Somraj Pokras and and Jeffre TallTrees, Ph.D., authors of the nonfiction book Tantric Pathways to Supernatural Sex published by Llewellyn, the world’s oldest and largest independent publisher of books for body, mind, and spirit, provided this review of former book agent Mark Malatesta. Somraj and Jeffre worked with Mark to improve their pitch materials and manuscript to get the attention of top literary agents and then signed with Jeff Herman, owner of the Jeff Herman Agency. Scroll below to learn more. Click here to see all Reviews of Mark Malatesta. And click here to learn more about Literary Agent Undercover and The Bestselling Author after you read the review below about Mark Malatesta by Somraj and Jeffre.
Mark Malatesta Review by Somraj and Jeffre
“Mark, when we found out Jeff Herman was going to be our agent, it was exhilarating. He offered to represent us the day after we sent him our ‘enchanting’ proposal. His word, by the way, which he said he rarely uses. It’s been a whirlwind and Jeff is exactly what we were hoping for: an enthusiastic, experienced, committed agent. After we got the news, since our book is about how couples can have better sex, we celebrated by practicing what we preach. We spent hours in the crucible of love and passion!
Before we found you, Mark, we sent out query letters but only got rejections. Other agents, we didn’t hear from at all. That’s when we realized how daunting the process was. As good as we are at learning new things and researching, we knew finding an agent was going to be a big job with a huge learning curve. You have such a small window of opportunity to get the attention of agents. We also realized that we might burn a lot of bridges along the way if we approached the process from a weak position.
Our old query was like an Oreo. We like Oreos, but that type of query isn’t going to attract and seduce a top literary agent. You helped us write a query that was more like a fine pastry from a top chef in Vienna. That query instantly appealed to the refined palates of agents and made them salivate. Your understanding as a former agent, one who’s been barraged with queries and proposals, means you know the criteria: how to craft a query and proposal of the highest quality, in the top 1-2 percentile of what will appeal to the current publishing marketplace.
We have decades of experience and expertise in our field, but we were also myopic, in our own self-created tunnel. It was a successful, creative, and productive tunnel, but it wasn’t one that would allow us to see the larger scope of our work… how it fit into the marketplace, and the best way to position it. You made suggestions that didn’t dramatically change the content of our book, our teachings, or our writing style. But they did dramatically improve the positioning and commercial appeal of our work.
Initially, we described our book as ‘a guide to guide to lovemaking and sexual intercourse’. You said that words and phrases like “lovemaking” and “sexual intercourse” wouldn’t go over well, that, ‘They sound old and antiquated, and they’d make readers think about their grandparents and the sex education classes they took as teenagers.’ You suggested that, instead, we put more focus on a chapter that used to appear near the end of our book, about the many different types of orgasm that men and women can have.
You said that material was the most unique/important part of our book. We followed your advice to move that chapter to the beginning of the book and make it the focal point. By pressing the ‘button’ of orgasm and shifting our focus to the twelve types of orgasm, our book became more interesting and marketable. It also reinforced our position as cutting-edge experts and trendsetters, because no one else has done anything like that. Other books about orgasm simply help women have more/better orgasms, and they only talk about the couple/few types of orgasm that are most commonly recognized.
You also encouraged us to tone down some of the sensational language and innuendo in the book, to give it broader appeal. And, you helped us see that we could broaden the book’s appeal even more by speaking to every type of lover. The original book was geared toward experienced/advanced lovers in committed relationships. Now the book speaks to lovers of all types including: advanced and inexperienced, committed and uncommitted, young and old, spiritual and unspiritual, straight and gay, etc.
What you did reminds us of what the big advertising agencies do when they look at the best way to position a product in the marketplace: the best name, tag line, target audience, etc. Everything is clearer and more exciting now, with broader appeal, but it’s still true to who we are, what we teach, and what’s important to us. We did feel a loss at first, talking less about the mechanics and energetics of sexual intercourse, as there’s a big gap in that literature, but that type of language isn’t very sexy or palatable for the average person.
We didn’t fight you on your suggestions. It was just an emotional reaction, we trusted you, and now we’re glad we did. You were very sensitive and cautious about hurting our feelings, which we appreciated, but we hired you to tell us those things. It was a judgement call, but it made sense for us to base our decision, in large part, on your experience, knowledge, and understanding of the publishing world – not just our experience, or feelings.
You also taught us the importance of having an author platform, and showed us how to improve our platform. We already had a good platform, but you helped us figure out the best ways to improve it, in the least amount of time. The advice you gave us about social media and getting famous people to accept review copies of our book were particularly helpful. And the agent spreadsheet you put together blew us away. There was so much information in there. Everything we wanted/needed to know about the agents we were pitching. That allowed us to easily dig in and get a feel for who would be the best fit.
The world of literary agents was pretty foreign to us before we started working with you. There’s a culture, a unique way of doing business. We didn’t grasp the mentality of that whole world, and we still don’t. But you do, and we’re thankful that we had your guidance, particularly when we needed help responding to the agents who were interested before we went with Jeff. We were anxious about the process though, at times, even though we believed you were going to get us there.
When it comes to the different psychologies of buyers, we’re shoppers and do a lot of research. So, we checked out your background. We usually look at three to six competitors whenever we’re making a big decision. You have a lot of material on your website that helps authors be more self-sufficient, so they can operate with their own knowledge and intelligence. That’s a competitive advantage you have, because you’re so on top of the industry. And, after the Introductory Coaching Call with you, we really knew you were an insider. We thought, ‘This guy knows the business.’
Obviously, there’s no guarantee about what’s going to happen when you work with a coach, but we got the feeling that working with you would be a good investment. We knew that we would get a better outcome, everything would go faster and be easier, we would avoid embarrassment and burned bridges, and we’d have the best potential to go big. You were the perfect stepping stone. So, we took the money out of pension plan, our IRA account, and we never do that. We’re very strict about that, unless it’s a business investment.
We also liked working with you. You’re knowledgeable, organized, and disciplined, but you’re also warm and fuzzy at times, diplomatic, and have a quality that is rare in the world –one that I was taught and used to teach others – an awareness of other people’s point of view. Many people in business, life, and relationships only talk from their perspective, with blinders on. They don’t have the ability to see things from the other people’s perspective. Or they don’t bother. You do.
Our work together was hard but always hopeful. When we were doing things on our own, before we found you, we were just blowing smoke, starting and stopping, not knowing if what we were doing was right. You got us on track and kept us on track so we stayed productive and constructive, and we had the greatest chance of success. Like so many others, we have to say, we really couldn’t have done this without you!
Somraj Pokras and Jeffre TallTrees, Ph.D.
Authors of Female Ejaculation and Tantric Pathways to Supernatural Sex
(published by Llewellyn, the world’s oldest and largest independent
publisher of books for body, mind, and spirit)
* * *
Do You Want to Be Like Somraj and Jeffre Who Provided this Review of Mark Malatesta?
Do you want to get a top literary agent and be represented by an agency like the Jeff Herman 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 was provided by authors Somraj Pokras and and Jeffre TallTrees, Ph.D.