Ask a Literary Agent – Submit Your Question About Book Agents

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

* * *

Submit Your Question Below

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

Well, this is your opportunity because…

Ask a Literary Agent a Question About Anything

I’m a former book agent.

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

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

You see…

I like it when authors ask me questions.

It makes me feel smart.

I like talking about publishing.

Ask a Literary Agent Your Question

And I like…

Helping other authors.

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

Not while I was washing or drying my hands.


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

* * *

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.


* * *

One More Reason to Submit Your Question

Ask a Literary Agent Your Question

* * *

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

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

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

* * *

Why Am I Giving Away Gift Cards?

Two reasons:

1) I’m a nice guy

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

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

Not sure what to say?

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

That’s it.

I look forward to seeing your thoughts below,

Mark Malatesta

Your “Undercover” Agent

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

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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?

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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?

  22. Eleanor /

    Do you write query letters for first-time writers?

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. saw lian cheah /

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

  29. Lee Field /

    Do any of your agents represent screenwriters. Thanks Lee

  30. 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

  31. 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

  32. 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

  33. 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!

  34. 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

  35. 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

  36. 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…

  37. 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

  38. 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 ;)

  39. 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 ?

  40. 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

  41. 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

  42. 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


  43. 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?

  44. 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.

  45. 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

  46. 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

  47. 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.

  48. 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

  49. 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

  50. 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?

  51. 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.)

  52. 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 :)

  53. 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

  54. 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

  55. ssteven genack /

    In the query how do you get a automatic hook

  56. 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

  57. 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

  58. 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

  59. 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

  60. 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?

  61. 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

  62. 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?

  63. 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

  64. 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.

  65. 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

  66. 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

  67. 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

  68. 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!

  69. 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

  70. 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?

  71. 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

  72. 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

  73. 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?

  75. 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?

  76. 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

  78. 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)

  79. 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?

  80. 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?

  81. 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?

  82. 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

  84. 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?

  85. 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

  86. 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?

  87. 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

  88. 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

  89. 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

  90. 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

  91. 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

  92. 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

  93. 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

  94. onalee /

    i know i want my books published so please help me

  95. 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

  96. 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



    • 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

  98. Jennifer Azantian is no longer seeking submissions

  99. 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?

  100. 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

  101. 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

  102. 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

  103. 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.

  104. 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

  105. 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

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

  107. 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

  108. 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.

  109. 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? :P

    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

  110. 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!

  111. 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

  112. 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

  113. 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.

  114. 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

  115. 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!


  116. 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

  117. 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

  118. 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.

  119. 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?

  120. 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

  121. 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

  122. 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

  123. 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

  124. 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

  126. 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

  127. 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

  128. 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?


  129. 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

  130. 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

  131. Denise Buckley /

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

  132. Chris Nance /

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

  133. 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

  134. 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

  135. 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

  136. 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

  137. 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

  138. 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

  139. 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

  140. 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

  141. 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

  142. 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

  143. 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

  144. 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

  145. 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)?

  146. 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!

  147. 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

  148. 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

  149. 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.

  150. 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.

  151. 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

  152. 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

  153. 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

  154. 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.

  155. 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

  156. 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.

  157. 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?

  158. 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

  159. 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

  160. 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

  161. 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….

  162. 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

  163. 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

  164. Sean, Lee /

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

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

  165. 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

  166. 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!


  167. 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?

  168. 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

  169. 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

  170. 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

  171. Richard Seltzer /

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

  172. 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!

  173. 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?

  174. 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,


  175. 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,


  176. 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.

  177. 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

  178. 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

  179. 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

  180. 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

  181. 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

  182. 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

  183. 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,

  184. 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

  185. 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.

  186. 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

      • Ed Qualls /

        Thanks, Mark! Is it ever appropriate to contact an agent with a pre-query asking their openness to alternate/expanded formats? (e.g., multimedia/multilingual enabled/capable/embedded)

        It just seems that they could miss major aspects of meaning (& possibly, marketing) if they don’t allow/understand full expression or rationale of the text.

        12-pt double-spaced Courier ASCII is a rutted dirt road in this age of super-highway, TGV/ICE, multilingual multimedia! (self-pub removes this barrier)

  187. phil Cushway /

    I am looking for an agent for my book; Of Poetry & Protest: Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin, an anthology of 43 African American poets [Natasha Trethewey, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, etc. Essay by Belafonte. I have an 84 page dummy done [print ready]. All original photography of each poet. first person bios and historical back-drop,
    Where can I find an agent for this book?
    Would it be useful for you to see the PDF?
    Phil Cushway

  188. Rahul Abhyankar /

    Hey Mark,

    Thanks a lot for the very helpful blogs and articles on writing. 1000 reads on Wattpad; I wouldn’t have come this far without your help.

    Well I’ve mentioned you on the very first page in the acknowledgements section of my next, so just thought I should let you know. Link:

    Thanks again :)

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Rahul, just knowing that I’ve been a resource for you is wonderful, but thank you. And congratulations on continuing to reach your goals. I admire your dedication and hope to see much more in the months and years to come. ;) Mark

  189. Hugh Fulcher /

    Hi Mark,

    I have spent 20 years writing a memoir on healing bipolar disorder and on spirituality during and after near-death and bipolar experiences.

    I am looking for a traditional publisher. Can you help me find an agent or publisher? Will you review my query letter?

    – –

    The brain creates the mind, and the mind recursively controls the brain. Conflicting exercises briefly stress the mind to limits releasing trauma tensions for healing the brain. Muscles, nerves, and the brain are connected.

  190. Yury /

    Hi Mark! Missed you =) Haven’t been here for too long! Congrats with new site! ;) Wanted to ask you a question: If the publisher recieves an offer for perchasing any rights (game, movie, etc.), do I have the final word? Am I deciding to give any company the rights or not?
    Thank you,

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Yury, an agent should always ask you. Publishers don’t usually do that. Once they pay you they typically own those rights and are only obligated to pay you the percentage of subsidiary rights that were agreed on. However, in some cases where you have options, a publisher might discuss it with you. Good hearing from you. ;) Mark

      • Yury /

        So, should I talk to my publisher and discuss such a situation, if any of other parties would like to buy any rights, except book translation rights? So I could decide what company to give the rights and to what not. (For example, I’m sure for 1000% that I know gaming and cinema market much better then anyone in my publisher’s house) :)

  191. Hugh D. Fulcher /

    Depression, mania, and expecting imminent death awaken spirituality. After practicing unique exercises and modeling for understanding, the author has not had depression or bipolar disorder for 20 years – a physicist’s monumental success. Healing is physical and spiritual.

    When attempting to complete his first healing book, the author received an astounding message, “Don’t Leave God Out!” For 20 years he has written spiritually, integrating science, inner messages, Christianity, and philosophy.

  192. Frederic /

    As far as the book proposal is concerned (for non fiction), I see everywhere that I must join 2 or 3 sample chapters.

    But if we think in terms of words instead of numbers of sample chapters, could you tell me how many words (kept to a minimum) agents and publishers demand (or at least expect) to read ? Of course, I just need a rough estimate.

    Thanks for your help Mark

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Frederic, sometimes agents will specify the number of pages they want instead of the number of chapters. But, if they don’t, the number of pages in a chapter isn’t that important… unless they’re extremely long or short. 10-40 double-spaced pages per chapter is a wide range, but most things fall within that. Mark

  193. Amanda Daul /

    I am going to be sending out queries soon for a romance/fantasy novel. However, I do not have what agents would consider ‘relevant credentials’. Do I HAVE to say something about myself, or since I have no previous credits, so I skip that part? Thank you for any information!

  194. Miriam Maranzenboim /

    “The History of the Jews” by Josephus in condensed, simplified English is my first book (170 pp single spaced), and I’m living in Israel. Do I have a chance to be published by a traditional publisher in the USA if I have a good agent? I have a B.A. in Communications from Cal State L.A. (’75) (had David Dortort for screen writing who said I had a way with words) & also did play & news writing. I’ve lived here for 36 yrs & have felt very much a part of the country and people. Married & grandmother

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Miriam, you absolutely have a chance of being published in the US if your book has appeal to a US audience. I’m working with a client now who’s pitching his book to agents here. He live in Israel and the UK. ;) Mark

  195. M. Kalivas /

    Hopefully a literary agent reads this and contacts me.

  196. SG. Coleman /

    My sci-fi was published by a small publisher in 2013. 1-In queries to agents, should I mention that the prequel I’m submitting was once contracted for publication but the press folded a few months before printing? 2- Does the hook line have to be one sentence or can it be a short Paragraph? 3-Where can I have a letter critiqued?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi SG, regarding your question I can only say probably… without knowing more. The credibility of having had a real publisher interested can be persuasive. The hook can be one sentence but it can also be longer. The content of the hook should dictate the length so it’s effective. Where can you have a query letter critiqued? Right here: call here: And make sure you listen to the mp3 featured on the home page here if you haven’t already: Have a great weekend and looking forward to (hopefully) learning more about you and your books. Mark

  197. Akasha Lin /

    Hi Mark,

    How can a writer stand out as an exceptional client with literary agents (or potential agents while going through the query letter process)? I look forward to learning more.

    Thanks for your time.
    Akasha Lin

  198. Kristina Wagner /

    If I were a literary agent and my client was using a pen name, Would I be able to use a temporary fake name to protect their identity?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Kristina, I guess you could… but why not just keep the name of the client confidential? That’s probably what editors would expect. If you don’t use your real name as an agent, you lose all your clout and editors wonder if you’re really an agent at all… or just the client trying to get their attention. Mark

  199. Mark C. Biedebach, Ph.D. /

    I enjoyed your 65 minute audio presentation, and I felt you really knew what you were talking about. Please email me instructions on where to send my letter and table of contents so
    I can get started on your $295. offer.

  200. Alice /

    Wow! That coaching call sounds like exactly what I need! But, if I do that, is it possible that, instead of sending you the first three chapters of one story, I could send you the intros/prologues to a couple different stories? Because the advice I think I need right now is more general that one story. I think I need some advice as to where to focus and which direction to pursue.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Alice, yes… intro/prologue AND chapter one. I’ve done this with authors before. The standard 50 pages etc. works for most people, but not always. So keep that in mind and tweak the author questionnaire you get from me after you sign up to make it work for your unique situation. And have a great weekend! Mark

  201. David Ramati /

    I am looking for a literary agent to help us sell our book. God’s Chosen : Renaissance
    The book is a series of stories, so although it is non-fiction it is not a collection of dry facts, but rather of stories meant to entertain, surprise, and catch the attention of the reader. Because we want to entertain, not bore, we have included little-known or untold stories.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi David, sounds good to me… but I didn’t see a question there. How can I help you in your quest to find the best agent for your work? Mark

  202. Todd /

    Hi Mark,
    I’ve just completed my first round with the editor and I’m about to go back for a second pass. I have one question: is it true that there is resistance from agents and publishers to a novel that is over 100,000 words long?

    Thanks for you help! I’ll be hitting you up soon for a full consultation.


    • Literary Agents

      Hi Todd, congrats on getting to that point. Yes, the longer your book is (past 80-90,000 words) the more resistance you’ll get… although this number can vary a bit for some genres. 100,000 words isn’t the end of the world though. If you can make it a bit shorter, do it. But you’ll still get agents reading with that word count… with a killer query letter, of course. ;) Mark

  203. Alice /


    I’ve just had the epiphany that I want to be an author and so I have just begun my research into the publishing process. I have several finished rough drafts of novels and a ton more story ideas, all in different stages of being written. Should I focus on one particular story to try and sell? If so, how do I choose which one? Or is there a way to get an agent who is willing to advise me on which story is the most marketable?

    Sincerely, Alice

  204. Donald Tripp /

    I’m 62 years old. I’ve had short stories published but never anything in long form. I’m writing a short novel right now about two Texas cowboys who come to Bismarck, D.T. in 1878 in search of their baby sister. One cowboy is a white man and the other is of mixed race, a freed slave. They share a father. In the course of their search, they are beaten, shot at, and nearly killed. Does any agent represent this kind of story any more?

  205. Jeremy Collier /


    I wrote memoir and I am looking for a good agent, but I do not know how to write a query letter or how to begin searching for an agent. Can you give me some help or point me in the right direction? I grew up in a rough home, then was thrown in foster care after being abandoned. I was put on the streets when I turned 18 and got myself through college. I wrote my story to inspire others to show what you can go through and still become successful in life.

  206. Andrew /

    Looking for an agent that could represent a number of books I could publish, this year! Who is the best literary agent in the world, that isn’t motivated by money, but heart? That could also make hundreds of millions of dollars! Sounds insane, I know! 2.1 billion Christians in the world! I have something that could touch all! Not sure what to do with?

  207. Hello Mark,
    I am part of an audio production company that is looking for meterials to produce in to dramatise audio stories. I am trying to track donw estates and other others that have publish books that I can contact there agents to make a deal. Normally I track donw our own ideas of authors and estates to locate there contact info, but I am trying to locate a master list or other ideas to review the agents who handle well known estate of authors or current authors. Is there a way I can to

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Walden, there’s no simple resource I know of that will help you with this. You might want to use my literary agent directory here as a starting point: It has links to every literary agency website. There you can see which authors they represent. Mark

  208. Zainab Khan /

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for answering my previous questions. I have more now :)

    Is it okay to send query letters if my book is just 50% or 75% complete? If yes, is it necessary to mention it in the letter?

    Thank you, I enjoy spending time on your website.

  209. Hey Mark,

    How much am I to trust MS Word with respect to grammar? It highlighted a sentence that started with “He felt less weaker than he had before” and I had to change it to “He felt much better than he had before” and the Spell Check regarded it as correct. Confused! Am I wrong?


    • Literary Agents

      Hi Rahul, unfortunately… you can’t trust it completely. I’m constantly finding mistakes with it. Not just spelling, but grammar. It’s a good start. But you should still have someone look over your manuscript before sending it out. Mark

  210. Virginia Perl /

    Hi Mark,
    Agent, Mollie Glick, once said, while discussing memoir, that she was interested in representing a writer who has lived a life others can only dream of. That would be me. My story goes from a basement house on a chicken farm in Minnesota, (think hard labor from the age of six), to a two year relationship with one of the Everly Brothers when I was sixteen, (think backstage life of 1950s rock and roll), to leaving the farm at seventeen to become a TV model in New York, (think casting couches, rape, and other evils of the dark side of the big city), to becoming a successful model to dinner at Elvis Presley’s house in LA to meeting her husband, (think emeralds, sable coats, limousines, private jets, six live-in servants, homes in New York, Rome, Mexico, and Geneva), to losing it all during the Iranian revolution, (think international jet set, the palace in Tehran, the White House, and the CIA). The manuscript is in its first revision – currently getting rid of all the “little darlings.” Question: When can I submit a query? I am a perfectionist and want to wait until it’s perfect. I’m getting pressured by family and friends to query now because of Phil Everly’s death this year and the large social media fan base asking me when the book will be out. I would love to launch the book at the annual Winter Dance Party at the Surf Ballroom in Iowa in February – the anniversary of the death of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Richie Valens. So, Mark, that’s my long question; when do I query? When the book is perfect, or now when it still needs work. If you could address this question at your event, I will be listening in on Saturday. Respectfully, Virginia

  211. micky kroger /

    mark can you reccomend an agent my manuscript willl be complete soon

  212. Catherine Weiss /

    Hi Mark,

    Is it possible for you to take on the job of writing my query letter and pitching my book to top-10 literary agents? I would love to pay you or someone to do this for me.


  213. Elena /

    I am a new writer and so far I have published one book through PublishAmerica which is now America Star. My question is how can someone who is starting like me get help form an literary agent? Second I know that Literary Agents get paid or get a percentage of whatever the Author makes, so the question is would a Literary Agent help an new author without getting paid up front first?

  214. lillie /

    Hey how you doing I’m try to find a literary agent for my boyfriend he trying time put his book but he and jail can yall me some information to him

  215. micky kroger /

    amityville horror im micky sister to kathy lutz aunt to chris and daniel lutz after 39 years of silence its time for the the truth concerning amityville and lee lutz my book will be complete in 30 days also i have upcoming radio interviews im sure i will retain a proffessinal agent soon email me with your thoughts this book is nonfiction and horrific

  216. Hey Mark!

    Last evening my first online story ( crossed 1000 reads. Thanks a lot for all your support you’ve been giving me all this while; it feels great to get advice from a professional. I’ll be switching back to long stories once this important academic year is over.

    Till then are there any better ways to improve my writing skills? I want to transform my amateurish writing without scarring my writing style.


    • Literary Agents

      Hi Rahul, and congratulations. That’s fantastic. I wish more authors would take time here and there to stop writing and start marketing… since both of those things are important. You learn a lot from it and it’s builds your confidence, so I’m glad you’re doing it. Regarding your question, this is my answer: I don’t have a simple answer, but at least I have an answer. ;) Mark

  217. Dear Mr. Malatesta,

    I am finishing a novel taken from a dog’s point of view, expressing their concerns of: anxiety, wonder, love and acceptance. There is no dialog. Five greyhounds leave a race track adoption facility to find their ‘forever’ homes through the help of volunteers. Have you ever come across such a manuscript?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

  218. Samantha Smith /

    Let’s say you query an agent & they decline without asking for the manuscript. However, their website states that if one of their agents decline it’s okay to query another agent within the office. If you do that, is it proper protocol to mention that you previously queried another agent in the same agency & they declined, or should you keep quiet? When querying different agencies you wouldn’t usually mention rejections, however because it’s the same agency would you briefly mention it. Thanks

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Samantha, don’t mention the other agent(s) you previously queried. Agents aren’t expecting that and it will create a negative bias against your work because they’ll know someone already rejected it. Mark

  219. Zainab Khan /

    Hi, I’m currently working on my first novel. It’s based on a zombie apocalypse. I’m writing in this genre because it interests me the most. My questions are:

    1) I have ghost written some short e-books, are they worth putting in the credentials?

    2) What is the most suitable word count for a new author? Especially in the genre I’m writing.

  220. Paul Morse /

    Is it possible to find a literary agent who will book speaking engagements for a book that has already been published? Would they charge an upfront fee for this service or take a percentage of what they set up?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Paul, not really. Most literary agents don’t book speaking engagements for authors unless they’re representing them. Even then, they don’t do much of this. A speakers’ bureau is a better fit. In both scenarios, the author would share a percentage of any speaking fee collected as a commission. Mark

  221. Robert L. Allen /

    My biggest fear is that I am not educated, as so many other writers are. I don’t have the important credentials they have. Although, my book is well written. My query is also well written. I have reservations on the synopsis. Are agents concerned with credentials more than a well written story? Thus far I have had a lot of rejections, and one or two return requests for another book. Thank you!

  222. Please let me know if you are interested, this new book is being submitted to several other agents/publishers:
    BYNV is a new Hebrew-roots translation of the 66 books of the “Bible” (Genesis through Revelation), and is currently being self-published.

    The cover and text for the BYNV are sized exactly to 6”W x 9”H, in print-ready PDF’s.
    There is a title page for page 1, and page 2 provides the copyrighted notice, text sources used, and ISBN.

  223. When an agent sends you a rejection and says your manuscript is not right for their “list”, what are they talking about and how do you find out what’s on their “list”. Is there some way of discovering an agent’s “list” before wasting your time sending them a query that they’ll reject out-of-hand?

  224. sandy /

    How much money should be involved with a book publishing company publishing a book for me?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Sandy, sorry it took me a while to respond. We’ve been in the process of changing webservers, which caused some delays. To answer your question… ideally, nothing. Getting a traditional publisher like Random House to pay for everything is best because it’s better than you paying… and it’s validation because your work has to be marketable for them to pay for it to be published. If you’re asking about self-publishing, it depends. Prices for that are all over the place depending on what you want, and the company you’re working with. You can pay hundreds of dollars, or tens of thousands. Mark

  225. Joe Thibodaux /

    Please keep me informed of any scheduled events in the beginning of June. I cannot attend during the week because of my teaching commitment. -Joe

  226. donna /

    In my personal library, I have over 186 historical novels, 143 of which have word counts (estimated: pg # x words per pg) over 150,000. The longest one that’s not a classic has 515,000 words–and I know that because Diana Gabaldon told me herself :-) (Book 5 in her Outlander series). Anyway, I’ve written an historical novel that is 150,000 words and yes, it’s indicated in my opening paragraph of my query. Should I leave my word count out? I would think 150,000 isn’t unusual for historicals.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Donna, my little secret is to leave it off it’s very long or short. First books by new authors tend to be shorter. Don’t get rejected before someone takes a look at your writing. Then it might be too late because they’re hooked. ;) Mark

      • Donna /

        Thanks so much! Would you consider 150,000 words too long for an historical?

        • Literary Agents

          Hi Donna, sorry about my slow time in responding. We’ve been in the process of changing webservers, which caused some delays. Regarding your question, not necessarily. In general, you should know that it’s easier for established authors to get longer books published. It also depends on whether the particular story you’re writing really needs to be that long. And I sometimes recommend authors don’t announce their word count initially in their query to give themselves a greater chance… get an agent hooked on the story and the writing before they realize the word count. ;) Mark

  227. Eda M.Pessinis /

    I have two completed historical novels–part fiction–part history–How to introduce them the best way possible–is my question…Both novels would be of interest on international markets—-Would like to talk with you…..Thank you E.M.P

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Eda, sorry about my slow time in responding. We’ve been in the process of changing webservers, which caused some delays. I’d need more information to answer your question, since I’m not sure what you mean. You can reply here or, if you’re able, sign up for an introductory coaching call here: That way we can be thorough and sure to get everything right. Any questions just let me know. Mark

  228. Saundra Boyd /

    Mark Thank you for answering back so quickly. I started to read the information of the Author Wesite, but in my present situation, it is presently too over my head. I can’t think clearly right now. As ever savvy, astute business owner konws, “There is no free ride!” Right now I am simply at a loss as to where to start. Having a 1 on 1 with you is definitely the place where that should begin. I have to find money to do so. I would like to open my website – “I made a difference today, did you?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Saundra, that’s why I give away so much information on my site… including lots of details about how to do things yourself. That way, when an author can’t afford to do more with me, they have a lot of information to help them do it on their own. So I hope you find it helpful. All my best. Mark

  229. Flash /

    Am I wrong to use their critique as a testimonial in the first 3 lines of my query?
    “Mr. Stephens shows that his language use is detailed, creative, and powerful. He demonstrates a gift for writing fantasy fiction, with a sense of humor that runs throughout the Novel. Spirit of the Chase, has potential for huge commercial success.” – Bruce Allen Vice President, American Writing Association.
    The story focuses on the journey of Bad Tudabone awakening when he gets rescued from a collapsed

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Flash, I can only answer this question in general… since it depends on everything else you have to work with. This is something I might use in a query letter for an author, but I probably wouldn’t lead with it. I also probably wouldn’t use the whole quote. But it’s good for credibility, considering the source. Mark

  230. Patty Hoenigman /

    Hey Mark,
    I’ve written a 13 stanza poem that I’d like made into a children’s book. What I’m wondering is this: How do I protect the confidentiality of my poem when I share it with a book agent, assuming I’d have to show him or her the entire poem? Is there is a legal form to sign? If so, where would I get one?
    Thanks for your help…and love your website!
    Patty Hoenigman
    …writing from Austin, Texas ….where it’s warm and friendly

  231. Alexey /

    Thank you, Mark!

  232. D. Anon /

    I’ve read that if you don’t have enough words, your proposal will be shot down before it gets off the ground. Will an agent read the rest of the proposal, or will they simply bin it if the word count is very low?

  233. Trina Paulus /

    Mark, I received your e-mail today regarding website development. I have just joined Authors Guild and as a new member can receive a free author’s website and a very modest hosting fee.

    Do you know if this is a WordPress based or proprietary? I’m inclined to go ahead and need to do it in my 1st month of membership.

    In Hope always,


    • Literary Agents

      Hi Trina, I’m pretty sure it’s through their own proprietary system… so if/when you want to move your site I don’t think you’ll be able to. You’d have to start from scratch. Mark

  234. Anon, a mouse /

    I’m looking at an agent’s agreement, and have several questions.

    1) It asks for 15% domestic commission and 30% foreign. Is the foreign % a bit steep?

    2) It requires that all of my works (current or future) go through this agent during the term of the contract. Is that typical?

    3) It states that for 2 years after terminating this agreement, any offer that I accept from another entity will also be subject to these terms if the offer is similar to one I didn’t accept from this agent. Kosher?

  235. Mark,

    Congratulations on your new format. It looks good.

    My question is sincere and not intended to take a shot at you or any other agent. But given the changes in publishing, unless an author is John Grisham or J.K. Rowling is a literary agent needed or even relevant? I live about fifteen miles from you, and in the last year three indie publishing firms have been formed in our area. The first release by one has already sold 20,000 copies in trade paperback form.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Wes, good question. I haven’t really written or spoken about the pros/cons of going with a smaller house vs. a bigger house… but I just made a note to do so. The short of it is that you’re much more likely to make it big (and get better terms in your contract) with one of the bigger houses. And you’re also more likely to have a better writing career in the hands of a good agent, which you would have if you were published with one of the bigs. But to each his own. I can assure you that the indie firm your talking about isn’t selling 20,000 copies of all their books. And I seriously doubt that they have any/many books on a major bestseller list. But I think it’s a great plan B. Mark

  236. I’ll soon complete the first draft, which means another long slog of rewrites until someday there will be a final draft. A point to go looking for one or more beta readers. Folks to read/critique/comment on the ms. My question is how to develop these readers?
    The obvious source would be a local writers group… if such a one exists. But not in my area. Small town living is wonderful but has its drawbacks. So I turn to you, the experts. Where will I find those perfect readers?
    Good site! Thanks!

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Bill, glad you like the site… and that you’re making progress with your writing. You’re right on with thinking about a writers’ group. That’s really the only thing I can think of that will get you the results you want. Of course, if you’re able to invest something financially you’ll have no problem finding someone qualified to critique your work and help you improve it as well. You could attend a writers’ workshop or retreat, as well. Also requires an investment. Mark

  237. Mark, your new site is awesome. Chock-full of valuable info regarding the agent universe. And it is a universe. A tangled web that you’ve corralled and made sense of. Congratulations! You’ve done what no one else has been able to pull off.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Michael, always good hearing from you… and glad you like the new site. It’s been a long time coming! Looking forward to you-know-what soon. Keep me posted. Mark

  238. Lorrie Rodrigue /

    Good Morning,
    I self-published a children’s horror (In the Deep Woods of Dudleytown), a famous ghost town in Connecticut with a rich (and real) history through Xlibris. I do not have an agent and wonder about so many marketing areas I am missing as a result. While they have put it on many of the obvious sites, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I am curious about getting my book out there in other venues. Think this would also make a terrific film. My writing did get praise in review.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Lorrie, you should definitely be marketing your book as well. You can’t rely on Xlibris. Think of them purely as a printer and limited distribution partner. You still have to be the CEO of your “publishing company” and do all you can to get more exposure and sell books. If you have a follow-up question, let me know. Mark

  239. As I told you, I have three agents and one publisher reviewing my latest MS. My question is, since I got these requests through Pitch Madness and Pit Mad the agents are backed up. Some say it might take two months before they respond. Is it considered greedy to query during that time? I would hate to wait and not get representation in the end. Also, if you do think it’s appropriate, do I mention that the MS is being reviewed? BTW, your site looks great! Love the make-over.

    • Literary Agents

      It’s not greedy, it’s smart business. If you have six people reading partials and fulls, it’s good to wait. That might be enough. But 3 or 4 isn’t enough. If you want to increase your odds and make this process go faster, send out more queries. When one bites, everything will go quick. Glad you like the site, by the way. It’s been a long time coming! Mark

  240. Hi Mark,
    Thanks for the replies. When I try to click on the [Reply] text, I get an error message: “can’t find the ‘commentformid’ div.”

    I won’t let me reply directly to any post. The outside reply button allows me to comment, but it puts the comment in the main comments.

    That’s the hard thing with websites; it could be finding something installed on your computer or it could be because I’m on a different browser/operating system combo. Anyway, I hope that helps you fix the bug.

    • Literary Agents

      Oops. Okay, think I just fixed it. Try replying to this and we’ll see. I just updated my site to a different “theme” and that sometimes requires you to change the comment reply settings on the backend… which I’ve now done. Thanks for letting me know! Mark

  241. Roy Davis Varner /

    Mark, my book is about a true Coast Guard rescue mission. What specific genre would that be considered? Narrative non-fiction / military? I’m writing a series of books on high-risk adventures/missions and want to find the right genre for approaching an agent. Also, an adventurer with world records wants help writing a book about a series of his adventures — so does he shop for an agent, or does the chosen writer? I may call on you for your consulting but need this quick feedback. Thanks.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Roy, many books could fall into several categories. Yours is one of them. I always advise my coaching clients, in this scenario, to be aware of the different genres and position their book slightly differently… for agents that lean one direction or the other. Narrative nonfiction works (or memoir if it’s your story or you were a big part of it). If it’s macho/military you could call it military…. but feels like a stretch. If it’s written to appeal to women as well I wouldn’t do that. Regarding the other book you asked about, anyone can shop for the agent. They don’t care. They just want a good proposal that they can sell. Looking forward to speaking with you if/when it’s right. Mark

  242. Robert Snyder /

    I have written a novel that after several years of frustration seeking an agent I self published. Those that have read it have indicated that they would love to see a second in what I had hoped to be a series. I can see that without an agent the novel will only been seen by those that know about it and ask for it. I understand the importance of an agent. What does one do to get someone to represent them when the novel has been self-published? Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Robert, all the same rules apply… the same methodology to attract agents outlined fully on my website. But… you have to decide whether to tell agents up front that you’ve already self-published. Sometimes it’s best to say it right away, other times better to wait until they’ve expressed some interest and/or ask whether you’ve already published. If you’re going to tell them up front, or it’s all over the internet, just know that they’re going to want to know how many copies you’ve sold. If your platform is pretty solid, but you haven’t sold a lot of books, it can be ok. If not, it’s still possible to land an agent and publisher… but it is more difficult. Don’t let that stop you though. ANYTHING is possible if your book is good. Mark

  243. Hi Mark – Hope this email finds you well and having a great day! My question for you is this: I’ve written what I guess you’d call a lengthy ‘nonsense verse’ saga which I feel could be popular with the right approach. (Think of it as a cross between Dr. Seus and Lewis Carroll). I think it has the possibility of being adapted into a children’s film (rather like The Lorax)and would certainly make a good audio book. I just don’t know where to go with it? Any suggestions please?
    Thanks Stephen

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Stephen, and thank you for the friendly greeting. Most people just dive into their questions. ;) So I thank you for that, and wish YOU a wonderful day as well. Now, about your question… you have an extremely unique project. It’s going to kill you at first because most people won’t know what to do with it. But that can also be the reason for you having great success with it if you DO break through. You’re going to have to position this perfectly to get people to even read it. So use everything you see here at Then (if you’re able and interested) set up a call with me here so I can give you more 1-on-1 support: Of course you can post more questions for me online, but this is a tough project to pitch without seeing it and having the chance to ask YOU a lot of questions. Either way, keep going and good luck! Sounds fun. Mark

      • Thanks Mark for the prompt response – I’ll certainly follow your suggestions and hope I get to a point where I’m financially able to work with you on a more personal basis! Fingers crossed! Enjoy your week!

        • Literary Agents

          Sounds good Stephen, if it works out… I’d be honored to help you. At least during one call. In the meantime, have a great week yourself and I hope to see you again soon. Mark

  244. AFTER writing five GREAT & IMPORTANT books, self-publishing, speaking engagements & NO INTEREST from anyone, I am about to give up. But, NO, what do I do? I WRITE A SIXTH BOOK, better, and MORE IMPORTANT! Do you think ANY agent would give ME the time of day? NO – because they are all “Too busy” with clients that MAKE THEM MONEY, or “developing other writers”. I am disgusted w/the entire publishing biz – including the self-important and deprecating AGENTS!
    What to do? I’m at ‘THE END’!

  245. @Janet’s question about titles (the direct reply isn’t working on my end): There is a fun site (can’t remember the url) that you put in the title and it spits out a percent of how “marketable” your title is. But like Mark said, most people don’t know what makes a good title. So I’m just going to tell you what I do: I go with my gut and then don’t worry about it. I try for a title that has my book’s essence and would catch my eye if it were on the bookshelves, and then focus on the pitch.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Jen, for now… there are two “Reply” links underneath a person’s comments. One is just a text link, directly under the comment. The other is a reply button, a little lower and to the right. Use the text link if you want to create a “nested” reply like this one. Have techies looking at how to remove the button part. ;) And let me know if you find that title site. Sounds cool. I’d like to try it. But I’m skeptical! Mark

  246. Steve /

    Thanks, Mark.

  247. No, Mark, I didn’t duplicate. I’m trying to let you know the problem may exist on your weekly instant win reveal too. I only saw that it was Greg [Last name I can’t remember] after I Google Plussed, but not when I tweeted. My tweets were favorited though, so that’s cool.

    • Literary Agents

      Ah, okay… got it. Went through a lot of comments at once so I didn’t catch that. And yep, a bug is a bug. When I get it fixed in once place, it will be fixed everywhere. Thanks for sharing my site and have a great week! Mark

  248. I’m looking for a literary agent who specializes in marketing book stories to HBO and/or Showtime? With a proven track record. What is the costs? How can I meet with this person? Any suggestions?

  249. Janet /

    I have trouble selecting titles for my stories. I know certain titles get more attention than others. Isn’t there a place online where a writer can check to see how low or high a score their prospective title might receive?

    • Literary Agents

      Not that I know of, and be careful who you take advice from. Everyone is quick to share their opinion, but most people don’t know what they’re talking about. Not publishing insiders. Mark

  250. Janet /

    You said manuscripts sometimes get accepted or rejected depending on how the agent feels that particular day. If that is true, then the writing itself may not be why some of us are having problems getting an agent. But how would an aspiring writer know if it is his/her writing or the agent’s whims unless someone with an unbiased opinion is willing to read a few pages to tell them?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Janet, you have no way of knowing… really. Except your response rate. But, you can increase your odds of increasing yours by having great writing AND a great pitch. Mark

  251. I tried to reply to Joseph DeAngelis comment about Eaton Literary Agency and it showed up in the main comments. My advice works for any agency, but I thought I would clarify.

  252. I didn’t know that agent, but I ran it through a few tests, and did not get good results. First check if it is listed on this website, because Mark tries to keep only legit agents on the list. That’s not to say a few can look legit and still have some complaints, but it’s a good place to start. Then “Google” the agency’s name with the word “scam.” I did that with yours and red flags came up all over. Other good places to look are Absolute Write, Writer’s Beware, Predators and Editors. Be Careful

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Jen, just so you know… I don’t vet the agents on my site unless I know they’re really bad. I’m slow to judge and it’s impossible for me to know everything about everyone. Your advice is the best. In the end, you can submit to anyone. No harm. When someone makes an offer, you better make sure you do some extra research. ;) Mark

  253. Davis Varner /

    I’m a published author (Random House) writing a non-fiction book about a major Coast Guard search and rescue mission in Alaska. Where do I go to find out which literary agents would be appropriate for my genre? I’ve looked at online lists but they are very generic. I thought about picking up a few non-fiction books of similar nature and call the authors to see who they used. Is there a simpler way to narrow down the list to the most effective agents for my interests?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Davis, congrats on your success with Random House. That’s great. Check out my agent list here: It’s the best directory out there. I create custom lists for my 1-on-1 coaching clients that are even easier to use, but the online version might suit you just fine. Let me know, and have a great weekend. Mark

  254. Hey Mark, I just tweeted your article and the instant winner didn’t show. Then I GooglePlus’d and the name shows up. Every time I’ve tried to share I only get the list when I GooglePlus you. Just thought you’d like to know.

  255. Charles de Bourbon /

    The report came out and I am a member of the Bourbon family and after 200 years there is again a French Royal Family.But no agent yet. I think because I am a one time author. I need a special publisher, one who gets a book on the market in a hurry while the news is still hot. We are waiting for one more report and we will have a major press conference in Paris. Know any publisher who can get a book on the market quickly while the iron is hot. Thanks for all you have done for me

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Charles, that is FANTASTIC. Now you at least know that your project has a shot. About your question, you need to find the right literary agent and he or she will help you find the right publisher. Use my new literary agent directory here: And keep us posted! Mark

  256. David Ross /

    Thank you, Mark, for the support your site provides. The choices open to aspiring authors is bewildering, and I greatly appreciate your efforts to simplify and clarify the options. Representation is a necessary step that moves beyond the linguistic/storytelling skill-set that most of us spend so much time refining. My question is: how readily will I be able to determine if the agent I work with is right for me? More to the point – should I hold out for a “stronger” agent? How can I know? Thanks!

    • Literary Agents

      Hi David, glad you’re finding the site helpful. And you’re right that there is a ton of info out there… and a lot of it is bad or at the very least confusing. Regarding your question, check this out: It will help. You definitely need to target the best agents that are best for YOU. This article series will help you figure it out. Mark

  257. I had to sign up again so I’m not sure of how many copies I’ll receive of your newsletter. LOL I do enjoy it and was happy to Tweet it and put it on Google+. I’ve also sent it privately to a couple of authors during the past week. The information is too good not to share. Thank you for providing so much good nfo. I have a literary agent but I can always learn more and more and more….

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Darlene, well… not sure what happened but I’m glad you’re getting my emails again. :) And thanks for promoting my work. I also appreciate you being a constant learner. I am as well. Have a great weekend and thanks for saying hello. Mark

  258. Joseph DeAngelis /

    Hello Mark,

    I am looking for feedback on the Eaton Literary Agency out of Florida. After submitting my manuscript, I received a letter and marketing contract from them. However, in the letter the agent stated that the novel needed professional editing and he would provide the service for $350. This was a requirement to move forward with the arrangement. In addition, my novel would be entered in their annual writing contest. Is this legitimate or a ploy to promote editing services? Help. Thanks.

  259. Steve /

    Simple question: I want to query potential agents and want to select one for 4-5 books I have in the works. I have narrowed down my list to prospective agents who handle all the genres my books fit into; however, I am unsure how to approach the matter in a query letter; i.e., I wish to mention that I have these five books in the works, perhaps submit samples for one or two, just not sure. Is this taboo? I don’t want to submit a query to a single agent based on a single publication, or must I…?

  260. I am just writing to say a huge big thank you., Tonight’s coaching session, (first thing in the morning for you) was really helpful and informative, but most of all truly inspirational and gave me a massive boost in confidence, which I really needed. I feel ready to tackle the “CEO” side of my business.

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Erik, just updated my website so I’m behind on a few things… but I’m thrilled you’re going in that direction. It’s the only direction as far as I’m concerned. And you’re a good writer so you have a lot to be confident about. So have a good weekend and see you again soon. Mark

  261. Lorie /

    So I have already sent a much needing to be revised query letter to two publishers. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t resubmit if you don’t hear back. I’m sure I blew my 8 seconds. Is it okay to resubmit the new query to those publishers?

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Lorie, no harm in resubmitting. The worst they can do is say no. I often help authors revise their queries and resubmit. The more different your query is, the better your chances. Mark

  262. Alexey /

    Hello, Mark,
    Could you please tell me what is the treat of agents to foreign authors like me? For instance, I`m from Ukraine, my Novelette was translated by english speaking person and will I have the same chances as an american author or not?
    Thank you for your website!!!

    • Literary Agents

      Hi Alexey, what do you mean by “the treat”? If your book is in English and it will appeal to US readers, you can get an agent in the US. And thank you for the kind words about my website. Glad you like it! Mark

      • Alexey /

        Hi, Mark!
        I mean will the agents neglect me as a foreign author or not? But you have already answered my question so i take my chance.
        P.S. Could you please advise me a professional translator?
        Thank you!

        • Literary Agents

          Hi Alexey, I understand now. Thank you. Regarding your other question, unfortunately, I don’t have any translators to recommend or know where I can send you to find them. I do wish you all the best though. Mark

  263. Darlene Gaudas /

    Straightaway thank you for your reply. I have all of my focus on this concept!
    this concept has grown over the years~ 4 to be precise, I have been told so many ways of presentation. i.e. Audio website, eBooks, nooks… I am in a tizzy! To be perfectly Honest without long pockets I thought to publish it on for a hard copy (full color illustrations) and text. I thought this would be a way of shopping it out to different publishers. will schedule an appt. w. U!

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Darlene, cautious optimism is my prescription for you. There are lots of directions you could go in, so I’m glad you’re setting up a time with me to talk about it. I’ll make sure to point you in the right direction. Have a great weekend. Mark

  264. mary /

    hi mark i receive your information i have another question to asked you before i joing. do i have to pay out any more more toward anythings. i just like to know
    thank you

  265. How to find an agent, that will share the royalties, but no money out of pocket? See my reviews on Amazon. Look under author Lori Tice. Thank you.

  266. Missiey /

    I have written a great deal of my first book and going back through now. I’m not sure the best way to go about getting anything else done as far as finding a publisher, agent, or anything or anyone else I need. Its stressful and trying to relax can be difficult. What do I do? What advice can u give me?

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Missiey, listen to the mp3 on the home page of this website. Then take a deep breath and start using the other resources on my website to market your work. Lastly, if you’re able, sign up for an intro coaching call with me when the time is right or post a question for me here so I can help you get going! Mark

  267. mary woodson /

    my question how long dose it take to print book and will my book be in book store

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Mary, that depends on who the publisher is. If you get a book deal with a publisher like Random House, the book usually takes 6-18 months before it comes out. There are a lot of variables, but the wait is always worth it! Mark

  268. G. Meadows /

    OK, hard question: how do you shop a literary novel with subject matter more associated with genre fic?
    To use a ridiculous example, if you were looking at a MS about a vampire romance that was unexpectedly written like a Jonathan Franzen novel, how would you advise the author? I’m not a shelving snob, but suspect romance agents would balk at the deviation from formula, while lit fic agents would never get past the elevator pitch. Is that book even sellable in today’s publishing climate?

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi G, not a hard question… but a good one. Lots of agents, publishers, and readers appreciate that unique blend of commercial AND intelligent and/or literary writing. It’s rare. When pitching something like that, it’s great because you can “slant” your pitch to address both equally… or lean one way or the other… depending on what the agent emphasizes most. Make sense? Mark

  269. Hi Mark,
    I echo all the good stuff said here about your webcast on Robin’s event. It was amazing, and I liked yours best because it applied to me most.
    Now my burning question today: The Author’s Platform. How big is big enough? How do you tell when the exact number of followers, email list, etc. is impressive and worth mentioning in your query?

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Jen, always good hearing from you. And I’m glad you enjoyed the tele summit. When it comes to platform, it all depends on the person and the project. As you know, there are MANY things you can do to improve your platform. Some are more important than others for different genres and/or if you’re very strong in one area, it can make up for another area where you’re weak. When working with clients, I only mention things that are strong. Sometimes not mentioning an area where you’re weak is better than sharing unimpressive numbers or facts. I know this is all abstract, but hopefully it helps. Mark

    • Yeah it does help. I guess the hard thing about platform is that it really is abstract. Where 5k followers may be enough in one specialized niche (especially if those 5k had already invested money in the venture), that number would be unimpressive in a different arena.
      As for me, I think I’ll just say that my online platform is growing exponentially (which it is) and leave it at that.

      • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

        Hi Jen, it is sometimes abstract and a tricky thing to clearly quantify. But the more specifics you give agents, the more likely they are to believe your numbers… and believe in your potential to help sell books! Mark

        • Oh, that’s true! Saying, “My new blog gets 1000 unique visitors a day” probably sounds better than, “My online platform is growing exponentially.” (That’s just an example)
          It’s the same Show, Don’t Tell and Resist the Urge to Explain that writers have to deal with in their own craft.
          All the Best,

  270. Frank Di Silvestro /

    I’m told self publishing your book is throwing your money away. Is this true? Is an Ebook the way to go these days?

  271. Kristen Panzer /

    Hello Mark,
    I’ve had some success with my self pub. novel but marketing was such a time sucker I set the book aside and got to work on the sequel. Looking back at my book now, the title is very weak and the cover could be improved. Should I change it? Re-release it? The title is Thea Gallas Always Gets Her Man. I’d like to change it to something provocative like
    The T*t Whisperer or something like that. My sleuth is an amateur lactation consultant, that’s the hook. Thanks so much!!

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Kristen, I had a website glitch (having issues) that caused some of my comments to disappear so my apologies for the delay. Regarding your question, what is your goal? To simply sell more of the self-published edition? Or to get an agent and/or publisher? Or both? I’ll get back to you right away after you post your reply. ;) Mark

  272. I’m looking for an agent or publisher who is interested in a boxing story. I am a writer by profession for the last 20 years and have a boxing story I recently finished.I also am a 3 time award winning writer. I also boxed for close to 10 years and got out with all my marbles… I think…Thanks much.

  273. Dear Mark, I have found your website very helpful. Thanks. I have just finished my memoir: The Journey, the Tale of a Bright Light in a Dark World. and am trying to get all the requirements together to approach an agent. I’ve heard so much about platform, that I set up a facebook page, for my book.Would it be a bad idea to publish my synopsis on line, telling the end of the book.? Also, do I need to get permission to use real names of people who were significant in the book? Or use on facebook?

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Wanda, great title. Oh, and I had a website glitch (having issues) that caused some of my comments to disappear so my apologies for the delay. I wouldn’t give away the ending like that online. Just create something that is more “teaser” copy like you’d find on the flap of a book. I can’t answer the other question, unfortunately, about names. I’m not a lawyer and that’s not my strongest area. I’m much better at book development, pitches, and promotion. ;) Mark

  274. Your MO3 set me wondering which were my favourite books (favourite of MINE I mean, not necessarily of agents -and yes I’do still love hard copy, lovely touch and scent as you turn the pages):. Of mine the most ‘open’ is definitely ‘Oral Literature in Africa’, most beautiful is ‘Love enpictured’ , wisest is Finnegan ‘Peace writing’, most romantic and saddest happiest ( up to you) Catherine Farrar’s ‘The wild thorn rose’ ( all on amazon or lulu).

    Would you agree?

    And YOUR favourite(s)?

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Ruth, I still love “old-fashioned” books in print… the feel and the smell… although I’ve certainly come to appreciate how easy it is to read things on my iPad. ;) Was just talking to my wife about our favorite novels. I lean toward Ayn Rand because I read her work in college and it resonated with me on many levels. Validated some of the things I believed, so I have a soft spot for The Fountainhead. I also like the love poetry of Peter McWilliams and, of course, Rumi. Have a great day and see you again soon. Mark

  275. Is it ethical and/or effective (not the same thing) to have TWO agents? -and if you’re lucky enough to get that, should you tell them? And/or divide your work (e.g. by genre) between them?

    • Hi Ruth,
      I have that question too!
      What I’ve been able to gather (so far) is that it depends on your work and the agents. Some agents work on a by project basis, where others want to help you in your writing career. You may find that you need two agents if your are crossing genres or target audiences. For example, a literary agent may not do play scripts, or a nonfiction agent may not do children’s. What you probably don’t want is two agents for the same manuscript. At least, that’s what I think

      • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

        Hi Jen, I had a website glitch (having issues) that caused some of my comments to disappear so my apologies for the delay. I just responded to the person who asked this question, by the way… but I’m not sure if you got a copy. I agree with what you said. ;) Mark

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Ruth! I had a website glitch (having issues) that caused some of my comments to disappear so my apologies for the delay. It’s completely okay to have two agents, depending on your circumstances. This is most common when you write something new that your current agent isn’t able to represent or interested in representing. Often a genre thing. Looking forward to speaking with you and have a great day! Mark

  276. Carrie Fenn /

    Hello there!
    I’ve been querying my manuscript for about eight months (with not even a nibble) and I plan to continue until I’ve exhausted every option for gaining representation. When I’m all out of agents to query I want to look into ePublishing as my next step. If my sales go well, I’d like to re-query with my selling stats included. My question for you is, at what point do I do that? What sales figures are high enough to turn an agent’s head?

    Thank you for your time!
    ~Carrie Fenn

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Carrie, I had a website glitch (having issues) that caused some of my comments to disappear so my apologies for the delay. I love that you’re committed to getting your work out there, one way or another. That’s half the battle. To answer your question, 20,000 is really the number that will make a difference with all agents. Some will respond positively to a lower number. I highly recommend you do all you can however, first, to improve your pitch and query as many appropriate agents as possible. And sign up for a consulting call with me here if you are able to: All my best. Mark

  277. carl giannelli /

    can i ask that if i think and i am told that my writing is very good and marketable ,then as the publishers go non stop with this deal and that why and how can i get an agent and do any of you request queries i am from Boston ma. i live in Boston and i am told my material would target the baby boomers which is millions ,i have a little facebook following but what i post there is tiny in comparison please help me find an agent anyone who wants a query and someone that may have faith enough in me

  278. larry Bucaria /

    Why are literary agents slow to reveal their successes? Before I begin to work with an agent’ I’d like to know of his/he published successes..

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Larry, I had a website glitch (having issues) that caused some of my comments to disappear so my apologies for the delay. Agents are often so overwhelmed with submissions already that they don’t take time to catalog their successes. Other agents don’t have successes to promote. I’m glad you’re thinking about it though. Wise authors get the best agents. Mark

  279. Adnane /

    Hi Mr Mark Malatesta, sorry to bother you again , but I did search in -Literary Agents Directory- someone who could represent animation scripts but I received no answer . I also contacted Metropolis talent agency which is specialized in animation but they accept scripts through referral only. May I please ask you if you could help me to find someone who could
    support my query or an animation producer that could accept to read my
    query and possibly adopt the script . Any help will be welcome !

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Adnane, I had a website glitch (having issues) that caused some of my comments to disappear so my apologies for the delay. Unfortunately I don’t have information in the area you’re asking about. But I do wish you all the best. Mark

  280. Kelley Hunter /

    I have worked with serial killers for a few years. I completed a narrative interview book called Murdered innocence; look through the mind of serial killer Keith Jesperson. Sunday Night Australian TV interviewed me and I have been asked to speak at colleges because of the content of my book. The format is question/answer which was gathered over three years and answers questions many would like to know about serial killers. I have 6 potential books, how can I get it out there without $$$$?

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Kelly, I had a website glitch that caused some of my comments to disappear so my apologies for the delay. Your book sounds good and it’s great you’re getting exposure and building your platform. To answer your question, since it doesn’t seem like you have much to invest in your writing career, I suggest you take full advantage of all the resources here on my website. And then, at the very least, sign up for one call with me here… to give yourself more of an advantage: Any questions, just let me know. Mark

  281. Jamie Gentry /

    I am interested in publishing a series of books, not a single book. How would I approach an agent with 12 books to propose?

    • Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover

      Hi Jamie, unfortunately… it depends… on your goals… the book genres… your bio… how much you have written… and many other variables. Sometimes it’s good to mention more, other times it’s better to mention less. The only way I could tell you for sure would be to talk it all through with you during a coaching call. Here’s a link with more info: If you can’t do that, at the very least, just know that there is no sure one way to go about it. Warm wishes. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent