Joel Townsend, author of the nonfiction book Christian Mindfulness (not yet published), provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Joel worked with Mark to improve his query letter, book proposal, and manuscript, which resulted in literary agency representation with Hartline Literary Agency. 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 Joel Townsend.
Mark Malatesta Review by Joel Townsend
“I now have an agent with Hartline Literary Agency! Mark, before we started working together, I did research on the Internet and picked up a couple of books, one by Michael Hyatt and the other by Terry Whalin. I used that information as well as I could to put together a query letter and book proposal, but then I was shocked and crushed when my book wasn’t picked up immediately. I couldn’t figure out why everyone in the world wouldn’t love what I had written! I felt that there was something I wasn’t getting. That’s when I saw your information on the web and took advantage of it.
Zig Ziglar used to say, ‘You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.’ That’s what you do, Mark. You provide a lot of very valuable things on your websites pro bono: articles, interviews, and your literary agent directory. You just put it out there for free and you’re glad to see people take advantage of it, whether they sign up for coaching with you or not. That soft sell philosophy really spoke to me. You’re one of the few people out there who’ve figured out that you don’t do well by clamoring and jumping up and down shouting, ‘Hire me!!!’ You do well by getting out there and actually providing value.
Your website actually became so important to me that I decided to take advantage of your 1-hour introductory coaching call offer, which was also very valuable. Before we talked, you invested considerable energy in understanding what I was doing by reading my material thoroughly. You took the time to really understand my project and you were able to speak to that. You also had all kinds of positive suggestions for me, and I knew immediately that you knew what you were doing. That moment was golden, a very exciting moment. I felt like I had made a connection with someone on the inside and, during that first call, I began to forge a friendship and professional relationship with you.
I’m more knowledgeable about the publishing industry now and most authors don’t get their material read. You have to know certain vocabulary, specific processes, and extremely sophisticated etiquette. And those first few words of your query letter absolutely count. You have about 8 seconds — and sometimes just the subject line. As I mentioned before, reading books and websites about how to write a query letter and book proposal isn’t the same as talking with someone. There are things you just can’t learn in a book or online. Working with you allowed me to tailor everything that you teach in ways that were specific to my book. There is such a benefit in the give and take of a conversation, and the ability to ask questions.
You helped me stand out from all the other talented authors who want to write, and you helped me get beyond the first waves of disappointment and doubt. When you are trying to get an agent there are many waves of disappointment. It’s easy to pack it in and go do something else. That’s what I wanted to do, a few dozen times. Doubt is a wicked thing, so having someone standing there with you, who knows what you’re going through, and the industry, really matters. It wasn’t like you were cracking the whip, but I always felt you had a certain investment in me. There were times when I would look in the mirror and I was fully willing to disappoint myself, but I wasn’t willing to disappoint you.
If I hadn’t worked with you, Mark, I would have quit a year ago. That’s just a fact. I knew that you believed in my book and we had a very good, quality relationship. Even though it was business, I felt like there was a genuine concern for me and my message, and for my making it through to the other side. You’re very warm and supportive, and you take an absolutely genuine interest in the well being of your clients and their progress. You’re very friendly and easy to talk with as well, and that’s particularly helpful because this is a hard, hard industry emotionally. Authors don’t need a drill sergeant — they need a friend and confidant.
There are so many people offering things for authors online, but I did a lot of research and it was easy to see that you’re different. Everybody has concerns about paying someone they don’t know for something — that’s natural and healthy, particularly on the Internet. But the resources on your website were so valuable and you had so many testimonials that you quickly won me over. I remember seeing the offer for the coaching call and thinking, ‘What an opportunity! I can get someone in the industry to look at my stuff and, even if he tells me it’s bad and I should and quit, it will be worth the investment because I really don’t know.’
After the introductory coaching call with you, it wasn’t a leap for me at all to look at the full-blown program. It wasn’t cheap, and I was in a position financially where that was a difficult thing, but it was worth every penny. You helped me read my material objectively and think like an agent. You helped me make the marketing and promotion section of my pitch absolutely bulletproof. And the agent spreadsheet you put together for me was also very helpful. The agent information that you gave me was much more up to date then anything else I could find online. And I didn’t have a single case where a submission was returned or an email address was no longer working.
I’ve always believed that regret is one of the worst things a human can suffer from — it’s almost worse then a dreaded disease. The older you get, you regret missed opportunities. That includes opportunities to invest in yourself and develop yourself — and that includes your writing. I don’t care what anyone says, writing is a craft. It’s something that has to be developed. And selling yourself in the publishing industry is one step beyond that. You might already know that you need help, or you might think you’re more than you are. Either way, if you don’t go after it and make the investment you’ll always wonder.
I really don’t know that a person can fully explore all their potential without help of some sort. It makes me think about a guy in the gym who once complimented me on how much I bench-pressed. I joked and told him, ‘Yeah, I could have made it in the NFL. All I lacked was size, speed, and skill!’ That’s how it is in writing. You probably already have some of things that you need to be successful, but working with Mark is an opportunity to be sure about what’s working, and see what needs to improve.”
* * *
Do You Want to Be Like Joel Who Provided this Review About Mark Malatesta?
Do you want to be represented by a top literary agency like Hartline Literary Agency? 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 Joel Townsend.