’t know anything about that before.

Alligators Overhead Book Cover and Mark Malatesta ReviewI got the offer for representation from Italia just two days before Christmas. Mark told me that he had the same thing happen the year before with another of his clients… on Christmas Eve! I was sitting there thinking, wow, this actually happened. I can’t believe it. I felt an immediate sense of calm because getting a good agent was a hurdle that I really didn’t think I’d get over. But Mark is really good at what he does. He’s professional and friendly, and he put me at ease. That’s a huge talent since most of what Mark does is over the phone and I hate phone conversations. Mark is also quick to respond and doesn’t yell at you when you do stupid things!

I went in to my first phone call with Mark somewhat skeptical because that’s how you need to proceed when you’re first meeting someone. You want to be logical instead of emotional, be aware, and listen carefully for important things. During the call Mark made me feel comfortable, he did exactly what he said he’d do, and he didn’t give me a high-pressure sales job. I really appreciated that. After the call, I went over all my notes and decided to take the next step by committing to a bigger program. I knew that I could either do the program with Mark and see what happened… or just turn off my computer and take a hike.

If you’re serious about your writing and you’ve decided to put it out there, you might as well do it with the best tools possible. I wasn’t doing that before I met Mark. Once I realized that I needed someone in my court, and found Mark’s website, it was an easy decision.”

C. Lee McKenzie
Author of many Young Adult and Middle Grade novels including The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, Sudden Secrets, Alligators Overhead, and The Great Timelock Disaster

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Do You Want to Be Like Lee Who Provided this Review About Mark Malatesta?

Do you want to be like C. Lee and get a top literary agent like Italia Gandolfo, the CEO/Founder of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management? Click here to get instant access to the Free Resources on our websites for authors and click here to find out how you can Schedule an Introductory Coaching Call. Mark Malatesta is founder of The Bestselling Author and Literary Agent Undercover, helping authors of all genres (fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books) get top literary agents, publishers, and book deals. The above review of Mark Malatesta, Author Coach was provided by author C. Lee McKenzie.

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