Melissa Bond, author of Blood Orange Night (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books, 2022), a memoir about insomnia, prescription pills, and the unbridled love for a little boy with Down syndrome, provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Melissa worked with Mark to improve her manuscript, pitch materials, and platform, which resulted in her getting a literary agent and book deal. 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 Melissa.
Mark Malatesta Review by Melissa Bond
Woot!!! I’m so excited I could cry.
My agent just sold my memoir to Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books. Anyone who has the great fortune to work with you should consider themselves lucky. You were my compass. You didn’t walk for me, but you showed me how to get there.
Working with you was a big learning curve, but I got a very good response rate from my queries, including from A-list agents who were interested. That was exciting. I was actually preparing to send out my second round of queries when my soon-to-be agent sent me a beautiful email saying, “Your work is absolutely captivating, and I’d like to talk with you.”
My agent is genuine, and she loved my book for all right reasons. I felt this kinship. I wanted that because my book is a memoir. It’s personal for me, and I didn’t just want an agent interested simply because she thought she could sell it.
I wanted a heart connection as well. It felt like that. She’s everything I wanted: established in her career but also a mom and very professional and on the ball. She’s even had several of her own books published.
When I got the offer, I called you immediately and you helped me see how to screen the other interested agents to see who the best fit was. I hadn’t anticipated things happening that fast. You had prepared me to send queries out for a year, since it’s usually harder and takes longer to get an agent. So, I was holding my energy.
The greatest thing about the experience so far is that my daughter, who is eleven, was sitting next to me when I got the email about the deal. I yelled and did a happy dance. She was like, “Oh my gosh, mom. Are you okay? I’ve never seen you like this.”
We cried together because she knows I’ve wanted this for a long time. It was beautiful to share that moment. Then I went out to dinner with my family, and we celebrated. But the big celebration will come when I feel the weight of the published book in my hands.
I spent about three years sending out queries before I found you. I didn’t know what I was doing. It was like I was on a muddy trail crawling through branches and underbrush. I tried to figure it out, but all I got was rejections.
The query I sent out after working with you had more of what agents are looking for. Without a lot of fluff or fanfare, it got to the point quickly. Since I’m a writer, I’d been more focused on showing my style. I also didn’t know which things to put up front, whether I should give them exclusivity, etc.
It’s like knowing the ingredients for a dish, but not having the instructions to make it. If you just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot, sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s much better to have a proven recipe.
My agent changed the book proposal a little bit and condensed it, but everything she needed was there. Stuff I had no idea they would want that can help an agent sell a book to a publisher without them needing to fish for it.
I also liked having someone like you who’s been in the industry to help me see how to make my book more marketable, without compromising its integrity in any way. Like most authors, I kind of hated the platform-building part of your process at first, but that ended up being one of my favorite parts in the end.
I hated it at first because it was daunting and hard, but now I’ve built up my “outreach muscles.” When I got into the right heart space about connecting with promotional partners about the book, it got a lot easier.
Staying in that space of authenticity, realizing what a beautiful thing it is to interact with people doing things I admire, helped me connect with people I never would have imagined. That’s a skill that you helped me build, one I’ll continue to have and use going forward.
You’re the best coach I could imagine. You’re professional and incisive in your knowledge, but kind. You get back to your clients quickly, you’re clear with your boundaries, and you know how to nudge without pushing. It was clear I was either going to walk up that mountain or not, and that was up to me. You weren’t going to drag me.
The first coaching call with you was everything because I got so much out of it, and I was able to experience your level of integrity. After that call, I thought about the fact that I’ve been a writer my entire life, but I’d never invested in becoming a professional writer.
That’s when I made a shift. I thought, I know how to write, but I don’t know the business of writing and I’ve gone as far as I can go. Why wouldn’t I get a mentor to show me how to get where I want to go? It was a stretch for me financially, but I knew I could do it and felt in my gut that you were the right person.
Right before I decided to work with you, I talked to my dad and he was like, “Oh, my gosh. Walk away.” I was like, “Thank you, Dad. I’m going to work with Mark.” He said, “Alright, you’re being stupid.” I was like, “We’ll see.” Now, he’s hats off.
You’re an angel, thank you.
With endless gratitude,
Author of Blood Orange Night (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books, 2022), a memoir about insomnia, prescription pills, and the unbridled love for a little boy with Down syndrome
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Do You Want to Be Like Melissa Bond Who Provided this Review About Mark Malatesta?
Do you want to be like Melissa and have your book published by a top publisher such as Simon & Schuster/Gallery 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 Melissa Bond.