DonnaRae Menard, author of Murder in the Meadow, published by Level Best Books, a traditional publisher of crime fiction and short story anthologies including The Best New England Crime Stories, the Writers’ Police Academy, and New York/Tri-State Chapter of Sisters in Crime anthologies. DonnaRae provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Their work together resulted in DonnaRae getting a three-book publishing deal with Level Best Books. 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 DonnaRae.
Mark Malatesta Review by DonnaRae Menard
I just signed a three-book deal! Am I thrilled? To the moon. You’ve been so good to me. I’m going to let you fly on my private jet when I hit it big!!
I was pretty despondent before it happened. I had gotten messages from a lot of people interested but nobody was offering me a contract. I laid in bed having a private pity party. Done. Ready to rip up everything, take it all to the dump.
The next evening, I was sitting at my computer getting ready to delete everything, but I decided to check my inbox first. I had a message time stamped from 10:36 that morning. It was a three sentence email from a publisher that said, “I loved the book. It was great. I’d like to offer you a contract if there are three books in this series.”
I was like, “Wait a minute. Hold it. What? What?” I couldn’t believe what I was reading because I had been so stressed out, unable to make anything happen. I shut the computer off and went to bed. I got up again 45 minutes later to look at the email again, thinking I’d been dreaming. The message was still there, and I sent a reply saying, “Absolutely.”
By noon Sunday, I had a contract.
I feel so gratified. If I’m having a really bad day now, all I have to do is sit down and re-read the contract. I am honored to know a publisher liked something I wrote enough to say, “I will work with you.”
Once I got the news, I started emailing, calling, texting…everyone. I couldn’t tell enough people. My husband doesn’t really understand what it’s all about, but my friends were like, “Woohoo! Party! Got to have it! Put me on your list.”
My daughter and I went out to celebrate. We bought me a special outfit for book signings. Then my two daughters and my granddaughter got together and made me a big gift basket with a special notebook and bag to carry my stuff in, with a little trailer thing to drag around behind me with my books.
I was surprised how many queries I had to send out, but also surprised at the number of personal messages I received. I was under the impression that wasn’t going to happen, that I was just going to get formal letters that simply said yay or nay. Tuesday, I got a response from an agent I queried who said he was interested in handling the book. I had to tell him the book had already been sold.
When I was writing and sending out queries by myself, even though I’d read books and taken classes about it, I couldn’t make headway. I didn’t know how to show them I was knowledgeable even though I don’t have a lot of formal education. I didn’t know how to display who I am and what I do, why my writing is good, and how I could promote it.
That intimidated me.
Working with you reminded me of when I got selected for a job I wasn’t as qualified for as everyone else. I still got the job and during my post-hire interview I asked the man, “Why did you hire me?” He said, “You talked me into it.” Now, every time I’m getting ready to pitch something, I think about that.
I’ve got broad shoulders and a wide butt, so now I put myself out there. I’m not thin skinned. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t think they can do that. It took me a while to get up the nerve to apply to work with you, too, because I know you don’t take everybody on. But you told me I had nothing to be nervous about. It didn’t take long for me to feel comfortable.
It was also important to me that you’re a writer. I never felt you were talking down to me. Some of what you shared went over my head, but I just took what I could out of it and left the rest. I think the hardest thing you asked was to write to authors I admire asking if they would review my book.
I did not want to do that.
When I was about five years old, my grandmother and I would ride on the bus. She would tell me, “You do not need to talk to everybody on the bus.” I didn’t care. Men, women, dogs, ponies, dinosaurs, I did not care. I talked to everybody.
So, when I started looking for authors, I thought, “They put on their pants one leg at a time the same way I do.” After I told one author about my story, I got a message back from him saying, “You will sell this book.”
I think one of the biggest benefits of working with you is overcoming the fear of approaching people: writers, agents, and publishers. Believing you’re as good as they are. Now, if somebody says to me, “Oh, this is never going to work,” I just turn around and walk away…and throw them a finger in my mind.
You have to keep moving on to the next person. Not, for a moment, carry that person in your mind and let them hold you back. You can’t worry about what they don’t like. I mean, it’s different if someone says they like your writing but makes a specific suggestion. That you should consider. But if someone just blows you off, just think, “See you around, Charlie Brown.”
Thanks, Mark, for helping me check off the biggest thing on my bucket list.
I can’t tell you how thrilled I am.
Author of Murder in the Meadow, published by Level Best Books, a traditional publisher of crime fiction and short story anthologies including The Best New England Crime Stories, the Writers’ Police Academy, and New York/Tri-State Chapter of Sisters in Crime anthologies
* * *
Do You Want to Be Like DonnaRae Menard Who Provided this Review About Mark Malatesta?
Do you want to be like DonnaRae and get a book deal with a traditional publisher such as Level Best Books? 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 DonnaRae Menard.