Tonya Mitchell, author of the upcoming novel A Feigned Madness provided this review of former literary agent Mark Malatesta. Tonya worked with Mark to improve her pitch materials (query letter, synopsis, and first fifty pages), resulting in representation by a top literary agent, Felicia Eth. 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 Tonya.
Mark Malatesta Review by Tonya Mitchell
“Felicia Eth is now my agent – woo-hoo! It was definitely one of the better days of my life, and I’m not being overly dramatic. I remember waiting around with baited breath, hoping I would get the good news, after Felicia asked for the manuscript. When she told me she was going to represent me, and that she was excited about doing so, I was absolutely overwhelmed. It was life-affirming, it really was… the biggest indication from someone who wasn’t a family member, didn’t love me, or I hadn’t hired, that I had what it takes as an author. That was huge. Within 24 hours, my husband brought home a very nice bottle of wine and my kids were all jumping around excited.
Within five minutes of sending my query to Felicia, she got back to me. I was shocked. I didn’t think I’d hear from her that fast, certainly not within five minutes. She said, ‘Wow! I really, really want to read this. But, I’m about to go on vacation for a couple of weeks. If you don’t mind, in a couple of weeks, send me the first 50 pages.’ Of course, I wanted to send her the pages right away and convince her to read it before she left, or while she was away. I thought, ‘Oh! She can read on the beach!’ Mark, you were like, ‘No, no, no… do NOT do that!’ And, so, I waited. Less than a week after Felicia got back, she asked for the whole manuscript. Then she helped me make the book better, a lot better. It’s more dramatic now and it has a much better ending.
Before I worked with you, Mark, I hadn’t sent out any queries. In fact, I hadn’t finished the book. I still had about 25 percent more to go. But, as I was thinking forward, I was reading up on the publishing industry and how it was changing, and it was changing in a way that wasn’t positive for somebody like me. You know, somebody trying to be published for the first time. There are fewer publishers, fewer editors at the publishers, and nobody dedicated to one author any more for publicity. I was smart enough to know that I could write, but I had no clue how to market my book. And my background is marketing! I was a brand manager for Hasbro, the toy company, and I worked for Sara Lee. But the book world is different. Totally different.
I knew how to market toys and food, but, with a book, I mean, I was just… I was overwhelmed with where and how to start. I had no knowledge about the industry, the market is changing quickly, and I didn’t want to spend time becoming an expert. That would have taken time away from what’s most important to me and what I am best at, which is writing. I recently saw on Facebook that the number of new books published each year in the U.S. has increased from 600,000 in 2007 to over 1 million annually. That scared the heck out of me. How do you stand out? I had no idea. So, I did a Google search and you popped up everywhere.
I think I then downloaded your audio, and I was like, ‘Wow, this guy really sounds legitimate.’ What really sealed the deal for me were the testimonials on your website from real people who had had really great success, and them talking about how easy you are to work with. Now I’m one of those people! Before I signed up with you, I was super nervous. I had never talked to somebody about my work. But, right away, you were so open and honest that I wasn’t nervous any more. I felt like I was talking to someone who really understood what I was going through. That easygoing conversation helped me to calm my fears about going forward. I felt like I could trust you, and your process.
I’m always going to question if I’m good enough, to some degree, but I didn’t want to question, ‘How do I get published? How do I do the best job that I can do to get this book out into the market?’ I wanted somebody to take those questions away. If I could find somebody who would help me, then I’d be able to deal with less of the drama of trying to get published. After you invited me to work with you in your longer-term coaching program, I talked to my husband and said, ‘Well, it’s really expensive, and I don’t really know if I can even do this anyway.’ My husband looked at me strangely and said, ‘Why in the world wouldn’t you do this? Of course you’re going to do this!’
Spending the money to go with your program justified what I was doing. It was, ‘Okay, now, I’m really going to finish the book. I’m really going to do this.’ It wasn’t that I didn’t want to before, but, my commitment to your program gave me even more incentive and motivation. Especially because my husband believed in me, and I felt like I’d hit on you as the right source to get it done. I couldn’t afford to second-guess myself anymore, something that could change my life, you know? When I was younger, writing was kind of a hobby because I was building my career. But, eventually, you have to figure out, ‘Okay, is this a weekend thing, or am I going to really go for it and get published?’
My original query letter – oh my god – I would give myself a C- if I was grading it, and that’s AFTER studying everything you say about query letters on your website! Had I not seen any of that, it would have been a D or an F. Easily. By the time that you were done rewriting my query, it was an A++. One of the biggest differences between the two letters, by far, was the commitments for testimonials that, under your guidance, I managed to secure from well-known authors. That helped show agents I was willing and able to get exposure and help sell books. I also like that you’re not at all intimidating. You’re the opposite: savvy and intelligent but also open and communicative.
I’m pretty sure, if I hadn’t connected with you, I wouldn’t have done this. I would have finished the book and sent out my C- query letter, but I’d probably still be sending it out, one or two or three agents at a time, waiting for word. I’d still be in a tailspin. I also don’t know how long it would have taken me to come up with an agent list of the best agents in my genre, like the one you created for me. That was a huge timesaver. It’s so hard to figure all this out on your own. I never would have believed that I could get this far, because my confidence was so low. Now I have an agent who believes in me. Authors owe it to themselves to try what you offer and schedule an introductory coaching call.
The hardest part of being a writer is believing in yourself. It’s an isolating thing. You write by yourself and you hope that you’re good enough. If I was in your zip code, Mark, I’d kiss you! This will have to do. :)*
Me = over the moon!!!”
Author of the upcoming novel
A Feigned Madness
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Do You Want to Be Like Tonya Mitchell Who Provided this Review About Mark Malatesta?
Do you want to be like Tonya and get represented by a top literary agent like Felicia Eth? 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 Tonya Mitchell.