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Mark Malatesta reviews covering more than two decades can be found here, including Mark’s time as a literary agent and author coach. Mark has helped hundreds of writers (fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books) get a literary agent and/or a traditional publisher through his company Literary Agent Undercover, a division of The Bestselling Author.

Reviews of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta reviews from author coaching and consulting clients, writers conference coordinators, writers conference participants, and authors who’ve benefitted from his writer websites and newsletter.

What people are saying in reviews about Mark MALATESTA

Mark Malatesta reviews:

“Mark is a creative genius with a heart of Gold. So refreshing to meet an up and coming agent who will carry integrity, passion, and respect for writers into the top of the profession.”

Elizabeth Lyon
The Novel Writer’s Toolkit (Perigee)

“I hear from you more than my literary agent.”

Darlene Arden
The Complete Cat’s Meow (Howell Book House)

“I’ve read most of your website in search of the catch. It seems you are one of those rare good guys. Thanks for taking time out to help the preyed upon.”

Matt Frock, Author

“After getting more than a hundred rejections, I started feeling incompetent. Then, after careful analysis, and advice from Mark, I realized that my query letter stunk worse than a sugar beet factory, keeping me from success. Mark’s articles have given me the strength to keep on going with it all. And, since the discovery of Mark’s blog (and all this positive feedback that Mark takes time out to give), I’ve had lots more positive experiences regarding my work. Hats off to you, Mark. You’ve shaken up my perspective and I’m all geared up now!”

Anonymous, Author

“You have proved to me again and again that our literary future is safe in the hands of the talented and personable young. Thank you for all of your wisdom and your kind and gentle suggestions.”

Aggie Jordan, Ph.D.
The Marriage Plan (Ballantine)

“I like that you actually provide real content! I’m sick of Internet Marketers who recycle information from other marketers, providing nothing of substance. With you, I usually get one or two tips that, if nothing else, remind me of what I should be doing. I’ve been in the writing business in one form or another for 50 years now, and my son works in the publishing industry, so I get all sorts of direct information from behind closed doors. Based on that, and based on what you say in your e-mails, you are spot on.”

Don Child, Author

“Mark, I thank God for you because I believe that you are a genuine authentic individual.”

Dan Clark, Author

“I trust your judgment implicitly.”

Scott Goldman
Orly Adelson Productions

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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

Author Coaching Clients – Mark Malatesta Reviews

Mark Malatesta reviews from authors he’s worked with as an author coach: fiction, nonfiction, and children’s book writers. Mark’s clients have gotten six-figure book deals, been on the New York Times bestseller list, and had their work published with houses including Random House, Scholastic, and Thomas Nelson.

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

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

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

I was staying at a summer house with my family when I received two offers for representation. It was awesome. Every time I emailed you with a new question or situation, you replied fast. I’ve got a ton of positive things to say about you.

K . B O G H . A N D E R S E N

Award-winning author with approximately 500,000 copies sold, including The Devil’s Apprentice and other titles in The Great Devil War series

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

I just got offers from multiple publishers and signed a three-book deal. Before I decided to work with you, I sent out queries by myself and no one ever asked to look at my stuff. Anyone who sees what you’re doing should give you a try.

D A M O N E . B E S T E R

Author of Mendel, published by The Story Plant, a traditional publisher founded by long-term industry professionals Lou Aronica and Peter Miller

Writers Conference Coordinators – Mark Malatesta Reviews

Mark Malatesta reviews from writers conference coordinators from some of the events where he has appeared as a speaker: keynotes, seminars, workshops, panels.

“While reviewing our conference evaluation forms, your name came up quite a few times as one of the most helpful agents ever met, and – now, don’t let this go to your head! – a human being agent.”

Lisa Mason, Coordinator, Surrey Writers’ Conference

“You were absolutely crackerjack… straightforward, professional, positive, energetic, knowledgeable, honest, bright, encouraging, quick-witted… and I didn’t see a single hole in your presentation. All-in-all, you are a conference organizer’s dream.”

Chris Rodgers, Writers’ Conference Coordinator

“You were one of our most popular speakers… my only regret is that we didn’t find a longer time slot for you.”

Virginia Blanchard, President, Space Coast Writers’ Guild

“Our heartfelt thanks for your twinkling eyes, warming smile, and fabulous talk to the group. Thank you too for all those one-on-ones and for feeling so at home with our family… Your vision, passion, and compassion should take your agenting as far as you dream for it to go.”

Gail Provost Stockwell, Coordinator, WRW Writers’ Conference

Author Coaching and/or Literary Agent Clients – Mark Malatesta Reviews

Reviews of Mark Malatesta from authors he’s worked with either as an author coach or as a literary agent. Mark has helped authors of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books get offers from literary agents and/or traditional book publishers such as Penguin Books, Ballantine, and Harcourt.

Mark helped me get five different offers for representation from top literary agents. I signed with Stephanie Tade who got me a 6-figure book deal with Penguin Books, which published my book in hardcover! When Stephanie first contacted me, she said, “I can’t get your book proposal out of my head. It’s brilliant – I mean, really, it’s fantastic.

A M Y . J O . G O D D A R D

Woman on Fire (Penguin Books)

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).

J I M . B R O W N

24/7 and Black Valley (Random House/Ballantine)

I’d known that I wanted to be an author since I was young, but I’d had a lot of setback in my life. I was starting to think I might be one of those people who have a big dream and never get it. I’ve always, always been grateful.

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

My agent asked to read my manuscript 40 minutes after I queried him, in my first round of queries. Incredible. I’m really excited to be at this stage, the beginning of absolute Nirvana.

D Y L A N . J O N E S

#1 Amazon bestselling author of multiple books with 75K copies each sold of his first two books, one nominated for the Not the Booker prize by The Guardian newspaper

Thank you for your support during the nail-biting experience of getting an agent. Before I worked with you, I sent out many queries but didn’t get offers. I appreciate you pushing me.

N H I . A R O N H E I M

Soles of a Survivor, published by Skyhorse Publishing, distributed by Simon & Schuster. and the publisher of 52 New York Times bestsellers, named by Publishers Weekly as the fastest-growing small publisher in America

My agent got multiple publishers interested, and I just signed a two-book deal with Seventh Street Books, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Life could not be better. Thank you for everything. We have come a long way, my friend.

B R A D . H A R P E R

A Knife in the Fog and Queen’s Gambit, published by Prometheus Books/Seventh Street Books, an imprint of Globe Pequot, the trade division of Rowman & Littlefield

Writers Conference Attendees – Mark Malatesta Reviews

Mark Malatesta reviews from writers conference attendees and participants from the 100+ events where Mark has appeared as a speaker: keynotes, seminars, workshops, panels.

“It’s nice to cross paths with an agent who actually has the time and inclination to chat…not everyone has the patience and energy to smile for three days straight while under constant assault.”


“I enjoyed having lunch with you and your two foster sons on Saturday at the Space Coast Authors Conference in Melbourne. You certainly made a good impression, both personally and professionally.”


“Your presentation affected me the way a sub-par round of golf might affect a 25 handicap golfer; it gave me hope! Thank you for your humor, honesty, and passion; and for conveying to the flocks that courage is at the core of success. I wish you and your partners enormous success.”


“You are truly inspiring! This has been the best session of the conference for me. I don’t know how a session could be any better. You are awesome!”


“I had the pleasure of listening to your talk at the SCWG conference. I was one of those old ladies out there hanging on your every word.”


“I had the pleasure of attending your lecture…was surprised to hear a talk from an agent that presented useful information that was well prepared. Your straightforward approach to the business is refreshing and your honest description of your methodology was sobering, but important to new writers.”


“You are a very gentle human being, in other words, superb, and it’s a great inspiration to know that there is somebody out there in the publishing world that is willing to celebrate the beauty of things, in whatever way there is to celebrate.”


“Thank you for taking the time with me on the phone. I incorporated your suggestions into my letter. I especially want you to know that what you said at the writers’ conference in Gainesville made it possible for me to see myself as a writer. Apparently, when I took myself seriously I was taken seriously by a publisher. I have now stopped calling my book my dumb little dog book.”


“Your presentation was excellent…and thanks for your ‘approachability.’ It’s a ray of encouragement in an otherwise intimidating process.”


“It was truly refreshing to meet you and your warm, gentle wife. You have given me a glimmer of hope that there are agents out there that can be trusted.”


“You have successfully integrated ministry, agenting, and motivational speaking. It was intimate and delightful. This is definitely your calling.”


“You made the other agents on the agent panel seem picky and uncooperative in comparison. You’d better watch out, you might give agents a good name.”


More Author Coaching Clients – Mark Malatesta Reviews

Mark Malatesta reviews from both new and established writers published with prominent publishers including Chronicle Books, Penguin, and McGraw Hill. These reviews of Mark Malatesta are from authors of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books.

Writing and trying to get published is difficult and emotional. Thank you, Mark, for being one of the important people in my life who helped me get here.

D E R I C K . W I L D E R

Author of The Longest Letsgoboy, Does a Bulldozer Have a Butt?, and I Made Those Ants Some Underpants (Chronicle Books, publisher of many award-winning and bestselling books including New York Times bestsellers)

Following the advice of publishing industry experts like Mark is important. He helped me get a top literary agent and now my novel is being published by Penguin Books and their prestigious Michael Joseph imprint, which is “principally interested in publishing Top Ten Bestsellers.” It’s hard not to be excited.

J A N E . J A G O

The Wrong Hand (Penguin/Michael Joseph)

Finding Mark has been both a treat and a treasure. I’ve served as Creative Director of the TIME Incorporated Magazine Group, Founding Director of TIME-Life Films, and more. You just can’t do it alone today as an author.

N A T H A N I E L . L A N D E

Author of a dozen fiction and nonfiction books including Dispatches from the Front (Henry Holt and Oxford University Press), The 10 Best of Everything (National Geographic), and more

There’s a bit of a myth amongst writers that you shouldn’t need any training. You should just be able to write and sell well, off the top of your head. It’s convenient and simpler to think that way, but it’s also shortsighted and inaccurate.

M A R T I N . C O H E N

Author of many books including Philosophy for Dummies, The Doomsday Machine, I Think Therefore I Eat, 101 Philosophy Problems, and 101 Ethical Dilemmas, which has sold 250,000+ copies

Jeff Herman offered me representation! I was wondering if I was just an amateur who needed to forget my belief that my story might be shared in our divisive world. I’m so grateful you held my hand. It’s been an amazing process, and it’s been an honor getting to know you. Thank you and thank you!!

S O O . P E E R

The Essential Diversity Mindset (Red Wheel/Weiser), foreword by Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and senior member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board

Not long after Mark helped me land a top literary agent, I got a call letting me know I had three different publishing offers from well-known publishers: Amacom, Palgrave Macmillan, and McGraw-Hill who recently published my book in hardcover! It was a fantastic feeling and a huge smile came over my face. For a moment I felt like life was perfect and the angels were singing.

D A V I D . H A M M E

Customer Focused Process Innovation (McGraw Hill)

Mark Malatesta Reviews – Website users and newsletter recipients

Mark Malatesta reviews from authors who’ve benefitted from the information and resources on his websites for writers: articles, audio training, literary agent database, etc.

“Hey Mark, you’re a true humanitarian. Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge.”

Dave Anderson (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“First let me say I think the rates for your services are absolutely reasonable. Your knowledge of the business is valuable and the fact that you make this website available is truly remarkable.”

L. Frederick Arndt (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Your mp3 interview was great…I was busy taking notes, hanging on every word spoken. I’m not sure, but I think I have listened to it six times so far.”

Michael Arnholt (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“People always ask me why I won’t self-publish and you’ve gone through all the reasons why. I would rather try my hardest to get an agent and a good publishing contract, rather than throw my stuff out into the world and hope for the best. :)”

Rebecca Besser (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“I want to tell you how much I appreciated your reply to my complex – and perhaps convoluted – question [on your blog] about seeking representation cross-genre. Your words were quite validating and I appreciate your advice to self-publish my narrative non-fiction only as a last resort. It made my day when I read your words. It also put a number of things into focus for me. Thank you for all the free advice you are willing to share with aspiring authors.”

Janet Bettag (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“Thank you for your invaluable tips. It’s nice to read your articles because they are so refreshingly direct and very true. I can recognize some of my warts you described – procrastination, anxiety etc. Thanks for the enlightenment!”

Saw Lian Cheah (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Your interview yesterday was educational and informative – and fun. Thanks for allowing me to learn so many details for publishing that I didn’t know before. Your insight to an author’s reality is well stated and it brought some truths to mind of things that I guess I’m doing while hoping to be recognized as an author. Great food for thought. Thanks for sharing this valuable information.”

Ronnie Dauber (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“[Your tough love article] was good Mark, something we all need to hear. It’s not off putting at all, it’s strangely encouraging, so thank you.”

Debbie Dodgson (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“I know you’re not anyone’s therapist, but you do quite well inspiring writers. You care, and you’re honest…When you have a compliment you mean it. When you have criticism, there’s a good reason. Over the years I have learned to appreciate true honesty. Which is something we all need. You have a great balance. Another reason I took to your business, you’re not some salesman looking for a buck who will sell people any lemon to get ahead. And you’re a writer. So you can understand the other side. You’re a jewel, Mark!”

Dale Eldon (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“Angels on the road like you, helping the flow are always welcomed.”

Sandra Figueroa (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“It’s wonderful to have the encouragement and know that someone out there cares enough to try to bridge the gap between the agent and the writer. All too often agents appear distant and judging. I find your whole set up to be uplifting, encouraging and very informative. Your conference call made me feel like I was part of something bigger, not just a solitary writer trying to grope my way in a dark cavern of unknown. Your credentials are impressive and attest to the fact you know what you’re talking about. Your enthusiasm makes me want to stretch past myself and grab hold of my dream to become a successful author. The articles on the blog are ones that I have found very useful to help me always write with the reader in mind. Thank you for paying it forward!”

Sherry Foley (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“I love everything about Literary Agent Undercover!! The blogs, the Q&A, the interviews, and the dynamic mp3 recordings…there is so much to be learned here. It’s a wealth of knowledge, a GREAT place to go if you’re already an author or an aspiring author. Of course I also love the humor. This is great place to hang out and learn at the same time. Every time I come to this site I learn something new and there’s a place where you can ask Mark questions. Mark is a really nice guy and loves helping ppl out. Oh, and did I mention that he’s funny? Mark, the knowledge that you’re imparting is invaluable. The consultations that you offer are also extremely nice of you since you most certainly wouldn’t have to do any of this for us. Mark, you are a very giving person with much knowledge and I’m happy to be a part of your literary world. Thank you.”

Celeste Gaydos (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Thank you Mark for the opportunity of hearing your mp3 recording about how authors can obtain agent representation. While most of the information was familiar…what I found most illuminating was your 4 paragraph query letter format…I appreciate your time in helping those of us without representation to better understand the publishing landscape. I am relatively new to Literary Agent Undercover. Having listened to one of the MP3 audio seminars, I discovered that coaching can be a valuable asset for relatively new writers seeking to publish and attract an audience for their work. Normally a solitary person, Literary Agent Undercover offers me a resource to tap into when my muses withhold their favors.”

Patricia Gitt (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“What I appreciate about Mark Malatesta is his generosity. He replies to comments on his blogs and always gives solid advice. In fact, you can get a wealth of knowledge without spending a dime. Not many give away their knowledge. He wants to help the writer. And that makes him epic.”

Ara Grigorian (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Thank you so much for sharing this letter [on your blog] Mark. It is filled with an abundance of wisdom and sheds light on the elephant in the room. This is a universal balancing act that we all face when we have a strong desire to share our gifts with the world through our writing or otherwise. This is an important conversation. So again, thank you. Hugs & Love.”

Victoria Lynne Hannu (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“First off, thank you for all the impressive work you have obviously poured into your new website and the Agent Directory. Wow, wow, wow. A short while back I stumbled across one of your blog articles, which then prompted me to sign up and listen to your “7 Insider Secrets” mp3. I found this so helpful…I’ve been browsing through all the articles and information on your site, reworking my query and targeting some agents. Like others, I have found the dreaded Query Letter to be a challenging and frustrating process. I thought what I had crafted was good but it simply wasn’t landing with agents who I’m certain would be interested in this kind of material (based upon their bios). I have slowly polished it to an alluring little gem (I hope)…but it wouldn’t have happened without all your online guidance and generous insights…Aloha.”

L. River Heartsong (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“Words cannot fully express how grateful I am to you for taking the time to talk with me about my book and book proposal at Brendon Burchard’s event. You put my mind at rest about what steps to take (and not to take) to turn my dream and mission of publishing through New York into a reality. After our discussion, I kept thinking, ‘What a genuinely good-hearted, special guy.’ Perusing your website now, I’m practically in tears! It’s so affirming for me to see the gushing testimonials. You’ve obviously absorbed the valuable marketing messages of giving away quality content, but I sense that your excellent business and customer service sense is also a result of something much deeper. Your incredibly positive energy and kindness exude from the site as powerfully as they do in person. Thank you so much for helping me–-and the countless others in need of guidance. You’re a real prince. Thank you for being YOU! Very Best Wishes & Big Hugs.”

Miriam Klughaupt (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“As a librarian, entrepreneur, hopeful writer and aspiring filmmaker/producer, I am amazed at your blog and all the wonderful information here…I’ve already learned a lot! Thank you again, Mark, for sharing your expertise, offering us support and encouragement. You’re awesome!”

Roy Krymis (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“Thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a fun way.”

Sharon A. Lavy (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Due to time constraints I have not been able to spend much time perusing all of the locations and options provided by Mark; however, I do make time to read his ezine/email. I find this information very helpful as it is both grounding and provides examples of realistic expectations. There are all kinds of useful tips and ideas, that make me think. I also appreciate that it really comes down to wanting to write because you want to write, rather than just for the fame. Thus, I give Mark, a man I have never actually met, a great deal of respect and admiration!”

D. Lavalliere (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Thanks Mark – I’ve had a completed book sitting around for about…well…some years now…got me motivated to revisit it and truly give it a go…as you can tell your blog has got me thinking…thank you.”

Maxine Lennon (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Your website is a treasure trove…what a delightful little cove in cyberspace… thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Arnold JS Loh (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“[Your articles are] always interesting and eye opening. Now I understand fully, why you ask the things you do. You know, I’m starting to think that outside of you, most agents aren’t that nice. Thank God you came over to our side. This site is starting to feel like corporate espionage and this is mission impossible, but in a really funny, non-life threatening way. Keep up the great work.”

Wrangel Lubin (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Ah. Mark. Thank you.You are not only refreshing, but practical and psychic to boot. This response from you [to my comment on your blog] is so valuable to me that I’m going to take it away now. And apply it. Will let you know how it goes. Lured in by [the picture of] a [cup of] coffee [in your email] and gifted by the company. Gracias. :)”

Kali Madden (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“Mark, I appreciate [your] articles. They are very informative and helpful, and I know they will be a huge help as I take my writing career to the next level. Your articles make me feel like a part of the writing universe, even when I’m not able to commit to my writing as much as I would like to. I love that you give personal responses to blog questions and comments. You prove us ‘little folk’ are worth more than a form letter! You are definitely a hard worker, and quite ebullient. I love your sense of humor (this coming from the person who snorted coffee while reading one of your articles)! I have the feeling that if we ever met in person, any intimidation I felt would immediately disappear after a few minutes of conversation. You really want to put people at ease and help them improve their chances at success. I hope this inflates your ‘agent ego’ sufficiently! Thanks so much for all your hard work!

Mary Ellen Martin (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“You have inspired me to keep writing and to not give up. You have made it so easy for me with the incredible list of agents you put together [in your online directory]. Now all I have to do is finish my book! Thank you. I just wanted to take a moment to say you have inspired me, encouraged me, and I don’t feel like the world of publishing is quite as scary as I once thought it was since I have you in my corner.”

Diane Meyr (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“Mark, this is the most no-nonsense blog I’ve ever had the pleasure of lurking around. Absolutely stunning. Definitely a one-stop-shop for writers.”

Wendy Morrell (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“I’m a newbie in the writing world…and to this blog, but I am excited to share the knowledge I gained sitting in on a phone conference [recording] between Mark and Jim Brown…it was amazing. I learned tools on the importance of seeking an agent…and the “tips” you need to have in a query letter. I plan on adapting everything I learned. Thank you for sharing and allowing me to be a part of it.”

Robin Murphy (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“I’ve been busy with the last chapter of my book – boy did I sweat – and I’m proud to declare to the world that Mark has helped me to believe in my work. I thank you for that, and this is not so I could win, I think there’s someone who more than deserves it. I’m just glad that in you I’ve found my friend. And I’m sure everybody who has been blessed to know you, feels the same. You’re God’s gift to writers.”

Jamie (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“Hi Mark, I find your information helpful and as I come across something particularly important and/or interesting, I make notes on a series of index cards that I keep near my laptop. That way I have them at easy reach when I want to refer back to your pearls of wisdom. I hope you know how many “young” writers… I am 60, that you provide confidence for in the long run. Take care and God Bless.”

Jan OKane (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Your articles are stimulating and lots of fun. The one that really impacted me most was the one where you listed your many excuses for not writing. So uncomfortably familiar! I sat down that night and started writing, though I didn’t get far. However…today I finally broke through to new territory in myself and got clear about exactly what it is I can commit to completing. It’s material I’m anxious to share and I think it’s a book that will have great sales potential. I had one novel published about 40 years ago. Although I’ve written almost daily since then, I haven’t again committed to doing something for publication until now…Thanks so much for all this wonderful free material. You’ve inspired me to get on with it. I enjoy your columns & really like knowing that you are there to facilitate the whole business of finding an outstandingly good agent. Having this connection with you gives me confidence that, when I’m ready to submit a book proposal, I can work with you to see what the next step is. Many Blessings.”

Deneen Peckinpah (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“Enjoying your blog, Mark. The encouragement and inspiration in your posts is most appreciated by this [lowly/lonely] writer.”

Paige W. Pendleton (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Literary Agent Undercover gives us an opportunity to peek behind the curtain and really see what goes on in the book publishing industry. I appreciate the fact you are willing to share this information, knowing it will help us to make informed choices and decisions as we explore our passion as writers!”

Cheryl Pershey (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Just want to thank you for your help in my issues with [publisher], and in everything I have done to get my books (there are seven, so far) out into the reading public. Your advice has given me renewed confdence that I can be a success.”

R. Clint Peters (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“I’m not easily impressed. I don’t carry any romantic visions in my head regarding a book deal or six-figure advances. I came [to Literary Agent Undercover] with slightly jaded skepticism of a person who has read many many books, written nearly as many reviews and seen many scams. I know the whole shebang of the vanity press and the scammy contests. I used to write a weekly column for writers identifying useful resource sites and often checked things out for more gullible fish sniffing hooks…Writers and photographers always talk about being passionate. I would rather be dispassionate. It makes it easier to tear one’s own work apart and send it through the shredder. So unfortunately, there is no raving, foamy slathering whipped cream with bourbon spilling over dark fudge brownie ice-cream with the proverbial candied cherry on top to hand to the Undercover Agent, Mark Malatesta. However, it was the first time in many many years…that I found myself writing. For the first time in many, many years I responded and wrote easily with words falling off my fingers like raindrops. The dialogue was interesting. It surprised me. I enjoyed it and it was nice to feel as if I had met someone with whom I could match words and wits.”

pogo (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

You’ve probably heard this a million and one times, but this seems too good to be true. I just wet my pants reading what you can do. I am finishing a book now that WILL sell (I imagine you’ve heard that a million and two times)…Man, if you can help me, I will blanket you with wishes of virgins bathing in aromatic oils and clean your feet with water from the Rocky Mountains.”

Patrick Querney (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Every morning, after coffee, i cruise the incoming mail looking forward to hearing what you have to say. you’re the only guy out there who is pleasant, personable and enjoyable to read. your xmas video was very funny…You are far and away the most reachable agent type i have yet to meet. Aloha.”

john g rees (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“I always tell my friends that you are so talented and really gifted. I also told them about your baby face, I mean you are so cute…lightening every day, and lovely.”

Ogwang Tom Richard (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“I really enjoy the Comments/Replies on your blog. I have to say that as of right now, that’s my favorite. I love being able to communicate with you and other writers. I appreciate the fact that you personally reply. Although you are not my personal literary agent, being a part of this community is almost as good in terms of the coaching and information that you provide. It has much worth. I have learned a lot just reading the articles. Making yourself available to consult with any writer for an hour is great. It shows that you are very interested in those of us who are new to this industry or are trying to be a part of it. It certainly doesn’t hurt that you have a sense of humor and oh yeah, a “sparkling personality”…even within your blog articles. It makes them interesting and personable, not boring. I feel like you are truly coaching me personally. Thanks for making this community available. Please keep it going.”

Sabrena Robinson (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“GREAT article Mark…I’m hooked…Courageous and from the heart. I’m not scared of hard work or the truth as long as there is commitment…It seems you are not only a great undercover agent but a great writer…an enticing writer too. Looking forward to more articles. Your information has given me another perspective regarding my approach to writing. With the vision of ‘high-concept’ I can see that perhaps my message has been a little uninspiring and I feel motivated to re-frame it. Thank you so much for your time, expertise, commitment, and motivation…you are making a difference.”

Karen Scott-Boyd (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Mark…you have a talent and are generous with your knowledge of the writing world. You are extremely supportive of others and I enjoy reading your articles. Oh, I can do better than this, let me put it another way…Glynis Smy Woos The Literary Agent Undercover:

♥ Loves
♥ Inspiring
♥ The
♥ Eternal
♥ Romantic..Me!
♥ Always
♥ Right…
♥ You!
♥ Affable,
♥ Generous,
♥ No Nonsense Guy,
♥ Extremely,
♥ Talented…You!
♥ Undeniable,
♥ No
♥ Denying,
♥ Extremely
♥ Romantic
♥ Chocolate
♥ Offer
♥ Validates…
♥ Excremental
♥ Riting from…Me!”

Glynis Smy (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“I paid for a one-hour coaching session with Mark Malatesta. It was worth it. He also answers questions (no cost) at Mark has a lot of free info on his websites too. During what he calls an introductory coaching call, he focuses on your query letter and your synopsis, among other things. He gave me good feedback and I am making changes. Mark made it a point not to push any further services on me, but if you want, for a price he will hold your hand at every step of trying to get you an agent to include writing or rewriting your query letter, etc.”

Mike Slavin (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Mark, you certainly have an in-depth knowledge of how writers think! I enjoy your sense of humor and appreciate your advice! [After reading your article], I now understand why agents need to make quick decisions about queries. Your guidelines for a good, effective query letter are invaluable!”

Frank Swift (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Your emails are invaluable to aspiring writers like me. What would we do without you? It is nice to know that I have a place to turn with my questions about writing / publishing. I cannot wait to complete my manuscript and use some of your many ideas for getting published (my dream come true!)”

Lori Sysel (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“I just read your article, it’s very early in the morning and I thought I would drop you a line…putting my trust into someone is huge and really big for me. I like the way you respond to emails and comments on your blog, always here for people…quick and kind, and you always deliver a smile (the song Sunshine and Lollipops comes to mind). You LIKE authors. You’re kinda funny… okay, you are funny (anyone who loves humor can see that). Your newsletters are interesting, subjects full of what new authors need to hear. You care and you share! These are some of the things that keep me interested to opening up my inbox and reading your content. Mark, you are pretty fantastic. Have a wonderful day!”

Charlotte Tersigni (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“You have given the perfect, logical and simple recipe for a synopsis. I am sure there are many, many writers out there who appreciate this post.”

Amos van der Merwe (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Your website dazzles me. Your knowledge is legendary, your humor never ending. All in all I would have to say you are the one man I would love to talk to about my books. I toast you as the man of the year. You Rock man…you really ROCK!”

Sally Vickers (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“Son of a gunslinger! After listening to your (rather extraordinarily well done) MP3 audio, I cannot believe how it’s changed everything around for me. I revised my query letter by accentuating key components mentioned in that audio. Over the weekend, I revised my query… and on Sunday night I sent it out to one agent. ONE. Not just any one. A TOP literary agent, (and I won’t name names’, but this person is HUGE.) And Monday morning, at the crack of dawn, this person replied to my email and asked to READ MY MANUSCRIPT! Mark, you bless others. You give. You are a blessing from Heaven, a God-send and I am extraordinarily grateful. You are one of a kind. Thank you.”

K.W. (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“Thanks for posting this [article on first-time authors whose books became bestsellers] – I am always looking for first novel wins – they keep me going. Telling someone you are writing a novel invariably gets you the look – the one with the secret chuckle behind it. I recently read that Tolkien was in a critique group that he loved, which included C.S. Lewis. Tolkien loved the group, never missing a meeting and smoking his pipe faithfully and cheerfully through the years, as the group made suggestions on how he could improve The Hobbit. He apparently never took a single suggestion to heart, never made any of the changes they advised, but he certainly did enjoy hanging out with them. Not exactly a first novel story, but it makes the same point – ignore the naysayers and do it! You might be creating a wonderful gift for the world.”

Marilyn Walker (Mark Malatesta Reviews)

“I enjoyed your [teleseminar on how to get an agent] very much. I felt that it was absolutely full of information that will help me…I’m so happy that I listened in!”

Bethany Wilson (Reviews of Mark Malatesta)

“You certainly have a treasure trove of important info for writers, and you are dynamic in getting through to people.”

Clark Zlotchew (Mark Malatesta Reviews)


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