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The Bestselling Author


Literary agent in brown suit at Get a Literary Agent and The Bestselling Author hosted by Mark Malatesta

The Bestselling Author is an author coaching and consulting company for authors of all book genres. The founder, Former Literary Agent Mark Malatesta, has helped hundreds of authors get representation offers from literary agents. Mark is also the founder of Literary Agent Undercover and the creator of this guide about how to get a literary agent.


The Bestselling Author was established in 2011 to help authors get literary agents and book deals with traditional publishers–writers of all book genres and at all stages of development. The founder of The Bestselling Author is a former literary agent, former literary agency owner, former AAR member, and former Marketing & Licensing Manager for a well-known publisher.

Successful Authors

Image of black griffin as The Bestselling Author logo at Get a Literary AgentThe Bestselling Author has helped more than 300 authors get offers from literary agents and/or traditional publishers. Our writers have gotten six-figure book deals; been on the New York Times bestseller list; had their books published by major book publishers; and had their books adapted for TV, stage, and feature film.

Our successful writers include Nelson Johnson, author of Boardwalk Empire, which Martin Scorsese produced for HBO; Leslie Lehr, author of A Boob’s Life: How America’s Obsession Shaped Me―and You, which is currently being adapted for an HBO Max TV series by Salma Hayek; and Scott LeRette, author of The Unbreakable Boy, which was published by Thomas Nelson and has been adapted for a Lionsgate feature film starring Patricia Heaton, Zachary Levi, and Amy Acker.

Fiction Authors

Fiction authors or novelists The Bestselling Author has helped to get offers from book agents and/or traditional publishers include Ron Cutler, author of ten novels (some using a pseudonym) with Doubleday, Dell, Berkley, Dial, Avon, Fawcett, Jove, Pinnacle/Kensington, and Signet/NAL; Dayna Dunbar, The Wings That Fly Us Home and The Saints and Sinners of Okay County (Ballantine); Sandy Gingras, Paradise Girls (St. Martin’s Press); Brad Harper, A Knife in the Fog and Queen’s Gambit (Prometheus Books/Seventh Street Books); Jane Jago, The Wrong Hand (Penguin/Michael Joseph); Dylan Jones, #1 Amazon bestselling author of multiple books with 75K copies each sold of his first two books; Nathaniel Lande, author of a dozen fiction and nonfiction books including Cricket (New American Library), The Life and Times of Homer Sincere (Peter Mayer/Overlook Press), and While the Music Played (Blackstone Publishing); Alex Lasker, 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; and Karen Sargent, author of the Christian novel Waiting for Butterflies (Amphorae/Walrus Publishing), IAN Outstanding Christian Fiction and Book of the Year winner.

Nonfiction Authors

Nonfiction authors The Bestselling Author has helped to get offers from book agents and/or traditional publishers include Nhi Aronheim, author of the memoir 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; Melissa Bond, author of the memoir Blood Orange Night (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books); Daniel Cohen, author of the narrative nonfiction book Single Handed (Penguin Random House/Berkley Books); Martin Cohen, author of Philosophy for Dummies, The Doomsday Machine, I Think Therefore I Eat, 101 Philosophy Problems, and 101 Ethical Dilemmas, which has sold 250,000+ copies; Silvia Foti, author of the memoir The Nazi’s Granddaughter, published by Regnery Publishing, with more than 50 books on the New York Times bestseller list, including numerous books at #1; Amy Jo Goddard, author of the self-help book Woman on Fire (Penguin Books); David Hamme, author of the business book Customer Focused Process Innovation (McGraw Hill); Soo Peer, author of The Essential Diversity Mindset (Red Wheel/Weiser); and Lakshmi Subramani, author of the memoir Lights Out (Random House).

Children’s Book Authors

Children’s book authors The Bestselling Author has helped to get offers from book agents and/or traditional publishers include Jeri-Anne Agee, author of the chapter book series 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; Kenneth Bogh Anderson, an award-winning YA/MG author with approximately 500,000 copies sold, including The Devil’s Apprentice; Damone Bester, author of the YA novel Mendel, published by The Story Plant, a traditional publisher dedicated to quality fiction, founded by long-term industry professionals Lou Aronica and Peter Miller; Libby Kiszner, author of Dear Libby: An Advice Columnist Answers the Top Questions About Friendship, published by Familius, a traditional publisher with many bestselling authors; Catherine Matthias, author of The Word Gobblers (Square One), and seven other children’s books produced by Scholastic/Children’s Press; Laura Moe, author of the YA novel Breakfast with Neruda (Adams Media/F+W/Merit Press); Miri Leshem-Pelly, author/illustrator of the picture books Penny and the Plain Piece of Paper (Penguin Books/Philomel) and Scribble & Author (Kane Miller); Derick Wilder, picture book author of Author of The Longest Letsgoboy, Does a Bulldozer Have a Butt?, and I Made Those Ants Some Underpants (Chronicle Books).

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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.

The Bestselling Author Reviews

These reviews about The Bestselling Author are from authors of all  genres. Fiction, nonfiction, and children’s book writers describe their experience. 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.

I just got an offer from Regnery Publishing! My agent has been great. I’m grateful for your advice, energy, talent, and kindness guiding me through this crazy maze. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

S I L V I A . F O T I

The Nazi’s Granddaughter, published by Regnery Publishing, with more than 50 books on the New York Times bestseller list, including numerous books at #1

Berkley Books recently published my book in hardcover after Mark helped me get multiple agents interested in my work. I was able to speak with literary agents from top agencies such as Janklow & Nesbit, Trident Media, Anderson Lit, and Folio. Having Mark on your side is incredibly valuable.

D A N I E L . C O H E N

Single Handed (Penguin Random House/Berkley Books)

Woot!!! I’m so excited I could cry. I spent about three years sending out queries before I found you. Anyone who has the great fortune to work with you should consider themselves lucky. You were my compass. You didn’t walk for me, but you showed me how to get there. You’re an angel, thank you.

M E L I S S A . B O N D

Blood Orange Night (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books)

You’re a good teacher who’s smart and experienced, but you’re also generous and your heart is big. You launch people and their dreams, and you teach them how to fly. I’m happy to be one of your winged clients.

S A N D Y . G I N G R A S

Author of the novel Paradise Girls (St. Martin’s Press) and many gift books (more than 1,000,000 books sold) by publishers such as Andrews McMeel

I got the number one agent on my wish list thanks to Mark. Within 4 minutes of sending out my revised query letter, my literary agent called me on the phone. Less than 30 days later I had three major publishers making offers. And, a few days after that, I signed a deal with Random House. Mark’s query letter did that.

L A K S H M I . S U B R A M A N I

Lights Out (Random House)

Before I revised my query letter with Mark, I got no responses. When I sent out my new query, I got four requests for more material within 24 hours. The support Mark provides is fantastic. Mark is smart and reliable and working with him has made all the difference.

D A Y N A . D U N B A R

The Saints and Sinners of Okay County and The Wings That Fly Us Home (Ballantine)

What Is a Bestselling Author?

The Bestselling Author is a coaching and consulting company devoted to helping authors have the best chance of becoming a legitimate bestselling author. In other words, having their book appear or rank on a well-respected bestseller list such as the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, etc.

Benefits of Becoming a Bestselling Author

Authors whose books are published by major publishers have many benefits, as do those who become bestselling authors.

Benefits can include:

  • Credibility: Readers and the general public notice if a book has been self-published or traditionally published, and they have more respect and trust for authors of books published by the most prestigious publishers. Bestselling authors enjoy the most credibility.
  • Distribution: Major publishers distribute books in local, regional, and national chain bookstores as well as via online retailers, independent book retailers, and alternative outlets such as warehouse clubs like Costco, supermarkets, universities, department stores, gift stores, and newsstands. Bestselling books get the most distribution.
  • Promotion: The largest publishers spend the most money on marketing and publicity for their books. Bestselling books get even bigger promotion budget, to keep the sales momentum.
  • Readers: Increased credibility, distribution, and promotion lead to having the greatest possible number of readers.
  • Impact: Reaching the greatest number of readers means having the biggest impact with your writing, if your writing is meaningful. If your writing is pure entertainment, that’s okay too.
  • Money: Getting published by a major publisher means getting paid to publish instead of paying to publish. It also means making more money, especially if your book becomes a bestseller. See our article, How Much Do Authors Make?
  • Profile/Platform: Having a bestselling book enhances your profile or platform and leads to you become more well-known. You can live a private life as a bestselling author, or you can use your bestselling status to generate additional exposure or money-making opportunities such as writing articles or scheduling speaking engagements.
  • Subsidiary Rights: Bestselling authors are more likely to have their books adapted for TV, stage, or feature film; have their work licensed for English-language edition sales in other countries; and have their work translated into different languages for foreign sales.
  • More Books: If you become a bestselling author, it’s easier to get a major publisher to publish more of your books, allowing you to spend more time writing.

How to Become a Bestselling Author

The Bestselling Author is devoted to helping authors of all book genres be the bestselling authors they can be. Every author can’t appear on one of the most prestigious bestseller lists such as the New York Times, USA Today, or Wall Street Journal. And every author can’t get a literary agent and a major publisher. However, every author can apply strategies to increase their odds of getting a literary agent, major publisher, and spot on a legitimate bestseller list. In that sense, becoming a bestselling author isn’t luck. It’s a decision.

How I Got My Book Agent

Successful Authors

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 was very excited and said, "I can’t get your book proposal out of my head. It’s brilliant - I mean, really, it's fantastic. Editors should be salivating by the time they get to the chapter outline." Working with Mark was completely worth it.

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

Woman on Fire (Penguin Books)

AJG book cover for WOF with black background and red silk, posted by Get a Literary Agent Guide


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