Janis Pryor, author of the upcoming memoir White Roses Holding The Impossible provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Janis worked with Mark to improve her pitch materials and manuscript to get the attention of five literary agents and then signed with Karen Canton of Canton 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 Janis Pryor.
Mark Malatesta Review by Janis Pryor
“Ahhh, timing (and a great query letter) is everything. I have an agent! Karen Canton with Canton Literary Management called me an hour or so ago. Loves the book. Loves the story. Understands the story! They also seem like really nice people so that’s a relief, and they’ve done a lot with TV and feature film.
I’m in shock, frankly.
As the gods would have it, right before I submitted my work to them, I was thinking that if something didn’t come of my submissions soon I didn’t know what I was going to do. I wanted to throw myself off Mt. Washington. So you can call it divine intervention, or maybe determination. I don’t want to call it ‘patience’ because it wasn’t solely that. I’m impressed by what a deliberate effort it takes to get an agent. Mark talks on his website about making a ‘decision’ to get published instead of just hoping it’s going to happen, and you do have to be very deliberate to get a literary agent. The process is very methodical and you need a lot of stick-to-it-iveness.
I sent out queries before I worked with Mark but didn’t get any requests for more material. That’s what made me realize I was doing something wrong. I looked online and read books about getting an agent. I also talked with friends who were going through similar struggles, but I just wasn’t getting it. I’m used to writing in my professional life so I know how to put sentences together and make a point, but it was absolutely clear that something was missing. Mark helped me revise my query and I got five requests for more material. It didn’t happen within a few minutes or days, and there were times when I wanted to go running and screaming down the street, but it did happen!
The query letter was the most important part of the process and I thought about it a lot—the magic behind the evil query letter. My friends would ask me why I couldn’t write a simple letter about my book since I was the one who wrote it. I told them that there’s nothing simple about writing a query letter! For me writing a book is like creating this wonderful tapestry that you see in a museum. Writing a query letter is like brain surgery. You have to know exactly what kind of information to target, and you have to do it concisely with the right specificity and nuance. That wasn’t something I knew how to do, but Mark knew. He said everything that I wanted to say in my query, and he said it better.
The list of potential agents Mark gave me for my book was also absolutely wonderful. I never would have put all that together. I mean, good god… I would have been a crazy person! Mark showed me all of the best literary agents interested in my genre, listed in priority order with all of their personal preferences, submission requirements, and contact information. A friend asked me why I couldn’t put a list like that together myself, either. I said that by the time I got to fifty agents I would have killed someone. I don’t have that kind of temperament. I know what I can’t do. If I had to do all that before I even got to send the letters out, it would have made me crazy.
Mark is an interesting balance of someone who is easygoing but also very knowledgeable about the publishing profession and the art of writing. That’s an important balance, at least for someone like me. I have recommended Mark to three other authors now and, in the process of doing that and watching their responses, I realized that you, the writer, need to have a certain amount of humility. If you want to be successful, you have to realize that you might not be able to get a literary agent by yourself. I was so ready to admit that I was there, that I couldn’t do it myself, that I needed help. I reached out for help and it worked. It worked out really well! After sending out my second round of queries, I got a great agent.
What I first signed up for with Mark was the 1-hour introductory coaching call. I didn’t have any doubts about Mark’s ability because of the detailed information on his websites. I also followed Mark for about a year online and read his newsletter to see if he was going to stick around, and he did. The investment for the first call with him wasn’t a lot, and I knew Mark was savvy enough to help me. I figured it would be worthwhile and, if I didn’t like what I heard, I wouldn’t be out of a whole lot of money. Maybe a pair of shoes, but that was it. So I did it. Mark seemed legit, and I was plain desperate!
During that first call, Mark gave me a lot of advice that I would have been able to implement on my own. But he also told me that he thought he might be able to help me get an agent if we did more together, and he sent me a personalized program proposal. When I saw the price I thought… huh… that’s not just one pair of shoes. That’s a whole lot of shoes! So I sat with it for a while and a lot of people told me not to do it. But the thing that outweighed their concern was the fact that Mark never overpromised anything. If he had ‘guaranteed’ to get me an agent’ I wouldn’t have trusted him, but Mark didn’t do that. So I took the plunge, even though almost everyone I talked to about it thought I was crazy.
I will tell you now what I told my friends. You have to decide how badly you want to get a literary agent. You also have to recognize that the work we do as writers doesn’t exist in a bubble. You need cold eyes on your writing. I can’t remember what the exact investment was for Mark’s introductory coaching call but, whatever it is, you spend more than that on god knows what in a week. So do it. At the end of the day you’ll be able to say that you did everything you knew how to do to make your publishing dream real. At least that’s what I wanted to be able to say. I didn’t want to say, ‘God if only I had ended up going to that guy. Maybe I wouldn’t be here looking at this manuscript collecting dust.’
Making a decision to work with someone like Mark is sort of a come to Jesus moment. Some people don’t really want to know the truth. You have to make a decision about that and have a conversation with yourself. How badly do you want to get published, and why? Are you really committed? If the answer is yes, then you should do it. Talk to the man.”
Author of the upcoming memoir
White Roses Holding The Impossible
* * *
Do You Want to Be Like Janis Who Provided this Review About Mark Malatesta?
Do you want to get five requests for your book from successful literary agents and be represented by someone such as Karen Canton with Canton 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 was provided by author Janis Pryor.