Michael Nickerson, author of the young adult novel Johnny Maverick (not yet published), provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Michael worked with Mark, resulting in him getting an offer from a literary agent. 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 Michael.
Mark Malatesta Review by Michael Nickerson
When I got an email from a literary agent asking me to set up a call with her, it wasn’t clear if she was offering representation. The message just said, “We would like to discuss it with you.” I didn’t realize until we were a little bit into it that they were, indeed, making me an offer. There were two people on the call, and it was exciting. I worked long and hard to make it happen.
Before Mark told me not to, I sent out queries the way everyone brainwashes you to do it, one agent at a time. I spent about a year contacting agents that way and I didn’t get anywhere. When I followed Mark’s guidelines, it only took a couple months to get an agent. I also contacted authors, including one who’s hugely popular, and she’s now a pen pal. A few others said I could send them an advance reading copy of my book as well.
When I first started trying to get an agent, way back when, I used the Writer’s Market Guide. Then I went with their online stuff and I used Google. In fact, that’s how I found Mark. I also read Publishers Weekly to try to get my head into the game and find agents. The agent information Mark sent me was better and it was a big timesaver. I color coded it and organized it, so it was easy to keep track of my rejections!
The way Mark put my query together was better than what I did myself, too. I think my old hook made everyone I shared it with say, “Yawn, yawn, yawn.” I’d found some queried that worked online and tried to copy their style, but pitching your own book is hard. I didn’t know how to do it, the old “elevator pitch.” Mark’s query addressed all the pertinent issues, made the book sound female-friendlier, and it boiled everything down so the letter wasn’t too long.
Everything Mark did or suggested I do made sense once I realized we could we could work together well. I had a feeling of trust in our relationship, in our ability to work together, honestly and in a team-like fashion. Once we established that, which was right away, then I just let him coach me. There weren’t any big surprises. I just followed what he said.
I remember when we talked the first time, it felt like he knew what he was talking about right away, that he was legitimate. It wasn’t because of what I’d read in his materials. I could just tell from the conversation, from his examples and references, that he was what he said you was. That’s what helped me decide it was worth the investment to do more with him. Not just the money, but the time. It was a better investment than self-publishing.
I have dear friends who’ve self-published, but I wanted to play the bigger game and give myself a chance at a bigger reward and I wanted to be real about it. You’re not going to get the big reward, 9 times out of 10, through self-publishing. I want to reach as many people as I can with my writing. I also want to make money and wouldn’t mind seeing my book on the New York Times Bestseller List. Part of me just wants to prove it to everybody, too. I’ve been an artist and written and struggled my whole life.
If you want to play the bigger game and give yourself a chance at a bigger reward, you also have to keep your ego out of the way. When you’re doing something artistic and you’re working with someone else, you have to learn to listen to criticism. You have to learn to criticize others, fairly and openly. And, you have to put your ego aside. When you learn to collaborate and communicate like that, magic happens. It’s f*cking amazing.
I remember thinking, when Mark and I first talked, “This guy’s for real, he’s easy to talk to, and he listens.” That’s what stood out the most. It was empowering. It’s easy for writers to feels helpless, waiting for agents to reject them. You start to assume every reply is going to be a “no.” Working with Mark gave me hope, and that hope gave me energy to continue. You have to keep believing you can do it and you have to keep dealing with rejections.
It doesn’t matter if someone like Mark is getting paid to do that or not. It’s the richest human experience you can have as a creative artist. I was able to trust Mark in my process that way because he established himself as an insider in the industry that I wanted to be part of. That’s why I was able to table my ego and say, “I’m going to listen and do what he says and I’m going to do it the best I can.” I’m glad I did.
Author of the YA novel
(not yet published)
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Do You Want to Be Like Michael Nickerson Who Provided this Review About Mark Malatesta?
Do you want to be like Michael and get an offer from a 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 Mark Malatesta, Author Coach was provided by author Michael Nickerson.