Lisa Kate David, author of the memoir Dating in L.A. with No Nipples (not yet published, provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Lisa worked with Mark to improve her pitch materials and manuscript to get the attention of top literary agents and then signed with the Steve Ross 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 Lisa Kate David.
Mark Malatesta Review by Lisa Kate David
I just signed with the literary agent I wanted to work with the most, Steve Ross. He’s the former President & Group Publisher for HarperCollins, and he’s the former Sr. VP and Publisher for Random House’s Crown Division. It happened right after my daughter’s graduation from fifth grade, a really good day.
It had been a month since I’d queried Steve, so I followed up with him. He said he’d been moving offices but liked my query and requested my proposal. He then asked me to trim it. I talked to you, took my time with the changes, and sent it back to him. He then sent me an email saying he thought my story was amazing, he wanted to work with me, and we should talk. The conversation we had was what sealed the deal for me.
That said, before Steve & I connected, another agent was really interested also, but she wanted me to change my voice. That was hard to walk away from because she’s also a top agent and a cancer survivor, which is partly what my book is about. But you and I talked, I sat with it for a couple of days, and my gut said it wasn’t the right match.
Before I met you, I worked with somebody else to try to get a book agent, because putting together a solid book proposal seemed so daunting to me. I’ve worked with Talent agents and TV & Film Literary agents, but the Memoir world was new to me. So I trusted someone who, after a few months, proved to have no idea how to structure a book proposal. After that experience, I did a lot of work on my own, determined not to trust anyone blindly again.
A career coach I know referred me to you. She’d coached someone working with you who said you’re really, really good at what you do. I was glad I went through the process with your guidance because so much more came out of doing all the work than I expected. The way everything came together, even my mission statement, and all the different parts of the proposal. The way you had me work on that was very smart, including the order you had me do everything, step by step.
I kept having to go deeper and deeper. It wasn’t “the easy way,” but I felt like it was the best way. It took a while to condense everything I had to say. But, when I did it, I had a more solid structure and story arc. It was a cool process, even though it drove me crazy at times.
When I signed up for the first coaching call with you, I wasn’t intending to do your bigger, longer-term coaching program. I just thought, “Okay, let’s just see how the first call works out.” That first call was an investment, but it wasn’t as big a financial investment as your longer coaching program.
During the intro call, everything was so helpful, and I liked where you were going. It made me feel confident about doing more with you, because I had talked to you and I had a good feeling. Plus, you were referred to me and I’d looked at everything on your website. Then I talked to my husband, who was like, “Do you remember when you got burned by that other person who didn’t know what the hell she was doing?”
But I knew from my phone conversation with you it would be okay. You give writers the tools they need to give themselves the best chance to succeed, in their voice. My work and pitch materials were stronger, and querying agents was empowering.
The way you work with authors feels totally authentic, something I struggled with working with the other person. That process was more haphazard, but I didn’t know any better at the time. When I go back and I look at that old proposal, I’m like, “Sh*t, how could anyone read this and follow it?” It was all over the place, a disaster.”
I appreciate you and I’ve loved having you as an advocate I trust to run things by, someone in my corner who purely has had me and my story’s best interest at heart, without an alternate agenda. As you know, my story is very important and personal to me. Thanks so much!
Actress, writer, comedienne, and voice-over artist hailed by
The New York Times as “a major comedic force”
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Do you want to get a top literary agent and be represented by a top literary agent like Steve Ross? 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 Lisa Kate David.