Laura Crawshaw, author of Taming the Abrasive Manager: How to End Unnecessary Roughness in the Workplace (Jossey-Bass), and Grow Your Spine & Manage Abrasive Leadership Behavior: A Guide for Those Who Manage Bosses Who Bully, provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Laura worked with Mark to improve her manuscript, book proposal, author platform, and query letter, which led to interest from multiple literary agents. 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 Laura.
Mark Malatesta Review by Laura Crawshaw
You were enormously helpful in getting agents to look at my work, you were helpful during the selection process, and you were helpful during the awful experience of being rejected. One agent said, “You don’t have any followers.” Another said, “You don’t tweet? What’s wrong with you?” I started feeling like I was a stinky author with a stinky book. The agent I signed with was like, “Hey, we can handle that.”
One agent offered to represent me before he’d read my book. He wanted to “get married” before our first date! You coached me on how to respond and ask him, and other interested agents, the right questions. That allowed me to commit to the person with the same vision and commitment I had. I felt total relief. In the end, the agent I signed with wasn’t at all who I thought it was going to be. That was powerful.
I thought I’d get an offer right away, but it was a grueling process. Multiple agents wanted to talk with me, but most said they didn’t like what I had to offer. Some asked me to give them something different. That was disturbing. It was like they were rejecting the baby I’d given birth to and been caring for, for years. I’d set my life up so no one could reject me, and hadn’t been rejected in my life in any way for many years!
The process of putting together all the material to get an agent was also valuable, and more difficult than I anticipated. Working with you is like training for the Olympics. There’s rigorous preparation and review, not just with the book proposal but the pitch statement, query letter, synopsis, outline, sample chapters, website, and the rest of one’s platform.It felt great to be completely prepared when I started querying.
I saw an article on entrepreneur.com quoting you that said the odds of getting a literary agent are 1 in 6,000. Before I contacted you, I was so naïve. You’ve been a literary agent and you’ve read tens of thousands of pitches, plus you’ve helped hundreds of authors get agents, so you know what will succeed. You know how to avoid wasting time crafting pitches and proposals that are too “this” or too “that.” You know what agents are looking for.
Coaching with you was worth every penny, and more, because I ultimately realized it wasn’t just about getting an agent. That’s because most agents aren’t going to do much of anything to improve your book, platform, and pitch materials. They’re simply going to share what you send them with publishers. I wouldn’t have thought everything through or gotten my materials to where they needed to be without you.
You were also calm throughout the process, including when my anxiety translated into becoming rather testy. Early in our process, when you started telling me what I should do, I remember saying, “You mean I have to be compliant? You mean I have to sacrifice my soul and my wisdom and everything else?” Your reply “Well, you don’t have to do anything, but I really want you to have the best chance of making it, and I have a lot of experience” calmed me down and refocused me.
Another thing I appreciated was the methodical and disciplined approach you shared for contacting agents. You compiled a spreadsheet with the most appropriate agents, and you indicated which ones were most successful. That spreadsheet included biographical information about each agent, how to contact them, and exactly what to provide them. That saved me immeasurable Internet research.
Googling agents or using online agent directories to learn about agents, and all their individual guidelines and requirements, is confusing and time-consuming. Authors who are suffering, or don’t want to suffer, should get help researching literary agents and putting everything together for agents. Everything literary agents need to give publishers for their marketing teams, with all issues and questions addressed and answered up front.
I’m not narcissistic, but I’m bright. I’ve written dissertations and books, given speeches, created institutes, you name it. But without your insider expertise and expert coaching, I never would have succeeded in getting a literary agent. I would have given them what I wanted, instead of what they wanted. That would have been a disaster. Authors need insight into what literary agents and publishers are looking for, that only an insider can offer.
Another thing I like is that you’re selective. Your business is successful so you don’t need to work with just anyone, and you wouldn’t have time to work with everyone. I felt that sense of “Man, I hope to make the cut.” It’s a wonderful thing with someone who has a business like that because you know they’re not just saying your work has potential because they need the money. You know they’re not just leading you on.
You also tell authors it will probably be brutally hard to get an agent and that many authors, including those you coach, aren’t able to get agents. When I was about to start sending out my first batch of queries, you said, “Remember to pace yourself. You might still be querying agents 11 months from now.” I was like, “I’m not going to be doing this for 11 freaking months!” And thanks in part to our work together, I didn’t need to.
Author of Taming the Abrasive Manager: How to End Unnecessary Roughness in the Workplace (Jossey-Bass), and Grow Your Spine & Manage Abrasive Leadership Behavior: A Guide for Those Who Manage Bosses Who Bully
* * *
Do You Want to Be Like Laura Crawshaw Who Provided this Review About Mark Malatesta?
Do you want to be like Laura Crawshaw and get a well-known literary agent? 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 former literary agent turned author coach Mark Malatesta was provided by author Laura Crawshaw, Ph.D., BCC.