C.J. Wynn, author of the true-crime book Wilder Intentions: Love, Lies and Murder in North Dakota, published by Black Lyon Publishing, a traditional publisher with multiple Amazon #1 bestsellers, provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. C.J. worked with Mark to improve her manuscript, pitch materials, and platform resulting in an offer to be published. 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 C.J.
Mark Malatesta Review by C.J. Wynn
It was nighttime when I got an email saying I had a book deal with a traditional publisher with multiple Amazon #1 bestsellers. Now my book, even though it just came out, has hundreds of reviews with a 4.5-star rating, was a #1 Amazon bestseller for more than 2 weeks, and a NY Times bestselling author said it’s “extraordinarily well-written and thrilling.”
When I saw the email about my book deal, I thought, “I have no idea what to say or do.” I’d been guarded up to that point because it had taken a while to get an offer, and I’d gotten rejections. Once I knew they were the publisher for me, my husband gave me a hug. He’s been incredibly supportive.
I queried agents before working with you, but always heard a “no thank you” or nothing—even with a referral from a successful author who recommended me to her agent. I then followed your site for a while and read things you had posted. I also saw online that you’re very well-respected within the industry.
When I reached out to you, I was feeling forlorn, thinking, “This is never going to happen. What am I doing? This is a waste of time.” Then I thought, “Okay, I need to call Mark and invest in help because I’m obviously on the wrong track.” The part I was most worried about was my writing style, but you told me that wasn’t the problem.
You said my writing was great and focused on my query letter, which turned out to be as important as what my book is about—because no one will read your story without a great query. Now I tell authors, “If you think you know how to write a query letter, you don’t, until you talk to Mark.” You brought up things I hadn’t even thought about.
You told me exactly what my query letter needed to include for my unique situation, paragraph by paragraph. During our time together, you also showed me the best way to talk about marketing my book. You said, “It’s really important to tell agents and publishers how you plan to promote your work.”
There’s a lot of information about how to write queries on websites, including yours. But, during our coaching time, you told me the dirty details of what I needed to say and how to say it for my situation. “Here’s what you might think they want,” you said. “But here’s what’s really happening.”
You weren’t afraid to tell the truth either, about how hard it is, or how to approach the process. Your honesty was helpful, since there’s a lot of competition, including writers who are better or have bigger platforms. You helped me treat my writing more like a business, with more deadlines and consistency, and you helped me have thicker skin.
Authors shouldn’t approach their work thinking, “I just want to write a book.” You can’t just write a book. There are other things you have to think about and do. It can be overwhelming to consider all those things, but you break it down and make it digestible. One of those things, since I’m a nonfiction author, was improving my profile or platform.
I cringed when you talked about the hours I should put in reaching out to influencers before pitching agents and publishers. You said, “Hey, it’s going to take time, but if you want to be successful, commit.” I felt a little guilty that I wasn’t already doing it, but then I started feeling motivated. Now I realize platform is just as important as the query and book if you’re a nonfiction writer.
Another thing you said was, “There are two reasons talented authors don’t get published. One is they’re not educated enough about the industry and how it works.” And, you added, “The second reason is that most authors who areeducated aren’t willing to do what it takes.” You help authors with both of those things.
I’ve never met you in person, but you’re awesome to talk to, funny, and encouraging. I also have to tell you that the NY Times bestselling author who wrote a blurb for my book just asked me to co-author her next book. So, we’re starting work on that now. I’m a bit in shock over that, but very happy.
Your suggestions have been incredible—they helped a good publisher take a chance on an author with absolutely zero professional experience or journalistic credentials. I’m so excited this is finally happening, and you’re a huge reason. I appreciate you. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your amazing insight and guidance!!!
Author of the true-crime book Wilder Intentions: Love, Lies and Murder in North Dakota, published by Black Lyon Publishing, a traditional publisher with multiple Amazon #1 bestsellers
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Do You Want to Be Like C.J. Wynn Who Provided this Review About Mark Malatesta?
Do you want to be like C.J. and get a publication offer from a traditional publisher? 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 C.J. Wynn.