Ask a Literary Agent – Submit Your Question About Book Agents

Ask a Literary AgentAsk a literary agent your question here (any question) about getting a literary agency to represent you, so you can get a traditional publisher and book deal. Scroll below to get started. Just make sure you also check out our home page to see all the other info available on this Literary Agents website.

* * *

Submit Your Question Below

What question would you ask a literary agent
if you had one all tied up?

Well, this is your opportunity because…

Ask a Literary Agent a Question About Anything

I’m a former book agent.

There’s a form below where you can submit your question.

And I actually want you to ask a literary agent
(this literary agent) your question.

You see…

I like it when authors ask me questions.

It makes me feel smart.

I like talking about publishing.

Ask a Literary Agent Your Question

And I like…

Helping other authors.

In fact, I like it so much that I didn’t get upset when one author
decided he would ask a literary agent (guess who) a question
in the men’s room at a writer’s conference.

Not while I was washing or drying my hands.

No…

I was literally…
using the restroom.

Ask a literary agent in the restroom

* * *

Ask a Literary Agent a Question
(but not in the bathroom)

It might sound crazy, the fact that I didn’t get upset,
but think of it this way…

How do you feel when someone asks you a question
about something you’re passionate about?

Like (maybe), your writing?

I get excited.

So, don’t hesitate to…

* * *

Ask a Literary Agent (Me) a Question
(the one that’s keeping you awake at night)

Question, ask a literary agent

No question is too big or too small.

And no question is silly.

Really.

I’d be honored to help you.

I went undercover as a literary agent for five years
just to find out how get my own books published.

Now I’m having a blast sharing my secrets…
because I know what it’s like out there.

Oh…

* * *

One More Reason to Submit Your Question

Ask a Literary Agent Your Question

* * *

Each time you ask a literary agent a question (or leave a comment) using the form below (or anywhere else on this website), you’ll have a chance to win a $20 Gift Card from Amazon.

Every week I select a winner (from those who left a question or comment the previous week). You can leave as many questions or comments as you want (that will simply increase your chances of winning), but you only need to comment or ask a question once to be eligible.

Winners are chosen randomly, so flattery will get you everywhere (I mean nowhere). In other words, you can win more than once (multiple weeks) if you consistently ask questions or leave comments. Just make sure your questions and/or comments are thoughtful, and not just obvious attempts to win more gift cards!

* * *

Why Am I Giving Away Gift Cards?

Two reasons:

1) I’m a nice guy

2) I want my online community to be an interactive place so I can be of better service to you. The only way I can do that is to get you engaged (in other words… telling me what you like, don’t like, want, and need).

So, don’t forget to scroll down and ask a literary agent a question below (or simply leave a comment).

Not sure what to say?

Ask me anything about literary agencies, publishing, or writing. Tell me (and everyone else) why you like this column or blog. Or, simply reply to someone else’s question or comment.

That’s it.

I look forward to seeing your thoughts below,

Mark Malatesta

Your “Undercover” Agent

P.S. – Your question/comment will be posted and responded to on my blog ASAP!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 available characters remaining

1,881 comments

  1. Peter Taylor /

    Many thanks for all your helpful advice, Mark–I hope I haven’t missed the answer to this one when reading your websites:

    I appreciate the time an agent spends reading a work and writing a personal and friendly rejection (particularly if it’s speedy).

    It seems rude not to send a brief ‘thank you’–but I realise that the number of emails in their inbox is probably huge and daunting, and I don’t want to burden them unnecessarily. Should I send thanks? A Tweet? Do agents expect or value thanks?

  2. dawn /

    Hi Mark, I’ve had an agent request the first few chapters of my novel and a brief bio. As I have no previously published work and no formal training on writing I’m assuming this is a glimpse of who I am personally.
    I can can talk about my dogs for days but, I’m really not one to toot my own horn. There is absolutely no emotion in this letter. I’m ready to say sorry, I’m just me. Any suggestions? Thank you again.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Dawn, I’m happy to help but a bit unclear as to what you’re asking… tell me a little more and I’ll try to help.

      Also…

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

      If you want help with anything else, you can post questions for me online here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/. And you can register for an introductory coaching call with me here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/coaching/intro-call/. Either way, I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your work.

      Have a great night!

      – Mark

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

  3. Gina /

    Hi Mark,
    A nice agent whom I first queried a year and a half ago recently said she’d slip my novel to a couple of editors on a casual basis (she’s too busy to sign me officially but thinks I deserve a chance.) I’m super grateful of course but I don’t want to pin all of my hopes on her. When I query other agents, am I obligated to mention her to them? Would doing so make me seem more or less attractive? Also how long should I wait before I bug her for updates?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Gina, that’s a tricky situation and I’ve helped people with that before. You would have to disclose that information to future agents if the agent doesn’t sell your book… and it would make you and your book less attractive. Pros and cons to doing it and not doing it… obviously. And since the agent would be sending things out to editors… technically… as your agent… it could take many months for you to find out whether your book is going to sell… and you can move on. You should consider scheduling a call with me to talk about it. Learn more here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/coaching/intro-call/. You can also, as you know, post more questions for me online, but for me to help you more with this particular situation, which is a bit more complicated, you would need to set up a call. For anything else, you can post questions here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/.

      Either way, let me know how it goes with the above.

      And congratulations on getting to that point!

      Oh, almost forgot, also… take a look at this article: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/literary-agent-turnaround-times/.

      That might come in handy as well.

      Have a great day, and week,

      – Mark

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

  4. Dawn /

    Hi Mark, Another silly question. I’ve read that for a first time author the manuscript should be no more than approximately 100-120K words. I’m currently around 88K words knowing I can extend some parts without it coming across as page filler. My biggest concern is that my test readers say it is a solid story, easy but “captivating” and keeps your attention at the current 252 pages double spaced. Is there a standard for one with no previous experience? Thanks!

  5. Sheryl /

    Hi Mark,

    Another Query question, Regarding the third paragraph. What makes you a credible author? What if you have written a book with no relevant experience, formal education in literature or any credentials or awards etc. By your suggested standards in your Query Template, I have no credibility as an author. How do you suggest getting around that? Is it appropriate to simply mention how I came up with the story or about how I decided to write the book?

  6. With the success of Welcome to Night Vale and WTF and their subsequent novelizations, is it possible to use a podcast to leverage your novel with an agent or publisher? Does anyone care if you have a large audience if that audience is via free podcast?

  7. Sheryl /

    Hi Mark,

    I have another Query letter question for you. I know it should be four paragraphs and what each should contain, thanks to you. I know it should be double spaced and only one page. My question is word count. How much is too much for a Query letter?

    Thanks
    -Sheryl

  8. Dawn /

    I have a question about formatting the chapters/table of content when two main characters are following the same timeline but telling their own side of the story.
    Is it better to have Part 1 (header 1), John (header 2), Ch 1, Ch 2 etc then pass on to Charles (header 2) Ch 1, Ch 2 etc or should each chapter have a specific name?
    Thanks!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Dawn, no right or wrong when it comes to that… as long as it’s clear your shifting POV. 🙂

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

      If you want help with anything else, you can post questions for me online here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/. And you can register for an introductory coaching call with me here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/coaching/intro-call/. Either way, I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your work.

      Have a great day, and week!

      – Mark

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

  9. Kelly /

    I just completed my book 186400 words and I’m about to start going over it again and again. It is in the science fiction fantasy genre, once I’m pleased with it what are some of the possible next steps. I’m new at this so advice would be outstanding!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Kelly,

      I’m happy to help if possible… but I want to make sure you know that I’m a former literary agent turned author coach. Now I help authors get top literary agents, publishers, and book deals.

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

      If you want help with anything else, you can post questions for me online here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/. And you can register for an introductory coaching call with me here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/coaching/intro-call/.

      Either way, I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your work.

      Have a great day, and weekend!

      – Mark

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

  10. Vanessa Roberts /

    My name is Vanessa Roberts, and I just finished writing my first book. However, I’m trying to decide what name I should publish my book/poetry/short stories under. There is already an author with the name Vanessa Roberts, and the domain name vanessaroberts.com is taken, along with the twitter and Facebook handles. Should I publish using my middle initial or a nickname like Essa? I can’t publish with the name Nessa Roberts because it is too similar to the name Nora Roberts.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Vanessa, either way is fine… and Nessa Roberts might be fine as well.

      Also…

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

      If you want help with anything else, you can post questions for me online here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/. And you can register for an introductory coaching call with me here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/coaching/intro-call/.

      Either way, I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your work.

      Have a great day, and weekend!

      – Mark

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

  11. Andrew /

    Right this is all alien to me. I’m a writer who’s just finished writing my novel and am at the editorial stage. The info I’ve amassed so far is to find the agent that best fits you by looking at their likes and dislikes but dear God it’s not that easy so my question is this. What’s the best way to simplify your search by genre or by personal information provided. I’m currently looking for paranormal fiction agents. Twitter is useless in the sense that the literary agents have vague bios.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Andrew,

      When you sign up at any one of my sites, you should always end up afterward on a welcome page. That page has a link to the directory, along with other things, all in one place so it’s easy to get to things. Have you ever seen that page?

      You can easily find the best agents for you by using my Directory of Literary Agents that you can access here (no charge): http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents/.

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

      If you want help with anything else, you can post questions for me online here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/ask/. You can also (if you haven’t done so already) get access (no cost) to all the valuable resources in our private, members-only area here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/membership/. And you can register for an introductory coaching call with me here: http://thebestsellingauthor.com/coaching/intro-call/.

      Either way, I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your work.

      Have a great day, and weekend!

      – Mark

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

  12. Connie Allen /

    I don’t understand the entire roll of a literary agent vs. a publishing company. Can you please explain? Thank you for your time.

  13. Sheryl /

    Hi Mark,

    I have a 2 part font question. What fonts are acceptable for query letters, synopsis’s and manuscripts?

    My program defaults to Calibri(body) is this acceptable or is it better to use Times New Roman or is something else preferred?

    Second question is font size 11 or 12 preferred? I ask because again my program defaults to 11.

    Thanks.