James Philips, author of Two Revolutions and the Constitution: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution, provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Two Revolutions and the Constitution is published by Rowman and Littlefield/Hamilton Books, a leading traditional publisher of many bestsellers that produces both trade and academic books, and is one of America’s largest book distributors: National Book Network (NBN). James worked with Mark to improve his query letter, book proposal, and manuscript, which resulted in his book deal. 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 reading the review below about Mark Malatesta by James Philips.
Mark Malatesta Review by James Philips
It’s getting real. This morning I received an offer from Hamilton Books, an imprint of Rowman and Littlefield, a publisher of high-quality nonfiction titles for general interest and scholarly audiences. I have, of course, thanked you in the acknowledgments.
I first learned about Hamilton while viewing a list of bestselling historical books online. They have a global distribution platform, and I learned the other day that the Berkeley Law Library has ordered a copy of my book, which is exciting. I was thrilled Hamilton took me on because I didn’t have a track record and I’m not in the United States. That made me a bit of a risk. So, down here in Australia, we were excited. There was champagne and a celebratory dinner over the fact that I got a publisher.
I’d sent out about four queries before I approached you after realizing I didn’t know what I was doing. I was concerned about two things. One is that I was less likely to be effective because I did not know what I was doing. The second was that if I kept doing that for long, I’d lose heart in the project, and it would collapse.
Though I’d been a highly successful lawyer for more than 30 years, I knew I was moving from a level of deep instinctive expertise in a specialized area, to an area where I was clueless. As you go along in any field, you keep reaching higher levels of expertise if you’re successful. You start becoming competent after about five years, but, after decades, you know your way around intimately and you can cut to the quick of a problem more quickly. I know what deep expertise and competence looks like, and I realized I needed a solution.
You helped me find the right angle for my book introduction to make the manuscript more interesting and relevant to American readers. You also encouraged me to reorganize the book to include more American history and perspective before getting too far into the British history and perspective. At one point, I decided the English content was secondary, ramped up the American content, and framed the book with American content and my thesis in the first chapter.
Authors fall in love with their own projects, so it can be difficult for them to make their books and queries as engaging as possible. You also showed me how to improve my promotional platform, without me having to put my whole life online or without me having to spend my whole life on social media. When I did post something online, people shared it, like the first post I wrote about the book on LinkedIn, which got eight times as many people looking at it than my number of followers. I’m also getting op-eds published now, such as this one in the St. Louis Dispatch.
You told me the best way to create my website as well, and you showed me how to get blurbs from well-known historians, authors, and experts. Three of the people I most wanted to get blurbs from provided them. That was fantastic and very, very important because I gained more confidence in my project as a result, and because those commitments gave my publisher more confidence in the book. I needed those endorsements as someone who isn’t a credentialed historian or a professor of history or constitutional law.
You’re a good communicator but you’re also optimistic and persistent, consistently encouraging your clients to be optimistic and persistent. I’m a cynical bastard [if you prefer here, instead, we can just say, “I’m somewhat cynical”] because I’ve been around a bit and beaten up a few times, so it was nice to see you really care about your clients and want them to succeed. Your personal warmth was also nice because the process of trying to get published can be disheartening. It can a big, cold, and sometimes hostile world. It’s easy to lose confidence and heart, and it can be hard to stick with your project as an author, even though it matters a lot to you.
Notwithstanding that I’m sort of skeptical and know a lot of things don’t work out, I’m also hopeful. The third-party endorsements on your website were convincing, and there are enough of them there that I put a lot of confidence in you from the beginning. I knew it might all go badly, but I also knew I wasn’t going to make progress without someone like you. I kept a constructive and positive attitude, and I’m glad I did.
I’m now a published author.
Author of Two Revolutions and the Constitution: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution, published by Rowman and Littlefield/Hamilton Books, a leading traditional publisher of many bestsellers that produces both trade and academic books, and is one of America’s largest book distributors: National Book Network (NBN)
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Do you want to get a publisher such as Rowman and Littlefield/Hamilton Books? 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 Author Coach Mark Malatesta was provided by author James Philips.