Molly Huffman, author of the Christian memoir God’s Favor (not yet published), provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Molly worked with Mark, resulting in her being offered representation by literary agents Jim and Joyce Hart with Hartline Literary Agency. 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 Molly Huffman.
Mark Malatesta Review by Molly Huffman
I just had a call with Jim Hart and his mother Joyce with Hartline Literary Agency, one of the most established and successful literary agencies serving Christian writers and readers, and they offered me representation!
I am SO grateful for you and your help. Jim was very pleased with my proposal. He said it was excellent. He was like, “Proposals should be like Goldilocks. Not too short, not too long. Just right. And yours was perfect!”
Jim asked me about the long list of powerful people in my proposal, the ones you showed me how to contact for permission to review my book. I was really excited about that part of the proposal, and I would have never thought to do that.
It’s funny, because I had gotten an email from another agent who was negative about the list of potential endorsers and promotional partners in my proposal. She said, “I don’t know what this is…” and she was kind of mean about it. I was like, “Okay, delete.”
Some agents aren’t nice, and they basically say on their websites, “I don’t really have time for you if you don’t have a large platform or social media following.” I have two FB pages and a decent number of friends and followers, but I knew it wasn’t going to be enough to impress agents. You told me I’d be better off doing other things to make my platform stronger, things that would be easier and faster. So that’s what I did, and it worked!
Before I got the offer for representation, I was discouraged because all I had gotten from agents was rejections. A lot of “No thank you’s” and a couple agents who commented that memoir is not selling right now. So, when there was another email in my inbox, I just assumed, “Here we go again.” But then it said the agency wanted to talk to me about representation. I couldn’t believe someone was interested.
I think my mouth fell open.
When I started working with you, I was pregnant. I was working full-time as a teacher Monday through Friday. And I had two preteen stepdaughters. I was living a busy, busy life and it was so crazy. But you and I did everything we needed to do to start getting queries out before my due date. Ihad my baby just one week before I got the offer.
It was perfect timing.
My family will tell you I was glued to the kitchen table with my laptop, many evening and weekends getting everything done. They were constantly moving my computer because it was always in the way. But that’s part of the fun because when I got an agent, my husband and the girls cheered wildly because they’d been part of it.
We’re all over the moon about everything.
Before I got an agent, I had heard stories from authors saying things like, “I worked a full-time job and did everything on evenings and weekends.” I thought, “That’s craziness.” But then, when it was my turn to have my shot, I wanted it so badly that I did the same thing! It’s amazing what you’ll do when you really want something.
The most beneficial part of your coaching, to me, I think, was realizing my book could have a story arc. Since my book started out as a series of blog posts that I posted mostly for people who already knew me and knew my story, the arc needed work. We needed to add stuff like backstory and character development so the story would make sense to people who didn’t know me. I also added some lighthearted content because the story is really sad, even though, in the end, it’s inspiring and empowering.
I felt deflated and defeated before I found you. A friend of mine who is published had connected me with her agent, but she wasn’t interested. Working with you helped me get back up again, and it made me more confident. I suddenly knew what direction to go in. You also gave me the confidence I needed to query really successful agencies.
My old pitch materials were okay, but the query and proposal I sent out with you were much more polished and professional, geared more toward what agents want, because you were an agent. You know what to put in there, especially when it comes to making a book and author sound more marketable.
I really felt like you knew my project. You understood the story I was trying to tell and what I valued in the story. You’re also very professional and relationship-centered. I didn’t feel like I was just a random person or client, and you were a good cheerleader who kept encouraging me, making me feel that my book could be successful.
I also appreciate that you set clear expectations. During our very first phone call you told me exactly what you saw in my writing and how I could improve. Then, when I signed up to do more, you did what you said you were going to do. All along the way there were clear directions. You made it very simple and I always knew what we were going to do next. It was a lot of work, more than I thought it would be. But it helped that I have a really supportive husband. He wanted my book to succeed and believed in it. He would always ask, “What did you guys talk about this time? What’s the next step?”
I forget exactly how I found you, but it was online searching for something and I listened to your podcast about the seven things every author needs to know to get a literary agent. I took notes and then, at the end, you offered a coaching call. I thought, “This sounds like a scheme.” But then I saw all the testimonials by people on your website who worked with you and then got agents, and I actually bought and read one of their books.
The book is called The Unbreakable Boy by Scott LeRette, and, in the acknowledgements, he gave you a big paragraph thanking you for your work and support in getting him to that place. I thought, “Okay. This guy is legit.” Then I did the one-hour phone call and I was really impressed with your knowledge of the industry and all these things you mentioned that I would have never thought of, and your excitement for my project. By the end of our phone call, I knew you were not a scam and I was really excited to go forward.
I didn’t want to be one of those people who has all these goals but keeps walking in circles. If you really want to do something new and you want to be successful, the wisest thing to do is to get help from someone who has the expertise you need. Sometimes, you have to put your money where your mouth is. If an author really wants to put himself or herself in the best position to get an agent, I would encourage them to get help and, based on my experience, I would say they should work with you.
I don’t know how many people you work with, but I sometimes find myself thinking, “Oh my gosh. That poor man. He’s probably exhausted from all these people and their needs!” But you’re very organized. At first, I remember thinking, “Wow, it’s really assertive of him to say some of the things he does about what his clients can and cannot do.” You have a lot of guidelines. But I can see how you would need them. Some people would take advantage of you or waste your time without those guidelines.
I couldn’t have done this without you!
Author of the memoir God’s Favor
(not yet published)
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Do You Want to Be Like Molly Huffman Who Provided this Review About Mark Malatesta?
Do you want to be like Molly and get represented by a successful literary agency like Hartline Literary Agency? 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 Molly Huffman.