Dr. Ogi Ressel, author of Kids First (Square One) and the novel series Young Partisans (not yet published), provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Ogi worked with Mark to improve his book and pitch materials, resulting in him getting offers from two literary agents before signing with Lee Sobel. 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 Ogi.
Mark Malatesta Review by Dr. Ogi Ressel
Mark, you helped me get offers from two agents and I just signed with Lee Sobel. This is EXACTLY why I hired you.I was on my computer when Lee called to talk about my book. He loved it, said it was one of the best stories he’s read in years. “Really well-written with a new perspective about the war.” He wanted to represent me right then and there.
My wife had to scrape me off the ceiling!
After I came down to earth, I sat outside with my wife looking at our pool, thinking, “This is unreal.” We went out for dinner and talked about it. When we came back home, there was a contract from Lee in my inbox. I sent it to you, you reviewed it, then I signed it and sent it back to Lee. It’s still unreal to me, damn exciting.
Right before I got the offer from Lee, I got a call from another agent who was excited about the manuscript and wanted to represent me. I thought, “Well, you couldn’t have read the damn thing, I just sent it 15 minutes ago.” Then I realized she was offering representation based on the query. She hadn’t even seen sample pages!
That agent has been representing authors for 20-odd years. She has a lot of experience and said, “I’ve never done this in my life, never sent a contract to an author I just met. But I’m doing it with you because I loved your query.” She was absolutely lovely, and I really enjoyed meeting her, but I felt Lee was a better match.
It was a tough decision and I had some sleepless nights before I went with Lee. I like that his father owns a publishing company, so he’s been at it with books since he was a little boy. He also spoke, when we talked, with strength and wonderful conviction. I thought to myself, “I feel good about this guy.”
I didn’t query anyone before I met you, Mark. My query letter was really weak. The query you wrote was fabulous. A number of agents said, “You’ve got one of the best query letters we’ve ever seen.” They said it was succinct and hit all the important points, whatever the hell that means. The agents never elaborated!
Writing a powerful query is an art, and you’ve got it down. “Don’t change a word,” you said, and I didn’t! I had to send out a lot of queries to get offers, but I got a lot of requests from agents to read my book. At first, I didn’t think I was doing very well. I thought, “Oh, sh*t,” but I didn’t have anything to compare it to. Then I learned that most authors don’t get as many requests as I did.
Querying agents was an amazing exercise. It was all new to me, so I learned a ton. Holy crap, the learning curve was steep. I’ve got to tell you, I don’t know if I’d be in this place today, Mark, if it wasn’t for your help. I totally believe that. You’ve been so instrumental in moving this thing forward, you have no idea. I’m so grateful.
Canada only has about ten, maybe fifteen agents. I started approaching them first, before you and I connected. I think I found you Googling literary agencies. You came up online. The number of literary agencies you sent me, to choose from, was mind-boggling. I thought, “Wow, that’s incredible!”
Dale Carnegie said, “Surround yourself with people who know more than you do.” That’s brilliant, how he formed his steel empire. He’s right. I look at my kids and they’re wizards on the computer. I think, “Do I need to take years to learn all this? No, I’ll hire someone else to do it!” I’m good at writing, so I’m going to concentrate on that part of my life, not on learning technology.
I’d rather let someone else worry about the publishing industry, like my agent. That’s his job. I honestly thought, at the beginning, “I’m going to write a book and submit it to a publisher and it’s going to be published.” I was so naïve! I had no idea a writer needs an agent and that agents don’t accept everybody. I was surprised how difficult the process was, there’s so much competition.
Going through this with you has been a huge awakening. My favorite part, it’s going to sound corny, has been our conversations. You’re less formal with me now than you were during our first talk, nearly a year ago. I’ve enjoyed our time together and consider you a mentor and friend. We don’t talk often, but, when we do, we pick up where we left off. You’re not some distant guy that I can’t reach.
I’ve been in business long enough to know who I want to work with and who I don’t. I’ve been a coach myself, helping doctors run a successful practice, so I get it. Like you, I didn’t accept everybody into my program, so I totally understand how that works. The more successful I became, the pickier I became, it was good.
To anyone reading this: “If you’re serious about writing and want to get an agent, hire a coach to give you the tools to become successful. If you do it on your own, it probably ain’t going to happen. If it does, it’s going to be a very long and laborious process. If you want to avoid spending years doing things that don’t work, hire Mark. Then listen to what he says. It’s really simple.
Business has taught me that in order to make money you’ve got to bloody well spend it. Publishing is a business, and Mark knows that business as well as anyone. Thank you again, Mark, from my heart, for everything you’ve done for me. I appreciate you more than you know. I’m definitely going to take you up on your offer to meet in person. I would love that. And, of course, I’ve mentioned you to a bunch of my colleagues.
You’re an absolute gem.
Author of Kids First (Square One) and
the novel series Young Partisans
(not yet published)
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Do You Want to Be Like Dr. Ogi Ressel Who Provided this Review About Mark Malatesta?
Do you want to be like Ogi and get offers from two literary agents? 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 Dr. Ogi Ressel.