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Literary Agent undercover


Publishing agent in brown suit at Get a Literary Agent and Literary Agent Undercover hosted by Mark Malatesta

Literary Agent Undercover offers 1-on-1 author coaching and consulting to help writers of all book genres get a literary agent. The company, which is a subsidiary of The Bestselling Author, was founded by Former Literary Agent Mark Malatesta, and has helped more than three hundred authors get offers from literary agents and/or traditional book publishers.


Literary Agent Undercover monogram logo in black text at Get a Literary AgentEstablished in 2011, Literary Agent Undercover is is based on the premise that it’s better for authors to get paid to publish instead of paying to publish. Founded by former literary agent Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover is the premier author coaching and consulting company, having helping hundreds of authors get book agents and/or book deals with traditional publishers.

Publishing houses Literary Agent Undercover founder Mark Malatesta has helped his clients get book deals with include Adams Media, Amacom, Andrews-McMeel, Ballantine, Barron’s, Berkley Books, Chronicle Books, Diversion Books, Entrepreneur, Familius, Gallery Books, Harcourt, Harper Collins, Hachette, Hyperion, Kane Miller, Llewellyn, McGraw-Hill, Penguin, Philomel, Prentice-Hall, Prometheus Books, Random House, Red Wheel/Weiser, Regnery Publishing, Routledge, Rowman & Littlefield, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Skyhorse, Square One Publishers, St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s, Thomas Nelson, and Workman.

How Literary AGent Undercover Is Different

Literary Agent Undercover was founded by a former literary agent who’s also served as the Marketing & Licensing Manager of a well-known publisher, and he’s a writer himself. In other words, at Literary Agent Undercover we understand every part of the publishing process, and we enjoy supporting writers through the process of turning their publishing dreams into reality.

Other author coaching and consulting providers don’t have the same experience, across all aspects of the publishing industry. They also don’t specialize in helping authors get literary agents. Some individuals and companies, such as freelance book editors and some book agents, provide information and coaching to help authors get literary agency representation. However, it’s usually a “side hustle” or extra thing they do, rather than the thing they do, the thing they do best, evidenced by many hundreds of success stories.

At Literary Agent Undercover, we take a comprehensive approach to the process of getting a literary agent. If you schedule a Literary Agent Advice session, you’ll get a detailed author questionnaire so we can learn as much as possible about you and your book. That way we can see how to turn your unique problems into opportunities. The questionnaire also includes placeholders so you can provide any/all of the following (though these items aren’t required): query letter, book synopsis, book proposal, and sample manuscript pages or chapters.

Prior to your author coaching/consulting call, we will review your material, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions during your session. It is difficult to get a book agent and book deal, especially if you want to get a top book agent and book deal. That’s why we help authors leave no stone unturned. If your writing, pitch materials, and platform are the best they can be, you can have no regrets, knowing you’re giving yourself the best chance of getting a book agent.

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Get free instant access to the official Directory of Literary Agents, and our article/audio training library. Click here to see all that’s included in our Getting a Literary Agent resource center.

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.

Literary Agent Undercover Reviews

These reviews about Literary Agent Undercover are from authors of all  genres: fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. Authors who’ve participated in author coaching and consulting with The Bestselling Author have gotten six-figure book deals, been on the New York Times bestseller list, had their work published with major publishers, and had their books adapted for TV, stage, and feature film.

After you helped me get an agent with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, they got me a contract with Skyhorse Publishing. I can’t stress enough, honestly, how working with you was 100% the only reason this happened.

J E R I . A N N E . A G E E

The Life and Times of Birdie Mae Hayes published by Skyhorse, named the fastest-growing small publisher in America by Publishers Weekly with 52 New York Times bestsellers

My agent said, “Bravo for putting such a thorough proposal together. It may be the most carefully crafted one I’ve ever received!” I was fortunate to get four offers from top literary agents. You’re very savvy, competent, and knowledgeable.

R O G E R . W A L S H

Essential Spirituality (Wiley), The World of Shamanism (Llewellyn), and The World’s Great Wisdom (State University of New York Press)

For a long time I had the vision that my book would be published, but it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t invested in myself. Before I met Mark, I sent out queries with no requests for more material. I didn’t know what I was doing—it was like shooting darts in the air.

L I B B Y . K I S Z N E R

Dear Libby: An Advice Columnist Answers the Top Questions About Friendship, published by Familius, a traditional publisher with many bestselling authors

Having lost my long-term agent to retirement, I was frustrated. I hired Mark and sent out a query he wrote for me, and I got wonderful replies. If you’re an author who wants to get an agent, Mark can help you find your way.

R O N . C U T L E R

Author of ten novels (some using a pseudonym) with Doubleday, Dell, Berkley, Dial, Avon, Fawcett, Jove, Pinnacle/Kensington, and Signet/NAL

Llewellyn said they want [my book] to be the “go-to” book in its category. When I got the contract, I said, “Okay, I can have a glass of wine.” Nothing’s real “til it’s real.” You’re very knowledgeable, practical, and helpful, Mark. You’re also very thoughtful—willing to invest sweat equity in the future of your clients. Thanks for your support.

J E A N N I E . R E E D

The Language of Tarot (Llewellyn Publishing)

Without your help, guidance, and expertise there’s no way I would have been able to land an agent. Even having worked in the film business for thirty years, I was out of my realm and overwhelmed.

A L E X . L A S K E R

Tears of the Sun starring Bruce Willis (Columbia Pictures), Beyond Rangoon starring Patricia Arquette (Castle Rock Entertainment), and Firefox starring Clint Eastwood (Warner Brothers), and the novel The Memory of an Elephant

Book Agents Who’ve Offered Literary Agent Undercover Authors Representation

Literary Agent Undercover coaching and consulting clients have been offered representation from hundreds of book agents, including top literary agents at the best literary agencies. This is just a partial list of publishing agents that have offered our authors representation. Some of these literary agents have offered to represent more than one (or in some cases, many) of our authors.

  • Helen Adams with Zimmermann Literary
  • Josh Adams with Adams Literary
  • Nalini Akolekar with Spencerhill Associates
  • Lara Allen with The Lotts Agency
  • Marilyn Allen with Allen O’Shea Literary Agency
  • Ritu Anand with D4EO Literary Agency
  • Ken Atchity with AEI/Atchity Entertainment
  • Dan Balow with The Steve Laube Agency
  • Cecile Barendsma with Cecile B Literary Agency
  • Jan Baumer with Folio Literary Management
  • Madison Smartt Bell with Ayesha Pande Literary
  • Mel Berger with WME
  • Meredith Bernstein with Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency
  • Frances Black with Literary Counsel
  • Piers Blofeld with Sheil Land Associates
  • Marie Brown with Marie Brown Associates
  • Bethany Buck with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
  • Jak Burke with The Rudy Agency
  • Sara Camilli with The Sara Camilli Agency
  • Lord Colin Ivar Campbell with Marianne Strong Literary
  • Karen Canton with Canton Literary Management
  • Christi Cardenas with The Plains Agency
  • Matthew Carnicelli with Carnicelli Literary Management
  • Keith Carroll with Keith Carroll Literary Agency
  • Adam Chromy with Movable Type Management
  • Christine Cohen with the Virginia Kidd Agency
  • Rebecca Collazo with the Marianne Strong Literary Agency
  • Bill Contardi with Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc.
  • Richard Curtis with Richard Curtis Associates
  • Jennifer De Chiara with Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
  • Joelle Delbourgo with Joëlle Delbourgo Associates
  • Jacques de Spoelberch with J. De S. Associates, Inc.
  • Anne Devlin with Max Gartenberg Literary Agency
  • Bob Diforio with D4EO Literary Agency
  • Priya Doraswamy with Lotus Lane Literary
  • Anissa Dorsey with Great Dog Literary
  • April Eberhardt with April Eberhardt Literary
  • Felicia Eth with Felicia Eth Literary Representation
  • Stephany Evans with Fine Print Lit
  • Don Fehr with Trident Media
  • James Fitzgerald with the James Fitzgerald Agency
  • Diane Flegal with Hartline Literary Agency
  • Sam Fleishman with Literary Artists Representatives
  • Stephen Fraser with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
  • Grace Freedson with Grace Freedson’s Publishing Network
  • Sarah Jane Freymann with Sarah Jane Freymann Literary
  • Lauren Galit with LKG Agency
  • Lori Galvin with Aevitas Creative Management
  • Italia Gandolfo with Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary
  • Claire Gerus with Claire Gerus Literary Agency
  • Anna Ghosh with Ghosh Literary
  • Bill Gladstone with Waterside Productions
  • Mark Gottlieb with Trident Media
  • Kathryn Green with Kathryn Green Literary Agency
  • Kanishka Gupta with Writer’s Side
  • Lisa Hagan wth Lisa Hagan Literary & Books
  • Brittani Harris of Gold Dust Literary Agency
  • Steve Harris with CSG Literary Partners
  • Jim Hart with Hartline Literary Agency
  • Joyce Hartline with Hartline Literary Agency
  • Jeff Herman with The Jeff Herman Agency
  • Thomas Hill of Martin Literary Management
  • Joyce Holland with D4EO
  • Steven Hutson with WordWise
  • Devra Jacobs with Dancing Word Group
  • Amy Jameson with A+B Works
  • Eric C. Jones with Tobias Literary Agency
  • Alex Kane with William Morris Endeavor
  • Emma Kapson with Verve Verve Talent & Literary
  • Maryann Karinch with The Rudy Agency
  • Jeff Kleinman with Folio Literary Management
  • Annakarin Klerfalk with Intersaga Literary Agency
  • Harvey Klinger with Harvey Klinger, Inc.
  • Linda Konnor with Linda Konner Literary Agency
  • Keith Korman with Raines & Raines
  • Elizabeth “Liz” Kracht with Kimberley Cameron & Associate
  • Irene Kraas with Kraas Literary Agency
  • Dean Krystek of WordLink USA
  • Natalie Lakosil with Bradford Literary Agency
  • Byrd Leavell with Waxman Leavell Literary Agency
  • Paul Levine with The Paul S. Levine Literary Agency
  • Robert H. Lieberman with Robert Lieberman Associates
  • Al Longden with Albert T. Londen Associates
  • Eric Lupfer at United Talent Agency/Fletcher & Co.
  • Jennifer Lyons with the Jennifer Lyons Agency
  • Chip MacGregor with MacGregor Literary
  • Nena Madonia with Dupree Miller and Associates, Inc.
  • Jill Marr with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
  • Jill Marsal with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
  • Beth Marshea with Ladderbird Literary Agency
  • Alice Martell with The Martell Agency
  • Sharlene Martin with Martin Literary Management
  • Shannon Marven with Dupree/Miller & Associates
  • Shari Maurer with The Stringer Literary Agency
  • Scott Mendel with Mendel Media
  • Liseanne Miller with Global Lion
  • Peter Miller with Global Lion
  • Robin Mizell with Robin Mizell Ltd., Literary Representation
  • Kristen Moeller with Waterside Productions
  • Nancy Mosher with Raines & Raines
  • Jen Nadol with The Unter Agency
  • David Nelson with Waterside Productions
  • Alan Nevins with Renaissance Literary & Talent
  • Diane Nine with Nine Speakers, Inc.
  • Emmy Nordstrom Higdon with the Rights Factory
  • Anne Marie O’Farrell with Marcil-O’Farrell Literary
  • Anna Olswanger with Olswanger Literary
  • Coleen O’Shea with the Allen O’Shea Literary Agency
  • Nena Oshman with Dupree Miller & Associates
  • Gina Panettieri with Talcott Notch Literary
  • Esmerantia Parnall-Gilbert with Gilbert Literary Agency
  • Jenna Pocius with Red Fox Literary
  • Janet Reid at New Leaf Literary and Media
  • Adrienne Rosado with Stonesong Literary
  • Janet Rosen with Sheree Bykofsky Associates
  • Barbara Rosenberg with The Rosenberg Group
  • Rita Rosenkranz with Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency
  • Andy Ross with the Andy Ross Agency
  • Steve Ross with the Steve Ross Agency
  • Regina Ryan with Regina Ryan Books Literary Agency
  • Victoria Sanders with Victoria Sanders & Associates
  • Katharine Sands with Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
  • James Schiavone, Ed.D with Schiavone Literary Agency, Inc.
  • Jeff Schmidt with NY Creative Management
  • Susan Schulman with Susan Schulman Literary Agency
  • Steve Schwartz with Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
  • Charlie Serabian with Global Lion
  • Mary Sue Seymour with The Seymour Agency
  • Alec Shane with Writers House
  • Camilla Shestopal with Shesto Literary
  • Victoria Skurnick w/ Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency
  • Lee Sobel with Lee Sobel Literary Agency
  • Andrea Somberg with Harvey Klinger, Inc.
  • Kaitlin Sooklal with The Rights Factory
  • Adriana Stimola with Stimola Literary Studio
  • Laura Strachan with Strachan Literary Agency
  • Dan Strone with Trident Media Group
  • Marianne Strong with the Marianne Strong Literary Agency
  • Stephane Tade with the Stephanie Tade Agency
  • Sabrina Taitz with WME
  • Nikki Terpilowski with Holloway Literary
  • Teffanie Thompson with Falkin Literary
  • Steve Troha with Folio Literary Management
  • Liz Trupin-Pulli with Jet Literary
  • Sergei Tsimberov with Anderson Literary Management
  • Cindy Uh with Thompson Literary Agency
  • Joseph Vallely with Swagger Literary
  • Becky Vinter with Fine Print Lit
  • Matt Wagner with Fresh Books Literary Agency
  • Frank Weimann with Folio Literary Management
  • Maria Whelan with Inkwell Management
  • Annie Wilder with Annie Wilder Literary Agency
  • Roger Williams w/ New England Publishing Associates
  • John Willig with Literary Services, Inc.
  • Rob Wilson with Wilson Media Agency
  • Audrey Wolf with Wolf Literary Services
  • Terrie Wolf with AKA Literary Management
  • Laura Wood with FinePrint Literary Management
  • Andrianna Yeatts with ICM
  • Leslie York with Fredrica Friedman & Co.
  • Cyle Young with Hartline Agency
  • Helen Zimmerman w/ Helen Zimmermann Literary Agency


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