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Dear Author,

Although most authors use this Q&A page to post questions about how to get a literary agent… you can ask me anything about writing, publishing, and/or marketing your book(s) below. It doesn’t matter what genre your book is (fiction, nonfiction, or children’s books), and it doesn’t matter how far along you are in your process. I’ll do my best to help.

My name is Mark Malatesta and I’ve worked in the publishing industry most of my life. As a literary agent, I secured contracts with publishers such as Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Prentice-Hall. I also served as the Marketing & Licensing manager for the publisher Blue Mountain Arts. Now, I’m helping authors get top literary agents, publishers, and book deals as an author coach.

The only thing I love more than books (aside from my wife and our two cats) is helping authors get their books out into the world in the best way. That’s why you’ll find a treasure trove of valuable information (and inspiration) on my websites, including my answers to the 50 questions (below) I’m most asked by authors. I’m happy to answer your question(s) too.

If you want to post a question, make sure it isn’t answered in the FAQ section below first. I’m not going to answer questions that have already been answered. 

Also, please note that your question/comment will be posted publicly. If you want to remain anonymous, type “Anonymous” in the name field. Either way, your email address will remain private and you’ll receive an email when a reply has been posted (usually within 48 hours). I’ll do whatever I can to point you in the right direction.

I look forward to helping you achieve your publishing goals.

All my best,

Mark

Frequently Asked Questions

PUBLISHING A BOOK

1. What do I need to know about traditional publishing vs. self-publishing, and which publishing companies are the best?
2. What size advance payment can I expect from a traditional publisher?

The size of your advance will depend on four things. First, the genre of your book. In general, the bigger and/or more popular the category is, the bigger the advance. Second, if you have an agent, and you have a good agent, you’re more likely to get a bigger advance. That’s one of the things that separates good agents from mediocre agents. And, third, the size of your advance will depend on whether you have just one publisher who wants your book, or more than one. If you have more than one publisher, they might bid against each other. When that happens, the size of your advance could double, triple, or more. Ultimately, publishers consider all the above and base the size of an author’s advance on how many books they believe they’re going to sell during the first year of publication.

3. Is it possible for a writer who's never published anything to get a top literary agent, publisher, and book deal?

Most of the authors I’ve helped get published with major publishers like Random House as a literary agent and, now, as an author coach, were previously unpublished. In many cases, they were self-described nobodies who didn’t think of themselves as writers or authors, but they believed they might have written a good book. You have to start somewhere as an author, so don’t let your fear of not having a bigger platform or publishing history stop you. Having a great book is what matters most. And most successful agents and publishers never tire of discovering the next great book. It never gets old.

4. Does my book need to be finished before I contact agents or publishers?

It will depend on your genre…

Fiction Authors (all genres): You’ll need a completed manuscript (no exceptions), as well as a 1-2 page, double-spaced synopsis. A small number of agents will also ask for a long (5-6 pages, double spaced synopsis) and/or a chapter-by-chapter synopsis, and/or a fiction book proposal.

Nonfiction Authors (all genres, including memoir and narrative nonfiction): You’ll need a partial manuscript (three sample chapters, not necessarily the first three), as well as a complete book proposal with chapter summaries for the entire book (even if the book is already complete).

Picture Book Authors: You’ll need a completed manuscript (no exceptions). A small number of agents will also require you to have a second completed manuscript to submit your work.

5. What do I need to know about copyrighting my book?

LITERARY AGENTS

6. What are literary agents and how do they work?

Read my 9-part Guide to Literary Agents here: http://literary-agents.com/guide-to-literary-agents/. It reveals: what agents are, what they do, and how they work; pros and cons of hiring a book agent; how agents get paid; requirements to be an agent; a brief history of agents; and tips to help you determine whether you should try to get an agent.

7. What's the #1 thing I can do to increase my chance of getting an agent?

Listen to (or read the pdf transcript) of my most popular audio training (67 minutes), 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

It explains:

* Why you must have an agent and how they really work (some of the things you learn are going to shock you)

* 3 types of literary agents and how you can find the right one for you

* The most important thing that agents and publishers think about when they’re considering your work

* 5 writer scams that could cost you thousands (or tens of thousands of dollars)

* Why you can’t think of yourself as an author (if you want to make a living as one)

* The critical difference between good agents and great agents

* Why you have only 8 seconds (yes, 8 seconds) to get an agent’s attention

* 5 types of authors (and why it’s so important that you know who they are)

* Why many of the things you’ve learned about query letters is completely wrong

* How you can get help from me personally 1-on-1 to get an agent

To access the recording and transcript (no charge), click here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you enter your name and email address, simply click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library” and the training mentioned above is the first recording/transcript on the page.

8. Are agents prejudiced about age, education, location, ethnicity, lifestyle, beliefs, etc.?

Authors sometimes think agents and/or publishers are prejudiced when it’s not that at all. The real problem is that some authors have a narrow focus in their work that isn’t very inclusive or commercial. This is particularly true when it comes to “special interest” authors whose writing explores: race, religion, politics, sexual identify, etc.

Inclusive writing means making the focus of a book the theme(s) that any person (or a lot of people) can relate to. In other words, there are some books written by black authors (for example) that are only (or primarily) going to be read by black authors (instead of a mainstream audience) because they dive so deep into the black experience. Same thing goes with Christian authors. Whenever I’m coaching a Christian author, one of the first questions I ask is, “What’s your goal? Where do you think your book fits on the mainstream/Christian spectrum? Do you want to reach a secular audience or simply “preach to the choir”?”

No matter how inclusive your writing is, it isn’t going to interest everyone. Some agents are very eclectic and open to reading books by any author about anything. Others aren’t, and only look for certain things. Me? I’m one of those open and eclectic people I described a moment ago. I don’t have any agenda with authors except to help them see the range of options and opportunities, based on their beliefs and goals. The clearer you are about your goals, and how your work is going to come across, the easier it will be to get the desired response from literary agents, publishers, and readers.

Other things you might find helpful:

Old authors: Read this article: http://literary-agents.com/old-authors/.

Young authors: Read this article: http://literary-agents.com/young-authors/.

Education: Your education won’t be relevant unless you’re writing a nonfiction book as an expert. In that case, your education might be important. But research and life experience might be acceptable as well. One way or another, as a nonfiction author (not memoir or narrative nonfiction) you’ll need to show agents and published why you’re qualified to write about your topic.

Location: This isn’t usually relevant, but if you’re trying to get a literary agent in the U.S. and you live outside the U.S., make sure you scroll below and read my FAQ section for International Authors.

9. Where can I find the best agents interested in my type of book?

Find literary agents interested in your book using our Directory of Literary Agents (no charge). It’s the most comprehensive (and accurate) list of literary agents in the world (in print or online), and you can access it here: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents/.

The directory features:

* Detailed profiles/bios for more than 1,300+ agents

* Searchable by book genre/category

* Preferred query method(s)

* AAR membership status

* Personal email addresses

* Mailing addresses

* Agent photos

* Links to agency websites

* Maps to agency offices

10. What do I need to know about the AAR (Association of Authors' Representatives)?

Our 5-part article series contains everything you need to know about the Association of Authors’ Representatives: history, mission, Canon of Ethics, requirements to be a member of the AAR, and how to find contact information for active members. Click here to read the article series: http://literary-agents.com/association-of-authors-representatives/.

11. How can I avoid bad literary agents?

Read our guide to finding the best literary agent for you here, which includes an article about how to identify and avoid bad literary agents: http://literary-agents.com/best-literary-agent/.

12. Should I try to find a literary agent where I live?

It’s more important that you find the most established agent with the best track record of sales who believes in you and your book and shares your vision for your writing. Read this article series about finding the right literary agent before deciding who you want to submit your work to: http://literary-agents.com/finding-a-literary-agent/. In particular, make sure you read the section about New York literary agents located here: http://literary-agents.com/finding-a-literary-agent/new-york-literary-agent/.

You should also know that most agents aren’t going to meet with you in person unless they’re already representing you and/or they’ve already gotten you a book deal. One exception is the opportunity to meet with literary agents at a writers’ conference (learn more about writers’ conferences here in this article I published with Writers Digest): http://literary-agents.com/writers-conference-part-01/.

Despite what I just stated above, you can certainly submit your work to agents in your area if there are any. You can search for literary agents by location in my Directory of Literary Agents that you can access here (no charge): http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents/. Once you’re in the directory, after you’ve entered your name and email address, use the drop-down menu and scroll down until you see the location categories.

13. Is the only way to get a literary agent through a referral?
14. How many agents should I query at one time and what do I need to know about simultaneous submissions?

The phrase “simultaneous submissions” can mean two different things. One type of “simultaneous submission” is querying more than one agent at the same agency at the same time. You should never do that because agents don’t want to “compete” with other agents at their agency. Why? No agent wants to spend the weekend reading your manuscript, only to find out Monday morning that you already signed a contract with another agent.

The other type of “simultaneous submission” is querying different agencies at the same time, which you should do. Otherwise it will take you years to get an agent, since some agents take months to respond (or never respond). However, 99% of the time I suggest authors refrain from letting agents know they’re submitting to multiple agencies. It’s essentially none of their business, unless an agent responds positively to your query and asks to see more material but only on an exclusive basis (meaning they won’t look at it unless you say you’re not going to show it to any other agent while they’re considering it). If that happens, you’ll have to decide how you want to handle it based on: how many queries you’ve sent out, who the agent is, exactly what s/he’s said, and whether anyone else is already reading your material.

As long as you’re only querying one person per agency at a time, you can send out as many queries as you want. However, you should only query the very good to great agents before you start querying less successful agents. I always tell my coaching clients that we’re going to send out a small number of queries in the first round (10-40). The general idea is that I like to see my clients get some type of positive response (a request(s) for more material) based on a small first round of submissions, before encouraging them to send out more.

That way, if the query isn’t working (or working as well as I’d like), I can still tweak something before sending out more. That’s why I would never send more than 40 initially. It gives you time to adjust. Another thing that affects my decision about how many queries to send out initially (closer to 10 or closer to 40) is how many agents are interested in your genre. If there are many hundreds of agents in your genre, I’d say you can be more aggressive and send 40. If you’re writing something like Christian Fiction (on the other hand) with a much smaller number of agents to choose from, I’d start with 10.

Read this article for more information about simultaneous submissions: http://literary-agents.com/finding-a-literary-agent/stop-looking-for-a-literary-agent/.

15. What's the best way to write a query letter?

Visit our query letter website at http://query-letter.com/.

16. If my book is part of a series, should I mention that in my query letter?

Some agents like series and/or sequels. Some don’t. At least not initially. If your books stands alone (meaning a reader would be able to read the second or third book without having read the first book), then you might say that in your query. I like “softening” any talk about series or sequels that way since some literary agents and publishers (surprisingly) believe that standalone books are superior. But, if you’re successful with your first book, agents and publishers are often (not surprisingly) more open to the idea of subsequent books that would appeal to loyal readers familiar with the first book.

17. If I have more than one book, in different genres, should I mention everything in my query?

Don’t do it, unless the genres are closely related. For example, if you’re pitching a young adult novel and you also have a middle grade novel in development, that’s okay to say. What you don’t want to do is seem like a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. In other words, telling agents that you have a thriller you’d like them to consider, but you’ve also written a romance novel, cookbook, self-help book, and children’s picture book isn’t might impress them. It’s more likely going to make it seem that you haven’t yet figured out what you’re best at.

Seemingly focused authors are perceived as more likely to have achieved mastery. So, if and when you get an agent who wants to represent one of your books, you can let him or her know about your other projects, at that time, and see what happens. You can certainly be eclectic and successful in multiple genres, but you don’t need to share that information in your query. And you might end up having more than one agent. Read this article: http://literary-agents.com/literary-agent-menage-a-trois/.

18. What's the best way to write a book synopsis?
19. What's the best way to write a book proposal?
20. What do I need to know about nondisclosure agreements or NDAs?
21. Should I attend a writers' conference and, if I do, how should I pitch agents and/or publishers while I'm there?

Read my 2-part article on how to pitch literary agents at a writers’ conference, originally published in the Guide to Literary Agents (Writers’ Digest Books): http://literary-agents.com/writers-conference-part-01/.

22. Should I query agents via email or postal mail?
23. How should I format my query, synopsis (fiction authors), and sample chapters or manuscript?

Every one of these things has different requirements and you should do your best to make them all look the way agents expect them to look. That way, agents will be able to immerse themselves in your writing, instead of getting hung up on your formatting.

Query formatting tips: http://query-letter.com/how-to-write-a-query-letter/query-letter-format/.

Document formats that agents will accept: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/file-format-submission-guidelines-for-literary-agents/.

Synopsis formatting tips: http://query-letter.com/how-to-write-a-query-letter/query-letter-vs-synopsis/.

Manuscript formatting tips: Your manuscript should have a cover page with the title of your book, your name, and your complete contact information. Each chapter should begin on a new page, about a third of the way down the page, with chapter headers centered. You should have a header with your last name and the title of the book left justified, and the page number right justified beginning on the first page that appears after the cover page. Indent all your paragraphs, although you may or may not decide to ident the first paragraph of each new chapter and scene (after a scene break). Don’t add space between paragraphs unless it’s a scene break. Use Times New Roman font, 12-point. One or two spaces between sentences is okay, although one is now preferred.

24. I am a picture book author but not an illustrator. Can I just submit text or do I need to find or hire an illustrator?

Some agents only accept picture book submissions from authors who are also illustrators (they’ll let you know on their websites if that’s the case), but most agents accept picture books without illustrations. And, unless you’re a professional illustrator and/or working with a professional illustrator, it’s usually best to wait to illustrate the work. In fact, even if you are a professional illustrator and/or working with a professional illustrator, it’s can be best to wait… to illustrate. That’s because your agent and/or publisher will likely want to edit the book and that might change the number and/or type of illustrations you need. Your publisher will also want to lay the book out in a certain way, and that might change the number and/or type of illustrations you need as well. Lastly, your publisher might want to use a different illustrator and/or artist.

25. What are good/bad/typical response times for submissions to agents?
26. What's the best way to interpret literary agent responses and feedback?
27. What should I do if my pitch to agents isn't working, or working well?

Authors can often get a drastically different response by tweaking or changing something in their pitch materials (query letter, synopsis, first 50 pages, etc.). My favorite example of this is one of my coaching clients who’d pitched her #1 “dream agent” three times over the course of two years. She was rejected every time. After I helped her rewrite her query letter, she approached the same agent, a fourth time, and he requested the full manuscript. So, don’t get too discouraged. You might just be a few changes away from getting what you want.

INTERNATIONAL AUTHORS

28. Will literary agents in the U.S. consider books by authors living abroad?

Most literary agents in the U.S. will consider any book if it has appeal for the American market. In other words, the primary focus and value of the work needs to include content that an American reader can relate to. If you do that, you can write about anything, anyone, and anyplace.

29. Can I get a literary agent if my book isn't in English?

If you want to query agents and/or publishers in the U.S., you will almost always need a translation that’s in English so they can read it. If you’re already famous or well-known, and if your book is already selling well abroad, you might get away with doing less translation initially and get help from the publisher with the rest. But probably not agents.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AUTHORS

30. What's the best way to approach agents regarding a book that's already been published?

It’s never too late for a previously published author to get a literary agent, traditional publisher, and book deal. But it can be tricky. Read this article which talks about that, and a few other things you might find interesting and helpful: http://literary-agents.com/its-not-what-you-say/.

If your book is currently under contract with a vanity press (one that you paid), they will probably let you out of their contract (although you might have to pay them a small fee). They usually let authors do this because vanity presses make all (or, most) of their money on authors paying them to publish their work. Look at the fine print in your contract, the publisher’s website, or ask them about it. However, you might want to wait and see if you can get interest from agents first, before you terminate your contract with the vanity press.

Getting out of a contract with a smaller but legitimate press (one that didn’t charge you to publish) is also possible. But you, or your new publisher, might have to pay them significantly more for the privilege.

BOOK GENRES & WORD COUNT

31. What genre does my book fit into?

I often tell my coaching clients they’ll need to call their book different things, depending on who they’re pitching. That’s because some books can be categorized in different ways. And that’s a good thing because it means those authors can pitch their book to more agents. For example, if you’ve written a thriller and you haven’t been able to get an agent that you know represents thrillers, there’s still hope. You can then begin pitching appropriate agents who represent commercial fiction, mainstream fiction, and/or general fiction because some of those agents might be interested in your work. To help you figure out which genre(s) your book fits into, look at our book genres website at http://book-genres.com, which has definitions for every genre that agents represent.

32. What's the best word count for a book in my genre and what can I do if my book is too short or too long?

Authors often get confused about the best word count for their book because they don’t realize that books by first-time authors have stricter requirements. One author I spoke with once told me, “My novel for young readers can be 800 pages because two of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books are 800 pages.”  I replied, “She’s famous and can get away with that. Go look at her first book in the series. It’s less than 300 pages.” It is possible to get an agent, publisher, and book deal for a book that’s above or below the normal word count for your genre… but it can be tricky. Read this article which talks about that, and a few other things you might find interesting and helpful: http://literary-agents.com/its-not-what-you-say/.

Typical word count ranges for first-time authors:

Adult Fiction: 80-95,000 words (variations include formula romance which can be shorter; as well as historical fiction, sci-fi, and fantasy novels, which can be longer)

Nonfiction: 50-90,000 words

Young Adult: 40-80,000 words

Middle Grade: 20-40,000 words

Chapter Book: 10-15,000 words

Early Reader: 2,500 words or less

Picture Book: 1,200 words or less

33. Which genres are best and/or most popular?

WRITING/EDITING A BOOK

34. How can I write a bestseller?

Read this article series talks about what a bestselling author really is and how to become one: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/how-to-become-a-bestselling-author/.

35. How can I make my book "high-concept"?
36. How can I "raise the stakes" in my novel?
37. What's the best way to write a book that will support my business?
38. Should I hire a freelance book editor or ghostwriter?

Editing: I’m a big fan of getting editing support, but it’s not always necessary. You might be further along than you realize, so it could be worthwhile to have someone look briefly at your work before investing the time and money that working with a decent editor will require. Good agents will give you some feedback about how to improve your work as well, if you’re fortunate enough to get agents reading your work. And sometimes that’s all you need.

Ghostwriting: If you don’t want to take the time to write a book, or you don’t feel you have the skill required to do a great job, you can hire a ghostwriter instead who will help you write your book.

MARKETING & PROMOTION

39. How can I improve my "author platform" or "promotional platform"?

Advising authors about how to get more exposure or improve their platform is difficult because the best marketing strategies are going to be different for each person… based on their unique goals, skill sets, personality, lifestyle, and time/money resources. There are literally hundreds of ways to improve your platform and get more exposure, but, to be successful (and happy) you need to find the few strategies that are right for you. This article is a good first step: http://literary-agents.com/author-platform/.

40. What do I need to know about having (or not having) an author website and what makes a good one?

Read this 3-part article with information about what you about having and/or creating an author website: http://literary-agents.com/author-website/.

41. What do literary agents think about social media for authors?

MISCELLANEOUS

42. Will you tell me what you know about a specific agent, publisher, editor, event, website, organization, etc. (or make recommendations or introductions)?

I don’t answer questions on my websites about specific agents, publishers, editors, events, websites, organizations, etc. If I did, I’d be inundated with such requests—and it’s a very subjective process. In other words, what’s right for someone else might not be right for you. However, I’m happy to answer questions like that during an introductory coaching call, during which I’d have sufficient time to make sure my recommendations are good ones, based on your unique situation. Click here to learn more about scheduling an introductory coaching call: http://markmalatesta.com/mark-malatesta-author-coaching/.

43. Will you forward a message or submission to a specific agent, author, or publisher for me?

I’m not able to forward any requests or messages to the literary agents, authors, or anyone else listed or feature on our websites. If I did, I’d be inundated with such requests.

44. Will you be my literary agent?

No. I’m no longer a literary agent. I’m now fully committed to helping authors get literary agents, publishers, and book deals as an author coach.

45. Will you promote something for me on one of your websites, in your newsletter, or on social media?

No. Although I do promote things on my websites, in my newsletter, and on social media but it is always something I initiate. Otherwise, I’d be inundated with such requests.

COACHING & CRITIQUES

46. Will you review and comment on any of the following: marketability of my book idea, quality of my writing, query letter, synopsis (fiction writers), chapter summaries (nonfiction authors) book proposal (mostly nonfiction authors), website/blog, book cover, book trailer, etc.?

I answer general questions online here (below), no cost. If, however, you want feedback on your book idea(s) and/or sample pages, query letter, synopsis, book proposal, website/blog, etc., you can get that by registering for an introductory coaching call here: http://markmalatesta.com/mark-malatesta-author-coaching/.

47. Can I work with you 1-on-1 to get a literary agent?

Yes. You can register for an introductory coaching call with me here: http://markmalatesta.com/mark-malatesta-author-coaching/.

48. Can you help me get an agent for poetry, short stories, or academic books?

Probably not. Most literary agents won’t represent authors of books for the academic market because they’re not profitable enough to be worth the agents’ time. And it’s extremely difficult to get a literary agent or publisher for a collection of poetry or short stories unless you’re already a well-published and/or award-winning writer. The good news, however, if you write poetry and/or short stories, is that it’s not that hard to start getting standalone poems and/or short stories published. You simply must be patient and persistent submitting your work to journals, anthologies, contests, etc. Poets, of course, often make wonderful essayists, short story writers, and novelists. And short story writers often expand one of their short stories into a novel, while seeking publication and awards for some of their individual stories.

49. Can you help me get an agent for stage, TV, or feature film?

Not exactly. Although some authors I’ve worked with have had their work adapted for TV, stage, and feature film, my main specialty is helping authors get literary agents, publishers, and book deals. That often leads to interest in the other areas, through the author’s agent or publisher. Most agents who represent books help authors with subsidiary rights including TV/film as well as English editions in other countries and international editions in other languages. Agents often partner with another agency (co-agenting or sub-agenting) with another successful agency to handle subsidiary rights.

50. How can I post a question?

Simply scroll below and fill out the form!

comment-or-question

If you want to post a question, make sure it isn’t answered in the FAQ section above first. I’m not going to answer questions that have already been answered. Please note that your question or comment will be posted publicly. If you want to remain anonymous, enter “Anonymous” in the name field. Your email address will remain private and you’ll receive an email notification when a reply has been posted (usually within 48 hours).

3,523 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I have an book of poetry. But I don’t have the money to get it published.

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Maury,

      You don’t need to pay to publish.

      Look closely at my Frequently Asked Questions page where you posted your message for me, located here, and you’ll find a lot of no-cost information that will help: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      Also…

      If you haven’t already done so, you should click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a good day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  2. Avatar

    Hi Mark,
    My name is Greg Johnson and I wrote a book about my 30 years as a Firefighter/Paramedic. It was published by a publisher that meant well but was unable to fore fill his commitment. The book turned out very well. I took over but I have much trouble promoting myself. Should I get a literary agent or what should do?

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Greg,

      Sorry to hear that…

      I would try to get an agent, as I don’t see a downside to doing so.

      To that end…

      Look closely at my Frequently Asked Questions page where you posted your message for me, located here, and you’ll see a lot of things to help you get an agent: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      You should also click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a good day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  3. Avatar

    HI THERE, MY NAKE IS KATIE KENNEDY, I AM A WRITER IN THE MAKING. I HAVE WRITTEN TWO SHOWS, AND MULTUPLE MOVE IDEAS. I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FIND SOME DIRECTION IN FINDING A LITERARY AGENT. I’M HOPING THIS CAN BE THE START OF MY WRITING CAREER. I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU. I CAN’T WAIT TO SHOW THE WORLD WHAT I CAN DO.

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Katie,

      Nice to meet you, and I’m happy to help somehow if possible going forward.

      In the meantime…

      If you haven’t already done so, you should click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful.

      And…

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a great day!

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  4. Avatar

    Hi There Mark…….Just wanted you to know that I appreciate
    the information and advice you have sent me free for a few
    months. Your led has been very useful and benefical. I do follow what you preach. I am a bit unusual in that I could care less if I get published or not. I write for my own pleasure. I am 92 years old and have lived an adventurous life, which I write about. So far, six books and a screen play cover only half my
    life. The best stories are still in my noggin, so to speak. You have motivated me into thinking maybe I should get an agent. What the Hell have I got to lose. Just wanted you to know you have created a literary monster inside me to push me toward the commercial field. At least I am working on it. Keep up the good work of what you are doing as it does help a lot of us dummies out here. Thanks for being there. Cheers Sonny Logan

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Thank you, Sonny,

      Your kind and thoughtful email just made my morning. 🙂

      I love your success and your attitude.

      The youngest client I’ve coached is 12.

      The oldest is 97.

      Meaning, you should absolutely pursue agents if you want to, with or without me.

      It’s never too late.

      And it brings me joy to know I’ve gotten you fired up.

      Look closely at my Frequently Asked Questions page where you posted your message for me, located here, and you’ll see a lot of things to help you get an agent: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      You should also, if you haven’t already done so, click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a good day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  5. Avatar

    I understand that your site is related to books, but are there any Agents in the database that deal with screenplays? I’ve went through a few pages and haven’t seen any.

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Anonymous,

      Some of them represent both authors and screenwriters, but I don’t have an indicator in there for that yet, a feature I plan to add in the future. In the meantime, this should help: https://literary-agents.com/literary-agents-managers-cinematic-writing/.

      Also…

      If you haven’t already done so, you should click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a good day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  6. Avatar

    Looking for help distributing audio book.

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Gregory,

      That’s not the type of thing I do, unfortunately.

      Look closely at my Frequently Asked Questions page where you posted your message for me, located here, and you’ll get a better sense of the type of things I might be able to help with, mainly helping authors get literary agents nowadays: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/. If you want help with anything along those lines, please post any questions you have online here and I’ll do what I can to point you in the right direction: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  7. Avatar

    I found the Christian Literary Agents.
    I just had to join as a member three times.
    Hi, Mark! long time no talk.

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Rolin,

      Glad to hear it, though I’m not sure what the issue was. All the forms work the same way and they all go to the same place. There is a lot of information though, so it’s sometimes challenging to find things. I’m guessing that’s what happened. Either way, thank you for letting me know you finally got there. 🙂

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a good day!

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  8. Avatar

    In trying to get my novel published, I started by contacting all the appropriate agents listed in Writer’s Market. Some liked my ms., but not enough to take me on. Subsequently, I’ve contacted 250-300 potential publishers that don’t require an agent. I’ve yet to hear from some that have the ms., but now I realize there are a lot more agents out there. Question: Have I more or less killed my chances of finding an agent by querying so many publishers?

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Anonymous,

      Not to worry, you didn’t hurt your chances. The publishers agents would go to are not the ones you’ve gone to. The publishers that work with agents don’t accept queries directly from authors, so you’re okay, I’m happy to say. 🙂

      Look closely at my Frequently Asked Questions page where you posted your message for me, located here, and you’ll see a lot of things to help you get an agent: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      You should also click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a good day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  9. Avatar

    Mark, my conundrum is finding an agent who is knowledgeable about and concerned with climate change. My novel CLIMATE CHAINS offers basic information about it in a storytelling form that I believe would be useful for all readers as we face this terrible threat. I’ve searched for such agents to no avail. If you have suggestions, I would be grateful and happy to pay your fee.

    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Fran,

      You don’t need to set up a call for just that, though you should set up a coaching call if you’re able so I can talk to you about all the ways I see that you can increase your chances of getting a good agent. Targeting the right agents is just one of those things. If you meant you want to know more about coaching, you can learn more about that here: https://markmalatesta.com/mark-malatesta-author-coaching/.

      Now…

      Re: your targeting the right agents.

      If it’s a novel, you’ll simply want to query widely. It won’t be evident which agents (not all of them, anyway) are interested in climate change. So, you should query all agents interested in your type of fiction from the perspective of General Fiction, Mainstream, Commercial, Upmarket, Literary, Mystery, Thriller, etc. Whatever is applicable that way. And, of course, you should cross-reference which of those agents are interested in nonfiction books in the areas of Science, Current Events, and Cultural/Social Issues. That would be smart. Also smart, obviously, would be starting with the most successful agents. Beyond that, focus on querying widely more than getting bogged down in trying to just find the handful of people you’re sure are interested in climate change.

      Also…

      If you haven’t already done so…

      You should click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a good day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  10. Avatar

    dear mark,

    i published my book — hitler’s revenge —
    the illusion/delusion the world is ours to run —
    last august on amazon & kindle

    would you be willing to help me find a wider audience?

    gene manning, 920 847 2874,
    2086 indian point rd, washington island, wisconsin 54246

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Gene,

      If your goal is to get an agent, with the hope of getting a big publisher, and a wider audience that way, yes…

      That’s my main focus nowadays.

      Not sure that’s what you meant though, so let me know.

      If that is what you meant, you can learn more about coaching here: https://markmalatesta.com/mark-malatesta-author-coaching/.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a good day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  11. Avatar

    Dear Mark,

    What are the probable issues the title of my book ‘EUROPE BY LAND’ has with getting American agents and audience?

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Obiora,

      It’s been a long time since I looked at your material so, unfortunately, I can’t say. I also don’t know what you sent out to agents or what they said in reply or many of the other nuances that would help me answer a question like that. It’s not the type of question I can answer here, with such limited information. It’s easier to deduce something like that when I’m working more closely with someone in a long-term coaching program, but, even then, it can be difficult. But, if you ask me something specific about how agents work or something like that, something that doesn’t require me having more knowledge of your work, etc., and the types of things I mentioned above, please post questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      I will always do my best to help,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  12. Avatar

    Mark
    I think writing a book is easier than writing a query letter or synopsis space I am frustrated and about to give up I have the book the family jewels available on Amazon but without an agent it is languishing I’d like to write another book but with The help in guidance of an agent from the start

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Vincent,

      Many authors feel that way, at least at first.

      It will (hopefully) get better.

      Look closely at my Frequently Asked Questions page where you posted your message for me, located here, and you’ll find information and resources that will help: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      Also…

      If you haven’t already done so, you should click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a good day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  13. Avatar

    I have a self-published book. I had entered it into a 2019 contest and became winner of best Inspirational fiction. (Independent Book Awards) Will it make any impact on the agent’s interest? At least ask for the complete manuscript?

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Eve,

      Congratulations, and yes…

      That should greatly increase your chances.

      Also…

      If you haven’t already done so, you should click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a great day!

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  14. Avatar

    I would like to access the List of Agents Looking for New Writers. I am going through the list of agents in the Directory of Literary Agents. But it’s a laborious process. I think it would make more sense to find an agent looking for a new writer. I have published nonfiction and have been a National Geographic writer and editor— but I have a debut novel (historical fiction) for which I think I need an agent. Can you help me?

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Barbara,

      Most of the agents listed in the directory are open to submissions from new authors. Simply look at their websites to be sure who’s open and who’s not. Based on your background, you should have an easier time than most getting agents looking at your work.

      Also…

      If you haven’t already done so, you should click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a great day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  15. Avatar

    you have indicated that having had a book published by Stl Martins’ Press would help me sign with an agent, but so far it hasn’t worked. My latest book traditionally published came about because it is Hollywood themed and my source is Hollywood/Celebrity oriented. However after fifty years of sporadic success I now am concentrating on writing novels. Have had a couple of agents in the past who were far less than legit. I am at a loss to understand why my track record, my submissions do not generate an offer of representation. any thoughts Mark?

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Sylvia,

      If that’s the case, you need to improve your query, simple as that. With your publishing history, you should be able to get some agents reading if you’re sending out enough queries. If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a good day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  16. Avatar

    Mark Malatesta

    I have been writing for a number of years. Currently I have four self published books; two fiction/historical fiction and two childrens books. All are on Amazon and one has recently been accepted by Barnes and Noble.

    I am currently marketing the children’s books, “Chagall The Recycling Dragon” and “Thabo Searches For The Animals”. Both are selling well in the local market and through social media on Facebook and Linkedin. However, I would like to improve sales and if possible find an agent and publish them both through a publishing house.
    I would like to learn about your fees for coaching and help finding an agent.

    “Chagall, The Recycling Dragon” is about a dragon that lives in a canyon that is made into a landfill. He loves the idea because of all the free food and treasure he gets every day with no work on his part. But soon his cave starts to fill up and when he sneezes the paint and oil fumes explode. He needs to figure out what to do.”

    “Thabo Searches For The Animals” was written in South Africa while a Peace Corps Volunteer and illustrated by orphans through an art program sponsored by an NGO we worked with.
    It is about clean water. Thabo’s morning chore is to fetch water from the river for his family. He visits with the animals by the river. One morning he finds all the animals gone and goes in search of them. When found the animals tell him they are not coming back until the water is clean.
    “Thabo Searches For The Animals” is a fundraiser for the art program that illustrated the story.

    Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Marty Strauss

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Marty,

      Nice to meet you, and my pleasure…

      You can click here to learn more about setting up an introductory coaching call: https://markmalatesta.com/mark-malatesta-author-coaching/.

      You should also click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a great weekend,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  17. Avatar

    Hi Mark,
    And Thank you for all the Literary Agent Links, such is much appreciated!
    I have sent out 51 Queries, got 17 rejects to date. One said the creativity was there but not the connection!
    Hence I am re-writing it slightly and adding that connection while also trying to decrease the word count.
    Is it okay for me to begin querying again once I have completed the slight rewrite–using the same title but with a different Subtitle?
    ALSO: I won a Best in the World Award for a cookbook I wrote and Self Published (something I won’t do again), should I mention such in the Query? Yes, you addressed this but not if the prior book won such an award.

    If you need more details, please do say so!

    THANK YOU
    Randi L Levin

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Randy,

      Absolutely, you can/should begin querying again after making the changes. You can/should even ask that agent who said nice things to take another look at that point. More times than not, agents will do so. 😉

      And, re: your other question, yes, absolutely.

      Also…

      If you haven’t already done so, you should click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a great day!

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
      • Avatar

        Oh My Mark,

        Thank you so very much! Your response is inspirational!

        The Best to You,
        Randi L Levin

        Reply
        • Mark Malatesta

          🙂

          – Mark

          Mark Malatesta
          https://markmalatesta.com
          The Bestselling Author
          https://thebestsellingauthor.com
          Literary Agent Undercover
          https://literary-agents.com

          Reply
  18. Avatar

    I am going to the writers digest conference in August and I have a book about an old Jewish gangster who is seeking redemption. I just want to know under what genre does it fit? Thriller, fiction etc. thank you for your time

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Jay,

      It’s not that simple as many books can be called many things, and sometimes it’s good to call a book different things depending who you’re pitching. Without knowing more or seeing a sample, it might be called: General Fiction, Mainstream, Commercial, Upmarket, Literary, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, or more, or more than one of those things. Look at https://book-genres.com to learn more.

      Also…

      If you haven’t already done so, you should click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a great day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  19. Avatar

    May I send you a copy of a children’s book I had self published a year ago to review with the idea of attracting a successful agent? The title of the book is The Lion Without A Tail. I own the copy write.

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Stephen,

      Look closely at my Frequently Asked Questions page where you posted your message for me, located here, to see what I do and how I might be able to help (both free and fee options): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/. If you want me to review anything, you’ll need to register for a coaching call. I’m not an agent anymore. I’m a coach.

      You should also click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a good day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply
  20. Avatar

    Is Jessica Schmeidler now taking children’s books submissions? As of your April 24, 2019 post she was not.
    I was advised to submit to her.

    Reply
    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Mary,

      You’d have to look at an agent’s website to find out at any moment in time (it changes fairly frequently) to see if he or she is currently open to submissions.

      Also…

      If you haven’t already done so, you should click here to access all the valuable resources we have about getting an agent in our private, members-only area (no charge): https://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. Once you’ve entered your name and email address there, click on the link that says, “Audio Training Library”. Then you’ll see my main audio training (with a text transcript), which reveals the 7 Insider Secrets You Need to Know to Get a Top Literary Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal.

      You’ll likely find that helpful as well.

      If you want help with anything else, you can post more questions online here: https://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      All my best, and have a great day,

      – Mark

      Mark Malatesta
      https://markmalatesta.com
      The Bestselling Author
      https://thebestsellingauthor.com
      Literary Agent Undercover
      https://literary-agents.com

      Reply

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