Soo Peer, author of the nonfiction book The Essential Diversity Mindset Handbook (Red Wheel/Weiser, 2021), provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Soo worked with Mark to improve her manuscript, platform, book proposal, and query letter, which resulted in an offer for literary agency representation from Jeff Herman, a top 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 Soo.
Mark Malatesta Review by Soo Peer
Jeff Herman offered me representation, and I signed a contract with Red Wheel/Weiser this afternoon! My husband and I just got back from celebrating in Mexico. The timing of the offer was perfect, the weirdest thing. We were leaving for Mexico one day after I got the agent contract. Before we left, I spoke with my agent and signed the papers.
I was on my way to Pilates when I parked my car and saw the email on my phone, saying he wanted to set up a call. It was an out of body experience. I was like, “This can’t be happening.” It was exciting but hard to believe. When I got home, I looked at the email again and asked my husband, “Does this mean he wants to represent me? I have no clue.” I was cautious and felt like the agent must have made a mistake since I’d gotten a lot of rejections. I tried to contain my excitement because I didn’t want to be disappointed.
Other agents had asked to read my proposal, but they kept saying I didn’t have a big enough platform or that my book didn’t fit what they were looking for. Some agents wanted me to make the book more of a business book, while others wanted me to make it more of a memoir. One of my friends wanted me to change the book as well. But, you said, “Just keep going. We’ll probably find someone who will like it just the way it is.” I was ready to rewrite the book or quit, but you kept me going.
Jeff saw the value of my book the way it was meant to be. I really appreciated that. He also said the proposal was well done, very professional. He really liked it. He realized how much hard work went into it and didn’t see much that needed to change. Another thing he loved was the way the manuscript was presented, the introduction you helped me revise. You switched the sequence of things around and you took a line from the middle of the content and made it the new opening line.
I had a query letter before I met you, but it was nothing like yours. The old query wasn’t as captivating or attention-grabbing. Yours really told agents what they needed to hear, which I would not have known how to do. You said everything about me and my book in a much more powerful way. I also didn’t have a platform when we met, but you helped me with that, too. At first, I thought, “That’s impossible,” but it was fascinating seeing it come together.
I’ve been really impressed by your strategic process, your ability to see the big picture, and the way you execute everything. You also have a human side, you really care. You go out of your way, far beyond what you need to do for your clients, and you’re prompt. I know how busy you are, but you’re always there. We only had a one-year contract, but you didn’t care about that. Your commitment, professionalism, and responsiveness are things I’ve rarely experienced in my thirty years in the corporate world.
I don’t remember how I found you. I think it was LinkedIn. The testimonials on your website sounded too good to be true, but something pulled me toward you. I thought, “You know what? One coaching session isn’t going to break my bank.” It wasn’t a lot of money considering how much material you reviewed. I remember saying to my husband, “He’s asking for all this information for only a one-hour session, and it’s just $297. That’s amazing.” It made me feel like you were really devoted.
After our first coaching call, I was sold on you, but I was also concerned because signing up for your bigger coaching program wasn’t cheap. It was a significant investment, and, even though I had a great call with you, I didn’t know if I could trust you. You just never know. So, there was a lot of worry. I thought, “Oh, my goodness. I don’t know this person. I could lose all that money and make nothing.”
But then I reached out to one of the authors who gave you a testimonial – I forget her name now – and she said, “You need to invest in yourself. He’s the best.” That really helped, but I was still afraid to mention it to my husband. So, I talked to our son instead. I said, “Do you think this is going to be worthwhile?” He said, “Yes, you deserve it.” I was turning 65, so I then told my husband YOU were going to be my birthday gift!
I had wanted to share my message with the world for a long time, but I don’t know how I would have done it without your help or the list of agents you gave me. You made it easy to see their interests and all the information about them I needed. That list is fabulous. I used to do searches on the Internet, and I used to visit sites like Publishers Marketplace and QueryTracker, but they didn’t make it easy for me to see everything I needed.
Another good thing is you give your clients realistic expectations. You don’t just say, “Oh, you’re going to make it, no problem.” You really prepare people for it to be tough. You make sure authors know getting an agent is hard work, it might take a long time, and, that a lot of times, authors won’t get agents. By doing that, you increase the probability of your clients getting agents by pushing harder than planned.
Without you, there’s no way I would have gotten representation. Not even close. When I started, I was wondering if I was just an amateur who needed to forget my belief that my story might be shared in our divisive world. I’m so grateful you held my hand. It’s been an amazing process, and it’s been an honor getting to know you. I’m looking forward to staying in touch as we go forward.
Thank you and thank you!!
Author of The Essential Diversity Mindset Handbook
(Red Wheel/Weiser, 2021)
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Do you want to get a top literary agent like Soo? 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 Soo Peer.