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.

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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.


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…

Get a Top Literary Agent

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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.


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.


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One More Reason to Submit Your Question

Ask a Literary Agent Your Question

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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!

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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!

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Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

 available characters remaining


  1. Weronika Janczuk /

    Dear Mark,

    As I am no longer working in publishing, I am trying to sort of “clean up” my online profile as a former literary agent–and I was wondering if you would be willing to remove your profile of me from the site? I would be very grateful.

    Please & thank you. Let me know your thoughts!

    My best,

  2. I know that Lucan Arts only published commissioned works. Has this changed since Disney bought them? I have a Star Wars story I want to tell and don’t want to waste my time on something I will never get paid for…ie, fan fiction.

  3. Sheeraz Khan /

    Hi, I am one of the few sci-fi authors from India. ‘few’ because the genre is underrated here and my book got published last month. Can you please help me with submission guide lines for helping me through one of your agents for film adoption. (Yeah only if you like and get interested with my work) am not envious but I just want my work to get in right hands. The concept of the book is dimensionless as per reviewers here and I hope you guys are friendly and give my work a chance.
    Thank You

  4. Yancy Caruthers /

    I spent seven years writing the true story of my deployment to Iraq, but couldn’t get an agent to even look at it. I self-published and have sold hundreds of copies, but I’d really love to sell thousands! It’s well-reviewed and I think it’s pretty solid, but I’m not getting the distribution I need. Is there any chance that a traditional publisher would pick it up and run with it, now that it’s been out in print?

  5. Shirelon Paterson /

    I am happy to say that my manuscript was just submitted a couple of days ago. My question is…how long should I wait to receive a result?

  6. In 2015 i have released a self published book,(in most outlets) art (in Starbucks) and a documentary that made it to the AFI Theater and put my name up on the marque. My next book is in the works regarding one of Americas most successful and controversial company, who has been in business over 60 years. I have a high profile website but first wish to contact someone about this privately. I need a good agent to move forward. Can you recommend where I can start?

  7. Curious /

    Do you have names…examples…of authors who have used your services and landed agents who got them book deals? Or authors who have actually profited from the investment?

  8. Catherine /

    Yrs ago I completed a historical romance novel under the tutelage of an editor affiliated with the UCLA adjunct program. Final chapter left a Segway for a f/u novel. It was sent to the Wm. Morris agency and I received a contract to sign before they would proceed. I never signed as life got in the way. Child raised, subsequent marriage, dabbling in other areas and now I want to continue. Also have found new arena of thought re prevailing times. What to do? Send out the old and work on the new?

  9. Josef Bastian /

    This is a big question from a small regional independent publisher:

    Folkteller Publishing ( is a small imprint out of Detroit, Michigan with proven success in our first book series. Now, we currently have the rights to a powerful YA/Middle Grade fantasy property that establishes a broad content platform for transmedia delivery and expansion (books, graphic novels, digital media, film, gaming, TV, merchandising, etc…).

    So, how do we find a national agent and partner?

  10. What bugs me the most are two things:

    (1) Don’t Literary Agents realize that without new authors they would cease to have a job. It would seem that way.

    (2) It seems that the standard reply is “NOT WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR NOW.”

    The Literary Agents don’t really know what they are looking for, it would seem.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Mike, it’s simple math and nothing personal. There are simply a lot more authors trying to find agents than there are agents trying to find authors. So it’s extremely competitive and agents don’t have time to respond personally to most submissions. But if your pitch and project are solid, you will eventually get some people reading and get feedback. But you have to stay in the game for that to happen. So keep getting educated and keep going. Mark

  11. crystal white /

    I am very new to this and I have a few questions.
    First of all I am curious about what kind of fees are normal for a first timer? Second I am so confused about how a this all really works. You say send out query’s, and I understand to send out many, but what exactly do they consist of? Do you send copies of your book with it? I would appreciate any help you can offer
    Thank You
    Crystal White

  12. Richard Goodyear /

    I’ve been told by an acquaintance who’s a literary agent that agents don’t represent translations. Is this generally true? Are there any/more than a few exceptions? Any suggestions as to how to find them?

  13. I self published my book; I was a former PR man many years ago and felt I could promote it. Given the computer, everything I knew has changed.
    It is an allegory. Ed Decker, of Saints Alive said it’s like a combination of J.R.R. Tolkein and Frank Perreti.
    I am 78, have some minor disabilities which limit me somewhat. I have been told I should get it to movie makers. I am looking for someone to possibly refine it and reprint it.
    Any suggestions?

  14. Fran Stekoll /

    I’m 80 years young and my daughter is 57. We live
    together. We both have written books and are anxious to share with you.
    I have met with my famous author neighbor Eve Bunting. She has critiqued our books and suggested we contact a literary agent.
    I went on line and was impressed with your site. After listening to what you shared I signed up for a consultation with you.
    Please contact me to complete this process.
    If possible, I would like to share my website before our conversation.
    Thank You

    • Mark Malatesta

      Thank you Fran, and I’m looking forward to our upcoming call. I know you figured it out by now, but the moment someone signs up for an introductory coaching call with me, they get an email with a link that has the information they need. Have a great day and talk soon. Mark

  15. Peter Scatchard /

    Hi there,

    I have read on a few websites that literary agents will not consider work that has already been sent out (and rejected or still to be read) by publishers, and/or it has already been rejected by publishers they might have sent the work to. I was hoping to send my books to publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts, and to agents too – just to increase my chances. Is this a bad idea?



    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Peter, every situation is different when it comes to getting literary agents and/or publishers to read something that’s already had some exposure. Sometimes you can get around it, sometimes not. I’d need to talk to you and learn more. Regarding your other question, if possible you’ll be better off submitting to agents unless/until you’ve exhausted all possible options. Then it makes sense to directly approach those publishers that will allow you to do so. By the way, if you haven’t already done so, I suggest you become a member of my online community now here (it’s fr*ee): Make sure you also listen to the FIRST audio training recording in my online audio library (once you’re in the members only area, look for the link the says “Audio Training Library”). You can also post more questions for me online here: And, if/when you’re able, you can register for an introductory coaching call with me here: Have a great day, and if you’re on Twitter, join me here: I set up an account several years ago but now I’m starting to use it. Mark 😉

  16. Kitty /

    I went to this site specifically for listings of agents who work in the mind/body/spirit genre. I’ve now surfed 50+ sites & gave up. Do you list by this category? Thanks.


    Will a picture book agent accept an unillustrated manuscript?

  18. Anna B. /

    Mr Malatesta,

    I am a photographer and I wrote a book about depression with corresponding images of the interviewed people. I want to publish my book but everything I find online says that I should send in a few pages of my book to agents to see if anyone is interested in it. The problem that I am running into is that my book does not have the standard literary content of chapters. I have small quotes that go along with the images. I don’t know how to go about showing my work. Please help.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Anna, I’ve been in this situation before with my coaching clients. Best thing might be to only send out a query. Then, if/when someone expresses interest and asks for the book or a partial, you can reply and explain the situation and ask if it’s okay to send a pdf attachment so the formatting doesn’t get lost. Also, if you haven’t already done so, I suggest you become a member of my online community now here (it’s fr*ee): Then make sure you also listen to the FIRST audio training recording in my online audio library (once you’re in the members only area, look for the link the says “Audio Training Library”). You can also post more questions for me online here: And, if/when you’re able, register for an introductory coaching call with me here: I’ll help in any way that I can. Mark

  19. Roxy Orcutt /

    Hi Mark,

    I had my first book published by a small, independent publisher here in MN last fall and had great success accessing Barnes and Nobles along with other bookstores in the area for signings, events and to just generally carry my book. I’ve also had pretty modest sales on Amazon, downloads, etc. My second book is due to come out with the same publisher next year, but I am hoping to reach with an agent soon. Any advise? I’m not sure how to make that transition, from small to agent.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Roxy, congratulations on getting the first book out there… and working it… and now being ready to take the next step. What you should do next will depend on your publisher, the type of arrangement and relationship you have. Some publishers will release you without any strings if you want to move on, while others make it harder. As a next step, if you haven’t already done so, I suggest you become a member of my online community now here (it’s fr*ee): Then make sure you also listen to the FIRST audio training recording in my online audio library (once you’re in the members only area, look for the link the says “Audio Training Library”). You can also post more questions for me online here: And, if/when you’re able, register for an introductory coaching call with me here: I’ll help in any way that I can. Mark

  20. Joe H /

    Hi Mark. My self-published novel has reached over 110,000 Kindle downloads so far this year, so I would like to explore approaching a traditional publisher to achieve broader distribution. How does one find agents who are open to taking on this type of project? Under these circumstances, do you recommend going through the normal query process to get their attention or is there a better way?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Joe, nice. Many/most agents will be open to helping you place a self-published book with a traditional publisher if you handle it right. In your case, because you’ve had great success, you’ll have an easier time. However, some agents will wonder if you’ve already saturated the market with that many downloads (you can’t please everyone). How to you go about it? Pitching agents, same as everyone else. However, before you do that, I highly recommend you do the following if you haven’t done so already. Become a member of my online community now here (it’s fr*ee): Then make sure you also listen to the FIRST audio training recording in my online audio library (once you’re in the members only area, look for the link the says “Audio Training Library”). You can also post more questions for me online here: And, if/when you’re able, register for an introductory coaching call with me here: All my best to you and have a wonderful weekend. Mark

  21. Hi, Mark:
    Sharmus here… I apologize for the brief delay in responding back to you. I kind of got lost in my writings while digging in my archives of broken manuscripts that I’ve written while I were incarcerated. However, the answer to your question? Your websites seems to working and doing good on my end. I have no problems visiting your online services or various websites. Thus, your audio recordings have been very helpful! Still! Trust me, I’m all ears… Thanks. Talk with you soon…

    • Mark Malatesta

      Thank you Sharmus, glad to hear it. Based on your response, and everyone else’s, I don’t think there’s a problem… except that many people don’t carefully read instructions when doing things. A sign of the times. 😉 Good hearing from you and have a great weekend. Mark

  22. Mike B /

    I’m trying to format my manuscript for submission, but this is not a typical story with chapters, so I’m encountering problems relating to uncertainty with how to format. My entire story is a series of short email messages. There are emojis and lols throughout. (Sort of like the internet girls book series). How would you recommend formatting this?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Mike, it’s tricky… but not impossible. In fact, I’m working with a young woman now who has something similar in the works. The challenge is, as you know, that your formatting will get messed up when cutting and pasting sample pages into the body of emails for agents that require that. So your best bet might be contacting agents initially with a query only, and explaining at the end that you have sample pages and/or the mss. available for review as a .pdf to maintain the formatting etc. If you want to talk more about it, register for an introductory coaching call with me here: Also, if you haven’t already done so, I suggest you become a member of my online community now here (it’s fr*ee): Then listen to the FIRST audio training recording in my online audio library (once you’re in the members only area, look for the link the says “Audio Training Library”). Mark

  23. Joseph /

    I’m seventy years old. Years ago, I had a book published by Dial Press and sold movie rights to Paramount. Should I mention the book in a query letter (it’s publishing date gives away I must be seventy) or say I have no publishing credits so I seem younger?

    • Mark Malatesta

      HI Joseph, congratulations on your success. Yes, you should mention those things because they’ll give you instant credibility. But, it’s critical that you say it in the right way so you don’t give away your age, etc. That’s not something I can help with here though my website though as I’d need to talk to you about it first. if you haven’t already done so, I suggest you become a member of my online community now here (it’s fr*ee): Then listen to the FIRST audio training recording in my online audio library (once you’re in the members only area, look for the link the says “Audio Training Library”). And then, if/when you’re able, register for an introductory coaching call with me here: All my best. Mark

  24. Alishia Louis-Potter /

    Hi Mark. In response to your email from July 23rd, yes I am having trouble accessing your list. It keeps telling me to sign up. I have already signed up twice. The list I am referring to is the one with address, picture and preferences of the top agents. Thank you. I enjoyed listening to your recording. I cannot afford your services at this time, but I am benefiting from the information from your recording and using it to prepare my query letter.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Alishia, when you sign up… you should be taken to a different page on my website that has links to all my members-only content, including a link to the agent directory. Take a look and let me know. And thanks for letting me know you found the recording valuable. No worries if you can’t afford coaching with me. Not everyone can, but there’s a lot of information, as you know, on my websites that will give you a big advantage. All my best. Mark

  25. Hollis Pirkey /

    Yes I have had issues with finding the page, but I’ve not tried to search for that page since you submitted a list of 900 agents for me to query.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Hollis, always good hearing from you. Thanks for letting me know, have a great weekend, and, of course, keep letting me know how everything is going. Mark

  26. Sam Nayar /

    Hi Caitlyn,

    I have used four pages of your valuable Agents Directory and plan to go the whole nine yards until I find an agent for my memoir (Mr. Know-It-All is Deported – I had my first manic attack just two months before I emigrated to America and earned two felonies for acts during manic episodes – never harmed or cheated anybody but got it all the same – for which I was deported in 2011 after spending fours years at Chillicothe Corrctional).

    I do not have any problem now as I bookmarked the agents directory but remember that I had to search for it a bit when i initially signed up. There was some confusion at that point but I forget the actual sequence.

    Best Regards

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Sam, thanks for letting me know. I’m glad you found it eventually. And good luck with your project. Have a great weekend and post a question for me here about anything, if you have one. Mark

  27. C.J. /

    Mark received your message your scroll bar was temporarily stuck. Other wise your system is up and running. I’m glad to voice an opinion anytime. Take care C.J. Maloney

    • Mark Malatesta

      Thank you CJ, glad to hear it’s working for you now. And I appreciate you letting me know. Check out this week’s article, by the way, I just sent it out… reveals the world’s top-earning authors of 2015. Some things there that might surprise you. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. Mark

  28. Erin /

    In response to your question about accessing the agent directory. I did have a little trouble at first before I bookmarked the actual page that I wanted. Before I did this I had to wade through the fifteen part article just to get to the directory. Now that I have it bookmarked I don’t have to hunt for it and I can access the information I need more quickly and with less hassle.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Thanks Erin, that’s common. I have to keep the page somewhat hidden (private) since it’s for members only. Glad you bookmarked it. Check out this week’s article, by the way, I just sent it out… reveals the world’s top-earning authors of 2015. Some things there that might surprise you. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. Mark

  29. Colin Guest /

    Hi Mark,

    Re your question about being able to locate the agents directory, I myself have had no problem in accessing it, and will be doing so again shortly. Although I have so far had no success in finding one interested in my memoir, I appreciated all those that replied to me, with my thanking them for there time. All being well I will be successful in the end. Persistence I think is the answer, plus a good query letter.

    Once again many thanks for your valuable advice.

    Colin Guest

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Colin, I’m glad you’re not giving up. Everything worth anything is harder than it seems and most people aren’t willing to do the work. So stick with it, and have a great weekend. Mark

  30. Catherine Forte / C S Caspar /

    Hi Mark,

    I have had no problems with any of your pages.


    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Catherine, I appreciate you letting me know. Check out this week’s article, by the way, I just sent it out… reveals the world’s top-earning authors of 2015. Some things there that might surprise you. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. Mark

  31. Patricia Gitt /

    I am no longer receiving your daily writer’s quotes.
    Can you please correct this…or let me know how I may reregister for this email?
    Thank you,

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Pat, long story short… I’m continuing to post the quotes but discontinuing the emails. Sharing them on social media is much more effective, and preferred. Check out this week’s article, by the way, I just sent it out… reveals the world’s top-earning authors of 2015. Some things there that might surprise you. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. Mark

  32. Mike Elmer /

    I am able to open your Directory of Literary Agents, no problems.
    Thanks for all the valuable information on your site.

    An aspiring Action Thriller author in Texas
    Mike Elmer –

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Mike. Thank you, I appreciate you letting me know… and the you sending the love about what I’m doing. Check out this week’s article, by the way, I just sent it out… reveals the world’s top-earning authors of 2015. Some things there that might surprise you. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. Mark

  33. Nwanganga /

    Must have missed it. I wanted a one and on one coach for for mgetting a literary agent but did not see where to register and pay.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Nwanganga, no problem… that’s what I’m here for. Check out this week’s article, by the way, I just sent it out… reveals the world’s top-earning authors of 2015. Some things there that might surprise you. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. And see you again soon. Mark

  34. Shirelon Whisenant /

    Hi Mark…I received your last email. Hope everything turns out okay.

    Since I have spoken to you, I have a wonderful editor(s) who reviewed and made some suggestions for my query letter and manuscript (partial.I am ready to send in the query once I am satisfied with the work. I have also selected a literary agent to work with from your list.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Shirelon, I love it. And you’re very welcome. I like helping authors who are kind and committed to getting their work out there. Check out this week’s article, by the way, I just sent it out… reveals the world’s top-earning authors of 2015. Some things there that might surprise you. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. Mark

  35. Rosemary Deluca McDonald /

    Hi Mark! I found your Literary Agent Website with no problem. I will be in touch with you regarding further assistance. You helped me in the past and I will be seeking your advice and coaching soon.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Rosemary, thank you for letting me know… and I’m glad you’re making progress. Check out this week’s article, by the way, I just sent it out… reveals the world’s top-earning authors of 2015. Some things there that might surprise you. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. Mark

  36. Sandra /

    Hi Mark,
    I’m having no trouble with your website—except that some of the agents listed are not accepting queries or submissions but that isn’t your fault. I still don’t have an agent.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Sandra, that’s true… no matter what… you always have to click through to see if an agent is accepting submissions at the moment you’re sending your query… since it changes frequently. Hang in there though with your queries because you know what they say… persistence is half of success… and it’s true. Check out this week’s article, by the way, I just sent it out… reveals the world’s top-earning authors of 2015. Some things there that might surprise you. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. Mark

    • Mark Malatesta

      And thank you for letting me know about the website working for you! Mark

  37. Joseph /

    You asked if the agent directory is hard to use. Overall, it’s helpful because of the agent bio and wishlist. I tried it to locate agents who take historical fiction by putting in both those terms but it showed me many agents who take “history” as non-fiction rather than “historical fiction”.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Joseph, always best to use the drop-down menu for best results. If you do, you’ll see that there’s a category there for Historical Fiction. You can just look at those 300+ agents. All my best. Mark

  38. Jemil Metti /

    Is it possible for an author to have an agent for a novel that has already been self-published? It seems like traditional publishers would rather not have anything to do with a self-published author;you know, giving us the plague treatment.

    Thanks Kindly

  39. Maureen Shea /

    Mark, I’m having trouble using the Literary Agent Search. I’ve tried to go into it several times in the past two weeks and I can’t use the search fields.


    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Maureen, you’re better off using the drop-down menu and searching by category that way. The search field is mainly just to search for one particular agent by first or last name. 😉 Mark

  40. Kurt M. DiClementi /

    My issue has been finding the link to set an appointment for the coaching session I paid for. I submitted my completed questionnaire a few weeks ago and have been listening to the required audio presentations, but I want to have the call with you now.

    Kind Regards,

    Kurt M. DiClementi

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Kurt, I’m glad you contacted me. I sent you a reply on July 1st with a scheduling link, the same day you sent me the completed questionnaire. I just sent it again. Please let me know here, or via email, if it came through. Mark

  41. Rama Rao /

    Most of the agents” email addresses I have used seem to be non- existent, because my messages are not delivered.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Rama, not sure what you mean. Most agents won’t reply to queries unless they want to see more material. That’s probably what is happening. If you send out 10 queries, you might get a few rejections and hear nothing more from the rest. And you might need to send out as many as 20-200 queries to get your first agent asking to see more material. All depends on your genre, as well as the quality of your query, and, of course, your book. Mark

  42. Everett /

    How many pages would you need to constitute a book, on the average that is.?

  43. Steven Polk /

    I have two books I’m ready to get publish but so far have been unable to find anyone to publish them. If some one would please call me and talk to me about me book. I can tell you what it is about and work with me on it.

  44. Ted Gedebou /

    i am not a writer but have been doing so for the past 13 years in order to unlearn then relearn all i could regarding what is important in life. i am a surgeon and have cut into the heart of my own humanity, re-writing my manuscript for the 13th time. having finally reached a point where i believe it is ready, feel i am pregnant with a message to deliver. i am post-due but as a first-timer am unfamiliar with the process. i need an agent/publisher for a safe and joyous delivery. advice?

  45. Shirelon Whisenant /

    I think I may have missed the answer to my question from last week.

    I am writing to say thank you for your guidance. I am now working closely with an editing company to edit my work plus my query letter.

    I am close to ending the story so… Wish me luck!

  46. Shirelon Whisenant /

    Did I miss the question I had about using a painting I commissioned for a possible book jacket?

  47. Heather /

    My friend is writing on Wattpad and is concerned this could hurt his chances of becoming published later. Is this true? He says even though his work is posted for free, it’s still technically published. Also he’s making his work available for free.
    At first I thought it was a pipe dream, but after reading his work I’ve become very concerned. He has an incredible talent and I think that he might be a genius. It blew me out of the water and Im concerned he is ruining his chances and be discouraged

  48. Jonathan /

    Sorry to trouble you with one more. I’m just thinking about the fact that many agents and publishers (apparently) are wary of prologues to novels… as these may seem distracting, disconcerting, or just unnecessary.

    So if I have a prologue that (ideally) I would like to include, is it an ethically sound option to omit the prologue in my samples and synoposis when I pitch the novel, and then tactfully raise the point in an appropriate context later on?

    Thanks once more.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Jonathan, on one hand… don’t listen to what agents say about prologues. It’s the story that should dictate whether a prologue is needed. Sometimes it’s essential. On the other hand, you’re right about being wary. In some cases I’ve advised my coaching clients to withhold their prologue when sending out their initial query or sample chapters… and then mention it later. No point in getting rejected because of a prologue because it might give an agent the wrong idea about what the rest of the book is like, for example. Mark

  49. Jonathan /

    1. I know that a novel has to be completely finished and proofread before submitting to a literary agent. But what about when I’m pitching a novel trilogy to an agent? Is it OK if I have proofread volume 1 perfectly, but have left volumes 2/3 (for now) in a complete but non-proofread state?
    2. When the agency asks for chapters and a synopsis, this surely refers to a single novel. So what should I include in terms of synopses and chapters, when it’s actually a novel trilogy, and not a novel?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Jonathan, that’s fine. Just don’t let them read the second or third book until they’re ready. When it comes to the synopsis and chapters question, just submit for the first book… but… prepare a series synopsis as well and let the agent know you have that if when invited to send them additional material after the first contact. Lastly, if you haven’t already done so, become a member of my online community now here (it’s fr*ee): Then listen to the FIRST audio training recording in my online audio library (once you’re in the members only area, look for the link the says “Audio Training Library”). You can also post more questions for me online, as you know: And, finally, if/when you’re ready, register for an introductory coaching call with me here: I enjoy meeting new authors and helping them find ways to get agents’ attention. Mark

  50. K.T. Chambers /

    I’ve written a YA novel and self published it last year, partly because of the unique way I wanted to release it, but also a little because of that pesky crippling fear of rejection. Now I’m looking for an agent, but I’ve been given the impression that being self-published can be a mark against my writing. I’ve been offered a contract from a small publisher, but am hesitant to pursue it since their sales are so small. But would it be better if I did, since I’d then no longer be ‘self-published’?

  51. JONAS S /

    I am considering publishing a memoir under a pseudonym. Would that be considered bad taste? I would just like to see that the book “succeeds” before I attach my name and identity to it for eternity.

    Thanks a bunch,

  52. Everett /

    What is the best way to pitch your manuscript, the old fashion way on paper through the post office or by emailing a file to the publisher?

  53. saw lian cheah /

    Hi Mark, how do I get into your members’ only main audio library to listen to your radio interviews?

  54. Ana /


    A few months ago you kindly answered my question on dialect and setting, which has lead to another question on markets.

    Do agents represent writers from other countries? I’m Australian but have no real interest in writing ‘Australian literature’ or anything at-all country specific, so I wouldn’t mind trying for a publisher based in another country, since so much is done though email and ebooks nowadays? Is this a viable way to go? Or is your best bet still in your home market?


    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Ana, I work with a lot of clients in Australia. As long as you have an English version of your book and it has appeal for the American market, that’s all that matters. Publishing in Australia should be your backup plan, or something that happens after you have a publisher here in the US. To that end, if you haven’t already done so, your next step should be to check out or list of websites here… especially the one with the agent directory: Then make sure you listen to the FIRST audio training recording in my online audio library (link should be in the welcome email you got from me if/when you signed up at one of my websites). You can also, as you know, post questions for me online here: And, lastly, if/when you’re ready, register for an introductory coaching call with me here: I’m here to help. All my best to you and yours this weekend! Mark

      • Ana /

        Thank you for the resources! Would publishing out of Australia be limiting for promotion though? I mean best case scenario I suppose it would be great to get a print run where you can see yourself in stores…

        So follow-up question actually, then. When you say ‘appealing to American audiences’, well the project I’m currently working on has British characters set in Europe, should I focus on UK instead of US markets? US would be bigger, but would selling a book set in Europe be harder?


        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Ana, think of publishing in the US as a first step. Your agent or publisher would likely, as a next step, get your book published in Australia as well… and perhaps other countries like the UK. Also, your book doesn’t have to have American characters or be set in the US to have American appeal. It simply has to have characters, themes, and a plot that will be of interest to American readers. Make sense? Mark

  55. Iman /

    i really dream of being a writer and have started my journey to becoming one. what is bothering me is that i live in Pakistan and i want my novel to be sold world wide. would getting an american literary agent create problems? should i do it because i dont have much of a choice…my story doesnt have anything to do with Pakistan either.
    Do i have better options? Would i be accepted?

    • Ana /

      Heh oops I commented above and just realised that you pretty much had the same question as me. Seems I’m not the only one with country-based issues or lack-thereof with my writing.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Iman, as long as you have an English version of your book and it has appeal for the American market, that’s all that matters. I’ve helped authors abroad get interest here with US agents many times. To that end, if you haven’t already done so, your next step should be to check out or list of websites here… especially the one with the agent directory: Then make sure you listen to the FIRST audio training recording in my online audio library (link should be in the welcome email you got from me if/when you signed up at one of my websites). You can also, as you know, post questions for me online here: And, lastly, if/when you’re ready, register for an introductory coaching call with me here: I’m here to help. All my best to you and yours this weekend! Mark

  56. Song Ebbesen /

    Hi Mark,
    I’m currently working on a query letter for my first YA novel. I understand how important this is and want to catch the attention of a top-notch agent. I am a college student and just 18 years old, and fear my age or lack of credibility will turn agents away. Is this something that will hurt my chances of landing an agent? What should I or should I not included in my query letter? If the other aspects of my query are excellent, will agents disregard my age?
    Thanks for your help,

  57. Elizabeth Loraine /

    Hi Mark! I have been writing a while now and have a successful YA series, and I write in so many genres now too. I’d really like an agent who would take me to the next level. I currently have had a script finished of book one of the Horror novel co-written with Tim Frasier and am having a second script written for my thriller Corporate Ties. So foreign rights, TV and movies would be what I need help with. Suggestions? Thanks, Elizabeth

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Elizabeth, wouldn’t you want an agent to get you a deal for print and eBook rights as well with a major publisher? In addition to TV, feature film and/or foreign rights? Either way, most of what I do here is geared toward helping you do that. If you haven’t already done so, your next step should be to check out or list of websites here: Then make sure you listen to the FIRST audio training recording in my online audio library (link should be in the welcome email you got from me if/when you signed up at one of my websites). You can also, as you know, post questions for me online here: And, lastly, if/when you’re ready, register for an introductory coaching call with me here: I’m here to help. All my best to you and yours this holiday weekend! Mark

  58. Kathy Mathis /

    Hi Mark, Thank you! I did as you instructed. I did find Literary Agents from your Top 50 list. These agents are asking for a query letter, synopsis and text all sent to them at one time. Your audio states that a writer should send a query letter first asking permission
    to send material. What do I send them?
    P.S. I belong to many writing groups. I forwarded your website to everyone I know. You should get a lot of new customers.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Kathy, thank you for sharing my information. I love what I do, so the more the merrier. Now, don’t put too much weight on that top 50 list because it’s very general and you need the best 50 agents for you and your book. That will vary a LOT. You need to consider the genres they represent, sometimes their gender, age, or location. And other things. When it comes to submitting your work to agents, every agent will require a query letter. However, many agents will ALSO require you to send a synopsis and/or a certain number of sample pages at the same time you send the query. I know, it’s complicated. To that end… if you haven’t already done so… make sure you check out our complete list of websites here: Then make sure you listen to the FIRST audio training recording in my online audio library (link should be in the welcome email you got from me if/when you signed up at one of my websites). You can also, as you know, post questions for me online here: And, lastly, if/when you’re ready, register for an introductory coaching call with me here: I’m here to help. All my best to you and yours this holiday weekend! Mark

  59. Kathy Mathis /

    Hello Mark!
    I found your Website today. It is the “Best-ever” site for New and Existing Authors I have ever read. Your Audio is “Over-the-top”!

    I am looking for Literary Agents Specializing in Children’s Beginner Reader Books. Please get back to me on my Email.

    Thank you so much for your time. I wish you the best of luck with your future ventures.


    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Kathy, you made my day. Thank you. Not sure what you mean by “get back to me on my email” though. Did you send me an email also? Let me know. Also, if you haven’t already done so… take a look at our complete list of websites here including the one about book genres that might help you figure out which agents you should be querying: You’ll also see a link to my Directory of Literary Agents there as well. Also, make sure you listen to the FIRST audio training recording in my online audio library if you haven’t done that yet (link should be in the welcome email you got from me if/when you signed up at one of my websites). You can also post questions for me online here: And, lastly, if/when you’re interested, register for an introductory coaching call with me here: One way or another, I’ll get you going in the right direction. Have a good night! Mark

  60. Ken Smith /

    I’ve written a few books and would like to publish them through, Random House Publishing agency, though I am in need of a representative to do so. I need someone honest, who would help me desplay my work to the public, and could inform me of other ways to represent my publations.
    Thank you, Ken Smith

  61. Anne /

    I just started querying, but, I’ve already got at least one high school that wants to require my book as reading for the student body and bc of pull, I know I could get more in district too. What do I do with this info? Do I include it in queries? Do I mention this to the agents that have requested partials? I don’t want to self publish yet. Thank you.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Anne, yes, include it in new queries. Not enough of a big deal to let the agents you already queried know about it… unless they respond to what you sent with interest… then you should let them know. Mark

  62. Hepsibah /

    I’ve written 6 children’s (7-11) nonfiction video game guide books as work for hire via a book packager – they’ve done really well, they are at Walmart/Target, translated into 5+ languages; some are on the NYT bestseller lists for games/activities. The same publisher is taking my fiction graphic novel for kids, using screenshots I’m taking within the game, and may take a series. These are also work for hire. I’m getting 6.5k flat fee per book. I have no idea if this is adequate. Is it? tia.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Tia, I know this is going to sound like a copout but it’s this simple. That’s a great fee unless you can get them to pay more, or get someone else to pay more. Of course it’s always better to get a fee plus a royalty, but some publishers don’t use that structure. Mark

      • Hepsibah /

        Thanks so much – that actually does make sense to me. I’ve been planning on waiting until I have at least one of the graphic novels published to start looking for an agent. With published graphic novel and at least 6 nonfiction books and the ability to say ‘NYT bestselling author’ – should I still have a full ms. in hand, or would a synopsis and sample chapters (fiction, middle grade) be fine? tia.

        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Tia, that depends… usually a full in the case of fiction. I’m 90% sure that’s the direction I’d send you in if I knew more about you and your situation. But there is a slim chance, based on your track record, that you might be able to make it happen with just a good pitch and a very detailed synopsis with some sample chapters. Mark

  63. LakeKathryn /

    Hi–I finally signed a contract with an agent who has the full manuscript. Problem is, there has been radio silence for the last six weeks. I sent a polite message last week asking if there was work to be done and telling of progress on my next manuscript. No answer. I don’t want to be an annoyance; perhaps you could tell me in general, once a contract is signed, what a writer should expect in terms of communication. Thanks for your response.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Congratulations, although I’m sorry to learn you haven’t heard anything. Unfortunately, it’s often like that. Doesn’t mean your agent isn’t working hard for you, just that they don’t even report anything until there’s something to report. If you were one of my coaching clients I would have coached you up on questions to ask prior to signing with the agent, to prevent things like this from happening. Next chance you get, try to find out how the agent prefers to stay in touch, and how often. As long as you know that, it will be a lot easier. Most agents, however, good ones anyway, send an update every 1-3 months. Hope this helps and I hope your agent hits a homerun for you. Mark

  64. Bakhtygul /

    Hello, Iam Bakhtygul.I have been trying to find the ways to realise my idea about kzliterary agents, as it is still not popular in Kazakhstan. I would like to know if we could become partners in future and how well you could make efforts to let us gain experience under your guidance. I have a group of writers who would not mind being published abroad. My team,3 members,including me,are interested in getting any opportunities to make our dream come true. If you want more information, I write

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hello Bakhtygul, are you saying that you’re planning to start a literary agency there? Mark

      • Bakhtygul /

        Hello Mark, I am sure that it is actual to start a literary agency in Kazakhstan and there are enough writers who need this service. I missed so many opportunities trying to make US top publishers understand me and find any solutions to it. I hope, it is not late to taste it now. My efforts are directed now to find any supports from the local state and private branches to be guided by You, using Longer term Bestselling Author Coaching. I am dreaming to function as a literary agent.

        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Bakhtygul, okay, now I think I understand. Am I right that you want to start a literary agency there, with the primary focus being finding your authors there publication deals with publishers in the United States? Mark

          • Bakhtygul /

            Hi Mark, Iam pleased to get the news at least you started to understand me. You are absolutely right, I am not a magician, I am going to learn magic strategies of successful literary agency and it is challenging to have a go. I have made some efforts to prepare my first author’s books for publishing. It is only the beginning, and I need a lot of knowledge to function as an agent. Thank you for everything. My next step is to take into consideration all your tips and try to follow them.Am I right?

            • Mark Malatesta

              Hello Bakhtygul, the next step, in my opinion, is to make sure you have a realistic timeline, plan, and financing in place to get your agency established. Successful agents can do well financially, but it often takes quite a while for them to generate steady and substantial income because it takes a while to get books sales initially and then get paid. Then you’ll need to find a mentor to help you get established until you feel comfortable and confident doing it on your own. I might do that with you if I learned more and felt I could help you be successful. Mark

              • Bakhtygul /

                Hi Mark, Iam planning to present my first author in the end of August or the beginning of September. Ihope,by that time I am able to call you and get the right instructions. I will give more information about my plans and Iam really looking forward to getting that chance.

                • Mark Malatesta

                  Hi Bakhtygul, I’m looking forward to it. I’ve done a lot of work with international publishers and it’s something I enjoy. All my best. Mark

  65. Stephen Z Smith /

    I have searched and searched and read through many many websites searching for a Christian Literary agent. All want to know is where is can find a simple basic list of Christian Literary Agents. I have looked at the Writer’s Market book and I was very disappointed that about a 1/3 will not even talk to you unless they have met you at a conference. I just need a list of agents that I can send a e-query too.

    Thank you
    Stephen Z Smith

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Stephen, you can easily find every Christian fiction and/or nonfiction agent in our agent directory online. You can find it here on our complete list of websites here: And don’t get hung up on those agents not accepting queries from new authors right now. Just pitch the ones that are, and make your pitch as good as it can be. Mark

  66. paula goins /

    I am writing a series of books that are a fictional explanation of all the cryptozoological creatures that people say they see and science can not explain.
    I wish to sell the book rights to a publisher because I can not pay for publishing.
    My books also have great movie potentials.
    Who do I need to speak with in order to pursue this

  67. A Murphy /

    First of all, thank you so much for offering this! I was at my wits end wondering how and where to ask this, and then out of the depths of Google rose your website. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to questions.

    That said, I have an unusual question. I have to be vague because I’m not sure of the law (I have reached out to find an entertainment lawyer who might know more, but in the meantime, I’ve been trying to figure out how to contact an agent.) If you can’t answer this, then I’m sorry for wasting your time. Here is my curiosity:

    I am interested in reaching out to an entertainment company with an inquiry about employment. I want to write a book (or a series of books) based on an idea they presented featuring their artists. Do I require their permission before querying an agent, or would it be okay to seek an agent who could negotiate on stronger terms?
    Thank you again for your time!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi A, and I’m happy to help. Glad you found me. Problem is I can’t tell enough about your situation based on what you said so far. If you can say more I might be able to help. Mark

  68. Mr Donald Lubban /

    Dear Support,

    I am seeking your support in getting my manuscript edited and published.

    Please visit my blog site using the browser bar on:

    Thank you for your time

    Mr Donald Lubban.

  69. E Hudson /

    Is it detrimental for a foreign author writing in English (who is self-publishing her first book) to reveal her foreign location & first language if she wishes to get published in the U.S. sometime in the future? I thought it was mainly translation/language barrier issues that were a problem. I’m helping to market a young foreign author and don’t want to create problems for her later on. Should I conceal this info for now or use it as part of her personal “story” and marketing campaign? Thanks.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi E, it depends. I’d have to speak with you about it. In short, if you self-publish and do very well (numbers vary based on the genre and other factors), it could help. But it can also work against you as I think you already know, so you have to be careful. Sometimes you have to let agents and publishers know about things like that, but how (and when) you let them know can make a big difference. Mark

      • E. Hudson /

        Thank you so much for your time. Yes, I see what you are saying. Well, it’s her call then. It would be worth talking on the phone with you – except I’m doing this for free. If this were a paying client or if it were for a book of my own, I’d be making an appointment. You have a great site and what a great service for authors. Best wishes. -E

        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi E, you’re welcome and of course I understand. She’s just lucky to have you. 😉 Thank you for the kind words about my work and I hope you take advantage of everything else we offer. Warm wishes. Mark

  70. Dave Wickenden /

    Hi Mark,
    forgot to ask one last question. Should an author get his work registered before sending it to an agent? In Canada, this can be done on-line through the government and cost $50. I had done this a while back and it saved a former boss from stealing my ideas for himself.

  71. Dave Wickenden /

    Hi Mark,
    so I am sending out queries and hoping for representation. When that call comes, what questions should I be asking? Should I place a time limit? And finally what is the process form the point the agent and I decide to become a partnership?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Dave, another article for you: And congratulations on getting your work out. There are other questions you can/should ask agents but it will depend on your situation. Same things goes with time limits. I talk those things through with my coaching clients because it’s different for everyone. The process about what happens after getting an agent is different for everyone too when it comes to timeframes. But the agent will pitch your book after he/she thinks your work and pitch materials are ready. You should get occasional updates after that when there’s news. Mark

  72. Sara /

    Hi Mark, ten years ago I found an agent for a memoir. We received many rejections and eventually parted ways on good terms in 2006. Since then I have gotten several essays from the memoir published, but mostly left it alone as I have gone on to work on other writing projects. Does it make sense to try again, find a new agent and see if I can get the memoir published this time around? And do I put this past information (about my agent and the rejections) in the query? Or just consider it a no-go?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Sara, you should definitely give it a second effort… since it’s been so long. Would need to talk to you about your situation to know exactly how you should handle it but the short of it is this. You would definitely want to tell agents about the book’s past, but the big question is when. Probably not in your query but if/when you get serious interest from an agent(s). If you want to talk it through and get help with your pitch materials, you can sign up for a call with me here: Either way, get it out there and see what happens. You came very close the first time, no reason you can’t make it happen now. Mark

  73. Julie G /

    When it comes to building a literary platform, people say blog about what matters to you. I’d love to blog about my faith, but I’m worried agents/publishers will judge me for beliefs they see as controversial, rather than for my novels, or will fear bad publicity if I spoke about my faith publicly etc. Will agents represent authors with strong, “counter-cultural” views, as long as they can show that they speak and write charitably? (I live in the UK, where the culture is often anti-religious).

  74. Jackson Smith /

    I sent a query letter to an agent, and he requested a full manuscript, saying he’d contact me in 4-8 weeks. After ten weeks, I sent a follow-up letter inquiring about the status. I’ve still not heard back. It’s been two weeks since sending the follow-up letter. Any advice on what the next step should be?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Jackson, read this article to get a better sense of response times for all phases of the agenting process: The lack of response you’re getting could be based on lack of interest, or the fact that the agent is simply behind. As long as you haven’t heard back, it could go either way. You can follow up again, or wait and see what happens. During my coaching calls with authors, 1-on-1, I can often share ways to speed up the process without upsetting the agent, but I’d need to learn more about your situation and the agent first. If you’re interested in that, here’s a link to the page that has more info: Either way, good luck and let me know if you make it happen. There aren’t enough author success stories to go around! Mark

  75. josephwade /

    Well the first Question is, is this real. It seems so hard if not impossible to get an agent in the first place. I have written a childrens book and am beging to get representation. maybe I cant because im extreamly poor, im extreamly poor but i have one hell of a talent for stories

  76. Edwards Son /

    Can you give me an example of a follow-up letter to send to a literary agent discussing re-writing schedual as well as financial considerations…

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Edwards Son, what do you mean by re-writing schedule and financial considerations? Give me more info and I might be able to help. Mark

  77. Laci Farrell Stapp /

    Hi Mr. Mark, I was just released from the hospital today after being in there for 11 days. It was my 11th time. I have a question about my children’s book I’ve written. It’s an early reader, 3-8 age range-Preschool-kindergarten. It’s called Benson’s Pals ‘Take a Bite Out of Bullying’ All the proceeds will help benefit animals in need. This is the first in a series I’ve written. I was wondering if you thought if this is a book that will make it on the market?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Laci, it’s impossible to say without seeing a sample… and seeing your pitch (equally important). But I can say that it sounds like you’re dealing with a timely theme, which is a good thing. Hope you’re feeling better, by the way. Mark

      • Laci Farrell Stapp /

        Thank you,I am back and forth to oncology treatments, trying to get better.
        Would I be able to send you a sample?
        I do have it available on Amazon for kindle or paperback under Benson’s Pals ‘Take a Bite Out of Bullying’.
        I really value your opinion and feedback.
        I do believe my book series can be a success and help kids and animals.

  78. Annie Steele /

    need help with nonfiction materials for third grade students.
    as part of my class made a practice book.
    Now I need to know would this be of help when communication with an age for the next chapter in this series.
    Have done research on topic. No materials current in local library,University, junior college, ebaay, Barnes and Noble on my topic. Sole person to my knowledge doing my topic.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Annie, I’m happy to help… but I don’t understand your question. Please rephrase it so it’s clearer and/or provide more info. Mark

    • Annie Steele /

      A professor in my college was kind enough to go over my first attempt.
      It was a class project. They was fierce. All of the suggestions were
      doable. I can see how they would upgrade the publication.
      Goal is for the 3 grad ( 7 yr.) up nonfiction
      question A. submission to whom
      B. Format word, Inesign etc

      • Mark Malatesta

        I’m sorry Annie, I still don’t understand what you’re asking. Are you hoping to get a literary agent and a traditional publisher for a book written for third grade students? Mark

  79. Hey Mark,
    I’ve written four novels in French (I’m from Quebec, a small market) and they’ve all been picked up by publishers. For all four I’ve received praise from critics, authors and readers.
    Since my first publisher has closed, I’ve translated my first book in English and would like to try and have it published.
    About the query letter for agents: do they value the fact that novels have been published before in French and such a small market? How much emphasis do I put on that?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Eric, congratulations. It might be a smaller market but it sounds like they’re legitimate publishers… so good job. Now, to your question. It depends. There are a lot of variables such as the quality of the publisher, number of copies sold, hardcover vs. paperback, and other factors. Sometimes I advice my coaching clients to lead with that type of information if it’s strong enough, for credibility as a hook. Other times it’s best to downplay things like this or not mention them at all (at least not up front). If you want more help to figure out exactly what to say, and how to say, based on your unique situation, sign up for a coaching call with me here: Make sure you also listen to the first audio training, that you can learn more about here, in our audio library: Whether you do more with me or not 1-on-1, this audio will help you a great deal. Any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Some are easier to answer than others in this format. Mark

      • Eric /

        Thanks so much, I’ll be sure to check the links you gave me!
        About the publishers, yes they are legitimate, they have been around for many years and have good reputations in Quebec and France. Unfortunately, this is a hard market with a lot of competition and I’ve sold about 600 copies of each book (which is better than some, worse than others, so I’d say about average sales). All boooks have been printed in paperback.
        If any of this helps you give me more tips, please do so! Thanks again!

        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Eric, that’s not enough sales to help your cause so I can’t give you a simple answer. If you had big numbers and/or the book was published in hc also I would just tell you to mention it early as an asset. Based on your situation, though, it might be better to mention it later in the query and not give a lot of detail. I’d have to have a phone call with you to be sure. But at least this will help you some. Mark

  80. Laura /

    Hi Mark,
    I’m not sure which genre to label YA novel in query letters. I believe it’s fantasy because it takes place in a made-up world that blends various historical times. However, there’s no magic or made-up creatures. I know similar no-magic books are categorized as fantasy (the Winner’s Curse, Fly By Night), but I’m worried that calling it fantasy at the start of a query will be misleading and cause disappointment and/or frustration for agents. What do you recommend?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Laura, if you were one of my coaching clients I’d tell you to simply call it YA… and then describe the story (mini-synopsis). That way you don’t pigeonhole the book or give agents the wrong idea. As they read your story description, they’ll come up with their own interpretation of the sub-genre… and it’s more likely to be what they want it to be. Mark

  81. Bonita Buie /

    Hey Mark,
    I am a Christian writer and the author of three books/Through My Sisters’ Eyes/Unsolicited Encounters: The Guardian Angel/How I Got Over. The three books are all self published. I am also the writer of a manuscript entitled, Unsolicited Encounters: Good Triumphs over Evil and a devotional entitled, Bonita’s Dreams and Visions. I am in need of a literary agent. I am broke, busted and disgusted. Will you help me?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Bonita, congratulations on getting three books written… a great accomplishment. If you haven’t already done so… as a next step start by looking at our list of websites here: You’ll find a lot of valuable information there that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Read some articles on the Literary Agent Undercover website and listen to the recordings in the audio library. After that you should post another question for me here online. I’ll help as much as I can and point you in the right direction. Mark

  82. laci farrell stapp /

    Thank you for responding.
    I’m back in the hospital due to my auto immune disease.
    It’s my 11th time.
    I was wondering if you donate or discount your services to 501(c)(3) non profits?
    All of our the money goes to our animal rescue.
    I am trying to get my children’s book series published to help support our animal rescue and help children with everyday issues.
    Thank you

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Laci, sorry to hear about your ongoing health issues. I don’t donate anything in that way but I do answer questions here, no charge. And there’s a tremendous amount of fr*ee information on our websites listed here: Be well and don’t hesitate to ask another question here about your book series after going through the information we have online. Mark

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Laci, unfortunately I only review query letters for authors if/when they register for a coaching call. Otherwise I’d be inundated with requests. There are approximately 9,000 people who are part of my online community right now. Mark

  83. Philip /

    Who are the top literary agents seeking and representing African authors?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Philip, I don’t have a list compiled for that… yet. But, if you haven’t already done so, click here to check out our list of websites and take advantage of our literary agent directory: It has photos of every agent so you can, at least, see which agents are African. Hope that helps. Mark

  84. Dan London /

    I have 4 chapters done in rough draft and an outline done. I find that some people are great with that and other that want me to finish writing before they will look at it. I need direction….what I need is a good literary agent that will take what I have and sell it. How do I find that agent?


    Dan London

  85. Casey /

    I wanted to talk to an agent about screenplay writing. Whom may I contact from this website or do you just represent novel writers?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Casey, we’re not a literary agency but a coaching/consulting company and… unfortunately… our focus is primarily books. Mark

  86. I have an agent who has offered to represent me and who has sent me a contract. However I also have another book that is being published under a contract with a small press (out in the fall). I also write for some magazines and online journals and get small checks for these. Under the terms of the contract it states that all works by the author would fall under the agency contract. Does this mean my previous book sales, or any essays etc I would write and obtain on my own without the agent?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Mary, I don’t give contract advice here… especially not having seen your contract… but it would be highly unlikely. Best thing to do would be ask questions and ask them to make the language more clear. They should have a problem with that. Mark

  87. sabrena /

    Hi Mark,

    I have been testing the water somewhat with submissions. When an agent replies with “this doesn’t fit my list,” what are they really saying? I sent to those of my genre, so it’s not that. It’s not discouraging to me because it’s only been a few out of how many agents in the world :). Readers who have read my synopsis on my website are looking for the book, so that alone is encouraging and more important to me. So, just curious…if you can give me some insight.


      • Sabrena /

        Thank you Mark. :) I read the link. The replies that I received were pretty formed and not specific to me or my book, which is why I didn’t know what they meant. I didn’t realize they did that. As I said before, I’m not discouraged. Domestic Violence is very real in our society. IDK why agents don’t want to consider it thus far. But I’m confident someone will. So, I’m “rejecting those rejection letters” and moving forward. Thanks again.

        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Sabrena. That’s what I figured, form letters. So don’t let them get to you, and keep going. Agents and publishers aren’t quick to fall in love with those types of themes, but it only takes one. The right one. Mark

  88. I read on a website that although some publishers agree to read submissions that are sent direct (i.e. not via agents), this can raise difficulties.

    I.e. if one does this unsuccessfully, and then approaches an agent instead, an agent will be often unwilling to handle manuscripts that are (as the website said) “shopped around.”

    So, is it more prudent to try with agents in the first instance (even if it takes months or years), & thus avoid direct submission; unless direct sub is a last resort?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Jon, that’s true. Most publishers won’t accept direct submissions though, so that’s not really a big issue for agents if they find out you sent it to one or two houses. But, if you’ve had an agent for the book in the past, it’s impossible to get another one for the same book… unless the agent never got around to shopping it. It’s always best to only focus your efforts on getting an agent. You simply need to be more aggressive in your efforts and submit to more agents in a shorter period of time. You can really get it done in 30-60 days if you want to. Read this: And sign up for a coaching call with me here if you want 1-on-1 support to make it happen: You can also, of course, ask me another question here. Either way, I’m happy to help. Have a great weekend. Mark

  89. Hi Mark, before submitting, I revised my novel based on editing by a published, midlist, literary author. None of the agents that I queried requested more pages. Then I learned the opening confused some people,so I revised for the next round then quit. Is it harder to get an agent for a literary novel and what is different about the approach to take? Are the agents that rejected it earlier off the table? Am I being ignored because I don’t have an MFA? Or stories published in literary journals?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Rae, sorry to hear you haven’t reach your goals yet but keep going. Literary fiction isn’t harder, except that there aren’t as many agents and publishers interested in it. There are many, but not as many as those interested in commercial fiction. But the best will always get published, so keep at it. The good news is that you can resubmit to the same agents. But, of course, to get a different result you’ll have to figure out what it is about your query and/or sample pages that isn’t keeping their interest. The MFA and lack of platform isn’t the problem. It’s fiction, so the writing and the story are the most important things. If you want me to take a look and help you figure it out, schedule an introductory coaching call. You can learn more about it here: Of course you can ask me another question here as well. Have a great weekend and stay positive. You’ll get there. Mark

  90. Laci Farrell Stapp /

    Hi Mr. Mark,I have left questions about my query letter at the end of last year. I have read your blogs and have finished my first query letter.I have written a children’s book series called Benson’s Pals when I’m in the hospital and my oncology treatments due to my auto immune disease.My first book is Benson’s Pals Take a Bite Out of Bullying.My family and I have a 501c3 non profit animal rescue called Benson’s Pals.
    My book series is intended to help animals and children.Can you read my query?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Laci, welcome back. I answer questions here on my website but the I only way I can review material and give feedback (because it takes more time) is if someone signs up her for a coaching call: Take a look and, if it feels like a good fit, I’m happy to help. Your project sounds fun, and it’s for a good cause. Mark

      • Laci Farrell Stapp /

        Thank you for responding.
        I’m back in the hospital due to my auto immune disease.
        It’s my 11th time.
        I was wondering if you donate or discount your services to 501(c)(3) non profits?
        All of our the money goes to our animal rescue.
        I am trying to get my children’s book series published to help support our animal rescue and help children with everyday issues.

        Thank you

        Thank you,

  91. Dan Van /

    I wrote a humorous parody book from the perspective of a dog. I imagine it as a coffee table book in my head because it is not a full length novel. It is more a set of 20 short pieces that would each fit on two pages.

    How do I find literary agents for this kind of book? I feel like everywhere I go, I only see agents that are looking for novels.

  92. Beth /

    If an agent will accept either an email or snail mail submission, is one a better idea than the other?

    What are the writers’ conferences that the most and best agents attend?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Beth, no difference. But make sure you submit to agents that only accept postal mail queries. Lots of authors are too lazy to do that so you can have a slight edge with those agents. Regarding conferences, I don’t have a list put together yet for what you’re asking. But the real question is which ones are the best for you genre? That’s what you need to look for. A little Googling and you’ll find what you need on that front. And see you Friday. I got the email you sent me, by the way, with the other info. 😉 Mark

  93. ivory wilson /

    i have 4 books on amazon.with another release soon . book titles a players world manual. big mack the sequel . the magical writtings of ivorywilson a childern book,dreames wornder and travles this book mail a copy to the white house 5 months ago. just recive a letter of endorsementfrom the white house . also have written a screenplay nina the lady detective. co written another . next book weekend cowboys. need a agent to look at my work.thank you .

  94. Ivory wilson /

    I’m a author with 4 books on Createspace Amazon with another soon to be released .also have two magificent screenplays ! Books two fiction. And three nonfiction.

  95. Lauren /

    I am currently querying agents to represent my first novel. At one agency, there are two agents who appear to be a good fit for my project–the senior agent, whose areas of interest perfectly sync with my project, and another agent whose interests also fit (though not as perfectly) and who expresses an interest in new authors. Which would recommend querying? Or, if one agent rejects my project, is it appropriate to query the second?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Lauren, both options have pros and cons. And it’s a subjective, personal choice in the end. Just pick the one that seems best to you and then query the other one if you strike out with the first one. Good luck! Mark

  96. Hunter reynolds /

    I just got done writing a book about animal abuse is there anyway that I can find a publisher that’ll help me?

  97. Erica Fox /

    I am trying to find out whether anyone took over the John A. Ware Literacy Agency after he passed away in 2013. My mother (and her book) used to be represented by him, and I found an old check from him that she never cashed. I realize there is likely nothing we can do, but in case other inquiries come in about the book, I would like to find out. Thank you.

  98. Melina Martin /

    Is there a time when u can ask an agent to represent u without a book proposal being finished. I am working on a nonfiction book in a popular subject area and my slant on it has not been published by anyone. Wanted to get the ball rolling before someone else beats me to the punch. Ty.

  99. Hi Mark,
    Just another question on top of my previous post. I was wondering about the significance of logistics between an author & an agent.

    An opportunity to move abroad is a possibility but I’ve held off on making such a decision until I’ve reached a conclusion with the agent as I don’t want to jeopardize my chances of being represented by moving to the other side of the world to the agent.

    But does it matter at any stage of the relationship where I reside in this modern age of technology?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi J, you’re right… it could matter. But maybe not, and to what degree I can’t tell you without having the opportunity to ask you a lot of questions. It will depend in part on the type of book, but several other things as well. A lot of issues like these don’t have a black/white answer, unfortunately. But it’s good you haven’t moved yet. That’s the safe play. Mark

  100. Hi Mark,
    An interested agent asked for a substantial rewrite about 6 months ago which I agreed to and did. The agent contacted me recently to apologise for the lengthy delay but offered no confirmed representation & asked for my patience & could I submit samples of my other books. I’ve given this agent unofficial exclusivity & spurned some other agent/publishing opportunities related to the original version. Do you think I could believe that an eventual ‘Yes’ will be forthcoming?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi J, good news bad news. The bad news is that this could easily go the other direction. After asking for a full, agents are more likely to pass on it than offer to represent it. Good news is that it could still happen. But the time delays aren’t a good sign. If you set up an introductory coaching call with me (, I can tell you how to handle this so you can get other agents reading the manuscript as well and get the current agent responding better. And yes, I know you have exclusivity. But we can fix that. Either way, I hope it works out. Sounds like you’re close. Mark

  101. Cheri Vause /

    I’m already published with a small press in the UK. I have three books under contract with them, but I’m interested in writing a screenplay for one or two of my mystery novels. One is under consideration for NovelUnity as a pick to read, and I was an Indie Book Featured Author. Which agency or agent would be interested in me as a client?

    Cheri Vause
    Author of The Night Shadow

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Cheri, it’s usually your literary agent and/or publisher that will get your novels in front of people in the movie business. You should ask them if/what they’ve done along those lines and/or what they’re planning to do. Congrats on your success and I wish you much more. Mark


      i have published a book w TATE called HOW TO MAKE YPUR CHILD FEEL LOVED. i wantto publish it w HARPER COLLINS or HARPER & ROW.


      I NEED A REP


      • Mark Malatesta

        Hi James, I’m happy to help. Start by looking at our list of websites here: You’ll find a lot of valuable information there that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Read some articles on the Literary Agent Undercover website and listen to the first recording in the audio library. If you want to go faster and get 1-on-1 support, you can sign up for an introductory coaching call here: And I answer questions here online. Either way I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your work. Mark

  102. sabrena /

    Hi Mark,
    I was hoping you would help me understand the difference between certain genres. As I look at literary agents wants, some want upmarket, literary or commercial fiction. What’s the difference? Does women’s fiction fit either?

  103. Sallie Kirchhoff /

    Hi Mark, When dealing with an agent who says they’re not interested in working with authors who publish in more than one genre – would it help if I offer to use a different pen name for each of the two genre I have written books for? Since I understand an author name is their “brand,” then there would be no confusion for readers among the two brands. Thank you for your sage advice. It is SO helpful!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Sallie, that could work unless platform is important for one of the books. Without revealing your identity, you can’t do much to promote, send them to a website, etc. Mark

  104. Sallie Kirchhoff /

    I attended a writers conference & hoped to market my middle grade fiction book to a middle-grade agent who was a speaker. To my dismay, she said she doesn’t like to work with authors who have books in multiple genre. I have a traditional-published, non-fiction book for adults that I thought would be a plus for me – not a disadvantage. Could you explain why an agent might feel that way & what I could reply that might change their mind? Thank you! You’ve been so helpful with my questions!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Sallie, it depends. Some agents don’t want authors writing in more than one genre because it seems like they’re not great at any one of them. Other agents simply might not represent one or more the author’s other genres. But most of the time this shouldn’t be an issue, unless you’re trying to get an agent representing a book they’re not interested in. Hope this helps. Mark

  105. Sallie Kirchhoff /

    Hi Mark! My book is middle grade contemporary fiction. Is there any preference among agents for naming fiction book characters in a modern day setting? In other words, do they like unusual names (like Katniss – so everybody instantly recognizes “Hunger Games”) or do they like common current-day names like Marshall, Austin, Jennifer etc? Thanks much!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Sallie, interesting question. I think it’s more about each name reflecting the personality of the character. Probably more important to make sure a name doesn’t do damage or call too much attention to itself, rather than having a name that’s too clever. Mark

  106. Noel Jones /

    I am unable to find the list of Catholic agents that I joined your group to find. Help, please!

    Thank you!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Noel, I’m assuming you Googled the term and found this webpage: This page, I believe, lists SOME agents that are interested in religious and/or spiritual books. And you can find information about all agents like that if you follow the directions on the page and enter our Directory of Literary Agents. However, agents don’t provide enough information for us to make it possible for you to do a detailed search in the directory using this single criterion. You’ll have to read the agents bios to try and figure it out and, even then, it will be difficult. Mark

  107. Are epistolary novels dead, or are they worth trying to publish? Thank you in advance for answering.

  108. Anona Miss /

    Hello, Mark~
    I’m thinking about writing a collection of letters from a fictional teenaged girl. These letters could be to her friends, to her romantic interests… Would this be a novel? A short story collection? Do you think it has marketability?

    Thank you~

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Anona, pretty much every idea (really) can be done well, in a way that’s marketable with commercial appeal. It’s all in the development of the idea. And your idea would work as a novel or collection of letters or short stories. So follow your instincts and use all of the resources available at our different websites (listed here at to help you make it happen. Mark

  109. Eric Leftwich /

    Hello Mark – My name is Eric.
    I am an aspiring fantasy/science fiction author with visions of grandeur before me. I am currently working on a compilation book of my own fantasy and science fiction short stories. I was wondering…when I do finally finish my book, how would I go about obtaining a literary agent to begin pitching my manuscript to publishers?

    Thank you for your time! -Eric

  110. Higinio J. Vazquez /

    Dear Mr. Malatesta:
    Happy Valentine’s Day. I would like to know if you know a Literary Agent that is honest and is willing to represent me.
    Thank you.
    Higinio J. Vazquez

  111. Sebastian Gomez /

    Hi I am an illustrator graduating from Montclair University next May and i wanted to know if in this website i could find agents or agencies that help Illustrators find jobs. I work mainly in the fantasy/Sci-fi genre and would like to do Book jackets or children’s books.

  112. Sallie Kirchhoff /

    I read a book that said not to tell an agent in a query letter that you’re writing a series. It’ll turn them off because they’d want to see how the 1st book sells before even thinking about a series – and don’t want an author stuck & inflexible about the topic of their 2nd book. Also, the book said not to tell if your book is based on real people like your Dad/sister because the agent will fear you’re too attached to your characters to be flexible with their suggestions. Your thoughts? Thanx!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Sallie, every agent is different but this can be an issue… so I always advise my coaching clients to position their book (as much as possible) as a standalone title that will hopefully become part of a successful series, etc. That way you don’t sound too attached for an agent that doesn’t like that. In the end, however, if your book sells and sells well, and the publisher wants more, of course your agent isn’t going to get in the way. Your second question is true as well, but I give people more room on that. It’s all in the telling, how you say it. But you’re right that it can go horribly wrong if not handled well. Too hard to explain here but maybe something I’ll address on one of my upcoming radio shows. Mark

  113. Richard /

    Hi my name is Richard Clark I am from saffron Walden and I have written a book called Louie Gambit it is a spin off from harry potter and the book is finished and I have done the font cover and the back cover can you tell me where yo0u are based

  114. Hi Mark, glad I found your site and appreciate it. I’m probably going to print some of the info so I can study it, if that’s OK. I have been working on a non-fiction book for about a year. It’s a book that will have some level of personal safety concerns. Is there a way to privately speak to you before I start spending money with you? Don’t mean to sound like a cheap skate, but I’ve got tomake every dollar count! Thanks!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Bill, glad to hear it. Make the most of it. And make sure you’re utilizing all or websites, listed here: I’m not sure what you mean about personal safety concerns but I’m guessing that means you have some content in your book that might get you in some type of trouble. If so, you’re right to be careful and get advice from a trusted source about how to move forward. Unfortunately (I don’t mean to sound like a businessman), you’ll most likely have to invest something to get worthwhile advice. I answer some questions here online, but obviously that’s limited and it sounds like your issues need to kept confidential. If/when you want to talk more with me about it, your next step would be an introductory coaching call that you find out more about here: You also might want to consider calling in to my radio show. Mark

  115. cathy Krentz /

    how does a new author persuade a literary agent to take a chance on them? One reads so much about how to do it. Is any of it true? And how do you find the agents?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Cathy, very simple… find a source for this information that you can trust. To that end, take a look at our websites listed here: One of them will tell you everything you want/need to know about agents. Another one will help you write a great query letter. And yet another one will help you find the best agents for you and your book. Then, if you want 1-on-1 support to help you implement everything and make it happen, click here to see how you can do that: Any more questions about anything, don’t hesitate to ask. And have a great weekend! Mark

  116. Laci Farrell Stapp /

    I want to thank you for getting back to me. I just got out of the hospital after being in there for 27 days. I was in there for my 21st birthday, Christmas and New Years.
    I have found literary companies that are taking my genre. The trouble I am having now is writing a query letter. I have written one but I don’t know how it is. If I posted it, would you tell me if correct to send to an agent?

    Thank you,
    Laci Farrell Stapp

  117. Ogden Nash: One of the most successful American writers of the 20th century. He specialized in humorous, light verse with clever rhymes.
    Is there any place in today’s marketplace for someone to carry on with his flair for writing similar comic verses (not regular poetry) on today’s contemporary society?

  118. Eleanor /

    Do you write query letters for first-time writers?

  119. goodness nwokolo /

    Hello Sir/Ma,
    I have an African literature play which focus on West Africa. It is titled ‘Happy Grey Hair’ It is also on the Amazon kindle store. I will like to sell this eBook on your website. How do I go about that? Do you feature newly published eBooks on the front page of your website? Thanks and hope to work with you. If I may ask also, do you also have a very large traffic on your website? Please note, I also have paperbacks of this book I am talking about. Can I also sell it on your website? I am also interested in seeing my book printed offline in form of printed copies, plus marketed and distributed nationwide if possible worldwide. If I may ask, do you do that? If I may also ask, do you buy copy rights of books like mine if so, what are the processes you undertake with authors like me to actualize it if not, do you know any agent or publisher that you can recommend to me who buys copy rights of books or ebooks if not both but especially those who can purchase copy rights of African plays but especially West African plays? Your favorable response is highly appreciated.
    Goodness Nwokolo

  120. Jason Hall /

    Hello, i was wondering what is the process on an author requesting/getting illustrations for they novel? (I don’t plan on illustrating my own novel)
    Like do the author inform they agents on them wanting to include illustrations in they novel before-hand so they can let the publishers know that this author wants illustrations or illustrations are only included if the publishers feel the story needs it?
    Like how does an author go about wanting to include illustrations into they novel?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Jason, most novels aren’t illustrated so… are you talking about the cover? Either way, this isn’t something you have to worry about. Your publisher will help you with that. They take care of things like that. Mark

  121. Kelly Berry /

    My question is….before I submit anything to a literary agent, should it be perfect? Or does a literary agent help to perfect the piece? Does an editor get assigned to the piece to work with the author to perfect the piece?
    Thank you!!!!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Kelly, as perfect as it can be. But, within reason. It’s all relative though so I have no way of knowing, yet, how close you are. Some agents get heavily involved, helping their clients take their work to the next level. Others do very little. Same things goes once you get a book deal and a publishers. Some editors do more than others. Mark

  122. Kyle Lawrence /

    Hi Mark,

    Being an unpublished writer is it smarter to hold off sending my query letter until the manuscript is complete, or is it okay to send a query letter for a novel at any stage of completion as long as you have the logline and plot summary down?

    Thank you!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Kyle, since you said novel… it has to be finished. Nonfiction books can be sold on the basis of a query letter, book proposal, and three sample chapters. Mark

  123. Hello, not really about agents but I have something which has bothered me for a while.

    I am Australian, but I generally don’t like Australia as a setting. For a story in the US, what dialect should I use? Do I have to use American spellings (color, realize, etc.)? What if I’m targeting an Australian publisher, do I write the dialect of my characters or my audience?

    Setting is a constant struggle for me due to language, any professional info on what’s expected would be really great. Thank you!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Ana, it depends. It’s usually helpful, when you’re trying to get a publisher in the United States, for a book that’s not yet published, to use American English. Same things goes for other countries, make your book friendly to that country. Dialect should be true to the background of the character though. I see this as a different issue. At the end of the day, however, your story is what matters most. Not sure what you’re asking me about setting. If you clarify that or give me more information, I’m happy to help. Mark

  124. saw lian cheah /

    Do I need to italicize foreign words in my memoir each time I use it?

  125. Lee Field /

    Do any of your agents represent screenwriters. Thanks Lee

  126. Hi,

    I’ve written and traditionally published 6 books in the paranormal/non-fiction genre. I want to get an agent, but not even sure how to approach one with a proposal who handles what I write? Do I send them a query letter and/or proposal with my idea, or do I send an introductory email?



    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Debi, first… congratulations on getting six books written, and published traditionally. Although you’re already established, I want to encourage you to go slow with agent search and do it right. Not all agents are created equal, the same way that all publishers aren’t created equal. The best place to start if you’re new to my website is listen to the complimentary audio training that you can access here: Then spend some time looking around our various websites listed here: After that you can post a follow-up question for me here on this web page. Or you can sign up for a coaching call with me here: Either way, I’m happy to help and I look forward to learning more about you and your books. You should have a fairly easy time finding a decent agent, but I want to make sure you get a GREAT agent. You’ve paid your dues, you deserve it. Mark

  127. I have written a draft of my Dystopian novel and it is around 130 000 words. I am worried that might be too long for a first time writer (I have not published fiction before).

    So I am considering splitting the novel into two or three volumes.

    Firstly, is such a strategy ever advisable for a first time writer, in terms of making a future manuscript submission for my first piece of fiction?

    Secondly, what advice would you offer for intelligently splitting a novel into more than one volume?

    • Ok. I’m really sorry to bother you, but I feel like I could use some advice. I’m not a published author yet, but I’m trying to go down that route. I’ve recently started a book on wattpad, and seven chapters in, it’s done far better than I ever dreamed for something so new and recent. But my question is that it’s the first in a series and published on wattpad. If completed on the site and it becomes a hit (wishful thinking!) ️how hard will it still be possible for me to get an agent?

      • Mark Malatesta

        Hi Anna, good question. And not a bother. That’s why I’m here. Now, is everything published on WattPad fr*ee? If so, not a good idea to publish the whole thing there. Less than 20% or so, probably not a problem. But once the story is out in the public domain online where people can get it, why would they but the book? That’s what agents and publishers will ask you. Mark

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Jon, it’s good you’re thinking about this. That is on the heavy side. If you split it up, you’ll have to do it in a way that’s logical and, if possible, makes each book feel somewhat like a standalone. You’ll also want to get the word count for each volume up to 70,000. If you leave it as one book, you should get it under 120,000… even less if possible… and depending on the final count… it might be best not to tell agents the word count up front. Mark

  128. Fred Roe /

    I loathe the whole thought of promoting my book or going through hoops to find an agent. I write. I wrote a column for over 40 years and want to write books. I never had a problem getting my articles into print. I wrote — the newspaper printed it. No messes, no promotions, no blogs, no forums other than replying to people who differed in their ideas relating to an article.
    Is there any way to just sell the manuscript? Like, I write a book, post it online and sell it to an interested party?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Fred, I don’t know of any author (in their right mind) that likes the idea. But successful authors train themselves to enjoy learning this part of the business, after realizing it’s necessary. The only way to make the process easier/faster is to invest in someone like me to help with the process, but even then it’s not a done-for-you type of thing. You still have to be involved in the process. But again, if you can embrace that (or at least be okay with it), it can be (dare I say) fun, and you’re much more likely to get what you want. I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but I hate to see good writers go unpublished or have a small audience when they have more potential. And based on your track record, you have the ability to reach a big audience. Warm wishes to you and yours this holiday season. And here’s to more success for you in the new year. Mark

  129. Meghan Thompson /

    Hi Mark – Happy New Year!
    I thought my book was completely done, then after an online workshop in Nov, I rewrote my first chapter. Feeling a little too excited before the holidays, I queried an agent. She requested the first 50 pages. I haven’t heard anything (and didn’t expect to during Xmas), but since I sent her pages, I have found ways to improve that first chapter. Am I better off leaving her with what I sent or should I send her the updated version with an honest explanation? Thank you!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Meghan, it really depends. You can go either way with this. It will depend on the agent. Some agents won’t think it’s a big deal. Others will think it’s flaky and you should have figured that out before you started querying. The good news is that, if you’re a good writer, there’s probably not THAT much of a difference between the two versions, or at least not enough to matter. If you feel it’s major, then maybe you should follow up with the agent now. Hope this helps. Mark

      • Meghan Thomspon /

        Thank you so much! And thank you for providing this service; it’s an amazing resource and you are incredibly kind for doing it!

  130. Lynn Orloff /

    Thank you for your rapid and thorough response. The 2nd and 3rd books are not a continuation of the first and not a series, but I can see how you might have interpreted that given what I wrote. They are totally stand alone books. I do honestly think the illustrators are quite gifted though new to the scene. I thought if you present the whole book (pics and text) the literary agent doesn’t have the extra work to pair you with an illustrator which saves much time and money. Thanks Mark!!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Lynn, you’re welcome. Including illustrator info is risky because many agents and publishers will want to use a different illustrator, so it’s best to cross the bridge later… not seem attached to the one you have. Again, that is if the illustrator isn’t already well-known or incredibly gifted, as you say. Also, the publisher might have a somewhat different vision for how the books get illustrated. Mark

  131. Lynn Orloff /

    Mark, I have a children’s ebook up on Amazon and have a 2nd and 3rd shortly to follow, and was blessed to find 2 wonderful illustrators to collaborate with. Is it better to send a proposed manuscript with full illustrations to a literary agent as a query before epublishing the next two books or can it be done simultaneously. Would they prefer not having it ebook published prior to their possible consideration?? Thank you for your anticipated response.

    Lynn :)

    • Mark Malatesta

      Unless the illustrators are spectacular and/or already have significant credits, don’t include the images when querying agents. Should you pitch book 1 or 2 or 3 or the series as a whole. It depends. That’s something I need to talk through with someone after looking at what they have and learning more about the history of the series. Lastly, it’s always better to not have self-published unless you’ve sold 5, 10, or 20,000 copies. If you haven’t it looks like you can’t sell books. Regarding how much exposure you already have for the book(s) should determine what you should say to agents about the self-publishing history. Again, a case-specific question. Sorry to throw these generalities at you, but hopefully it helps some. Mark

  132. Lynn Orloff /

    ~Sorry there Mark, I’ve been out of touch
    I have a pinched nerve and it hurts quite a bunch
    A late Merry Christmas to you and your wife
    And may the New Year be especially nice!!~ :)

    I’ll leave a question if you don’t mind…

  133. Elizabeth Welles /

    After you have sent your manuscript to an agent who requested it, how long will it be before you receive a reply from them? Or how long do you wait before you can email them to see if they have read it? Do you wait a month or two or three? And how would you inquire, just a polite inquiry that they got it and are enjoying it and you’re checking in? Or if they’re not interested, do you never hear from them again? Just wondering how to take the guessing game out of it. Thanks Mark!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Elizabeth, great question… check this out but add a little time for the holidays: That will help you with the response times. When it comes to what to say and how to say it, that depends… something I only talk about with my 1-on-1 coaching clients based on their unique situation. But, in general, just be polite. It’s more complex when you have a little leverage, you can “push” a little harder, and differently, but I’ll explain what that means and how to do that if we end up working more together. Good luck and do let me know if you get some good news. Mark

  134. Sabrena /

    So, after a brief talk with Mark, I sat stiff for 3 hours working on my query as I was determined to get it down to one solid page. Finally, mission accomplished. Thanks Mark for the inspiration. :)

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Sabrena, just saw this in my comments after I emailed you a private message. Too funny. If people knew everything you’d done to get to this point, they’d say that YOU are the inspiration. But I do appreciate the love. Mark 😉

  135. Dear Mark,

    I am looking for an agent-editor for the US and Canadian markets.
    I am doing books for kids based on wild animals pictures.
    Can you please assist me ?

  136. I want to use the story from someones song (I know this sounds crazy to use a song) as a movie idea to send forth to produces. How do I go about getting permission to use there work and not get caught in a legal battle.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Adam, it doesn’t sound crazy. You’re not going to like my answer though… which is… it depends. There are a lot of variables. It would be wise to try and get permission and/or talk to a lawyer. I might be able to help you if you schedule an introductory coaching call with me, but don’t make that the primary reason you sign up. Here’s a link with more info: Just make sure you figure something out before you do too much. I have a client who wrote a whole novel based on something else in the market that’s already successful. She had to trash it in the end. Mark

  137. kristen Brakeman /

    I am peddling a NF manuscript. In the meantime I remembered that I have this picture book I gave up on 8 years ago. If I Self-Pub the pic book, does that qualify as my “debut” – I’ve heard agents like the debut author tag and don’t want to jeopardize losing that.

    Am I over analyzing?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Not over analyzing. Good thought. Depends on how much exposure you got for the first book. And it’s a different genre so it’s less important. But it probably isn’t going to be a big deal. Mark

  138. Dr Karen Kellock /

    i have a literary discovery that has taken me forty years. it is called MANUAL FOR THE SUPERIOR MAN. it is 300 pages–it is for the general public. do you want to see it? i have it as ebook going up—-would like to send you the ebook so you can see—-it is fully illustrated and that is PART of the artistic discovery. Dr. Karen Kellock


  139. Hello~
    Before all, let me say doing this is really nice of you c:
    My question is about promotion – more specifically, promotion before finding an agent. Would you advise for or against, for example, a writer setting up a website for their novel before it’s even finished and submitted to an agent? If it didn’t include any actual text from it (but rather, i.e., art, behind the scenes info and such), and was meant to build a fanbase and interest, would agents see it as a bad thing?

    Thanks a lot :)

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Aria, thank you for that and today is your lucky day. I have a popular 3-part article sharing everything you need to think about when it comes to author websites. Click here to check it out: Take a look and then let me know what you think. And let me know if you have a follow up question. Happy to help. Mark

      • Thanks, it was a very helpful read!
        I’m still a little bit unsure, though, not to say paranoid. I’m a young author, without a published novel behind me and not yet in any stage of a deal with an agent – I’m just working on the thing, and dreaming big. I want to create a website for myself and the novel, but I’m worried that a future agent I’d contact might dislike me sharing any info about the book publicly before it’s finished and represented by someone, for any reason.
        Should I stop worrying?

  140. Ellie Mitchell /

    I need to know how to get my non-fiction legal denial by a state in America published. I name names, 99 pages of proof, I think it could do justice to the American people to see first hand the price being paid by patriots who stand up to corruption.

    Can someone please let me know how I go about doing this.

  141. Hallo,
    first I want to say thank you for sharing this helpful informations!

    1.) What if I have published a book in Germany and and send a raw english script to a US agency.
    What are the chances, that they find a big publisher?
    Its`s a teen SciFi/Fantays genre (Panem, Slated…).

    2.) Or are my chances much higher, if I send it to the US agency before publishing in germany?
    But then the US agency has all foreign rights, right? And I can`t publish it that easy in germany any more, or?

    Thank you!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Frank, you can do it either way. And you can divide up the rights. You might want to work at it from both ends and then you can make decisions as you go. You never know who’s going to be interested first. Mark

  142. Happy Thanksgiving! I got a lot of positive feedback for my book, but especially my query letter, but so far, no takers, because of workload, and in one case, they just sold a book like mine. Once the holidays are over, I’ll be scheduling a call with you!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Manny, thank you for the holiday wishes. Much appreciated. And I’m glad you’re getting positive feedback on the book and not the query letter. The pitch is much easier to fix than the book itself, in every case. 😉 Looking forward to speaking with you and have a great weekend. Mark

  143. Allison Hodgdon /

    Hi Mark. I sent my query and a sample to the address for newsletters. Oops. I’m heading to the airport and wanted to get that over. I’ll be signing up for the intro call next week. Please advise if you are or aren’t able to get that info that I sent. Thanks in advance. :)

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Allison, well… you are on top of it. I hope you had a good trip and I look forward to speaking with you. Once you sign up for the call at you’ll get an email from me with my author questionnaire. That’s where I’ll ask you to insert all your material, along with your questions of course. And we’ll set up a time to speak. Safe travels and talk soon. Mark

      • Allison Hodgdon /

        The trip was amazing! Thank you. Maid of Honor and I in Manhattan for 6 nights? Can it be any better? Oh wait… I’ve got a story to tell and “things to do.” Better is ALWAYS allowed.

        Thank you for the information, and I too look forward to speaking with you.

  144. Hi, I wrote my first book for children. I am author an illustraor of it. Please, dear M. Malatesta, email me. Thank You.


    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Ina, how can I help? Mark

      • Well, I was talking with publishing agencies from Croatia where I live, so they told me how my work is something between Marilyn Manson, Tim Burton and Harry Potter and if I want to publish it in Croatia I need to change some things which I really dont want to, so they suggest me to try find connection with somebody from America. Searching through internet I found your adress. So, as a very, lets say “just do it” person I decide to write to You as an agent for my book if that is possible.

        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Ina, I’m delighted to know you’re getting interest from publishers. And seeking a literary agent and publisher in the US is a great idea if your book has American or international appeal. I’m no longer an agent as my main focus now is helping author secure agents. Here is a list of all our websites: And here is a link to our page where you can see the three different ways that you can get 1-on-1 support from me to get a literary agent: Mark

  145. I’m writing a short autobiography about how my life has been being a visually impaired person. Being only 24, It’s not that long, and will most likely max out at 20k, I read most agents won’t take short books, but I don’t want to self-publish. What should I do when I’m done? Thank you so much for any help! PS, I love interesting titles. Mine is: Visually Impaired, but Not Blind: my life with a disability and Why it Has Been a Blessing.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Manny, congratulations on getting to this point. Believe it or not I helped another author with a similar title get published with Random House. Learn more here: My advice? Definitely try to get a top agent and publisher. Take advantage of all the fr*ee resources on my websites listed here: And then follow up with me for additional 1-on-1 support. There are three different ways you can do that. Learn more here: I’d love to help you get your story out there. Mark

      • Thank you so much! Is there an email I can reach you at? I’m a member of, and used the 2013 guide to agents. I’m not good at formatting things, so I wrote a short letter, along with my short book, and sent it to a good number of agents via email. I was worried that my story is short, but my old english teacher says length isn’t important if its good.

        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Manny, you can ask me questions here. I’m happy to help. If you want more personal support, including the ability to send me material for review, I have an introductory coaching call that you can learn more about here: Either way, I wish you all the best and want to encourage you to keep writing. You are right that the quality of the story is more important than the length. But length is important as well. Mark

  146. Gerd S Cherney /

    My manuscript “The Prophecy of Rebirth” finished second in selection at a movie company in Florida several years back. Another agent said it was very good, but the timing wasn’t right. Over the years I edited it and worked on a sequel “The Power Brings All Things To Right.” It tells of a young woman’s fate to kill the Son of The Beast. But why her, an ordinary being? Who told her this? It is RELIGIOUS FICTION. I sent it out to 27 such agents, with 2 not interested. Any suggestions?

  147. Mark, there is so much info on formatting “out there”, but it all deals with paper submissions. However, when an agency says to stick a chapter or two, or x pages into the query-email itself, are there guidelines for “standard” formatting. In particular, does it make sense to double-space email? Of course, the best thing email does it get rid of the “font nerves” since readers can [re]format it as they please. The biggest concern seems to be labelling of chapters and divisions within them.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Ed, I advise my clients to double-space sample chapters in emails but omit page numbering and page headers since it doesn’t really make sense. And I don’t have big gaps between chapters for the same reason. But everything else stays the same. Mark

      • Ed Qualls /

        Thanks. The problem I’ve run up against is that gmail’s editor has no mechanism for double-spacing text, and double-spaced text cut-and-pasted into the message loses that setting. Oddly, text set at 1.5 lines retains that, unless you do something that smacks of editing it within gmail. (Some lit-ag’s have switched to online form-submission that permits attachment of real dox, so that avoids the problem.)

  148. Martina /

    Hello Mark. Im author of book “I will die from happeniess”. Im not from America or any english speaking country and some of agents have a problem with it. I think, that Im not wrong and that my book can bring to people possitive feedback. Your audio is really amazing but It cant help me. Could you hepl me? Our team know, that book can be bestseller everywhere :)

  149. Sallie Kirchhoff /

    Hi Mark,
    Your EXTREMELY helpful website says that agents are so inundated with query letters from authors that they often toss a query letter at the 1st red flag. The example you gave of a red flag was, “there are no other books out there like my book.” Could you give several more examples of red flags so I don’t do any of them? Sounds like if agents can make it to the end of my letter without hitting a red flag, they might be interested in my book. Thank you! Sallie

  150. After almost 3+ months of editing (what took a month and a half to write), I got the word count on my historical novel down from 184k to 163k. But I simply can’t reduce it more without destroying the cohesion and details of the main character’s life. It won’t split in two.
    Any advice about how to handle this in presenting it to a lit ag?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Ed, the only thing you can do then is not mention the word count when you send the query. Then they’ll hopefully get hooked by your story and writing and perhaps be willing to shop a very long book. Or help you figure out how to divide it into two. Mark

  151. ssteven genack /

    In the query how do you get a automatic hook

  152. steven genack /

    Are there any agents or publishing houses I can query for a book of axioms and quotes

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Steven, I don’t recommend specific agents or publishers but I recommend you use my Literary Agents Directory at and look at AAR agents listed as being interested in General Nonfiction, Gift, Novelty, Reference, etc. There are quite a few genres that apply. Just not, unfortunately, a clear category for axioms and quotes. Mark

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Steven, ask me something specific about pitching your book and I might be able to point you in the right direction. Happy to help if I can. Mark

  153. Maureen Shea /

    Mark, I would like to know how to copyright a book, and can you make changes to the book after the copyright is issued?

    Thanks, Maureen

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Maureen, strange… you’re the second person to ask me almost the same question in just a few days. Here’s what I told her… I avoid all questions that even come close to sounding like me giving legal advice. But here’s what I can say. I believe that you can update your copyright for any work as often as you like. And the best source of information for copyright info is Hope this helps or at least gets you going in the right direction. Mark

  154. Patricia Harlow /

    Hello, Mark.
    I’ve been watching you, and you seem like a straight-shooter, so yes, I’d like to tie you up for a bit. My work has been copyrighted, but never published. Now that I can wipe the sweat from my brow and sew up the open veins, I would like to go back and embellish a little, here and there. Just how much of that can I do without jeopardizing copyright security?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Patricia, I avoid all questions that even come close to sounding like me giving legal advice. But here’s what I can say. I believe that you can update your copyright for any work as often as you like. And the best source of information for copyright info is Sorry to be so vague but this isn’t my strength. Ask me about the best way to pitch your book and you’ll find me more useful. 😉 Mark

  155. Sallie Kirchhoff /

    Hi Mark,
    Could you please give a brief overview of what the climate is like in middle grade fiction? Pouring over the internet did not help me find a general description of the market, what’s hot and what’s not. Is every-day-life fiction selling? Also what – in general – are the rules for middle grade? Like no head popping … or protagonist must be 12 years old … or parents in story have to be watching their kids all the time … or ?? Thank you! Sallie

  156. Kev Horgan /

    Hi Mark
    I’m a published journalist, but unpublished in the book world. Recently, while researching for a story, I came across a source who would like me to write his biography.
    I wrote the article, and I have started my process of interviewing and recording his story, but I would like to have an agent as soon as possible.
    In your opinion, would I have a chance of securing representation with a great query and limited manuscript sample? Or should I wait until the book is complete?

  157. David Callinan /

    I’m a multi genre published author (thrillers, YA fantasy, off-the-wall horror), but that was some time ago. I decided to self-publish (own website, 2 Twitter accounts, 2 blogs, mailing lists of Goodreads friends, bloggers/reviewers. My self-published books sold well – to begin with – then despite being good books, despite KDP Select and promotion, sales nosedived. Now agents are interested in a new book. Will they care about current poor sales? Unless I’ve sold 5/10,000 will they be interested?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi David, it depends. Every situation is different. All I can say with certainty is that any previous success or “failure” will be a consideration. Sounds like you already have agents interested, however, so that’s a good start. Feel fr*ee to post a follow-up question for me here or schedule an introductory coaching call. You can learn more about that here: Either way, I look forward to learning more about you and your work. Mark

  158. Thanks for this great opportunity, this is helpful.
    I’m writing a book about five superheroes and when I came up with the idea, I decided to create a children’s book first, because I needed to register my idea. When finished, it came out as a comic book.
    Now I’m up to ninety thousand words in my first book and I never put effort into publishing my comic book because I was hoping to finish my trilogy.
    Author house offered to help marketing my comic book. I’m not going to lie to you, if I get it out there (the comic book), I’ll be happy but… they are asking for money.
    What do you think about this? They say I can cancel the agreement any time but I still have my doubts about it.
    I want to get my books published! Can you coach me?

  159. Sam Midigo /

    Dear Mark,

    Thanks for all the help on this site. Although I’m yet to reap the benefits of your special services you’ve engaged my interest by writing on book publication. The trend for free this and free that is fast catching on with heavy online traffic. It’s hard to know who’s genuine in the publishing industry. If I had a choice from the myriad sites offering similar services, I’d settle on this site. I’ve two contracts in my keeping one for e-book the other for hard copy pushing pay upfront.
    Does your offer to review the first 50 pages of a book manuscript and comment for free still stand? Sounds a better deal than any I’ve had in the market.
    Please kindly explain your terms and conditions and if the offer quoted for reading and commenting on
    the book manuscript is real. I’d have my manuscript emailed to you in three working days of receiving your go ahead.

    Sam Midigo

  160. Hailey M /

    I was wondering if I could publish a book at 13? Do you think book agents consider books written by 13 year olds? I really hope so because I’m currently writing a book and when I finish I’d like to have it published.

  161. Anthony Allen Meadows /

    Should you target multiple age groups as well as genders in one book?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Anthony, most stories will appeal more/most to a limited audience… although no author likes to hear it. That said, you can certainly write a story that will appeal to both genders and a very wide age range. Just look at Harry Potter. One of the best examples. I can give you a better idea about this as it relates to your work if/when we talk and I’ve had time to review it. Have a great weekend and hope to see you again soon. Mark

  162. Howard Brown /

    Thanks Mark for the reply, but I was hoping that you knew, or had heard something about the London based publisher AUSTIN MACAULEY. I became concerned when I read the scathing review by THE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING
    I had emailed them my synopsis, and they then requested three sample
    chapters and I emailed that to them also. Then they sent me a letter
    requesting me to send them the completed manuscript. There has been no
    mention of money yet.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Howard, I know enough to tell you that, if they offer you a contract, it will probably be one that requires you to pay… unfortunately. Mark

  163. Joanne Tranquille Ferrari /

    I appreciate all the information you send. I’d appreciate it very much if you could look over a fantasy short story. It is the first one of my Musicland Series. The name is “The Seven Little Notes” All the stories have musical compositions. Story very different, has 1,655 words. I’ve looked for an agent who’d represent me,& poss. show Disney Studios. Thank you

    Joanne Tranquille Ferrari

  164. Allison Hodgdon /

    Great feedback! I’m heading to NYC for a girls getaway. I’ll throw together a chapter or 2 for you to take a look at. Might as well start NOW! Which is the closest big airport to your location. I’ll hop a plane and come talk to you over coffee or lunch after you’ve read a sample of how I write. I’d rather pitch LIVE and in person. 😉

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Alison, enjoy your getaway and I hope to “see” you soon. Although you should know that I only do introductory coaching calls by phone (or Skype if someone is out of the country). I’ll explain why if/when we talk. Funny story actually. At least I can laugh about it now. But I promise, even if you talk to me by phone, you’ll feel like we’re in the same room. I love what I do, even more so when the person I’m talking to is passionate about their work and committed to doing all they can to take it to the next level and/or get it out there. Oh, if we end up doing more together after our first call, I’d be delighted to meet you in person. I’ve met many of my local clients and those who’ve been passing through the area or flown in just to meet. Enjoy your weekend and talk soon I hope. Mark

      • Allison /

        I am going to speak with you when I’m back from NYC. I’ve spent the last few days thinking about the title and coming up with variations. :) Easy to do when I’m working on the ramp at the airport.

        My plan is to start this book on the flight over. It’ll be my New Years resolution to finish it in 2015.

        When I call I’ll be looking for an email address to send what I’ve started for feedback. What FUN!

  165. Keith Wayne McCoy /

    Thanks for replying, Mark!

    I am considering your coaching session but for me as an author who has already published with a house and been reviewed by Publishers Weekly, would I be helped? My publisher won’t let me out of my contract so getting an agent would be moot, not to mention drawn out for years possibly. For my particular situation, what do I need to do to leverage sales with the glowing PW review? No agent seems interested in an already published novel. Thanks, Keith

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Keith, I’ve never met an author I couldn’t help during the initial hour… although that might be all we should do. Won’t know until we talk, if we talk. You might be able to get out of your current deal, but not realize it. So that’s a possibility. But we can spend most of our time talking about how to leverage your current success. Either way, I’m happy to help if it feels like a good fit to you. Have a great weekend and let me know. Mark

      • Keith McCoy /

        Great! Thanks, Mark!

        “Leverage your current success” is definitely what I would place highest priority on. Thanks for offering – you have no idea how encouraging the prospect of help would be at this crucial time in my novel’s life! Not that you are interested but I have property taxes right now so finances are nil. Will I ruin potential success by waiting until I have the full amount? I anxiously want your input if not full instructions, I am so lost and nervous.I look forward to response

        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Keith, not all so don’t stress that. The strategies we’ll be talking about can be applied as easily next month as this month. So enjoy your weekend and simply follow up with me when you’re able. Mark

  166. Howard Brown /

    Hi Mark,
    This is Howard Brown from ICE-FIRE CORPORATION.
    My manuscript DEALERS OF THE MACABRE has been accepted by the London
    based publisher AUSTIN MACAULEY PUBLISHERS LTD. My question to you Mark, is what do you know of their reputation? And are you familiar
    with their business policies? Do you know or not if they are a fake internet vanity press scam company?

  167. Stirling Buenger /

    I’ve finished a Russian Grammar book called Daily Russian: An Innovative Russian Course, which is a unique grammar course that can act as a personal tutor. The book is structured on a daily learning method that would be the only of its kind. The only problem is I’m a student at Samford University, completing my undergrad and I’m worried the book won’t be taken seriously because I don’t have a Phd or degree in Education or Russian. Is this a problem?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Stirling, the easiest way to overcome an obstacle like that is to get other people, with more credibility, to support your project with testimonials and/or a foreword to the book. Mark

  168. Allison Hodgdon /

    It’s coming up on 10 yrs since Tom crossed over to the other side. The motorcycle accident was brutal. During 2.5 yrs of being in a coma I kept a handwritten journal thinking if he came out of it he would read it. He never came out of it. :( I haven’t started writing this, but I will shortly. It’s very much like a Sparks novel. Tom was “stolen” from me on that day February 20, 2003. He didn’t cross over until May 9, 2005. Words of advice are appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Allison, sorry about your loss. Perhaps I can help. But you’ll need to tell me exactly what kind of advice you’re looking for, so I can point you in the right direction. Warm wishes, Mark.

      • Allison Hodgdon /

        The loss is called “life.” Do I write it 1st before starting the process of looking for an editor? Or do I spend a brief amount of time getting that “editor” relationship established prior? This is a very personal love story that started at Indian Motorcycle Co. It was an incredible journey but cut short way too early…

        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Allison, there is no right or wrong way to go about it; however, as with everything else in life, it’s better to get help sooner rather than later (if you’re able) so you can have more insight and make more educated decisions going forward. That way you’re less likely to waste time and/or go in the wrong direction. And the book will be as good as it can be. You might want to talk to me about your project before you talk to editors, and I can help you figure out the type of editor and/or ghostwriter you might benefit the most from as well. Mark

  169. Howard Brown /

    Hi Mark,
    This is Howard Brown from ICE-FIRE CORPORATION.
    I am an unpublished and unknown author. I am gracefully requesting your professional assistance

    in helping me find a publisher and or literary agent. The work is titled, DEALERS OF THE MACABRE. It is in the non-fiction genre category. It is based on actual true life events. However, it is a mix of genres because it has been slightly changed, to protect the identities of the participants that still may be alive. This book is original


    I’ve read absolutely everything you have on the synopsis and I could find nothing on the spacing for a one-page synopsis. You only mention double-spacing the longer ones. However, my long-standing understanding is that if it is a one-pager, you single-space. Do you agree or disagree?

  171. Raygren /

    There are very few agents in my neck of the woods (BC, Canada), would a literary agent that isn’t nearby or possibly not in the same country (perhaps in the US) still be interested in representing me?

  172. Selwyn Tait /

    Hi Mark,
    I’ve written 63,000 words of my first Action Terrorist Fiction Genre book and started researching ways of finding an agent and getting it published when finished. I was fortunate enough to find your audio and also started reading your sites. Thank you very much for all the valuable information I found.
    Please could you advise me on how to copyright my book once it is finished & if it is necessary. Would 80,000 words be sufficient for a first book?
    South Africa

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Selwyn, I’m glad you’re making progress with your writing and finding my websites valuable. Regarding your questions, 80,000 words is a great length. And, regarding copyright, take a look at this: Mark

      • Selwyn Tait /

        Hi Mark,
        Thanks again for answering my questions and for your mail today regarding the new search button.
        I’m really impressed at the quick response!

        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Selwyn, I wasn’t always this fast! Last week I decided to start responding daily to comments/questions to better serve everyone and not get behind. 😉 Mark


    Since I sent a message in the wrong contact box from another page, am re-sending this.

    In a Query letter you said to either write the title of your book in CAPS or italicize, it was up to us. However, if doing that, do you do it every time your title is mentioned in a query letter, or just the first time.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Janis, I try to be consistent. General rule for me is that if I use the title a lot in a query, I use italics (less distracting than ALL CAPS). Make sense? Mark

  174. ronald savage /

    I had a question, When writing a book bio book about your life, can you put the real names of people in the book that you are speaking about, when talking about that’s that happened to you, or places you worked, and what any one person may have done to you.

    Thank You
    Ronald Savage

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Ronald, you’ll need your agent or publisher to answer that one. But, my suggestion to authors is to always write the best book you can. Agents and publishers will have different opinions about what they’ll want you to include, or not. It’s a grey area. So it’s best to write the best book, and then be slow to make changes. Better to only make changes for someone who is offering to represent you or give you a book deal. Mark

      • ronald savage /

        I like that, and I get the point, very well taken. I am looking for an Agent, I don’t have one yet. My Book is independently published, The book is called Impulse, Urges and Fantasy’s, It’s biography, the book is on Amazon, and Barns & Noble. I live in New York City. I been looking on the internet for an agent, but no luck yet. I also am the founder of the New York State College Fair Day.Do you have any ideas of who I can contact for a biography with a hip hop feel to the book (Story)

  175. Hi;
    I wrote a historical book based on my experiences and others on events during and after WWII in Central Europe.
    Since English is my forth languge I need a good literary adgent/editor to make my story easily understood, well structured, an easy read for wide distribution. Also, my manuscript contains a lot of historical evens which were purposly hidden from the public. “Truth hurts”. Therfore, I need to use a pen name and cannot actively participate in marketing it.
    Where do I find her/him?

  176. Anna Lavatelli /

    I’m an italian children’s writer and I’m interested in finding an American literary agent for my books. I would like to start submitting new stories for little children, aged from 4 to 7. I have prepared my first story in English, with the help of an American translator. An Italian illustrator prepared the storyboard. Now I would like to submit my work to the right literary agent, someone who is specialized in children’s literature (specially for kids). Any clue?

  177. Jacob Drollinger /

    Hey, I am a big fan.
    My question is very short and simple. When an agent says, “If you haven’t received a response within 30, 60, 90 days,” or what have you, to be sure that they’ve passed on your manuscript, does that actually mean that it might take that long to review a proposal? Or has it already hit the slush pile?

  178. wladyslaw Zdanowicz /

    Mr. Malesta
    My problem is quite different than the others, and maybe so but it seems to me. Well, I am the author of books about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the fact that I am not from the area by the English and frankly my level of knowledge of the language is more than a bad (now also using an interpreter Google), so it makes no sense to save the consultative talks yours. On the other hand, I would like to appear on the English-language market, because like any author, I think I write interesting and very accessibly. So I have a specific question, as should follow the author having trouble communicating in a foreign language. I would add that I translated my own money part of his book into English and I placed on Amazon, where it won 19 of the highest ratings, but my desire is to make contact with a real literary agent and signing a contract with a publishing house in the US. Best regards and I am very curious what you propose to me.
    Wladyslaw Zdanowicz

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Wladyslaw, I’m not sure what your question is. If you’re asking whether you can get an agent and publisher in the US for a book that is partly translated, the answer is yes. As long as your book pitch materials, including chapter summaries and sample chapters, are in English, and there is a market for the book in the US, you’ll be fine. Mark


    This is absolutely the BEST website! I don’t know why I never discovered it before. Thanks so much! I’m a published author of 3 nonfiction books and am looking for an agent for my debut novel. Really appreciated your lists of agents.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Janis, well aren’t you wonderful. Thank you for making me day. It’s official. And that’s saying a lot because I’ve had a pretty good day already. I’m glad your enjoying our websites. Let me know if I can help with anything. And have a great weekend. Mark

  180. Fred Roe /

    I have 2 published books by different publishers. Will an agent take on an already published book? If so, do you know of an agent who will take on Christian oriented historical fiction and adventure?

  181. Clay Westfall /

    Mr. Malatesta, Thank you for this generous opportunity. How can I find out if I have any talent, or if I am just pumping a dry well? I would happy to mail books to anyone who might be able to help me with this. Should I just keep sending transcripts to anyone who shows interest? I like to write, and the people I give free books to seem to like them, but that doesn’t mean they would buy them. I have ideas for like ten books in my head right now! Thank you, Clay Westfall

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Clay, you’re welcome and I appreciate your graciousness and enthusiasm. To answer your question, there are only two ways to find out. First is the method you recommended. Pitching people. But they won’t read it unless you have a good pitch. And, if you’re like most authors, your book is better than your pitch. So you might want to team up with someone such as myself to make sure you’re doing everything well. You can post another question for me here or sign up for an introductory coaching call that you can learn about here: Either way, I’m happy to help. Mark

  182. vicki zell /

    I love writing mystery/thrillers and know I am up against some of the greats in my genre, like, King, Koontz, and Patterson, just to name a very select few. So honestly, after of course you have read at least some of my writings, would you say the chance is I could obtain an audience of readers?

  183. Keith Wayne McCoy /

    My debut novel “The Travelers” received a glowing review from Publishers Weekly on September 15 but I have no agent and a small, exclusively electronic house. Film scouts are contacting me but are reluctant without an agent. Where do I turn? I am overwhelmed. I don’t want to lose this “break”. What do I do? Who do I contact?


    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Keith, congratulations. You should sign up for an introductory coaching call with me, to talk about your options and start positioning yourself to get an agent. You can learn more here: You shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting an agent. The trick will be getting enough of the right agents interested so you can, hopefully, choose the one that’s the best fit for you and your book. Mark

  184. Hi Mark,
    A few agents requested my manuscript in September and I sent it to them. But a couple of weeks later I realized I needed to do another draft. Should I let them know ASAP or should I wait until either I’m done and ready to send the new version or receive their response?
    btw, I feel confident that this revision could be the difference between an offer or not, since it totally changes where the novel begins.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Josh, at this point I’d wait and see what happens first. Do you finish the rewrite first? Or, do the agents finish reaching your book and respond? If you get the rewrite done first, email them to follow up and let them know. Otherwise, I’d let them know when they get back to you… whether or not the responses are acceptances or rejections. Mark

  185. When agents say they accept general nonfiction, does that include journals. If not are journals especially difficult to publish?

    Sincerely yours and thanks.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Jawad, the only journals that are usually of interest to publishers are those written by people who are already famous or well-known. If you want to increase your odds of getting your writing in journals published, consider using the content there to create a memoir, novel, or narrative nonfiction book. You can learn more about book genres here: And feel fr*ee to post a follow-up question here for me. I’m happy to help. Mark

  186. Hi, Mark! First, congrats with new site. Looks great! Secondly, damn how long I haven’t been here. Hope you’re good! Since my publisher broke and I have my book rights back, I’ll need to self-publish. But! I want to try to submit my book to an agent. So, I have a question for ya. Do I have to tell the agent in a query that my book was in Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers list for 4 times in US and UK? Will it make an agent to think hard before rejecting?
    Thank you,

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Yury, good hearing from you… although I’m sorry to hear about your publisher situation. Regarding your question, if you volunteer that information to agents… they’ll immediately ask you how many copies you’ve sold. That’s the only number that matters. Some “Amazon Bestsellers” have only sold 100 copies, and agents know that. But don’t let that stop you from remaining confident in your work and doing all you can to get a top agent, publisher, and book deal. Mark

  187. Juanita Aydlette /

    Hi Mark.
    My book is scheduled for publication as an e-book in March and a print book in May of 2015. I want to start promoting it now, to keep it on reader’s minds up until the date it’s published. I can only use the first 10% of my story’s content for promotional purposes. Where are the best additional sights to gain the most attention, besides Facebook, YouTube and Twitter? Also, I need info on how to get book reviews.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Juanita, I always cringe when authors ask me about book promotion and author platform on my blog because it’s one of the hardest things to help people with, in limited space, and with limited knowledge. The best promotion is going to be completely dependent on your unique abilities and personality. That’s why I usually steer people toward this article as a starting point: If you haven’t already read it, take a look and then feel fr*ee to post a follow-up question. Regarding book reviews, I don’t have a great resource to recommend in that area. Or a lot of knowledge since most of the people I work with have publishers that do all the heavy living on that front. So I’m afraid you’ll have to turn to Google. Or hope that someone else reading my blog knows something and is willing to chime in. Mark

  188. Barry Geltner /

    I mentioned earlier, before we spoke on the phone, that I had written and self-published a non-religious inspirational novel called “It’s Him.” I was recently thinking about adding more to the story and giving it the first title I had considered for it,
    I would then try again to get a literary agent for a tie with a traditional publisher. Would this change, including a new title, be proper? yOUR advice please.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Barry, I remember. A new title can help if it’s better than the existing one… or if you’ve already queried every agent that might be interested using a different title. When it comes to adding more to the story, that depends. If it makes the story better, yes. If not, no. To some extent the need of the story should dictate the length. Mark

  189. Lissette Hernandez /

    Hello. All of this sounds wonderful. Congratulations to you and Ingrid Mr. Malatesta
    But I have no money and published a book through Trafford. It is a children’s
    book entitled “Even with AUTISM… I can be Anything” it is written through my son’s
    eyes. I have all the rights and wanted to present it to Scholastic. Could you
    help me?
    Thanks, Lissette J. Hernandez

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Lisette, I’m sorry to hear about your experience with Trafford. I suggest you use the information you find here on this website, and this one at, and this one at to improve your pitch and find the best agents… since it doesn’t seem like you’re in a position to sign up for 1-on-1 coaching with me. But feel fr*ee to post additional questions here for things you can’t find answers to on our websites. I’m happy to help. Mark

  190. onalee /

    i know i want my books published so please help me

  191. Hollis Pirkey /

    How can I make my book more marketable?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Hollis, that’s a BIG question so I’m glad you signed up for a coaching call with me. I can answer that one confidently during a 1-hour call, especially since I’ll be looking at some of your material in advance. See you soon and have a great weekend. Mark

  192. Katie Hutchinson /

    I am in the middle of writing my first book and I have about four chapters done. Before I get any farther I need someone to read the sample of it and tell me if its even worth finishing and if it will get published and sell. If you could help me out that would be great!

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Katie, my recommendation would be that you sign up here for an introductory coaching call: I’ll review your first 50 pages, double-spaced, and give you feedback… but you can also get feedback on everything else listed on the page (you’ll see when you click on the link). You can save a lot of valuable time by doing some of these things now, before you get too far along with the book. Mark

  193. LARRY ADAMS /


    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Larry, this site is mostly focused on authors get literary agents and book deals. If you haven’t already done so, you should subscribe to one or more magazines for poets and writers as a next step. They will have the information you’re looking for. A Google search would also be helpful. Mark

  194. Jennifer Azantian is no longer seeking submissions

  195. Laci Farrell Stapp /

    My name is Laci Stapp and I am 20 years old.
    My family and I have a non profit animal sanctuary with over 60 animals called Benson’s Pals.
    I was diagnosed with an auto immune disease at age 12.
    During my many hospital stays and oncology treatments, I have completed my first children’s book that is titled ‘Take a Bite out of Bullying’. I was wondering if you would offer some advice about how to find a literary agent who would be interested in accepting my book?

  196. ruth beall /

    I self published a book, Mystery Lake about 7yrs ago. The publisher said I hadn’t sold enough books to receive a royalty check. Later the book was listed as out of print. Today I found it listed for sale. I had to contact Amazon about my second book Demon that I own the rights and finally got a check. How do I make sure I am receiving the royalty for those books? Should I have an agent to help me?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Ruth, a literary agent almost definitely isn’t going to help you with that exactly. But, if you get a literary agent to represent one or more of your books, however, they might offer some limited support. All you can really do is contact the publisher and hope they cooperate, or contact a lawyer or auditing company to help you… but it’s not worth it unless you know you’ve sold a lot of books and had money withheld. Mark

  197. Eduard Qualls /

    Would this limitation be less likely to apply if I could make plain that the subject matter has several built-in markets (cultural/societal and international [specifically Germany and Greece]), would generate controversy/interest (pro & con), and has already generated requests for bumper-stickers and t-shirts bearing quotations from the text?

    One of my test-readers said, “You’ve really got something here!”

    • Eduard Qualls /

      Sorry, Mark—this was in reply to your September 24th reply to my reply, and it got shifted to the top of the list.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Ed, without knowing more it’s difficult to diagnose… but I still say that my original advice is your safest bet. Mark

  198. David DeFehr /

    Sir Mark:
    I have written “things” for the past twenty years. I refer to reports on labor negotiations (State Government), sports and on and on. I have completed my first attempt at writing a novel. The majority of my friends/mentors (how about 90%) feel the chances of neophyte me being published via a literary agent range from winning the State Lottery to Pigs Learning to Fly. Suggestions from this well meaning group range from (1) paying $$$ to firms such as SPBRA, Wheatmark and IUniverse, (2) self publishing and (3) teaching a course in typewriter repair. Two of my close friends were “published” but only after paying over 9K with zilch return so far.
    My goal is to publish without paying $$$$$; therefore finding an agent seems the only way to achieve such. By the same token this retiree is not seeking $$$$. Knowing that my work was accepted by the writing and reading community will suffice.
    Question: How naive is the above?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi David, my apologies for the delay… just got back from a nice 13-year wedding anniversary getaway. It is a long shot to get published with a traditional publisher, but why not try? As you know, it’s better to get paid to publish than the other way around. So take advantage of all the resources on this website and my others, listed here: And, of course, if you have questions or want more support, let me know. Don’t start teaching that course in typewriter repair just yet. Mark

  199. Hi, how do I go about protecting my work if I submit a letter to a publisher concerning my work. I mean, how do I keep my story from being ‘taken’? Thank you.

  200. Ed Qualls /

    Is the 200,000 word limit on first novels a hard-and-fast rule, or could one that is highly topical/marketable bend that convention?

    I am within 5 chapters of finishing mine (I mentioned it [the “David” one] secondarily in our valuable! coaching session) and it looks like it will be between 198k and 205k. Do you sense a problem with those numbers? [My test-readers have been enthralled, BTW …]


    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Ed, where did you hear 200,000? It’s actually closer to 100,000. The good news about that is you might have two books done instead of one. The bad news is you have to figure out the most logical place to divide it. Mark

      • Ed Qualls /

        Mark, it was somewhere on, but I can’t find it at the moment. The book will split into two, but not symmetrically–most logically at around 125k for the first half, but I could also see it at around 106k. Either way, the 1st half buyer would have to get the 2nd half to answer plot questions. Would it be wise to approach a lit agent with such a two-book proposal?

        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Ed, that kind of split is okay. And it’s fine to approach agents this way. Better than trying to pitch them a 200,000 word book. However, it’s important that you talk it about it right in the query. Tell them you have two books done, etc. but don’t put much (if any) emphasis on the fact that they’re not standalone titles. Better to talk about that later after they’re, hopefully, hooked by the story and writing. I hope this makes sense. Mark

  201. Don Yarber /

    Mark: Let’s just cut to the chase. I’ll send you a copy of my book, “Evil and Everglades” and you tell me whether it is worthy of being represented by your agency.

    Don Yarber
    Morganfield, KY

  202. How do I get started publishing my manuscript…This is all new to me.

  203. R.K. Younger /

    When my book is completed should I send it to an agent in hard copy form or on a disc?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi R.K., it depends on the agent. Each agent will specify what they want and how they want it. Have you seen my Directory of Literary Agents here: That will help you with your agent search. Have a great weekend and feel fr*ee to post a follow-up question. I’m happy to help. Mark

  204. Reza Sattar /

    Hi Mark!
    This will be my first book. I do not have enough knowledge how this works, about publishing. I got lots of phone calls for “self Publishing” and Amazon also agreed to publish my book .My question is which way will be better.
    1. I do not want loose copy right (I copy right it, in “Canadian Intellectual Property “, as long as I am in Canada).
    2. I want to sale this book as many as possible from as much as possible places (All Book stores like Chapters, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and more …..)
    3. This book is about “International Political Science “, where I indicate directly the world corruption, can I get a law sue? Please explain.

    Thanks; Reza Sattar
    Author / “Seize Noble Foundation “- the Book.

  205. Hi Mark,

    I just read about your query letter critiques service somewhere in these questions. Is it the same thing as that 1 hour skype call? If yes are there any discounts for people like me? 😛

    I’m currently working on editing my first novel and it’s driving me crazy. Can you give me some tips on that? Can I hire services of a good editor online?

    Thanks so much

  206. Hi Mark, I self-published my first novel a year ago and couldn’t be more disappointed. What i really want and need is to find an agent because i believe in my work and with the right agent it can fly!
    Please help, i’m kinda lost as to where to begin searching!

  207. Lindsay Hibbard /

    Hey Mark, I just got my first bite from an agent and could not be more thrilled. It was just hours after sending a revised query you helped me with, thank you so much. My question is:
    Some agents want to know if other agents express interest even if the first agent had rejected it. Should I go back to agents that ask for this, tell them another agent was interested, even though my bite may not pan out?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Lindsay, I couldn’t be more delighted. And thank you for letting me know. You just made my day. Regarding your question, it depends. That’s the type of higher level strategy that I only speak with people about 1-on-1 in a longer-term coaching program. The wording of emails you send agents about requests like that (and other things that will come up) are important (as you know). Sometimes you should share share info, other times not. And when you do, it needs to said just right to keep everyone interested and feeling like they’re you’re number one, even though you’re “playing the field.” If you want to talk about doing more with me so I can help you with this, send me an email. And congrats again. I knew you could do it. Mark

  208. john a. baginski /

    i have a published book,”johnnys angels” i would like an agent to present it to a major movie company.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi John, congratulations on finishing your book. My entire site is dedicated to helping authors get literary agents to help them secure book deals with traditional publishers like Random House, and sometimes, movie or TV deals. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend you listen to the complimentary mp3 featured on my homepage here as a next step: After that, feel fr*ee to post a follow up question here and/or sign up for an intro call with me here: Either way, I’m happy to help. Mark

  209. Anne Davidson /

    I am just wondering how publishing companies expect new authors to afford paying a high price just to get their book looked at. Or when agents you call to talk to say they just cant help you that they dont deal in the types of books you right.For four years I had tried finding a agent but in order to get my book published had to self publish it but cause I am not known my sales are zero. I have people i let read it that loves it. Authors like me need help.

  210. saw-lian cheah /

    Hi Mark,

    I’m planning to put a poem in my memoir. Do I center it in double spacing or align it to the left like the rest of the manuscript in double spacing? Must there be twice the double spacing between the last sentence and the first line of the poem?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Saw-Lian, always good hearing from you… but I’m not the best person to ask questions like this. That said, most agents aren’t going to care about minor formatting issues like that. The story is what counts. As long as your manuscript is double-spaced, Times New Roman font, 12-point… you’ll be fine. Mark

  211. Georgie /

    Hello, here goes my question; I have had some nice responses to my submission and a full manuscript request. I get a similar answer that it’s, funny, well written, but they feel it would be a struggle to find a publisher. Is this a standard friendly brush off or could there be something unpublishable about my story that might be worth changing?

    Thank you!


  212. Tom Karas /

    Hey Mark, I now have contact with my wife, you remember Kathleen, PhD candidate in psychology, therapist extraordinaire, and PTSD survivor who is now housed at the largest women’s prison in California on a crazy white collar plea deal. She is already creating a boat load of descriptions of life ‘inside’ the way only an intellectual with psychological insights could. What is the most efficient way we could enlist a writing partner to help deliver the next version of Orange ITN Black? Thanks TK

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Tom, always good hearing from you. You can about this in two ways. First, you could write a great query letter and/or proposal pitching the project and try to get a literary agent to help you get teamed up with a ghostwriter (the better option, and I’ve helped people do this). The more difficult (and expensive) option would be trying to connect with a writer on your own and get them on board. Either way, they’re going to take part of the proceeds, and something up front. Hope this helps. Mark

  213. Amanda Daul /

    Hello Mark!

    I am wondering if it is a good idea or not to query a novel to agents that is not the first of the series? For example, is it a good idea to query the third book of a series, rather than the first?

    Thank you!


    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Amanda, good question. It depends. Always better to start with the first. But, if you’ve already shopped the first one unsuccessfully, you can try shopping another one. However, how you position that other book would depend on how much it relies on the previous books. Sometimes I’ll try to word a query for my coaching clients in a way that gets agent reading the later title in the series, without immediately revealing that it’s a later title in the series. But sometimes that’s just not possible. Mark

  214. Andrei /

    Hi Mark.

    I have another question to ask you.

    Would you be willing to read my query letter ( you don’t have to read chapters) and point my mistakes in it? I’d appreciated very much.

    Thank you.

  215. Mitch Howell /

    Can I send in my query and get a headstart before my manuscript is complete? Should I wait until data from my focus group is in and the editing is complete on the final chapters?

  216. Norma /

    Hi Mark,
    You were kind enough to e-mail me back and suggested I ask a question. My question is, in a query letter, how do I get an agents attention in eight seconds?


    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Norma, good timing. I talk about that in my new fr*ee multi-part training guide here on my new query letter website ( launched just last night! Let me know what you think and feel fr*ee to post another question after you’ve checked it out. Have a great weekend and I hope to see you again soon. Mark

  217. Treasa Robinson /

    Where can I send my book to be read and then receive an honest opinion about if I stand a chance at being a successful writer or give it up because I suck?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Treasa, it depends. If you live in a city where there are one or more writers’ groups, that would be a good start. Or you can set up a call with me and send me some of your material to review in advance (learn more here: But know this. YOU are the one that needs to decide whether you have what it takes and you’re willing to do what it takes to make it. All anyone can do (including me) is tell you how close you are to making it, and what you need to do next to increase your chances of making it. Okay? It all starts with you wanting it, and believing in yourself. Mark

  218. Andrei /

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for opportunity to ask you a question. And you do sound as a nice guy.

    My question would be how to create a nice query letter which would attract an agent. I did one on my own but not sure it good enough.

    Thanks again and have a great day.

    P.S. Would you be willing to read this letter and judge me?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Andrei, thank you for that and yes… I can help. Good timing on your part, actually. I just launched a brand new website that you can see here, devoted to query letters: Check it out and make sure you click on the Query Letter Critique tab once you get there to see how I can help you improve your query. It’s my specialty. Have a great weekend and let me know what you think about the new site! Mark

  219. Roger Donald /


    Thanks for the information. I’m really interested in working with you.

    I’ve run into a few setbacks, but when I resolve them I’ll contact you.

    I’m impressed with the program you’ve developed. Your skill and experience have opened my eyes to a lot of things.


    Roger Donald

  220. Elizabeth Welles /

    Hi Mark,
    If you are submitting a query or your actual novel to an agent and your novel lends itself to a sequel or even a series, is it best to mention that? (Even if it is not written yet? But ideas are percolating?)
    Many thanks!


    Dear Mark Malatesta: Your messages do sometime keep me connected to you and yours..Hearing about your jury duty was a patriotic chuckle up for a Saturday morning Bank Holiday weekend here in London… Wondered if that jury duty is in NYC or Colorado?

    I am coming over to the States from Sept 24 until Oct 6th and on the off chance that you are hanging out on any of the Big Apple’s ‘core’ streets it would be a pleasure to put a real breathing person in lieu of your photo across a cup of coffee or a drink..they do ‘Manhattans’ there?. Let me know if your exciting journeys with Ingrid zip you through Manhattan at the same time as moi!
    Suzy Arthur
    Jake And Kids Entertainment

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Suzy, glad to hear it. Jury duty was in Colorado where we spend most of our time right now. But the good news is that you can always connect with me here, from anywhere. Have a great weekend and hope to see you again soon. I appreciate the positive energy! Mark

  222. Denise Hall /

    What do you like to see in a query that gets your attention immediately ?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Denise, great question and I’m happy to say that I just launched (yesterday) a website devoted to how to write a query letter here at …and it talks about how to write the best agent query hook! Let me know what you think. Mark

  223. Janae Stubbs /

    Is there a right way in a query to mention auxiliary media ideas that could accompany a children’s picture book? (A website with games and fun facts about the animal protagonist, a lullaby cd with a bedtime book, etc.) These extras could make the books so much MORE for the children and their parents. And do I need to have those extras created in their entirety before I query or do publishers take that on? Am I crazy?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Janae, you’re not crazy… but smart to be thinking about these things. However, it’s best not to mention any of it in most cases unless you’re already started producing it and selling it. Instead, focus more energy on communicating the value of your book, and your ability to help promote it. Check out my our new website, launched yesterday, devoted exclusively to query letters here: And have a great weekend! Mark

  224. Cleo Beckwé /

    Dear Mark,

    sorry to bother you but I’ve had this question for quite a while and only recently found this site. I’ve been writing as a hobby for over two years now and have placed some of my stories online, where they’ve become quite popular.

    Now I want to give it a shot and publish them but there’s one small catch; I’m from Belgium and have written my stories in English. None of the publishers here want an English book and I wondered if its possible to publish my book in The UK or USA?


  225. Rahul Abhyankar /

    Hey Mark,
    Here’s the trailer of my upcoming Wattpad story “Perception”. Let me know what you think of it :)

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Rahul, nice. It’s great that you’re doing out-of-the-box things to promote yourself and get the word out. I did check it out. 😉 Keep doing what you’re doing, and have a great day. Mark

  226. Higinio J. Vazquez /

    Dear Mark:
    I wrote a good book and I have been searching for a literary agent but I have not been able to find one. I have the Spanish version at Amazon/Kindle and
    The English version I still have it for some honest person that would like to help me and be my partner with the royalties,
    Please, if it is possible try to help me.
    Thank you, Higinio J. Vazquez

  227. Denise Buckley /

    I would like an agent, but would that mean I would have
    pressure to travel for ook signings etc.?

  228. Chris Nance /

    Whoops! *copyright* Anyways, that’s pretty much what I thought too. Thanks.

  229. Chris Nance /

    Mark, I am an unpublished author of a completed science fiction manuscript. I am currently looking for an agent but should I copywrite my novel before going any further?

    • Jack Parker /

      Hi Chris. I don’t work for this site. I’m also an “unpublished author.” According to the U.S. copyright site, “Copyright exists from the moment the work is created,” and it lasts for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years. So, you don’t need to officially copyright your work. If you’re concerned that agents or editors will steal your work, they have no motive to do so. If an agent were to be found as someone who stole writers’ work, they’d never work in the industry again.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Chris, sorry I’m slow responding… been on vacation. When it comes to questions like this (with legal implications), I always advise people to start by doing smart searches online… and then, if needed, consult with a lawyer. Although copyright is somewhat overrated, it’s still a good idea to do it. If you’re in the United States and you Google “copyright us gov” you’ll find more info on how to do it. It’s not difficult. Good luck! Mark

  230. Jack Parker /

    P.S. My genre is Middle Grade adventure. I’ve been reading your posts about marketing, so I now have the basics of my questions answered. Still wondering about specifics. Should I brand? How do I gear my internet presence/content towards MG readers? Also, and I’m not sure how to phrase this question, but, should I consider working merchandising opportunities into my novel? My goal is to make a living from my writing so I want to learn every avenue for making that happen.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Jack, just to be safe… if you’re not sure, click here to make sure you’re writing middle grade: Yes, that’s another one of my websites. 😉 It can’t hurt to think about merchandising now, and try to integrate it into your novel. I know authors who’ve done it. Just makes sure the story comes first, of course. You’re wise to be thinking this way… focusing early now on the big picture… not just the book. Mark

      • Jack Parker /

        Jenkies! How many hours are in your day? A handful of websites with generous, non-generic information, all freely given. Personal responses to every comment, coaching, not to mention everything we don’t know about. I’m sure the list goes on but I’ve only got 500 characters! (Wise move.)

        I’m definitely in the upper middle grade fiction category. No doubts. I love the writing quotes website. Our predecessors were altogether wise, humorous, snarky and pretentious. Sounds about right.

        • Mark Malatesta

          Ha ha ha. I love it. And now I just launch my new query letter site that I told you about in a previous comment. Too funny. And yes, I’m glad you appreciate my comment length limiter. That’s an absolute necessity here. I had people posting their query letters and excerpts from their books on my websites. Um, I have time to answer questions. But I certainly don’t have time to read everything else unless they pay for a coaching session. Glad you like the writing quotes website, too. It’s one of my favorites. I look at it every day, probably more than most of the people who subscribe to my list! Mark

  231. Logan B. England /

    Hello, Mark. I am a new author with only one amazon-published book, War in the Afterlife. I own the copyrights and have selfedited the book, but need help getting it onto shelves/finding a real agent. I only ask for a little feed back. Maybe someone you know or would recommend I talk to? If possible, I think it would have a HUGE audience but I lack the knowledge of who to talk to or what to do and yes I have read over your 15 steps. If you can help me Id be really grateful. Thanks for your time

  232. Jack Parker /

    I’m a new, unpublished writer of novels with absolutely no internet presence. Advice on whether or not I need to begin building a platform now varies wildly, depending who you ask. Should I begin a blog? Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Why or why not? I want to go about this the right way but don’t know what, or who, to listen to. If I should blog, should I include excerpts of my novel? What are the dos and don’ts? If I publish with a pseudonym, should my blog also be pseudonymous?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Jack, welcome to my site. I got back from a long vacation to Sweden recently and I’ve been catching up since then. So I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you. Author platform is one of hardest things to “diagnose” without getting to know someone better first. But, I have this article that should help: And this one about author websites: If you’re using a pseudonym, that’s going to be tricky. Hard for people to find you if you’re trying to remain anonymous. But you could set things up so people find your content and follow you based on that. Mark

      • Jack Parker /

        One should never apologize for spending time in Sweden. It’s a rule.

        I read the articles you posted already. They’re definitely helpful. I completely understand how difficult it would be to give advice in this area without knowing someone better, first. As soon as I have a business plan, my objectives and some content to share with you, I plan to schedule an intro call. Anything else you’d like me to bring to the table for this call?

        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Jack, thank you for that. Sweden was fantastic. Been working tirelessly since we got back. Now that football season is starting, however, I’ll be taking time for my Denver Bronco games. And I’m taking today off to take my wife to Vail for a little shop and a nice dinner. Then it’s back to work. Regarding our first call together, you’re ready. The only thing I’ll need from you is for you to fill out my detailed author questionnaire after you register. That way I’ll know a lot more about you before we get on the phone. Let’s me be more helpful during the call. Have a good weekend and see you soon. Mark

  233. Sabrena Robinson /

    Mark, What affect does e-books have on traditional publishing? I’ve noticed that a lot of authors are e-publishing without traditional publishers. I’ve even met a few in my writer’s group. I’m just curious as to how, if at all, it’s affecting traditional publishing. Is it changing the industry? Affecting deals that agents make for authors? Something I read made me think of this

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Sabrena, good hearing from you. The impact is the same whether self-publishing in print or online. If you’re seeking a traditional publisher and you’ve self-published, it’s a negative unless you’ve sold a lot of copies… giving the impression that you can help them sell books and that there’s a market for your work. On the flip side, they might worry that you’ve already saturated the market if you’ve sold a lot of books. The only way self-publishing (ebooks in particular that are less expensive to produce) has changed the publishing industry is that more authors are now trying their hand at self-publishing first to see if they can get lucky and make it work, before trying to get a traditional publisher. Or they’re trying it after they’ve been unsuccessful trying to get a traditional publisher. But traditional publishers and still doing their thing, and they’ll continue to do so. They simply end up, most of the time, publishing the best of the best. And, everyone once in a while, someone really good self-publishes and has great success as well. But my view is always, why pay to publish when someone else will pay for you to publish? If you can do it that way, it’s better 99% of the time. The other 1%? When you’re a die-hard marketer who has the passion and skill and experience to market as well as you write. 😉 Mark

      • Sabrena Robinson /

        Hi Mark,

        Thanks for your reply. I definitely want a traditional publisher. I guess traditional publishers do e-publishing. So many are reading books that way now. Either side of publishing seems to be a lot of work. :)


        • Mark Malatesta

          Hi Sabrena, yes… everything in life that’s worth anything seems to be lots of work. But it’s absolutely worth it. Here’s to making it happen. 😉 Mark

  234. Alison /

    Hi! I joined today and I wanted to schedule a time for the coaching session but I can’t find the online calendar. Can you help me please?
    Thank you

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Alison, did you get the information yesterday. It doesn’t go out immediately, but usually within a few hours. Please let me know. Mark

      • Alison /

        Thanks Mark, it arrived yesterday. I appreciate your quick response. Looking forward to our chat

  235. M Bhojwani /

    Hi Mark,
    I have a quick question and can’t seem to find info online. If one is going down the self publishing route in Australia, for a novel under a pseudonym, what are the guidelines around Copyright? They will publishing it as an e book and a print on demand, how do they protect their Copyright?

    Any advice you can offer would be awesome.
    Thank you

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Malti, for all questions like this (with legal implications, especially when other countries or international law are involved), I always advise people to start by doing smart searches online… and then, if needed, consulting with a lawyer. And, although copyright is often overrated and offers limited protections, it’s still a good idea to do it. Sorry I can’t offer more detailed support in this area, but every situation is very different. And I steer clear from giving legal advice. Good luck though, and do make sure you share any success stories with us here so we can help you celebrate. Mark

  236. Antoinette Bell-Barnes /

    My question is I had a couple of agencies tell me that my book is not long enough. I don’t how to explain to them. That it is a story that flows in short version. The book is about 65 pages. Is that really to short. It is a non-fiction story about a abrusive woman who conquers her abuiser and found Chrisitanity in the midst.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Antoinette, for starters don’t tell them how long it is when you query them. They might need to get hooked and see a sample before learning how long (or short) it is… if you’re going to have a chance of getting it picked up. Mark

  237. jawad dajani /

    Hi, thanks for this awesome site.

    I’m writing a book.(50,000 words) Stream-of-consciousness collection of thoughts.(No story)

    My questions:

    1)How on earth do I find a literary agent that deals with such a book? I’ve checked the internet, Writers and Artists yearbook and come out with nothing.

    2) Are a collection of thoughts(average 500 words) considered essays?

    3) Any advice?


    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Jawad, thanks for letting me know you’re enjoying the site. Regarding your question you’ll, unfortunately, have to do one of two things. Contact lots of agents. Or carefully research all of them. The reason is that it will be very difficult to discover which agents are most likely going to be interested in something like this, because it’s not a “category” that most agents identify as something they’re interested in. Agents interested in New Age; Mind, Body, Sprirt; and many other genres, however, are a step in the right direction… more likely to be interested. But this is still a loose association. And you can call it a collection of essays, short chapters, etc. That doesn’t really matter. Hope this helps. And make sure you take full advantage of the resources on my sites and keep us all posted on your progress. Mark

  238. Dear Mark & co,

    can you share a link with my Amazon Kindle historical novel Winds of Dalmatia, which will be downloadable for free on

    08/092014, 08/16/2014 and 08/22/2014 for anyone interested.

    If you think you can help me promoting my writing, please get in touch via email.

    Thank you,

    kind regards,
    Tanja Tuma

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Tanja, I don’t do that kind of promotion or else I’d be inundated with requests. But I did check out your website and book. Good cover, good description, and good opening to your book. You should be trying to get an agent. I hope you’ll take advantage of all the resources on my websites, and let me know if I can help. Mark

  239. Michael /

    Mark….My question concerns royalty payments and how an author may insure that they are receiving their correct earnings. I have heard many views that all publishers scam royalties….many views they do not….what is your opinion….?….Thank You.

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Michael, most major publishers don’t do this. Many minor ones do. Not most, but enough that it’s a problem. Every situation is different. You might want to consult with someone, like myself or anyone else in the industry who really knows the industry, if you suspect something is amiss with your statements. After that, you might want to work with a royalty review company. You can Google this for more info. Like some lawyers, they will often investigate your case for fr*ee if they they there’s enough money there to be recovered… and, of course, they’ll take a cut. Mark

  240. William Giroir /

    In researching characters for my murder myster thriller, I met a few racist, bigoted African American men and women. Should I use their language, the way they spoke, their stories, their racist and bigoted remarks in my book?

    Should I caution the reader in advance of buying the book that it contains racist remarks made by a few African American men and women about other African Americans and other races?

    Or should I delete their racist views altogether?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi William, you can go either way with this. You have to let the story tell you what it needs. In some cases, doing this would add value and authenticity. In others, it would seem forced and contrived. Cautioning the reader isn’t necessary. It’s more about doing it right if you’re going to do it, and then it will work. I know this is hard to explain and understand via comment, so I hope this is at least somewhat helpful. Mark

  241. Chris Nance /

    I just have a couple of quick questions. About how long after I submit a query letter to an agent should I expect a response and how long should I wait before I assume the email went to the ‘delete’ box? Will an agent give a “not-interested” response or do they just not reply to the query letter email at all(which I think is a little unprofessional by the way)?

  242. Annabelle Collins /

    I am a teenage girl, wondering how to get published. I went to HarperCollins, Random House, and Penguin books, and they all said you need a literary agent. Stupid question, but what is a literary agent? For a young girl on a budget, how much will it cost? I am very curious, and unfortunately in the dark.
    Thanks so much!

  243. Daisy Ward /

    Dear: Mark

    I have no professional writing back ground and no credits to add to it. I am just starting out, writing children’s book and all the other things query letters etc. is all new to me. I want my book publish but I want my book to be right.

    Thanks Mark

    Ms. Daisy Ward

  244. Nancy vaughn /

    Dear Mark, I have a novel based on a very true that been going on for 5 years ,its devastating ,hard to wrap your brain around ,but I know what happened from beginning till now , a happy rescue ending. Everyone begs me to tell the event of this true life reality. Please give me a chance and hear my story. people have lied ,I caught them and so on ….. I’ compelling …you your self will be stunned. I really need an agent Literary. Plese reach out to me . 323-503-0738 my mail is nancylynnvaughc

  245. Susan Bacoyanis /

    Hi Mark,
    Please advice me on what exactly catches the attention of an agent in the first line of the query letter? That quintessential hook that intrigues them to read further.
    Thank you.

  246. Craig Hillgrove /

    Hi Mark,

    I currently have a book on body image that is being looked at by Routledge publishing. However, they mainly specialize in academic text books. Although my book is research based it’s more informal then an academic text book. For example it’s more like Susan Cains best selling research based book Quiet. Although this book will be popular within the academic/university market I am wondering if I would be better off having it published by a publisher that is more mainstream. Thoughts?

    • Mark Malatesta

      Hi Craig, just got back from a long vacation to Sweden… so sorry for the delay. Believe it or not, I had someone in your exact position a couple years ago but she had an offer on the table when she contacted me. I then helped her get an agent. You should absolutely try to get an agent and a major publisher. But move quickly, before Routledge gets back to you. And let me know if you want my help. Mark

      • Craig Hillgrove /

        Thanks Mark. I’ve sent a few queries out to some agents over the weekend so I’ll give it a few days and then contact you for some help if I don’t have any luck.

  247. Emily Shore /

    Do quotes of recommendation from professionals who have read your book go before or after a query’s tagline? My queries are good. I’ve had practice pitch experts, who are Hollywood veterans who’ve looked at my queries at conferences as well as some college profs and think they’re excellent. My queries get attention and bites, but agents say my books just don’t send them over the edge but don’t tell me any reasons why so I have no idea what to fix.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Emily, not sure if you’ve seen this article of mine or not but you might find it helpful: Where to place a quote depends on the quality of the quote, in my opinion, and it depends on what else you have to use as a hook for your query. Sometimes I put them at the beginning, sometimes at the end. It really depends on all you have to work with. Glad to hear your pitch is getting a good response rate, so I guess it doesn’t matter. What you’re doing seems to be working, although I don’t know your response rate. Sounds like the manuscript needs tweaking based on what you’re saying. Get more responses from agents and eventually one or two will give you detailed feedback. Mark

  248. Gordon Osmond /


    I hear tell that book trailers are the coming thing in book peddling. This one was put together about my latest novel. It’s already received a respectable number of hits, but as yet, no offers of film or tv representation.

    I really appreciate your newsletters. They make me feel that I’m in the right loop.

    All the best.


    • Literary Agents

      Hi Gordon, the good news is that your books look interesting. The bad news it that trailers are pretty much useless, although the people who design them won’t tell you that. A good book and a good query are still the most important things when it comes to making it all happen. Thanks for your kind comments as well about my newsletters. It’s much appreciated. Let me know if I can help you in any way. Mark

  249. Collin /

    I have finished my book to my standards. I want to copy write it to protect myself before I send it out to prospective agents. I know there will be more changes to my manuscript before it will go to print. Should I copy write now?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Collin, it’s never too soon!!! You can always submit an updated version later. Just Google “copyright gov” and you’ll find more info about how to go about it. Also, if you haven’t already done so, listen to the complimentary mp3 featured here on my home page at Then set up an intro call with me here if it seems like a good fit: Or you can, as you know, post another question for me here. Either way I’m happy to help. Have a good weekend and thanks for posting. Mark

  250. Pseudonymous /

    Hi! I’m a younger writer & I’ve been looking into pen names. I’ve finished a book and I’m hoping to get it published, but don’t want to use my real name. How do agents feel about authors who wish to conceal their real identity completely? I know with the internet, it’s easy to find out about a person, but I’m not too active on the web, and my real name is hard to pronounce anyway. I’m young and I’d prefer my writing identity to be different so it doesn’t interfere with the future, just in case.

  251. Emily Shore /

    YA author with 10 books here! Have a BA in CW, pitched at conferences, got good feedback and bites from agents but they all say the same thing: book didn’t send them over the edge. When I ask what would send them over, I get no response so I never know what to fix. I’ve even practiced pitch my queries with experts who say they are good. Had 1 agent who wanted 2 manuscripts but never responded (even after months and followups). Do rec quotes from pro’s help in a query? Before or after the tagline

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Emily, although I understand your situation, I’m not completely clear on your question… so please clarify that for me. I’m happy to help. If you improve your query, you’ll get more people reading your mss. If you do that, you’ll start getting responses with some specific feedback. Or, even better, an offer for representation. If you haven’t already done so, listen to the complimentary mp3 featured here on my home page at Then set up an intro call with me here if it seems like a good fit: Or you can, as you know, post a question for me here. Either way I’m happy to help. Have a good weekend. Mark

  252. Captain Samir Kohli /

    Dear Sir,

    Please see attached the first five chapters. A synopsis and my brief bio is appended below. Please advise if you would be interested in bringing the book to print? The images in the attachment are low resolution to preserve a small file size. However, I have ready for print all images in 300dpi as well as the cover in 500dpi.

    Synopsis: Into Oblivion: Understanding MH370 is a book that is grounded to science and facts. The book does not make any predictions about what happened to the Flight Mh370, nor does it tell a humanitarian story. The book explains to the readers the various technical terms and technological advances, as well as their limitations, that are being used in connection with this event. It empowers the readers with education and knowledge to be able to decide for themselves which press reports about this event could be plausible and which must be rejected as mere speculation. It explains the math and the science that is being used to find the flight, both from Satellite data interpretation as well as the underwater search. Overall, the book is about providing information and knowledge to empower the readers to decide for themselves.

    Author Bio: An ICAO qualified and certified Safety Management Systems trainer, Captain Sam’s Aviation career has spanned over 30 years. He has to his credit experience of military combat operations; air accident investigations; airport design, construction & management; and aviation support to the Oil & Gas Industry. He has also been a part of committees formed by ICAO and ACI for the development of International Standards and Recommended Practices. The authors last book, “Waiting…To Happen!” was awarded the prestigious ‘Cecil A Brownlow publication award’ for the year 2014 by the Flight Safety Foundation.

    Best Regards,

    Captain Samir (Sam) Kohli.

  253. Raymond /

    Hi. I wrote my debut novel under the penname Ray R. F. Through a self-publisher (Trafford) because I’m 19 years-old and I don’t publishers are interested ina story by someone so young. The thing is that I bought a package that included editing (I wrote the book in English, but I’m a Spanish speaker. The editor never contacted me and they released the novel on June when we agreed October. I just finished reading my author copy (which was sent the day of the release of the book) and I found an overwhelming number of mistakes. I want to publish the book through a traditional publisher in order to have a big audience so I can get more feedback and because now, I dont believe in self-publishing, but since the book is out. What should I do?

  254. ira wiseman /

    Hello, Thank you for the opportunity to ask a question. I’m a playwright and screenwriter, and I’ve produced and directed full cast readings of several of my plays. I realize that to take my career to the next level I need an agent who knows the business to assist me. Being a relative unknown, how do I interest an agent in representing me? Thank you. Ira

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Ira, thank you and I’m happy to help… at least with books. I don’t have info or connections for plays and screenplays. When I was an agent, I always worked with sub-agents or co-agents for feature film projects based on novels written by the authors I represented. When it comes to books, everything you need to get an agent and get your book published is here on my website. I suggest you start by listening to the complimentary mp3 featured here on my home page at Then set up an intro call with me here if it seems like a good fit: Or you can, of course, ask another question here. Either way I’m happy to help. Mark

  255. Robert Barrows /

    3 Questions:
    1) Since the large publishing companies have so many imprints, when you submit a book to a large publishing company, do you submit it to only one person at that company, or to several of the imprints within that company?
    2) Does the “imprint” operate fairly independently, or must they still “pitch” their decisions to the powers that be at the mother company?
    3) When you submit a book proposal, how many publishers do you generally approach?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Robert, sorry for the slow response. Your question went into my spam folder for some reason. I’m guessing you’r an author, not an agent? If so, you can submit simultaneously to different imprints… although they probably won’t bid against each other. They operate fairly independently, although the power structure at each publishing house is different. And you can submit your book proposal to as many publishers as you want. Not that many accept submissions by authors instead of agents, but some do. Let me know if you have another question. Happy to help. Mark

  256. calinda wright /

    well my question Is I need a gent can you help with that I don’t have money to self publish my book am In the shelter I want talk about my book on talk show or radio I need help with copy wright and today I just made a copy of my book today I print It out It been on my email for year now I want something to happen for my book trying get something done I been talking to channel 20 news and the urban league did a video of me about my book and my life story little of it not all so help me mark

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Calinda, you don’t need to pay to publish. Just write a good query and start sending it out to good agents using the info on my website. Keep believing, and getting the word out. Sounds like you have a good story to tell. Mark

  257. matts /

    hi mark,
    I used to use your web to find literary agents–the photos gave me some idea of maturity….

    now it’s impossible to find…

    give me a quick link if you still have it….

  258. John /

    I sent query letters to many agents over the past few months, and received either formal rejections or no response. Since then, I’ve substantially revised my manuscript, especially the first fifty pages.

    How long should I wait before querying the same agents again with my polished work?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi John, a substantially revised query would make it easier. But to answer your question about the manuscript, any time is a good time. Nothing to lose in trying. Obviously, the longer you wait… the more likely it is that agents won’t remember the original submission and you’ll get a “fresh” read. Mark

  259. Nate /

    A few years ago I started writing a memoir about finding my wife, her struggles with disease which ended tragically, and fighting through grief to rediscover the love and bond we still share years later.

    It’s a spiritual work—not in the religious since, but more so about a strong connection between two people—and deals a lot with dreams as a way of communicating.

    My question is, are dream sequences beneficial in memoir writing and if so, is it acceptable to begin my story with one?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Nate, I’m sorry to hear about your experience but I’m glad you’re writing about it. It can be therapeutic and help other people who are grieving a loss. When it comes to dream sequences, I don’t recommend them to start a book. Most agents have a negative response to it because too many new authors use the technique. The same way that too many authors have an opening scene with an alarm clock going off and the main character waking up. Mark

  260. Sean, Lee /

    In a Communist propagandist media circus that has become American Media.

    How can one determine the Propagandist. From legitimate publishing agents?

  261. Molly Nelson /

    My first draft is finished. I am asking a few friends with knowldge in my field for their comments. Is there a step I should take to protect me as the author? Sort of a pre-copyright step?

    • Linda Fuller /

      I possess a rough manuscript written about one of the founders of the Planters Peanut empire-by a nephew. His 1st hand memories into the business world at the turn of the century and how his aunt became one of the True Greats in industry only to be sabotaged by her husband who took everything from her-and perhaps her life w substantiation.My searches turn up a museum, a non-profit worth $$$millions-all based on greed & deception. I need guidance!It would be a GREAT movie/TV movie.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Molly, sorry for the delay getting back to you. Been busy with coaching clients and some traveling. I’m not aware of any extra step to take. The most important one is getting the manuscript in front of the right people, so I’m glad you’re starting to do that. Good luck and don’t be a stranger. Let me know how I can help. And have a great weekend. Mark

  262. Sue /

    Hi Mark,
    That day I did enter my name and email more times than I can count. It just never took me there. BUT, once you emailed me the direct link it’s been smooth sailing. Thank you so much. You’ve made my life easier once again.

    You’re the best!


  263. Ed Qualls /

    Some of the agents on your “top agents” list are not accepting submissions; some say ‘temporarily’, some don’t.

    Is that a seasonal thing, a personal decision, or are more agents simply accepting fewer submissions or winding down their client list to exit the business?

  264. Kenny /

    While locked up I started writing a short fictional story about recovering from the disease of addiction. I’ve been in recovery now for almost five years. I just got out of prison about a year ago and finished the story however I’m still struggling financially. Are there any publishing companies that will publish a book on consignment or something? I really think this story could inspire addicts to seek recovery.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Kenny, first off… congrats on getting out and getting a book done. Not sure what you mean by consignment. Take a look around my website and you’ll learn how it all works. You need to get a literary agent to sell the book for you. The literary agent will only get paid if/when they sell your book. And the publisher will pay you both. That should make your day, I hope. Mark

  265. William Giroir /

    What do you think of Dorrance Publishing? They say they’ll publish and promote my book for a fee.

    • JEN Garrett /

      I’m jumping in here to say what Mark’s said before. Be wary of any publisher or agent that charges an upfront “reader’s fee” or “fee to promote.” Reputable agents and publishers make their money on commission of the sale of your book. Any misc costs should be written into contract, not out of your pocket. What incentive do they have to invest in your book if they already made money from you?

      RE Dorrance Publishing: and Absolute Write send up all kinds of red flags

    • Literary Agents

      Hi William, they’re a “vanity press.” Read this article to get a better sense of what that means, and my take on this: Mark

  266. Catherine Weiss /

    Hi Mark,
    Where would I find the bestselling nonfiction books in my genre (parenting) in 2013? Year to date? Volume of sales?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Catherine, no easy answer there. You can check old bestseller lists but it might be easier to befriend a knowledgeable bookstore staff member and/or librarian and ask them for help. I don’t know a resource that you can use to find the number of books sales. There are tools for industry professionals that are very expensive, but nothing for the average Joe or Janet. Mark

  267. Richard Seltzer /

    How can I submit a query (about my literary novel “Beware of Gods Bearing Gifts:)?

  268. Hi Mark,

    Maybe it’s just me, but I have the hardest time getting into the directory on your site. I have scrolled through every article, put my information in several times, and still I can’t get in. Is there an easy access into the directory that I’m not seeing? I love the new(ish) look of your website, but since the change I’ve had more problems accessing the directory. Sorry. I don’t like to say anything negative because I think you’re wonderful. But, this is so frustrating!

  269. Nicole /

    Hi, thanks for the reply to my email. I have the interview you did with Beth Barany and the 7 Secrets mp3 download. A part of my platform is a book of poetry. Can I be my own literary agent, since I’m not looking for an agent?

  270. Alma Eugenia Sirbu /

    Hello from Romania! I’m an author of fiction novels.I write romance,historical and drama novels.Also,i’m writing short stories.I looking for an agent who represent me in USA an other countreis,because in my country we dont have agencies who can represent us,like a writers,all over the world.
    My first novel in finished.It named,”THE SIN”.It’s a historical romance novel.
    My second novel,is a drama and i’m finishing this days.
    Is enybody there who want to represent me?
    Alma Jane Sirbu

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Alma, I’m happy to help… but I’m no longer an active literary agent. I’m now committed to helping authors find and get agents.

      I have a great deal of information on my website that I’m sure you’ll find helpful, starting with the complimentary mp3 that you can learn more about here: You can also get complimentary access to my Directory of Literary Agents by going here:

      Most important, I recommend that you click here to see the three different ways that I can support you 1-on-1 (fr*ee to fee) and choose the one that’s best for you:

      I’m looking forward to helping you, one way or another,


  271. wladyslaw Zdanowicz /

    good morning
    Is there any chance that any of the literary agents interested in the other (humorous) look at the war in Iraq. We are happy to’ll send any other information.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Wladyslaw,

      I’m happy to help… but I’m no longer an active literary agent. I’m now committed to helping authors find and get agents.

      I have a great deal of information on my website that I’m sure you’ll find helpful, starting with the complimentary mp3 that you can learn more about here: You can also get complimentary access to my Directory of Literary Agents by going here:

      Most important, I recommend that you click here to see the three different ways that I can support you 1-on-1 (fr*ee to fee) and choose the one that’s best for you:

      I’m looking forward to helping you, one way or another,


  272. Linda Burson /

    What exactly do literary agents want when they say “include bio” even if you’ve never been published before?

    I sent a sample query letter to a literary agent that’s an acquaintance of my daughters for advice and suggestions with my query, and she immediately cut out the personal information I had included which is what I consider a bio. I don’t have a degree or awards or books published as of yet, so what do I include?

    Is a bio only of interest to certain literary agents?

    Thank you.

  273. Paula Marais /

    Hi Mark
    My novel has just been published in South Africa and I have retained my US and UK rights. I would like to know how I approach agents about selling a book already in print, and which has already been translated into Afrikaans. My publisher is one of the larger and more reputable ones in South Africa – it is not a self-published book. My novel is called Shadow Self, literary but commercial enough to be accessible. It’s already received some great reviews. Any advice on where to start?

    • Leah Fisher /

      Do you have any favorite freelance editors, experienced with narrative non-fiction (memoir), in the SF Bay Area that you think are excellent?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Paula, that’s great… glad you retained those rights. You basically need to use all the information here on my site to create the best pitch letter you can (and include the info you mentioned in your comment here). And, if you’re able, sign up for an introductory coaching call with me so I can help. Info here: Either way, congratulations on getting to this point… and good luck going forward! Mark

  274. Bryan Johnston /

    I’ve written dozens of short children’s stories but when submitting to an agent do I submit a single story, wait and then submit a different single story, then wait, and submit a different single story, etc. or do I submit several of the strongest stories together to be considered as a book of short stories?
    Any insight is appreciated.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Bryan, if you mean children’s picture books then you should pitch them one at a time. Is that what you mean? Mark

      • Bryan Johnston /

        Actually I’m not sure. They range from 200-1000 words, so I will defer to your opinion on whether stories of that length would work well as picture books. I always remember my kid’s picture books as being very light on copy, less than a 200 words for the most part. Also, will an agent be put off if the same author keeps sending them a query letter for a different story time and time again? Like one every week or so (since I have close to 40 stories) ?
        Thanks for your advice.

        • JEN Garrett /

          Hi Brian,
          I’m pretty entrenched in the Children’s Picture Book World, and I’m probably in the boat next to you. I have several PB manuscripts that I’m trying to get traditionally published.

          Here’s my tips: 1) check out and consider joining. 2) Pick 1 PB per agent or publisher & wait 3 months before sending a new PB to the same agent/publisher. 3) Keep records of all you send. 4) read PB’s by the pile (if you don’t already), especially PB’s published by your dream publishers.

        • Literary Agents

          Hi Brian, definitely short enough to be picture books. Just wanted to get a feel. And yes, you don’t want to query the same agent repeatedly without breaks. Better to spread it more to different agents. Mark

  275. Catherine Weiss /

    Hi Mark,
    Based on what you know about my book, do you think it would be considered a non-fiction book or a narrative non-fiction book?
    Thanks for your help.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Catherine, just call it nonfiction and you’ll be fine. Sorry it took me a while to respond, busy week with events, etc. Also, just got your private email and I’ll respond to that separately. All my best. Mark

  276. William Giroir /

    What is your opinion regarding book editing software? Do you have any you’d recommend?

    • Literary Agents

      HI Bill, I won the spelling bee when I was in first grade so I’ve never gotten knowledgeable about software like that. I also know that spellcheck in Microsoft word is horrendous. Half the time when it makes suggestions, they’re wrong. Do let me know if you hear of something good so I can consider recommending it to others. Mark

  277. William Giroir /

    Where can I find book marketing statistics regarding the questions: Who will read my book? Who will buy my book? For example, where can I find the answer to this question: How many people read murder/mystery/thriller books? Let’s say 40,000,00. Since I’ve writen a murder/mystery/thriller, in this example 40,000,000 is the number of potential buyers of my book, wouldn’t you agree? If you have sources of book marketing information, statistics, etc., please let me know.
    Thank you,

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Bill, fiction authors don’t need to worry about this as much. You can Google some of this information, probably the fastest and easiest way, but you have to know exactly what you’re looking for. Seems, however, like you’re on the right track. There is no one source I know of that will help you here, but, like I said, they all show up in Google so start there. Mark

  278. William Giroir /

    I just filed for my copyright two days ago. Should I wait for the copyright to be issued before sending out query letters to agents? Or just go ahead and start sending query letters out now?

    How much does the ‘super query letter’ you refer to cost?

    Thank you,

    • Literary Agents

      Hi William, up to you but many authors don’t ever file copyright. Publishers do it for them. When it comes to how I can help you, this website has a lot of resources to help you find literary agents and get literary agents offering to represent you (including tips to help you improve your query). If you haven’t already listened to it, start with the mp3 featured on the home page here: Then post another question for me here or sign up for a coaching call here: During the call I can help you with your query. And, of course, after that call, if it seems like we’re a good fit, I can actually go “hands-on” and help you rewrite the query myself. Mark

  279. Valerie /

    Hello Mark,

    cool site!
    I have written a book that doesn´t fit neatly into one genre: It´s a feel-good Christmas picture book for Christmas fans, and will, I think appeal mostly to women and children.
    Any tip to whom I should send it?

    warm regards,

  280. William J. Giroir /

    On today’s interview with Beth you mentioned having a ‘hook’ to reel in an agent/agency. “In one paragraph I teach you how to kill someone and get away with it!”…how’s that for a ‘hook’?

    I’ve been told that a query letter is a one page letter, is that true? I need to compose a query letter. Please share with me your thoughts on what goes into creating a query letter that will generate offers.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.
    PS: Good interview today!

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Bill, glad you liked the interview. There are many different ways to write a good hook. It’s the one part of a query that varies most, depending on what the author has to work with… including the author’s background and (of course) what the book is about. The hook you mentioned is fun and clever, a good start. For more tips about queries, check out this section of my website: Mark

  281. Dmitry Dobrovolsky /

    Hi, Mark!
    I sent you a manuscript of the book “Faithful steward” has long!
    I very much want to knowthou shalt be seek to me publisher?
    The Lord bless you!
    Sincerely, Dmitri.

  282. Ed Qualls /

    Historical, pseudo-biographical novel, set primarily in Europe; running text in English; for cultural reasons, dialog of non-English speakers placed in their language within the text, with translations in running-bar on the right. (Xlation doubles dialogs’ char count, forcing the running text to be lean.)

    This violates the 1950’s era formatting instructions from lit-ag’s that are widely posted.

    Will this be impossible to market to lit-ag’s, even with the text’s powerful/marketable message(s)?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Ed, content always rules. That said, it’s best to format things as close as possible to what is the “norm” or commonly seen. That’s one of the easiest ways to keep agents focused on… your content. And not the format. But you have to weight the cost of taking time to format your material. In some cases, it’s just not worth the trouble. Mark