Nathaniel Lande, author of ten fiction and nonfiction books including Cricket (New American Library), The Life and Times of Homer Sincere (Peter Mayer/Overlook Press), The 10 Best of Everything (National Geographic), and Dispatches from the Front (Henry Holt and Oxford University Press) provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Nathaniel worked with Mark to improve his pitch materials and manuscript, which resulted in literary agency representation. Nathaniel’s new book, Spinning History, is scheduled to be published with Sky Horse Publishing, a prestigious publisher that has 41 New York Times bestsellers. 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 Nathaniel Lande.
Mark Malatesta Review by Nathaniel Lande
“Mark, finding you has been both a treat and a treasure! I now have two different agents for my work, and a book deal with Sky Horse Publishing [named the ‘fastest growing small publisher in America’ by Publishers Weekly]. As you know, my career has spanned publishing, TV, and feature film. I’ve served as Creative Director for the Magazine Group, TIME Incorporated; Director of Time World News Service, a Founding Director of TIME-Life Films; Executive Producer for both the CBS and NBC Television Networks; Producer/ Director: Movies of the Week: CBS Cinema Center Films and Universal MCA. You just can’t do it alone today as an author.
Having many years experience in publishing, and having published many books myself, I’ve found that the industry has become extremely problematic. 70% of the publishing houses, as I knew them 20 years ago, have now consolidated. As a result, cost-cutting measures have been put into place, editors are overworked and underpaid, and, regrettably, there’s a new crop of editors coming in that aren’t developmental editors, they’re just acquisition editors. They don’t have the literary stature of some of the legendary editors.
We’ll never see another Max Perkins, the editor for Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe. Few editors these days are dedicated to their craft. There are pretenders and sometimes imposters and no single editor today can make a decision. They must have another editor within the same house, a marketing director, a PR director, and the publisher on board to get permission to publish a book. wAs a result, every author needs to have a well-edited book and position it well. My latest book wasn’t getting picked up because editors couldn’t agree whether it was a young adult novel or an adult novel.
Faced with problems like this, it becomes dangerous territory. If you start listening to the wrong people, or too many people, you’re at a disadvantage. Many of the agents and editors who gave me feedback had just read a few pages. It can be very unsettling and worrisome. But you need an agent and this is why I feel that you offer such a valuable service, Mark. You’re an intelligent man and you’re a literary man. You’ve been an agent and you know the game. You help authors choose the best agents who might be receptive. You personally rewrite an author’s pitch materials. And you make sure his or her work is well written and ready to go.
In today’s publishing marketplace, agents come and go. They also very often seem to just want an easy pathway to make a buck. Many authors are let go by their agents because their last book didn’t do well enough and the agent doesn’t want to devote the time to help the author. That’s not what you’re about Mark. You structure a blueprint in which an author has every chance of having the representation that his or her book deserves. You help your clients give agents everything they need to place their book with the proper publisher. Even established authors need this type of support in today’s marketplace.
I’ve had agents in the past for my work, including an agent who helped me with a very successful book that I published with National Geographic. But things went badly with that agent so I had to look for another one. It was extremely difficult. Even though I already had a bestselling book, I was writing in a new genre so there was a new learning curve. Every day was becoming increasingly difficult and I knew I needed help. I needed a mentor, a supporter, someone in the industry who could help me see things more clearly, write an appealing query letter that would garner attention, and get my manuscript read.
It’s very difficult today for authors. Anyone who tries to get a literary agent blind, without the best blueprint, is diminishing his or her chances. You only have one chance at an agent for a book, so you’ve got to do everything you can. That means finding a trusted advisor and supporter who knows how to play the game. Instead of agents just reading the first page of your book and tossing it, you want them to think it’s well thought out and well presented. Then you might have found your champion, one who believes in your work and has the ability to place it.
This may sound indulgent Mark, but my favorite part of your coaching program has simply been working with you—someone experienced, fair minded, and professional. You tell it like it is and you’re very straightforward and above board. Instead of making guarantees, you tell authors that the publishing process is about calculated risk and playing the odds. The only thing you can promise authors is that you can help them avoid making mistakes. And you can help them increase the odds of getting their work read in the best possible light.
To those authors who don’t want to pay for your time and experience, it’s a lot like deciding to pay for a good doctor or get free services at a clinic. If you have a serious condition, the choice is clear. You want to go to a specialist and get the best treatment or prescription. That’s what you are, Mark. A specialist. Because of the way you present yourself, I never had any skepticism about working with you. You’re forthright, you say what you’re going to do, and you construct a unique plan for each individual author and project.
Writing is a very lonely profession. You know how to gain access to the publishing world so authors can be respectfully represented. Investing in your program helped me find two literary agent who are enthusiastic about my work and treat me with respect.
I finally have my happy ending.
Author of ten fiction and nonfiction books including Cricket (New American Library), The Life and Times of Homer Sincere (Peter Mayer/Overlook Press), The 10 Best of Everything (National Geographic), Dispatches from the Front (Henry Holt and Oxford University Press), Mindstyles–Lifestyles (Price Stern Sloan), Blueprinting (Harper Collins), Self Health, The Life Long Fitness Book (Holt, Rinehardt, Winston), The Cigar Connoisseur (Clarkson Potter), and Spinning History: Politics and Propaganda in World War II (Skyhorse Publishing)
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Do you want to get multiple literary agents interested in your work and get a top publisher like Nathaniel? 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 Nathaniel Lande.