Nicholas Stuller, author of the upcoming nonfiction book The Truth Will Shall Set Your Wallet Free provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Nicholas worked with Mark to improve his pitch materials (query letter and book proposal), resulting in representation with a successful literary agent, and then a hardcover book deal with Post Hill Press, distributed by Simon & Schuster. 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 Nicholas.
Mark Malatesta Review by Nicholas Stuller
“Mark, in the second day of sending out queries, an agent asked me to send him a proposal. I thought, ‘This is awesome!’ Then, more than a dozen more agents asked for more material. It wasn’t much later that I received multiple offers for representation. One agent said, ‘This is the best proposal I’ve ever read.’ I was overjoyed because I’d read more stories than I can count about a publishing industry that’s often describe as dour, depressed, and done. My hopes of success were like, less than 1%, so I was thrilled to get an agent.
Working with you has been great. It was a reality check to talk with a live human being about stuff I’d only been able to read about before. You know, when you read stuff, even if it’s from a credible source, it may or may not give you context. And there’s a big difference between having information and applying it at the highest level in the right way for you. It’s like the difference between reading a book about fitness vs. working with a top personal trainer. Two different universes.
I also learned things from you that nobody else in the industry talks about, and you helped me do a better job talking about my book. Even though you don’t know my industry, like I do, you were able to help me explain it to literary agents in a better way. That clarity rippled through my proposal and query letter. I haven’t always used all the changes that experts I’ve hired, including freelance editors, have suggested, but all your prompts made everything I was doing better.
You totally saved my bacon on my book proposal. My editor and I had different versions, and the competition section got deleted by accident. During our first phone call you asked me, ‘Do you have any information about comparable titles? You should.’ I was like, ‘Huh, yeah, I know I do, wait – holy crap.’ You also suggested I add several sections to my book proposal that other coaches and consultant don’t talk about. Those sections made it easier for agents to understand the value of my book, how it’s special and different, and it made the proposal more personal.
I was also excited to hear a successful editor I’ve worked with say, ‘Holy cow, this is astonishing’ when I showed him my proposal. He’s a senior editor at Hearst and a traditionally published author who’s worked with four or five agents during his career. He’s the real deal, been a professional writer his entire life, and written books with advances from publishers such as McGraw Hill and Simon and Shuster. He was incredibly psyched when he saw the proposal. That meant a lot because I’ve heard his views in the past about how difficult it is to get published.
Most of the agents who wanted to read the proposal responded within the same day, or 48 hours. That’s because your advice made it as easy as possible for agents to understand why my book would sell and be appreciated. The agent I signed with told me she never takes a client whose proposal needs massive reworking, so I’m glad mine was strong. It’s important that authors do everything they can to get it right before they start submitting to agents. It’s also important to submit to the best agents, and wait until you find the right firm and person that you know is going to be a perfect fit. You helped me with that, too.
Every time an agent asked me for the proposal, it was a huge rush. The waiting was slightly torturous, but your advice about what to do when I got an offer was very good. You told me how to follow up with everyone, instead of just saying yes to the first person. That was invaluable. Mark, you’re a good, solid person. Easy to get along with, funny, and not your typical consultant. I’ve hired a bunch and they tend to be preachy. I work as a salesperson, so you probably couldn’t offend me, but I think the average author will appreciate that you’re easy to talk with.
I also like that you have a ton of valuable content on your websites that educates authors. Like, over the top. Like, ‘Wow.’ Clearly, you have no problem giving a lot of interesting information away for free, so I wasn’t worried about you giving me value if I engaged you as a consultant. I learned a lot from your site, which included your history, and that got me more comfortable: knowing who you are, what you’ve done, and what you do. It wasn’t just a few pages that would have left me wondering.
Sometimes, when I’ve hired consultants, nothing has happened. Except for one thing. I’ve written a lot of checks and they’ve all been cashed. But nothing else gets done, except getting really pissed off because nothing is getting done. Sometimes it’s the consultant’s fault and sometimes it’s the client’s fault. Since I also sell consulting services, I’ve seen both sides. So, I wanted to make sure, if I was going to engage with you, it was going to be profitable for me. You had a ton of testimonials too, like a LOT – so that helped.
Most authors don’t understand the business side of writing. Their emotions are too tied up into whatever it is they wrote. That’s why speaking with someone like you, who’s coached authors and understands the business aspect, who actually was an agent, with a dispassionate view about how the industry works, is everything. There aren’t a lot of firms out there that do what you do, and, those that do aren’t the full package. Your help was extremely valuable and took a lot of the stress out of the process.
Author of the hardcover nonfiction book The Truth Shall Set Your Wallet Free (Post Hill Press, distributed by Simon & Schuster)
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Do You Want to Be Like Nicholas Stuller Who Provided this Review About Mark Malatesta?
Do you want to be like Nicholas and get represented by a successful literary agent, followed by a hardcover book deal with a traditional publisher like Post Hill Press, distributed by Simon & Schuster? 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, Author Coach was provided by author Nicholas Stuller.