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LITERARY AGENT ADVICE

AUTHOR COACHING & CONSULTING

We provide 1-on-1 coaching and consulting to both new and established authors of all book genres, in the United States and abroad. We’ve helped 300+ authors get offers from literary agents and/or traditional publishers.

1-on-1 Literary Agent Advice

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Book Development

Is your manuscript ready to pitch to book agents and publishers? Is there anything you can do to improve it or make it more marketable?

Query Letter

Create a query letter that communicates the uniqueness and value of your manuscript–and gives you the best chance of getting positive replies.

Book synopsis

Create a book synopsis that’s the ideal length, with the best content and style. Help literary agents understand your book, and respect your writing. 

Book proposal

Create a book proposal that literary agents and book publishers say is the best–or one of the best–they’ve ever seen. One that leads to a book deal.

Author platform

Present your author profile or platform in the best way–and see the various ways you might improve it, before you start pitching book agents.

Agent Selection

Identify all the book agents you can query, prioritize them properly, and use the best strategy regarding when and how to submit your pitch materials.

Process/Strategy

Ask questions about how literary agents and/or the publishing industry work, so you know what to expect and how to navigate the system.

troubleshooting

Get support for any other issue preventing you from getting a book agent or book publisher–including an issue with an agent already representing you.

Miscellaneous

Ask questions about any other topic relevant to your success as a writer such as brand development, building/tweaking an author website, etc.

SCHEDULE AN AUTHOR CONSULTATION

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authors we've helped get book agents and/or traditional publishers

GET Book AGENT ADVICE

A PERSONAL INVITATION

Dear Author,

You can significantly increase your chances of getting a literary agent, save time, and reduce the stress that comes with seeking representation by scheduling a 1-on-1 author consulting/coaching session.

During your session you can get literary agent advice about any of the following: book concept, book title/subtitle, query letter, book synopsis, book proposal, first 50 double-spaced pages of your book, author platform, brand development, book agent selection, or anything else related to getting a literary agent.

 I can’t promise you’ll get a book agent if you schedule a session, but I’m the only author coach or consultant I know of who exclusively works with authors 1-on-1 to get book agents. I’ve also helped more writers get representation than anyone else (300+ authors).

I have experience with all aspects of the industry as a former literary agent who’s sold books to prestigious publishers, as the former Marketing & Licensing Manager of a well-known publisher, and as a writer myself. I love working with (and empowering) writers.

After having an introductory coaching/consulting call, a small number of authors decide to get more support from me in a longer-term 1-on-1 coaching/consulting program. Most authors just do the introductory coaching/consulting session, which is meant to be a standalone session.

As soon as you register for an introductory coaching/consulting session, you’ll get an author questionnaire. Once I’ve reviewed your completed questionnaire to make sure I have everything I need to give you a good session, I’ll email you a link to my online scheduling calendar (within 24 hours).

During our session, I’ll answer your questions and share other things you don’t realize in advance will also be valuable–additional literary agent advice and strategy to further increase your odds of getting representation. I’ll also email you a recording of the session (within 24 hours).

Getting literary agent advice can be the difference between getting a literary agent or not; getting a great book agent or a mediocre book agent; getting multiple offers for representation or just one; and getting a publishing agent quickly or slowly.

Expert literary agent advice can eliminate the painful guessing, loneliness, and costly mistakes that come with working independently. Getting a literary agent isn’t usually easy, but you’ll have the best chance of getting an offer if you schedule a coaching/consulting session.

Getting published isn’t luck,
it’s a decision.

Mark Malatesta

GetALiteraryAgent.com

P.S. Scroll below for a detailed FAQ section about what a literary agent advice session includes and how it works.

How I Got My Book Agent

Successful Authors

Photo of author NJ sharing a Mark Malatesta review at Get a Literary Agent

Thanks in part to your query letter, manuscript suggestions, and support prioritizing agents, I received multiple offers from agents. Within two weeks of sending out the first query, I knew who I was going to sign with. I value our friendship.

N E L S O N . J O H N S O N

NY Times bestselling author of Boardwalk Empire, produced by Martin Scorsese for HBO, and Darrow's Nightmare: The Forgotten Story of America's Most Famous Trial Lawyer

NJ Book Cover for BE on boardwalk with cast from the HBO TV series, posted by Get a Literary Agent

Photo of author LL sharing a Mark Malatesta review at Get a Literary Agent

After following your advice, my book was acquired, the prestigious PW gave it a great review, and Time Magazine asked for an excerpt. Thank you for believing in my book, and for helping me share the surprising truth about women’s most popular body part!

L E S L I E . L E H R

Author of A Boob's Life: How America's Obsession Shaped Me―and You, published by Pegasus Books, distributed by Simon & Schuster and now in development for a TV series by Salma Hayek for HBO Max

LL Book Cover posted by Get a Literary Agent Guide

Photo of author SL sharing a Mark Malatesta review at Get a Literary Agent

Fine Print Lit got publishers bidding against each other [for my book]. I ended up signing a contract with Thomas Nelson (an imprint of Harper Collins) for what I’ve been told by several people is a very large advance. What cloud is higher than 9?

S C O T T . L E R E T T E

Author of The Unbreakable Boy (Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins), adapted to feature film with Lionsgate starring Zachary Levi, Amy Acker, and Patricia Heaton

SL Book Cover for TUB with photo of boy on beach with jester hat at sunset, posted by Get a Literary Agent Guide

Photo of author MLP sharing a Mark Malatesta review at Get a Literary Agent

AHHH! OMG, it happened! You helped me get three offers for representation from top literary agents! A short time later I signed a publishing contract. After that, my agent sold my next book. I’m in heaven!

M I R I . L E S H E M . P E L L Y

Author/illustrator of Penny and the Plain Piece of Paper (Penguin Books/Philomel), Scribble & Author (Kane Miller), and other children’s picture books

MLP book cover of S and A with paintbrush drawing cute animated figured, posted by Get a Literary Agent Guide

Photo of Mark Malatesta - Former Literary Agent MARK MALATESTA is a former literary agent turned author coach. Mark now helps authors of all genres (fiction, nonfiction, and children's books) get top literary agents, publishers, and book deals through his company Literary Agent Undercover and The Bestselling Author. Mark's authors have gotten six-figure book deals, been on the NYT bestseller list, and published with houses such as Random House, Scholastic, and Thomas Nelson. Click here to learn more about Mark Malatesta and see Mark Malatesta Reviews.

Publishing Agent Advice

Why Schedule an author coaching call?

Increase your odds

No one can guarantee you’ll get a publishing agent. However, hundreds of authors have used our literary agent advice to get book agents. Our author coaching will give you the best chance.

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save time

Our literary agent advice will help you be more efficient when querying. That will allow you to submit to a greater number of book agents than most authors (if needed) before you quit.

reduce stress

Knowing you’re implementing proven strategies to get a book agent provides the ultimate peace of mind. Following our literary agent advice will allow you to enjoy the process.

literary agent advice faq

Author Coaching & Consulting

1. Who Should Schedule a Session?

    • Authors of all genres (fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books)
    • Authors at all stages of development and success (everyone from beginners with their first book idea to authors who’ve already published bestsellers)
    • Authors of either unpublished or previously published books (it’s usually harder to get an agent if your book has already been published, but it’s not impossible)
    • Authors both in the United States and abroad (it’s usually harder to get an agent in the U.S. if you live abroad, but it’s not impossible)
    • Authors frustrated because they haven’t gotten the results they want from book agents and publishers
    • Authors who haven’t yet started pitching literary agents, who want to give themselves the greatest competitive advantage
    • Authors who know they only want to have one coaching/consulting session AND authors who want to benefit from one session as well as “feel out” whether they’re a fit for a longer-term coaching/consulting relationship

2. Who Should NOT Schedule a Session?

    • Uncoachable authors. Some authors (ironically) register for a literary agent advice session but don’t want advice. If that’s you, please save your money, and save us both frustration.
    • Authors who don’t want to hear the truth about their book, or the reality of the publishing industry. The only way to help an author increase their odds of getting a book agent is to give them honest feedback. Kind, but honest. The goal of a literary agent advice session is to help authors become more aware of their challenges, and address them.
    • Authors who want or expect someone else to do the work for them. I’ve had some writers say they’ll pay anything to have me (or someone on my team) do the work needed to get a literary agent for them. That’s not empowering, and that’s not how I work. I’ll share what you can do to improve your chances of getting a literary agent. No one can do it for you. Or, at least, in my experience, no one can do it as well as you (if you have a good guide).
    • Overly cynical authors. It’s easy to become jaded as a writer, especially if you’ve already had a difficult or negative experience(s) with literary agents. I don’t suggest being naive, but I do suggest focsuing primarily on being positive and productive. In other words, don’t dwell on the daunting odds regarding how hard it is to get a publishing agent. Put most of your energy and effort into discovering and doing all you can to increase your odds.
    • Authors with major trust issues. Some writers have been disappointed by people in the past. If you’ve been let down by someone who didn’t seem to care as much as they should, or they didn’t perform professinally, I feel for you. But don’t let that ruin your future prospective relationships with people who want to treat you right. I perform best when people trust me, or at least give me the benefit of the doubt early on. However, I also believe trust is earned. That’s why I put so much time and care into this literary agent advice page, to help authors understand my commitment to helping writers achieve success and have a positive experience.
    • Authors with major control issues. One author in one of my longer-term coaching programs was having difficulty early in our work together. I’d make suggestions and she’d get snippy and say she’d “comply with” my advice. “No,” I said. “That’s no good. I’m your ally, your partner. You can do whatever you want, of course. It’s your life and your book. But you should want to follow my advice, because that’s what you hired me for. My only goal is to help you reach your goal of getting a literary agent!” Fortunately, she felt I had her best interests at heart, then admitted she had major control issues. After that, she started acting differently, and went on to get multiple offers from literary agents.
    • Authors of poetry books or short story collections. It’s too difficult to get a literary agent for those book genres unless you’ve already been published in prestigous outlets and/or you’ve won prestitigious writing awards.

3. What Can We Talk About During My Session?

Any of the following: book concept, book title/subtitle, query letter, book synopsis, book proposal, first 50 double-spaced pages of your book, author platform, brand development, book agent selection, or anything else related to getting a literary agent.

4. How Is This Different From What Other Author Coaches/Consultants Offer?

Here are some reasons this is the premier option when it comes to getting literary agent advice:

    • Decades of industry experience. I’ve worked with both bestselling authors and brand new authors as a former AAR literary agent and literary agency owner, as well as the Marketing & Licensing Manager of a well-known book and gift publisher.
    • More success stories than anyone. I’ve now helped 300+ authors get offers from literary agents and/or traditional publishers. That’s not bragging, but experience you can trust.
    • Exclusively focused on helping authors get book agents. Most other coaches and consultants providing literary agent advice do so as a “side hustle” or “add-on” to their “real” or main job/focus. For me, working 1-on-1 with writers to get literary agents is my entire focus and it’s been that way since 2011.
    • The most comprehensive. I take time to get to know the authors I coach and consult via a detailed author questionnaire, before we talk. It’s impossible to advise an author regarding the best way to write their query letter without understanding as much as possible about them and their book. I also have a proprietary list of 125 things authors should (and shouldn’t) say or talk about in a query letter.
    • You can be you. I genuinely like writers, and I don’t judge. I want you to be comfortable being you, and I want you to write what you want to write. My job, as I see it, isn’t to change you or your work, but to appreicate you for who you are, and for the book you want to write to have the best chance of getting published and reaching the maxium number of readers.
    • The most enjoyable. As much as I’m committed to giving authors the best literary agent advice during their session, I’m committed to giving them the best experience. I’ll bring energy to your call, positive energy. You’ll know I want to be there. I’ll be sure to identify and celebrate the things you have going for you. And I’ll make it as easy as possible for you to accept and overcome the challenges facing you. In fact, we’ll do our best to turn your challenges into opportunities.

5. What Will Happen After I Register For My Session?

Immediately after you register, you’ll get access to the author questionnaire you’ll need to fill out prior to scheduling your literary agent advice session (with instructions).

6. Can I Send You a Copy of My Book(s) Via Postal Mail?

Virtually all literay agents require all material be submitted electonically via email or an online form on their website. I work the same way. If you want to query book agents, use your literary agent advice session with me as one more reason to figure out how to submit your work electronically. I’m not able to provide technical support in this area, unfortunately.

7. What Will Happen DURING My Session?

You won’t have to do much talking. One of the reasons I have authors fill out a detailed questionnaire before we talk is it allows me to spend most of the session coaching. Not asking questions and getting “up to speed” regarding you and your work. I might need to ask some clarification questions during your session, but my goal is to do 95% of the talking. I want to give you as much literary agent advice as possible during our time together.

You’ll get a recording. I do this for every literary agent advice session. You’re the only person who will ever have access to the recording. I will record your session so you can take notes after the call instead of during the call. We’ll be more connected that way. And, even if you’re the world’s fastest note taker, you won’t be able to capture everything during the call.

I’ll talk fast. I’ll do that because it will allow me to share more literary agent advice during our time–and we’ll be recording the call.

You’ll get honesty but also kindness and positivity. You’ll hear things during your literary agent advice session you like, and things you don’t like. It’s the nature of this type of work. I’ll assume you want the truth, and even if I sense you might not, I’ll share it anyway. However, I’ll do so in a supportive way, and offer as many solutions as possible to obstacles.

You’ll get everything I can give. Since most authors only have one literary agent advice session, I don’t hold back. I’ll share everything I can that might help you in the short- and/or long-term, working off the assumption we’ll only be doing the one call together. That way, if we only do one session, we’ll both feel good about the session. You won’t feel like I “held back” information as a ploy to get you to do more coaching.

You’ll get “clean” literary agent advice. Many coaches, consultants, editors, and literary agents let their personal preferences and biases interfere with giving good advice. I’ve been told I’m good at not doing that. My only goal is to help you increase your chances of getting a book agent. I don’t have beliefs or biases that will get in the way of me giving you good advice. I also won’t try to get you to change your book to be what I think it should be.

Your session will be about YOU. In other words, your literary agent advice session won’t be about me or my ego. Helping authors get publishing agents is what brings me fulfillment. I don’t want or need flattery, and you’ll feel from the beginning of our session to the end that I genuinely want to help you.

You’ll get concrete and personalized advice. Some of the information I share with you will be general and conceptual. In other words, there are some things I need to tell everyone. However, I’ll also give you concrete, specific, and actionable advice. And, when possible, I’ll give you personalized advice. You’ll need all the above to have the best chance of getting a  literary agent.

You will NOT get a sales pitch. The good news about me providing literary agent advice sessions since 2011 is I’ve worked hard to make my business successful. That means I’m able to only work with authors in my longer-term coaching when it feels good to both of us. When that’s the case, I send the author information about the longer-term coaching after the session. I don’t use an author’s valuable coaching/consulting time to talk about the possibility of us doing more together.

8. When/How Can I Schedule My Session?

Within 24 hours of me receiving your completed author questionnire, and verifying everything I need to give you a good session is there, I’ll email you a link to my scheduling calendar so you can book a day/time.

9. What Is the Wait Time to Schedule a Session?

Most writers are able to have their literary advice session within 1-2 weeks of submitting their completed author questionnaire. It depends on how well the author’s schedule matches up with mine at that moment. To be fair to everyone who registers for an introductory author coaching/consulting session, calls are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

10. What Days/Times Are Sessions Available?

Literary agent advice sessions are currently available most weeks from Tu-Th between 1 pm and 8 pm Eastern time. If you live outside the United States and need help to see the corresponding times where you live, visit World Clock or a similar website.

11. Can I Arrange a Video Session?

My goal is to deliver the maxium amount of advice during an author introductory coaching/consulting session. For that reason, I don’t do video sessions. During our time together, I’ll be completely focused on your author questionnaire, the thoughts in my head, and how you’re responding to them. My hope for you is that your focus will be on making sure you’re understanding what I’m sharing wiht you. To me, that’s more important than us worrying about how we look or maintaining eye contact. I assure you, if we talk, you will feel connected.

12. Do You Have a Waiting List So I Can Schedule My Session Sooner If Someone Else Reschedules?

Authors rarely reschedule their introductory author coaching/consulting session, so I don’t have a waiting list.

13. Will You Sign a Confidentiality or Non-disclosure Agreement Prior to My Session?

No. Most professionals in the entertainment industry (including literary agents and publishers) won’t agree to either. However, many publishing professionals state, as I do, in their website terms, that everything you share with them will be kept confidential. They often say something like the following as well, since most of the time when authors believe someone has shared or stolen their idea, that is not the case:

Our literary agency and/or any of our clients may have created, may create, or may otherwise have access to materials, ideas, and creative works which may be similar or identical to your material with regard to theme, motif, plots, characters, formats, or other attributes; and you shall not be entitled to any compensation because of the proposed use or use of any such similar or identical material that may be or may have been created by our literary agency and/or any of its clients.

If you want  to protect your book prior to sharing it with someone, you can copyright your book at https://copyright.gov/.

14. Can We Talk About More Than One Book During My Literary Agent Advice Session?

We can talk about multiple books during a literary agent advice session. However, you’ll get more out of your introductory author coaching/consulting session if we focus primarily on one book. The only time it can be advantageous to talk about multiple books during a session is if you want or need help prioritizing projects. In other words, figuring out which book may be closest to ready to pitch and/or more likely to get a positive response from literary agents.

15. Will You Be My Literary Agent?

I’m flattered when someone asks that, but I’m no longer representing authors as a literary agent. Since 2011, I’ve been exclusively devoted to helping authors get book agents as an author coach and consultant.

16. Will You Refer Me To a Literary Agent(s)?

Most book agents don’t require referrals. Those who do, are primarily seeking writers who are already published by major publishers and/or have already published bestsellers. For example, authors who’ve parted ways with their book agent, or authors whose agents have retired or passed away.

In some cases, literary agents accept referrals for unpublished authors, but most book agents only want referrals from people they know personally. People they know very well who are very knowledgeable about their personal tastes and preferences.

That’s why I don’t provide referrals for authors, including those who participate in my author coaching. The good news is you don’t need a referral to get a literary agent. I’ve helped hundreds of authors get book agents, and not one of them was from a referral.

17. Will You Tell Me Which Literary Agents To Query?

There are 1,000+ literary agents representing 100+ book genres. So I’m unfortunately not able to recommend specific agents or provide a list of book agents for you to query if you schedule an introductory coaching/consulting session. I can, and will, however, explain the best “types” of agents for you to query, based on your unique situation and genre. I’ll also explain how to see which book agents are better than others, so you can prioritize. This information is not on my websites.

18. Will You Provide An Audio Recording of My Session?

Yes. Within 24 hours of completing your introductory author coaching/consulting session, you’ll receive an email from me with an attachment of the mp3 audio recording. You’ll be able to download and save the literary agent advice recording to your computer, tablet, or phone and replay the recording. If you ever lose the recording, I’ll resend it.

19. Will Everything I Share With You Be Kept Confidential?

Yes. I keep everything authors share with me 100% confidential. The only exception is when I promote authors I’ve worked with who’ve given permission to promote them via our websites and newsletter.

20. Will You Provide a Text Transcript of My Session?

No. I will, however, provide an audio recording via email within 24 hours of completing your introductory author coaching/consulting session. If you choose, you can hire a freelance audio transcription professional, at your expense, to convert your session recording into a text transcript through a website such as Upwork.

21. Will You Provide Written Notes Prior To, During, Or After My Literary Agent Advice Session?

No. I will, however, share as many actionable suggestions as possible (verbally) during your literary agent advice session. I will also provide an audio recording, sent via email within 24 hours of completing your introductory author coaching/consulting session.

22. Will You Revise My Pitch Materials?

During your literary agent advice session, I’ll tell you how to improve your pitch materials and provide a recording of the session. However, an introductory author coaching/consulting does not include hands-on writing or editing of material. That’s the type of thing I do in my longer-term coaching.

23. Can I Send My Revised Material To You For Review After My Introductory Coaching/Consulting Session?

During your literary agent advice session, I’ll tell you how to improve your material. I’ll also provide a recording of the session to make it easier for you to apply the suggestions. However, an introductory author coaching/consulting doesn’t include the opportunity to submit additional questions, clarification questions, or follow-up questions. It also doesn’t include the abitlity to submit or resubmit material after applying the suggestions provided during the session. Those are the types of things I’m only able to provide as part of a longer-term coaching program.

24. Can I Schedule More Than One Session?

Additional coaching after an introductory coaching call is by invitation only. I do work with a small number of authors in longer-term coaching/consulting programs.

If you want to see if you’re a fit for a longer-term coaching/consulting program, after your intial session, I’ll send you information about that after our first session. I’ll only suggest we explore doing more together, however, if we both feel it might be a fit, and if I believe you have a chance of getting an agent.

For the reasons listed above, I don’t share information about my longer-term coaching/consulting programs with authors prior to them having their first session. I also have different coaching/consulting programs for different genres, as authors of different types of books have different needs.

25. What If I Have a Question Not Answered Above?

If you have a question about author coaching or consulting that isn’t answered above, please scroll below to submit it using our email contact form. We will respond within 24 hours.

How I Got My Book published

Successful Authors

Ballantine Books published my first two novels in hardcover and paperback after Mark Malatesta helped create an auction and bidding war for my books, resulting in a six-figure offer. Mark is one of the rare and genuine good guys, but he also has incredible information (even his ideas have ideas). One of the most important keys to success as an author is good information and support.

J I M . B R O W N

Author of the suspense thriller 24/7 and Black Valley (Random House/Ballantine)

JP Book Cover for 24/7 with island photo, sunset and shaded trees, posted as part of Get a Literary Agent guide

JB Book Cover for BV with ominous forest background, posted as part of Get a Literary Agent guide

When I got the phone call about my publishing offer with Harcourt, I was in my office with three other people. I slammed down the phone, ran into the secretary’s office, threw myself down on the floor and said, ‘I got a deal!’ They sat there and held my hand. I was speechless. I’ve never ever been that happy in my life. On my wedding day I wasn’t that happy! Getting married and having children are wonderful experiences, but I didn’t ‘work’ to get my children!

C A R O L . P L U M . U C C I

Award-winning author of The Body of Christopher Creed and many other novels for young adults (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) with film rights optioned to Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks

CPU Book Cover for TBCC posted by Get a Literary Agent

CPU Book Cover for LG posted by Get a Literary Agent

SCHEDULE AN AUTHOR CONSULTATION

Get a top book agent, publisher, and book deal

authors we've helped get book agents and/or traditional publishers

Literary agent advice

Have a question?

If you have a question about booking an introductory author coaching/consulting call that isn’t answered above, please submit it here.

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