Ask a Literary Agent

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. If you’ve posted a question here in the past, but you no longer see it below in the comments area… click here to look in our Ask the Book Agent Archives.

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Submit Your Question Below

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

Well, this is your opportunity because…

Ask a Literary Agent a Question About Anything

I’m a former book agent.

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

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

You see…

I like it when authors ask me questions.

It makes me feel smart.

I like talking about publishing.

Ask a Literary Agent Your Question

And I like…

Helping other authors.

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

Not while I was washing or drying my hands.

No…

I was literally…
using the restroom.

Ask a literary agent in the restroom

* * *

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

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

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

Like (maybe), your writing?

I get excited.

So, don’t hesitate to…

* * *

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

Question, ask a literary agent

No question is too big or too small.

And no question is silly.

Really.

I’d be honored to help you.

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

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

Oh…

* * *

One More Reason to Submit Your Question

Ask a Literary Agent Your Question

* * *

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

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

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

* * *

Why Am I Giving Away Gift Cards?

Two reasons:

1) I’m a nice guy

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

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

Not sure what to say?

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

That’s it.

I look forward to seeing your thoughts below,

Mark Malatesta

Your “Undercover” Agent

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

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939 comments

  1. 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.

    [Reply]

  2. Raymond /

    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?

    [Reply]

  3. 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

    [Reply]

  4. 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

    [Reply]

  5. 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

    [Reply]

  6. 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….
    best,
    md

    [Reply]

    Ed Qualls Reply:

    Matts, it’s at http://literaryagencies.com/members

    I’ve got it bookmarked so that it and this page come up every time I open one particular link-containing folder on Chrome.

    [Reply]

  7. 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?

    [Reply]

  8. 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?

    [Reply]

  9. Sean, Lee /

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

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

    [Reply]

  10. 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?

    [Reply]

    Linda Fuller Reply:

    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.

    [Reply]

  11. 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!

    Sue

    [Reply]

  12. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Ed, it’s simply that time of year. A lot of agents take time off during the summer. Check out this article: http://literary-agents.com/best-time-to-submit-to-literary-agents/. Hope it helps. Mark

    [Reply]

  13. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  14. William Giroir /

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

    [Reply]

    JEN Garrett Reply:

    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: pred-ed.com and Absolute Write send up all kinds of red flags

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi William, they’re a “vanity press.” Read this article to get a better sense of what that means, and my take on this: http://literary-agents.com/guide-to-literary-agents/do-you-need-a-literary-agent/. Mark

    [Reply]

  15. Catherine Weiss /

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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  16. Richard Seltzer /

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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Richard, submit a query to whom? Just want to make sure you (and everyone else) know that we’re not a literary agency but an author coaching/consulting company. Here are the different ways that people can get 1-on-1 support with us (fr*ee to fee): http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/. Mark

    [Reply]

  17. 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!

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Sue, for future reference just bookmark this page: http://literaryagencies.com/list-of-literary-agents/literary-agent-directory/. If you ever can’t find the private member page link, just enter your name and email again and it will take you to the page. Mark

    [Reply]

  18. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Nicole, here’s my take on this topic: http://literary-agents.com/how-to-become-a-literary-agent/. Hope it helps. Mark

    [Reply]

  19. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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: http://literary-agents.com. You can also get complimentary access to my Directory of Literary Agents by going here:http://literaryagencies.com.

    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: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing.

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

    Mark

    [Reply]

  20. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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: http://literary-agents.com. You can also get complimentary access to my Directory of Literary Agents by going here:http://literaryagencies.com.

    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: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing.

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

    Mark

    [Reply]

  21. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Linda, check this out… specifically the info for the last two paragraphs that I talk about: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/query-letter-sample/. If you don’t have a lot to say here, condense these two paragraphs into one. ;) Mark

    [Reply]

  22. 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?

    [Reply]

    Leah Fisher Reply:

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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Leah, I don’t… yet. But it’s something I’ll be putting together in the near future! Mark

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Either way, congratulations on getting to this point… and good luck going forward! Mark

    [Reply]

  23. Bryan Johnston /

    Mark,
    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.
    Regards,
    Bryan

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

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

    [Reply]

    Bryan Johnston Reply:

    Mark,
    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.
    Bryan

    [Reply]

    JEN Garrett Reply:

    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 scbwi.org 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 Reply:

    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

  24. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  25. William Giroir /

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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  26. 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,
    Bill

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  27. 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,
    Bill

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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: http://literary-agents.com. Then post another question for me here or sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. 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

    [Reply]

  28. 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?
    Thanks,

    warm regards,
    Valerie

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Valerie, glad you like the site and thank you for saying so. Your project sounds fun but it’s also, as you know, quirky. There won’t be any easy way for you to find the right agents. And you’ll need to sound out quite a lot to find the right person. Make sure you use all the info on my site to help you perfect your pitch. If you haven’t already listened to it, start with the mp3 featured on the home page here: http://literary-agents.com. Then post another question for me here or sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. And click here to check out our Directory of Literary Agents here: http://literaryagencies.com. Mark

    [Reply]

    Valerie Reply:

    Hello Mark,

    thanks for your quick supply.
    I am on vacation now but will listen to your mp3 when I am back and look at the agency list in detail.
    How much does the coaching call with you cost?

    Kind regards,
    Valerie

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Valerie, no problem… hope you had a great vacation. And all the info you need about my introductory coaching call is here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Hope to see you soon. And have a great day. Mark

    [Reply]

  29. 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.
    Bill
    PS: Good interview today!

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/. Mark

    [Reply]

  30. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Dmitry, there are several ways that I can help you. If you haven’t already listened to it, start with the mp3 featured on the home page here: http://literary-agents.com. Then post another question for me here or sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. During the call I will help you as much as possible. After the call, if it seems like a good fit, I might be able to help you with more things. Either way, I’m happy to help. Mark

    [Reply]

  31. 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)?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    Ed Qualls Reply:

    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)

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Ed, probably not. Say what you have to say about it in the query if anything. Mark

  32. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Phil, great idea for a book. My website will help you find the right agents and perfect your pitch. If you haven’t already done so, start by listening to the mp3 featured on my home page here: http://literary-agents.com. Then post another question for me here or sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. I also have the industry’s best Literary Agent Directory here: http://literaryagencies.com. Mark

    [Reply]

  33. 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: http://www.wattpad.com/story/17198008-p-ain

    Thanks again :)
    Rahul

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  34. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Hugh, yes… I can help. That’s exactly what I do. Start by signing up for a coaching call with me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. I’ll help you as much as possible during that time. Then, if it seems like a good fit, I’ll tell you how we can do more together, work hand-in-hand until you get an agent. Mark

    [Reply]

  35. 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,
    Yury

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    Yury Reply:

    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) :)

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Yury, yes… since you don’t have an agent to handle that… YOU have to do it. ;) Mark

  36. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Hugh, did you have a question? Mark

    [Reply]

  37. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    Frederic Reply:

    Thanks very much, Mark

    [Reply]

  38. 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!

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Amanda, although your credentials are less important with fiction… it’s still best to say something. ;) Check out this article: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/query-letter-sample/. Mark

    [Reply]

  39. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  40. M. Kalivas /

    Hopefully a literary agent reads this and contacts me.
    marlarock@live.com

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi M, this website has a lot of resources to help you find literary agents and get literary agents offering to represent you. If you haven’t already listened to it, start with the mp3 featured on the home page here: http://literary-agents.com. Then post another question for me here or sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Oh, you might also want to check out our Directory of Literary Agents here: http://literaryagencies.com. Have a great weekend! Mark

    [Reply]

  41. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. And make sure you listen to the mp3 featured on the home page here if you haven’t already: http://literary-agents.com. Have a great weekend and looking forward to (hopefully) learning more about you and your books. Mark

    [Reply]

  42. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Akasha, this website has a lot of resources that you’ll find (hopefully) answer that questions. Tips and advice to help you find literary agents and get literary agents offering to represent you. If you haven’t already listened to it, start with the mp3 featured on the home page here: http://literary-agents.com. Then post another question for me here or sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. You might also want to check out our Directory of Literary Agents here: http://literaryagencies.com. Have a great weekend! Mark

    [Reply]

  43. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  44. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Thank you Mark, hearing that is a great way to start my Saturday morning. To get the ball rolling for your session with me, register at this page: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. After you do (usually within a few hours) you’ll get detailed instructions emailed to you. Looking forward to learning more about you and your work. And wishing you a great holiday weekend. Mark

    [Reply]

  45. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  46. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  47. 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.

    Todd

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  48. Alice /

    Mark,

    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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Alice, yes… get something done and try to stay in one genre that’s marketable, to start. Agents are going to help you figure that out. Coaches and consultants like myself do that. So feel fr*ee to post a question for me here and/or sign up for a coaching call when the time is right here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Enjoy your writing, and don’t hesitate to reach out when needed. Mark

    [Reply]

  49. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Donald, the short answer to your question is “Yes.” Click here to read my long answer: http://literary-agents.com/book-genres/. I hope it inspires you. Mark

    [Reply]

  50. Jeremy Collier /

    Hi,

    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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Jeremy, my entire website is devoted to helping you get an agent… including tips on writing query letters. Start by listening to the mp3 promoted here on my homepage: http://literary-agents.com. Then check this out: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/. And follow up here to ask me another question… or set up a coaching call with me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Here’s to inspiring others. Mark

    [Reply]

  51. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Andrew, today’s blog post is a good one for you. What you should want is both heart and money. You can have both.
    Good agents want both. So do good publishers. The best agent depends on you. Read this guide, it will help: http://literary-agents.com/best-literary-agent/. And this one: http://literary-agents.com/guide-to-literary-agents/. Then listen to the fr*ee audio training that you can see here on my homepage: http://literary-agents.com. After that you should post another question for me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-ideas/. Or sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Either way I’m happy to help. And have a great weekend! Mark

    [Reply]

  52. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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: http://literaryagencies.com. It has links to every literary agency website. There you can see which authors they represent. Mark

    [Reply]

  53. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Zainab, happy to help. For nonfiction, you could send out a query with just a few chapters done and a solid chapter summary as part of a book proposal (which you will also need). Learn more about book proposals here: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/how-to-write-a-book-proposal/. Then listen to the fr*ee audio training that you can see here on my homepage: http://literary-agents.com. After that you should post another question for me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-ideas/. Or sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Have a great weekend and I’m glad you’re getting a lot of of the website! Mark

    [Reply]

    Zainab Khan Reply:

    And what if I’m writing fiction? Can I send query letter when my book is not finished?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Zainab, you can’t submit queries for fiction until the book is finished… unless you’re already famous. ;) Mark

  54. 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?

    Rahul

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  55. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Virginia, sorry I’m just getting back to you. Was swamped leading up to, and right after, the two chat sessions. Typically, a memoir has to be completed and polished before sending out queries. However, since memoir is technically nonfiction, you could send out a query with just a few chapters done and a solid chapter summary as part of a book proposal (which you will also need). Learn more about book proposals here: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/how-to-write-a-book-proposal/. Then listen to the fr*ee audio training that you can see here on my homepage: http://literary-agents.com. After that you should post another question for me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-ideas/. Or sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Either way I’m happy to help. And have a great weekend! Mark

    [Reply]

  56. micky kroger /

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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Micky, I don’t recommend particular agents. There are over 1,100. But, I can help you figure out which agents (plural) in general you should be pitching, and help you improve your pitch. Listen to the fr*ee audio training that you can see here on my homepage if you haven’t already done so: http://literary-agents.com. After that you should post another question for me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-ideas/. Or sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Either way I’m happy to help. Mark

    [Reply]

  57. 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.

    Catherine

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Catherine, did you get the email I sent you? The short answer is yes. You can sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. I can help you improve your query that way and (after that call) you might want to work with me more (hands-on with the query). Either way I’m happy to help. Mark

    [Reply]

  58. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Elena, start here: http://literary-agents.com/guide-to-literary-agents/. Then listen to the fr*ee audio training that you can see here on my homepage: http://literary-agents.com. After that you should post another question for me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-ideas/. Or sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Either way I’m happy to help. Mark

    [Reply]

  59. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Lillie, there’s a ton of info on my site. I always recommend people start with the fr*ee audio training that you can see here on my homepage: http://literary-agents.com. Then you can post a question for me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-ideas/. Or sign up for a coaching call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Either way I’m happy to help. Mark

    [Reply]

  60. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Micky, I’m happy to support you with this but I’m not sure what you need. How can I help? Mark

    [Reply]

  61. Hey Mark!

    Last evening my first online story (http://www.wattpad.com/user/raoool_19) 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.

    Thanks,
    Rahul

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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: http://literary-agents.com/how-to-write-a-bestseller/. I don’t have a simple answer, but at least I have an answer. ;) Mark

    [Reply]

  62. 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.
    yours,
    Esther

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Esther, not exactly… but take a look at this and read it if you haven’t already. It’s really done well. http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Racing-Rain-Novel/dp/0061537969 Mark

    [Reply]

  63. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  64. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Zainab, absolutely for #1. For #2 I’d shoot for 60-90,000 words. Have a great day and thanks for posting. Mark

    [Reply]

  65. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  66. 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!

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Robert, this two-part article might help: http://literary-agents.com/author-platform/. The importance of your credentials is going to depend on what your book is about. The content of your book is almost always going to be the most important thing. But sometimes it’s critical that your credentials be just as solid. Mark

    [Reply]

  67. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Lew, 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 new website that I’m sure you’ll find helpful, starting with the complimentary mp3 that you can learn more about here: http://literary-agents.com. You can also get complimentary access to my Directory of Literary Agents by going here:http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents. Mark

    [Reply]

  68. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Philip, great question. Read this article I wrote a while back about agent feedback: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/literary-agent-feedback/. It’s difficult to know exactly what agents want (sometimes they don’t know until they see it). It’s better sometimes to not try too hard actually and just send out more queries. Mark

    [Reply]

  69. sandy /

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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  70. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Joe, will do… many more things coming. Stay tuned. Mark

    [Reply]

  71. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

  72. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. That way we can be thorough and sure to get everything right. Any questions just let me know. Mark

    [Reply]

  73. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  74. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    Flash Reply:

    Thank you so much! I really appreciate it.

    [Reply]

  75. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Patty, glad you like the new website… and here’s my answer to your question: http://literary-agents.com/nondisclosure-agreement-nda/. Hope you’re enjoying another warm Spring day. ;) Mark

    [Reply]

  76. Alexey /

    Thank you, Mark!

    [Reply]

  77. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi D, the word count isn’t as important as the quality of the content… but it sounds like you suspect you’re missing a few things. That means you probably are. So look at more sample book proposals to get more ideas and/or sign up for a call if you want my help to see what’s missing: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Mark

    [Reply]

  78. 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,

    Trina

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  79. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    These are great questions but, unfortunately, outside the scope of what I answer here on my website. Those are type of things I only get into in coaching. If you’re interested, I can help you with this during a coaching call that you can learn more about here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Mark

    [Reply]

  80. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  81. 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!

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  82. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  83. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  84. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    Sue Reply:

    Do I mention I have fulls and partials being reviewed? If so, how?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Sue, smart question… but that’s higher level strategy that I only share with my 1-on-1 coaching clients… Mark

  85. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    JEN Garrett Reply:

    Yes, I can reply to your comments! Looks like you fixed the problem. :)

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Woohoo! We’re in business. Just glad you caught it early and let me know. I would have been wondering what was going on. Mark

  86. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  87. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  88. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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 http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/. Then (if you’re able and interested) set up a call with me here so I can give you more 1-on-1 support: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. 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

    [Reply]

    Stephen Linturn Reply:

    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!

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

  89. 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’!

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi James, sorry to hear that… but don’t quit now. You’ve heard the cliche about many people giving up just 3 feet from gold. That might be you. Check out this guide to help you get a literary agent here on my site: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/. Unique query tips, etc. Then, implement everything as best you can on your own… or (if you’re able and interested) set up a call with me here so I can give you more 1-on-1 support: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Either way, keep going. Mark

    [Reply]

  90. @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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  91. Steve /

    Thanks, Mark.

    [Reply]

  92. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  93. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Pat, check out this fr*ee guide to literary agents on my website: http://literary-agents.com/guide-to-literary-agents/. It answers some of your questions. But literary agents typically don’t handle works for TV and film unless they’re handling your book rights. Make sure you also listen to the fr*ee mp3 that you find info about on my homepage here: http://literary-agents.com. Then let me know if you have any more questions. All my best. Mark

    [Reply]

  94. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  95. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  96. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Jen, thanks for that. I just switched platforms for my website and that might have caused a hiccup. Mark

    [Reply]

  97. 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

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  98. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Davis, congrats on your success with Random House. That’s great. Check out my agent list here: http://literaryagencies.com. 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

    [Reply]

  99. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hey Jen, I think this might be a duplicate comment but it’s good to see you again. ;) Mark

    [Reply]

  100. Charles de Bourbon /

    Hi,
    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
    Charles

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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: http://literaryagencies.com. And keep us posted! Mark

    [Reply]

  101. 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!

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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: http://literary-agents.com/finding-a-literary-agent/. 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

    [Reply]

  102. 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….

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  103. 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.

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Joseph, when someone presents a situation like that… one that makes you question whether they’re doing it for the right reasons… it’s not a good start. That’s why most agents don’t charge fees like that or do those kinds of promotions. It’s also against the AAR Canon of Ethics. You can read more about it here: http://literary-agents.com/association-of-authors-representatives/. Mark

    [Reply]

  104. 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…?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Steve, I address this in the fr*ee mp3 that you can learn more about here: http://literary-agents.com/literary-agents-mp3/. All my best. Mark

    [Reply]

  105. 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.
    Cheers
    Erik

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  106. 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?

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    Lorie Reply:

    Thanks Mark! This is the most awesome site I have found on the web

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    Hi Lorie, I’m glad to hear it and I’m always happy to help when I can. Have a good night! Mark

  107. 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!!!

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    Alexey Reply:

    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!

    [Reply]

    Literary Agents Reply:

    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

  108. Darlene Gaudas /

    Mark,
    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 Mypublisher.com 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!

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  109. 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
    mary
    thank you

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Mary, no charge to get my newsletter and use most of the resources on my website. So enjoy! Mark

    [Reply]

  110. 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.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Lori, check this out: http://literary-agents.com/best-literary-agent/. Good agents don’t charge anything except a commission on money they make for you. Mark

    [Reply]

  111. 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?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  112. mary woodson /

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

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  113. 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?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  114. 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?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    JEN Garrett Reply:

    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.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    JEN Garrett Reply:

    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,
    –JEN

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jen, if the details are impressive… it’s best to share them. Otherwise vague is great. ;) Ha ha ha. Mark

  115. 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?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Frank, I had a website glitch (having issues) that caused some of my comments to disappear so my apologies for the delay. Regarding your question, read these two articles: http://literary-agents.com/category/self-publishing-book/. Then let me know what YOU think! Mark

    [Reply]

  116. 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!!

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  117. 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.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Preston, I had a website glitch (having issues) that caused some of my comments to disappear so my apologies for the delay. Sounds like you’ve paid your dues, so I hope you see your project through. Although I’m no longer an agent, my website has everything you need to secure one. If you’re able, you should also sign up for a call with me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Mark

    [Reply]

  118. 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?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  119. 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)?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  120. 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?

    [Reply]

    JEN Garrett Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  121. 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!
    Sincerly,
    ~Carrie Fenn

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. All my best. Mark

    [Reply]

  122. 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

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Carl, I just responded to your other comment. Keep believing and keep sending out queries! Mark

    [Reply]

  123. 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..

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  124. 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 !

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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

    [Reply]

  125. 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 $$$$?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Any questions, just let me know. Mark

    [Reply]

  126. 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?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    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: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. 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

    [Reply]

  127. Torissa Nikole /

    Hi, Mark!

    Thanks for taking the time to answer so many people’s Qs!
    So here are my Qs:

    1. Do they care how old you are?
    2. If you don’t have any experience, what can you put on your query letter to help convince an agent to work with you?
    3. Is there anywhere I can go for specific information and step-by-step walk-through of the publishing world? I have absolutely no experience with it and would like to figure out what I’m doing before considering an agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Torissa, don’t mention your age unless it’s relevant. And check out this two articles that talk about this topic: http://literary-agents.com/young-authors/ and http://literary-agents.com/old-authors/. This article will help you talk about yourself and your experience: http://literary-agents.com/author-platform/. Regarding your third question, just spend more time reading the content on my site. What you’re looking for is there. Start by listening (if you haven’t already) to the complimentary mp3 here on my homepage: http://literary-agents.com. And have a great day. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  128. Lynn Orloff /

    Hi Mark!

    I just want to say thank you for the webcast. I didn’t get to listen to some of the speakers due to snow !@#$%^&*()?>! and other obligations, but I was able to take in a few and they were excellent. Perhaps I am being biased but I especially enjoyed yours. In part, because in all candor what you spoke about I specifically needed to know, and also because you just come across as a great person.

    Thanks to all who shared their time and passions.

    Best,
    Lynn :)

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Lynn, now that’s the kind of bias I don’t mind. Sorry to hear about your snow challenges. We’ve been having our share this winter as well. Hopefully you’re staying dry and warm today. And thank you for sharing the positive feedback about my interview. You made my day. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  129. Hi Mark,
    I know you’re super busy right now working on your Query Letter Training and your new websites, but I’m hoping you’ll get the chance to pop in and see my question.
    What’s the difference between a good pitch (such as at writer’s conferences or online pitch contests) and a good query (such as the letter you send in hopes an agent or editor will request your manuscript)?
    Do both need all the same elements?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jen, they’re identical… the in-person pitch, however, needs to be shorter. So you need to know what the most important pieces of your query are… and be ready to elaborate if you’re asked to do so. Make sense? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    JEN Garrett Reply:

    Yes, it does make sense, thank you. Picking the most important pieces out and putting them into just 150 words is a challenge, but I guess that’s why there are coaches like you, huh?
    Thanks again,
    JEN | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jen, well yes… exactly. Ha ha ha. But you can do it, just need to take time with it. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  130. Mark – Hi,
    I always find your articles very informative – how much do you charge per hour and are you able to assist or help me in marketing a non-fiction book which is in a currently non-mainstream genre (i.e. nonsense verse but in the form of a story – think Roald Dahl’ish) I believe with the right artwork and assistance there are many marketing possibilities, I’m just not sure where or who to go to? Any help you could give would be gratefully appreciated.
    Very best regards

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Stephen, thank you for the comment about my articles. Here’s a link to a page that explains the different ways to get support from me 1-on-1: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/. My recommendation is option #2. Any questions, just let me know. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  131. If one already has queried 47 agents and had 20 rejections, what are the chances of still finding an agent after rectifying what one did wrong?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Bob, just saw this question… it went to my spam folder for some reason. As you now know, because we’ve talked, you have a very good chance of getting positive responses with an improved query. I’ve had clients get hundreds of rejections with zero requests for more material… then get many requests… after a query rewrite. The pitch isn’t everything… but it IS critical to get your work read. By the way, got your voicemail but I’m busy for a little while. Will call you back when I have a break. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  132. Hi Mark:
    Great resource – thank you so much!

    1. I live in Fairfield County, CT. Is there any reason to consider an agent outside NYC? I’m thinking no, unless perhaps an AAR agent elsewhere is preferable to a non-AAR agent in NYC?

    2. Law of Attraction – what genre? Spirituality? Pop culture? It’s a journalism format, so that’s complicated the decision process a bit for me.

    Thank you
    Judi

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Judi, I’m happy to help and I’m glad you’re getting a lot out of the website. The only reason to consider an agent outside NYC, in my view, is if you can’t get one that’s in NYC. That is, all other things being equal. You really have to look at each agent individually though, as a whole. Like you said, AAR status is a factor… as is their track record… etc. But you’re thinking right. The genre question I can’t answer without knowing much more about the book. I’d hate to steer you in the wrong direction. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  133. Elizabeth Trombley /

    I have a publishing co. that sends me an email every week. They are very serious about wanting to publish my book, but here’s the catch. They take 50 per cent of the books earnings. And if you sell at least 25000 copies they will advance money for the next book. They do promos here a abroad for the author with great promises for promoting sales to book stores, Kindle, etc. Is this a sucker pitch or is it legit? Since I am still sending queries out every day, you know how that goes. Any advice? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Elizabeth, if you have to pay anything to participate… it’s not the best scenario. But it’s not necessarily a scam. If someone is paying you, however, it’s the best validation that your writing is good and has a chance of being successful. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  134. good evening
    i have just finished my short story for young adults .i want to present it in kindle…..where do i begin? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Evi, congratulations! This isn’t my specialty. I’ve heard good things about http://bookbaby.com but they might just do full-length books. You might need to do a little Googling to figure out if there’s a better option for things like short stories. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    evi Reply:

    thanks

    [Reply]

  135. Wukelanren /

    Hi, Mark!
    As I remember you asked me to tell you when my book will be out. I wanted to send an email to you, but forgot what email it is, sorry.
    Yury | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Yury, congrats again… I always take a moment and celebrate when any author gets their work finally out there. All my best to you. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  136. Hi Mark,

    I’m a published author with two novels published in Australia. I’ve queried a number of US agents re my third, which is international in scope, and gotten half a dozen requests for a full. While a couple declined, though with nice comments, I’ve heard nothing from the others and it’s now much more than three months. I’ve sent polite follow-ups, but no response. All are big name New York agents. Is this normal and what do I do? I’d like at least to get some idea why I’m failing. Thanks. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Alan, that’s completely normal unfortunately. Here’s a link to an article I wrote about response times that will help: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/literary-agent-turnaround-times/. It’s safe to assume that anything past 3 months is a rejection, even if you’ve heard nothing. It’s encouraging that you’re getting requests though, so you should keep going. You’ll eventually get personalized feedback if you do. If you want more control over that, and you want to speed up the process, consider scheduling a consulting call with me and I can help you see what you’re missing when it comes to your pitch and/or writing. Here’s a link with more info: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  137. Billy Turner /

    What mainstream publishers will consider a self-published author who’s book has consistently garnered two (2) four stars out of five; two (2) five stars out of five; a rave review from the San Francisco Book Review and Midwest Book Review? Once a mainstream publisher finds out you’re a self-published author, the door isn’t politely shut; it is slammed shut. Literary agents also frown on self-published authors. Insurmountable obstacles. Help! | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Billy, it’s never too late to get a mainstream publisher… it’s just harder if you’ve already self-published and haven’t sold a lot of copies. But it’s still possible. A good book is, after all, still a good book. Sometimes it’s best not to mention (at least not up front) that the book has been self-published. I’m not recommending you lie, just be smart about WHEN you tell agents. Get them hooked first, then you can tell them. ;) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  138. Ok I have two questions but I will do them separately to have one extra chance at the gift. lol… Deciding which genre to use if your book falls into several…that seems impossible…How????
    I’ve spent weeks here and I am very grateful for your website because I’m not sending out query letters that are not ready to go. I’ve learned a lot and still am learning. I have no doubt that by using your website I will have a much higher chance of getting my book published sooner than later. Thanks. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    This speaks to putting yourself in the shoes of agents. Sometimes you can classify a book… put it in more than one genre. When that’s the case, I call it whatever the agent I’m pitching says they want. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  139. John Knubel /

    I have drafted a proposal for a book titled: “America In Denial” with a subtitle: How America’s Excessive Borrowing to Fund the Federal Government:Threatens National Security, Erodes Our Leadership and Will Ultimately Destroy Us.

    Can you guide me to potential agents?

    With respect and best wishes;
    The Honorable (by Act of Congress:)
    John A. Knubel | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi John, my apologies for the extreme delay. Our business has been growing quickly and we’re trying to keep up. A good “problem” to have. I can help you and your topic is interesting to me, as is your credibility and promotional platform. If you haven’t already done so, your next step should be to listen to the complimentary mp3 feature here on my homepage: http://literary-agents.com. Make sure you listen to the special offer at the end and then take advantage of it if it seems like a good fit for you. Of course you can also post more questions for me here or email me privately. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    John Knubel Reply:

    Why R U “undercover” ? Should I beware of some clandistine motive etc? :)

    With respect and best wishes;
    The Honorable (by Act of Congress:)
    John A. Knubel
    Cell: 301 502 1445
    1365 Eliot Road
    Franklin, Tennessee
    37064- 4882
    e mail: johnknubel@gmail.com (preferred) or

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi John, I had a website glitch (having issues) that caused some of my comments to disappear so my apologies for the delay. Nothing clandestine, to answer your question. I explain the name briefly here on my website homepage: http://literary-agents.com. Let me know if I can help you in any way. Mark

  140. Hi Mark,
    I know you’ve said that your platform isn’t as important in fiction as with non-fiction, and I write fiction. With that in mind, would it benefit me to start a blog? Meaning, will I look more profitable to an agent in a query letter stating I have a blog? Or would I have to have a large audience base first in order to even state that? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Sue Reply:

    UPDATE: Forget that question. I just received a request for full manuscript, twenty-four hours after submitting my query and first five pages. Yahoo!! I don’t want to act too excited in my email to her when I attach my manuscript, but at the same time I feel like I should thank her for “loving my first five.” Any advise? I pray you’ll read this today. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Sue, congratulations… what’s the latest? I haven’t had time to reply to comments as quickly as I normally do. By the way, your instincts are good. Be enthusiastic and appreciative when you get requests like that, just don’t overdo it. ;) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Sue, it certainly can’t hurt. And, if done well, it could really help. But yes, of course, an audience for your blog would make it even more intriguing. Oh, check this out if you haven’t seen it already: http://literary-agents.com/author-platform/. The big picture when it comes to platform, but a website/blog is always my recommended first step. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  141. the biggest obstacle is MYSELF …..Thoughts like “who am i to write ” , ” you have illusions about writing , talent and the publishing industry ” “Noone is waiting for your work ” “do you know daily how many people , truly talented and well known in the world fail “?

    do you ever deal with such blocks ? Not only i stop writing but “delete ” the idea of writing in general | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Evi. EVERYONE deals with such blocks. The best antidote or cure, as my wife and business partner like to say, it taking MASSIVE ACTION. Make yourself so busy in the act of creation and promotion that you no longer have the “luxury” of thinking such thoughts. I find that this works incredibly well. You don’t need to be perfect. There are better writers than you and I out there in the world. But we can be more successful if we simply show up more. ;) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    evi Reply:

    thanks

    [Reply]

  142. sawlian cheah /

    Hi Mark

    If a chapter has 15 A4 size pages in double spacing, would it be considered too long? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi SawLian, 15 pages double-spaced isn’t too long to me… when people start getting near 25-30 pages, that’s when I start to lose it. :) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  143. Lady Caroline Mole Brooks /

    Mark I’ve just sent you a question under coaching but now have another one for you.
    Is a website necessary for an author to sell their book? I’m new at this, as my first book has finally after years of writing, rewriting etc. in completed manuscript form. My questions may be a bit simple but I need to learn before I submit to an agent what I need to do first. I enjoyed your 65 minute mp3 and am already learning a lot from your website. This is a site I have recommended already to author friends. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Lady Caroline, check out this 2-part article if you haven’t already: http://literary-agents.com/author-platform/. A website is always my first recommendation, because it’s the fastest/easiest way to boost your author promotional platform. That said, author platform is individual. There are many ways to improve your platform, so it’s best to talk to someone about it before investing too much time and/or money. Thank you, by the way, for recommending my site. ;) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  144. Tom Shipley /

    I published a book with Createspace in 2009 (Silencing the Drums.) Although it’s on Amazon, it obviously didn’t get any kind of distribution. I’ve been told by those who have read it that it’s outstanding, although I realize people are reluctant to say anything else. I queried numerous agents, but I never landed one. Questions – where can I go from here? Could I still find an agent and have it republished commercially? Thanks so much for time. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Tom, yes… you absolutely still have hope. And you should do everything you can to write the best query possible and try to secure a top literary agent to get you a top publisher and book deal. If you haven’t already done so, listen to the complimentary mp3 that you can get here on my homepage: http://literary-agents.com. Make sure you also listen to the special offer at the end and then sign up for an introductory consulting call with me if you believe I can help you. But, whatever you do, keep believing. It’s never too late to get a traditional publisher. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  145. Lewis Arnold /

    Mark,
    We have written a book over the last 10-12 years. I hired Bob Mayer from Writers Digest. That was a great learning experience. When we finished the book, we sent it to the great (late) Ardath Mayhar. She went through the book and made corrections, suggestions, etc as such an accomplished author of her stature does. We have incorporated these into the book and he last note in 2007 said we had done well.
    How do we now present this to an agent in proper query? Or a publisher? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Lewis, my entire website is devoted to helping you secure a top agent, publisher, and book deal. I highly recommend you do all you can to secure a top agent. Start here: http://literary-agents.com/guide-to-literary-agents/do-you-need-a-literary-agent/. Then listen to the complimentary mp3 that you can get here on my homepage: http://literary-agents.com. Listen to the special offer at the end and then sign up for an introductory consulting call with me if you believe I can help you. it sounds like you’ve paid your dues and have something good with your book. All my best. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  146. Lady Caroline Mole Brooks /

    Hi Mark

    I’ve just spent an hour on the call 7 Insider Secrets to get a Top Literary Agent and am flabbergasted. I have just written my first book which actually falls into 3 genres: Narrative, Christian and/or Inspirational. I am totally new to this and my head is swamped with the thought of Query letters, Book Proposals and so forth but YOU had my undivided attention and I am so glad I joined in and spent the full 65 minutes. I have a better idea of a Query letter though I will need help. Thx. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Lady Caroline, you are extremely kind… and I am THRILLED you found the mp3 valuable. As you know, I’ve been swamped lately but please don’t think for a moment that I don’t appreciate your kindness and enthusiasm. It’s what keeps me going, in large part, even though I’ve been distracted with recent events and promotions I’ve been involved with. Thank you. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  147. I wrote a book called keep laughing.my book is an autobiography.its a motivational story that I think would make a great film.i had a movie option for it from a company in Beverly Hills but it ran up so I am pushing my story again.in short it’s about my poor upbringing in a large family,my sister dying when I was younger,my start in tattooing and skateboarding,then here in oakland I get shot in the head protecting my then girlfriend,lost the use of my once good right hand…book to film?how?who? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hey Devon, if you have the story optioned with a legit company… that tells me a lot. That’s great. You have the most important piece of the puzzle… a good story. The easiest way to go from book to film is to get a traditional publisher for the book (if you haven’t already), and then your publisher (or agent) will help make that happen. It’s much more difficult as an author without connections or background in the film industry to make a movie happen. It’s easier to get a publisher. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  148. Hi Mark,
    I just wanted to congratulate you on a fantastic website! It really is the A to Z of this business. Taking your advice, I’m finally getting some “skin in the game,” as entrepreneurs like to say, and hiring an editor. While I work on that part of your process (before my intro call to follow), I’d like to avail myself of my one free question. Here goes: does $2,000 to edit a 75,000-word literary novel offend your sensibilities as either too high or two low, and if so, why? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Todd, thank you for that and sorry for the slow response. I’m glad you’re investing in yourself and your writing that way, and I hope the editing is going well… if you’ve begun. $2k is fine, but… prices can be, and should be, all over the map when it comes to editing. The background of the editor is a big factor, but so is the level of developmental support you get. My problem is editors that charge $3-5k for an edit that consists of them mostly fixing typos and grammar. That’s too much. But that amount for someone to help with those things AND characterization, pacing, dialogue, story arc, etc. is fine… if it’s needed and the editor is capable. Hope this helps. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  149. Claire /

    Hi Gary! just kidding

    hi mark.

    My Question would be , I’ve got 60 rejections so far from agents and they all tell me they are sorry but my book it’s not on their taste, but some of the rejection letters are standard they just[put on my name. I’ve send them sample pages or chapters as they required along with the query.

    My Question would be, do they actually read from the sample pages before rejecting? or they just decide reading the query?

    Thank you. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Claire, it depends. The better the query is, the more likely it is they looked at the writing, too. The only way to know that for sure, however, is when you get one or more agents asking for more sample chapters or the complete mss… from those who were already given a sample. Otherwise, there’s no evidence that they got past the query. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  150. Assuming I have a slush fund of manuscripts, what are your thoughts about working on project-by-project basis, vrs. working with an agent long-term? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jen! It depends. It might be best to solicit different agents at the same time for different projects… to speed up your process. In the end, however, you might end up with one agent. But it’s definitely best to limit the term of the agent contract and/or the number of titles the agent is able to represent, until they prove they’re really there for you and a good fit for you long-term. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  151. I’ve almost completed a tell all and I’m naming names. Though I’m unsure which exact genre it will fit into, it touches on public education and corruption. Is there a genre my work would fit into? Are there a few categories you can name? Finally, how do I schedule a paid consultation call? Thanks so much for your time and assistance!

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Lola, sounds good to me… getting your story out there. The genre will depend. Could be narrative nonfiction if it’s about other people… or memoir if it’s a slice of your life… or social/cultural issues. I would need to know more. But you’re probably going to fit into one of those categories. And here’s a link to the page that has info (and a signup link) for my intro call: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. I’m looking forward to it. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  152. Jessie Novak /

    Another question, if you don’t mind.
    I decided I want move some stuff from the end of my book into my next book to cut down on the word count a little. What is a good way to judge where to do this? Also, what is a good word count for a fantasy fiction novel? I’ve seen numerous websites and all of them seem to have different amounts listed. Is there a base line or an actual amount that is required for fantasy books?

    Again, thank you for your time,
    Jessie

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jessie, good questions. Where to end is impossible to diagnose though from here. Again, you’d need someone to read the book and discuss your options with you. Word count varies but as long as your book is more than 70,000 words and less than 100,000 words… you should haven’t issues. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  153. Jessie Novak /

    I’m a first time writer and I have spent the last 2 years working on my book and now that I’m at the finishing point I find myself going back and changing things constantly. I read a chapter and I change something, I read it again and I change it again. I cant seem to read it without wanting to change something. Is this normal? How do I find a stopping point? My book is almost 100k so you can imagine it’s getting tiring. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your time,
    Jessie

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jessie, I feel for you… it’s a challenge. And it is normal. The best way to figure out whether you’re overdoing it is to get someone else (who knows what they’re talking about it), to give you honest feedback. A writers’ group, freelance editor, etc. Isolation can lead to great work but it can also make you second-guess yourself. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  154. ed earp /

    Hi, i have wrote several screenplays and think its about time a got myself a Agent. would i be able to sent a query letter to any Literary Agents on your web site. I have looked through the Agents that are listed but cant see any Agents that represent screen writers. please help.

    Best

    Ed Earp.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Ed, I’m sorry to say that most literary agents don’t handle screenwriters… unless they have a novel currently with that agent. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  155. Dear Mr. Malatesta,

    An agent at one of the nation’s top literary agencies has offered me an agency agreement with a provision for a “one work” or a “this and all future works.” He read my book proposal and described it as “stellar” with “amazing information.” We’re planning to write a series of books on the same topic.

    I wondered what the advantages and disadvantages are of each contract.

    Thank you,

    Troy

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Troy, congratulations on the offer. Regarding your question, it’s always in the author’s best interest to have the agent contract be for as little time as possible. The amount of titles doesn’t matter as much. The more titles they represent, the more they can sell. The idea is for you to not get locked in to a contract for any of your work with an agent that you “fall out of love” with in the first few months. Make sense? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  156. Angel Marie /

    Recently I wrote a 64,000 science fiction fantasy novel, as I was unsure of how the process worked I self published. Now that the book has released not more than 30 days ago my publisher is calling asking me to buy more books so that we can fill Amazon’s order. I do not have the funds to cover this order(as its bigger than I could have ever imagined) and since the first quarter sales haven’t posted I have no physical numbers to post in any query. What do I need to do from here | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Angel, I’m sorry to hear that… common story unfortunately. You still might be able to get a literary agent and a traditional publisher. It’s never too late. If you haven’t already done so, listen to the fr*ee mp3 on my home page here: http://literary-agents.com. Then post another question for me online or sign up for an introductory coaching call with me. More info about that here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  157. Sorry. I thought I was emailing your blog. My mistake.
    What do think of Wild Sound Festival? Are they reputible? Do agents pay attention to their videos, like they claim?
    Again, sorry for the confusion. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Sue, no problem. I’m not familiar with that particular festival though. A quick Google search and you should be able to learn more about them. But nothing compares, in my opinion, to simply getting help to create the best pitch possible, and then being able to query as many agents as you want. The pitch is what matters most. Good luck and let me know how it goes. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  158. sawlian cheah /

    Hi Mark

    In the TOC, under the four books each in the categories of competitors’ books and those that complement, do we write the similarities and differences for the books in both categories? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi SawLian, if I understand you correctly… you’re asking if you should compare/contrast your work to each book listed in the comparative titles section of your book proposal. If that’s what you mean, then the answer is yes. Have a great weekend! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  159. Cenus Hinds /

    I am a young (relatively I guess) writer from the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent. I’ve been writing my novel for the better part of what….. 4 years (School work didn’t permit much writing time) but now I’m finished and soo proud of myself :). I would really like help with getting a decent agent to represent me and also I’m not sure if me being from the Caribbean would hinder publication in the US. Hopefully you can help me by answering that question and also by providing assistance. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Cenus, you can publish in the US no matter what country you live in. All that matters is that your work is appealing to the US market. If you haven’t already done so, listen to the fr*ee mp3 on my home page here: http://literary-agents.com. Then post another question for me online or sign up for an introductory coaching call with me. More info about that here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. All my best. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Cenus Hinds Reply:

    Thanks a lot. I’ve already sent out a few queries to agents on your literary agents directory (Much help I must say that directory is) and also I’ve practically listened all and read everything you have to say on this site so all I’m waiting on is maybe some help with finding the proper agent or getting a referral (I’ll have to wait a while before I could actually afford the call to you… The exchange rate here isn’t exactly friendly)

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Cenus, glad to hear it… that you’re finding everything helpful and making progress. Keep doing what you’re doing, remember that it really isn’t luck… but a decision. And do set up a call with me if/when you can. I’ll help you take everything to the next level. Keep believing. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  160. I wrote the first draft of my novel when I still in high school. I was naive then, and thought it was best to copyright my book. I have since changed several things about the story, and educated myself on the process. I know now that I always owned it. I was terrified to read several sites that said agents won’t even look at queries that have been copyrighted because of that lack of knowledge. Do I update the copyright since it’s there, or do I hope someone will read/represent it? Thank you. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Mary, your publisher will copyright your book and agents really aren’t concerned about that early in your process. Copyright is something that authors care about, and they should care about it, because it protects them. I’m not an expert on copyright but I’m pretty sure you can find the info you need at no charge online. Just google copyright US gov and you’ll find info. I believe you can update your copyright with the newer version. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  161. Kim Aurelia /

    I’m writing a fantasy novel, and there is a character which was inspired by a friend of mine.
    He had an social media account, and wrote some great captions in his own words. If I want to quote him, but change the words a little to match my story, should I footnote him? Or would thanking him in the “thank you” page of my novel be enough? Thank you so much. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Kim, that’s a fine line and definitely not an area that I’m confident about. I always tell authors to have that conversation with their agent and publisher since it’s a legal issue in the end… and agents and publishers have different positions on things like this. I wish I could be more help here, but it’s just not my area of expertise. That said, I wish you all the best and hope you find OTHER helpful information here on my site that’s useful. Warm wishes. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  162. Rahul Abhyankar /

    Hey Mark,

    I recently uploaded this crime thriller on Wattpad, need a professional’s opinion on it.
    Looking for constructive criticism.

    Thanks,
    Rahul | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Rahul, happy new year! Unfortunately, I only critique work for my coaching clients. Otherwise I’d be swamped with requests like this and not have time for my paying clients. However, I do answer questions here as you know… just those questions that don’t require me to read and review material. Have a great day and hope to see you again soon. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  163. mary gilbert /

    can you please advise if you can help me find a writer and an agent for a book
    my number is 917-969-6876 – please understand that i want a writer who is recognized by the
    5 largest publishing houses and that this concept has already received interest from a
    film company. the reason it has not been pursued with the film company is that we
    are in the process of developing the story. it is non-fiction and a true story. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Mary, it depends… but I’m happy to help you figure it out. Your next step would be to schedule a paid introductory coaching call that you can learn more about here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. If you have any other questions you can post them her or email me privately here: http://literary-agents.com/contact/. Looking forward to learning more about you and your project. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  164. Tim Schaiberger /

    Hello. I have transcribed my grandfather’s and father’s handwritten journals which encompass a American Boy Scout’s 3 month journey through pre-civil war Spain,his later recounts of being drafted into WW2 as a medical doctor while my grandmother was pregnant with my father and a memoir started about Vietnam from the view of my father, a combat medic, which he started to research but became sick with a Brain tumor and died before he could finish. Is this Family Chronicle worth pursuing? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Tim, Happy New Year! Short answer is yes. It sounds like you have great content, and virtually anything can be made into a great book. The secret is in the execution. If the story is well told and/or the writing style is interesting, almost anything can be done well. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  165. Novlette /

    Hi Mark

    Fantasy and sci-fi have taken over publishing, so how does one market good literary fiction? I’m talking literature for social change in the tradition of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

    You don’t favor self publishing for a host of good reasons but agents and publishers are actively promoting fantasy and sci-fi above other genres. Yet with a plethora of tragedies – suicides, homicides, rapes – surely there’s room for promoting more books that provide insight to help teens?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Novlette, you market that type of writing the same way as any other. Check out this article: http://literary-agents.com/book-genres/. It might help. And have a wonderful holiday season! Mark

    [Reply]

  166. Hello,

    I’m in the process of writing a novel that fits in well with the literary fiction genre, and because I am a new writer, I was curious if you had any tips for marketing this type of book to literary agents. I’m seventeen years old, and I think my writing is very much influenced by Austen, Hemingway, and Tolstoy social critiques (although I don’t really have any of their styles). My book, however, is set in the present day.

    I would appreciate any advice you might have. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Phoebe, there is a lot of info that will help you on my site. Not sure where to send you but here are a few articles that you might find particularly helpful: http://literary-agents.com/category/book-writing-tips/. Mark sure you also listen to the mp3 available on my home page. ;) Happy holidays! Mark

    [Reply]

  167. Sara Cunningham /

    I have just finished writing my Fantasy Fiction novel and I am currently in the process of finding an agent to represent me. As I read through each agents requirements, I’ve noticed several ask for the first five or so pages. This book opens with a prologue that involves the main character but takes place eighteen years before the main plot and isn’t fully explained until later in the book. So my question is, would it be a good idea to send the prologue or skip ahead to the first chapter?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Sara, it depends… hard to say without reading it. Sometimes I suggest doing that, but other times it cause more problems than it’s worth. So it’s situational. I know that’s not very helpful, but it’s the best I can do with the information I have. Anyway, happy holidays and consider signing up for an intro call with me in the new year if you’re still not sure what to do. Love and light to you and yours from all of us here. Mark, Ingrid, Ginger, and Fudge

    [Reply]

  168. Hi Mark

    I am having difficulties writing my book using more expressive words,instead of large paragraphs. I need advice on being more descriptive.

    Thank you

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Yvonne, thank you for posting… I can’t answer this particular question in just a few words though. Hmm. Wait, yes I can. I don’t have THE answer, but I can point you in the right direction. You really need to buy a few books on the craft of writing. And read books by your favorite authors to see how they’re handling it. Then practice, practice, practice (but you already knew I was going to say that, I bet). Let me know if you find a great book on craft. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  169. Rahul Abhyankar /

    Hey Mark,

    A lot of rejection letters say “Learn from the masters”, and it mentions a couple of big names. So it’s just about reading their books, right? How else can I improve my writing?

    Rahul

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    HI again Rahul, I love that I have an article “answer” to pretty much every question you could ask me. Ha ha ha. Here you go: http://literary-agents.com/how-to-write-a-bestseller/. Let me know what you think. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  170. Rahul Abhyankar /

    Hey Mark,

    Long time…:) How are you?

    Well I’m hearing about blogging from many people, and a friend recently suggested that mentioning about it would make my query letter better. But I’m not so fond of blogging about my daily life and all, so I’m on this site called Wattpad, and I’m getting pretty good reviews from people (http://www.wattpad.com/story/9674471-frostbite)

    My question is: does mentioning about either really make a difference?

    Happy Holidays!
    Rahul

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Rahul, doing great… even better now that I see you saying hello on my blog. Blogging is only good if you’re good at it and you enjoy it. If you are good at it and getting lots of followers, you should mention it to agents. But, always remember that there are many OTHER things you can do to strengthen your promotional platform. Read this 2-part article for ideas: http://literary-agents.com/author-platform/. And have a great weekend! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  171. Two questions:
    If you have a novella that starts of a book series, can you query it to a literary agent?
    Would they be more willing to accept it since it will be part of a novel series.

    If you submitted a novel to a small press and it did well, would a literary agent be able to get that novel back, through rights reversal or something, and submit it to other publishers, or would the author just have to wait until their rights came back to them?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Cassie, you can… but most agents won’t take on a project like that unless it’s by an author who’s already published. Regarding your second question, yes… an agent would possibly do that. However, it’s a lot easier if you know ahead of time that the publisher is willing to give up the rights. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  172. Hi, Mark

    I’m Georgian script writer. I’m from Georgia (capital city – Tbilisi). My name is Soso Janiashvili, 33 years old (writer, screenwriter, journalist). 2003-2013 I worked in journalism. Magazine – I was writing articles for newspapers from Georgia and Ukraine, and television writing scenarios. In addition I have published several books and magazines. I completed movie script. I have The writers Guild of America, West – Certificate. My script read and consulting, Hollywood script consultants. I can send a synopsis. I need and find a good agent, who help me sell my script in hollywood. Can I send to you several pages of my script?

    I hope our relationship will continue in the future.

    Sincerely

    SOSO JANIASHVILI

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Soso, it’s great you’ve paid your dues as a writer and I wish I could be more help… but my Directory of Literary Agents on my website only literary agents. Most of them don’t deal with screenwriters. And I personally only consult with authors of books. All genres, but not writers who only write scripts. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  173. Adnane /

    Hi , I’ve written an animation script for feature length , May I ask you , if possible , to mention to me some agencies that accept submission queries from animation writers ? I’m looking for representation for a long time but agents seem to be reluctant to animation scripts ,because most of animation screenplays now are generated in-house. Monteiro rose dravis Agency and Gotham Group are specialized in animation , but they accept queries by referral only. Could you please help me !
    Thank you

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Adnane, great hearing from you but you’ll simply have to go through the agents listed in my Directory of Literary Agents here: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents/. I don’t recommend individual agents. Unfortunately, I don’t think that many agents specialize in this area as well, so it will take a little homework on your part. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  174. Hi, Mark – I’m a multi-published author and screenwriter with many TV credits, and I just wrapped up a YA paranormal trilogy for HCI Books (Dark Territory, Ghost Crown and Shadow Train), which came out to rave reviews. I’ve also been editor and managing editor for several magazines. My day job is ghostwriting books for other people. After my trilogy was released I sent out about a dozen queries, to no avail. Obviously I’m doing something wrong but haven’t figured out what it is. Any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Charlene, I absolutely love that you’re the real deal and having success. Not sure why you’re striking out with agents though. If you’ve already used the resources on my site to the best of your ability, and want my help 1-on-1 to figure out how to improve your approach to agents, schedule a call with me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. I’ll help you make it happen. Any questions let me know. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  175. Hi Mark – I wanted to touch base with you regarding my investment. Things have gotten busy in my chef life (yea!), and I’ve only managed to get to #14 p/o 50 on your questionnaire. Because income is SO much better than outgo, I’ve put you/book on hold until business slows down. I am eager to resume and use your expertise in the pursuit of my writing aspirations, and I just wanted to let you know where things stand. I am assuming there is no expiration on my investment with you. Be well!

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Claudia, it happens more than you think. No rush. The important thing is that you answer the questions thoroughly and then set up a time to speak with me when you can be fully present. That way you’ll get the most out of it. I’m not going anywhere, and I’ll honor your commitment when you’re ready. Warm wishes to you and yours. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  176. vernon slack /

    in starting my autobiography i came to a stalemate i was wondering if you could help me out do i do my autobiography in first person or third person mode

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Vernon, first person. That’s an easy one. ;) Have a great weekend and sorry it took me so long to get back to you! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  177. Hi Mark!!! Hope you two had a wonderful thanksgiving, because I sure did ;-) my question for you is… Is it possible to be completely anonymous when writing a book? And is there a site you know of that I can go to find out more about how to do it?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Tina, thank for you for the holiday wishes. About your question, it is possible… but it’s something you would need to discuss with your agent. Until then, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. But it is possible and, in many cases, it’s necessary. I don’t know of any places online that talk about this, but it’s not a big deal. Getting a great agent is what you need to focus on first. ;) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Tina Reply:

    Glad to hear it because I submitted my query to gentleman at the Trident Media Group just this afternoon. I’ll let you know how it goes (or doesn’t) lol!!!

    [Reply]

  178. Mark,
    I feel that I am just as dedicated to getting published as anyone. I went to school to become a writer, and I work tirelessly to complete my current manuscript. However, I see so many people promote themselves through constant blogging. They have many followers and even personal web sites. I admit, I may love writing (and I think I do a good job) but I don’t blog.
    Am I less likely to get an agent because I do not have a blog? I try to be professional but I am such a novice.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Aimee, great comments and question. When it comes to building the best author promotional platform, there is no one best way to go about it. Blogging can be good for some people, but not others. It depends. Check out this article (two parts) and let me know what you think: http://literary-agents.com/author-platform/. I’m happy to help, one way or another. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Aimee Reply:

    That WAS helpful. Thank you. I feel much better about myself. I have one more question. I (for some reason) thought publishing companies had editors, and through your agent you would have access to an editor after finding said agent, I did not realize until recently that this was not true. How am I supposed to get a good editor for my book on a middle to low class income? I simply do not have the money. And even though I think of myself as a great editor, I cant do my own work.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Aimee, glad to hear it… I know it’s a big (and challenging) topic. Regarding editors, yes… publishers do have editors… and they will help… but not as much as they used to. So it’s important that your book already be as good as it can be before you approach agents. If you can’t afford to hire an editor, find a good writers’ group in your area or online. That would be the next best thing. And have a great weekend! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  179. Hello Mark and thank you for your email of today. To be honest I have used a self publishing company and now believe it was a big mistake. As you said in your audio, a lot of new authors are easily sucked in to the promise of fame and glamour, but in reality all I experienced was email after email from the publisher wanting me to pay this and that for additional promotion. I will be contacting you shortly for a one hour chat as both my action/adventure fiction books have already been released.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Stephen, sorry to hear about your disappointment with self-publishing. But it’s never too late to get a traditional publisher. At least you’ve figured it out. Let me know if I can help you in any way. Have a great weekend. And happy holidays! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  180. AJ Nededog /

    Mark,

    I am very excited that I found this website; I have been searching endlessly on the Internet for some guidance to writing my proposal. I have a manuscript going — it’s nearly halfway done, and it’s something I want to propose to publishers. I would love to tell you more about this novel, and hear your professional input on it — you know, what parts that need improvement.

    Best regards,

    AJ Nededog

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi AJ, I’m glad to hear that. If want 1-on-1 help from me you can post questions for me here. Or you can sign up for an introductory coaching call with me here (recommended): http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. That way I can give you feedback on your work. Either way I look forward to helping you get an agent. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  181. are there any sites /forums to present my work ? I need feedback on my writing

    thank you

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Evi, I’m not connected to websites that do that… but it’s a good question and I might write an article about it at some point after doing some research. In the meantime, if you’re able to do so, you should consider signing up for an intro call with me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Let me know if you find some good websites as well. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  182. what s an international agent ?

    is someone who helps an author from Italy, for example, to enter international market? How does that happen ?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Evi, that depends. Agents in the US that handle rights abroad are called intl agents. But so are agents outside of the US (if you live in the US). Make sense? Also, read this page on my website for an answer to your second question: http://literary-agents.com/international-literary-agents/. Have a great weekend and let me know if I can help you in any other way. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    evi Reply:

    thanks

    [Reply]

  183. Mark,

    I have an incredible story! But….. I’m worried someone could use my proof if I send it to them.
    Dan Brown and other author’s have stories that pertain to certain ancient symbols. Well, I am the guy that can say those symbols belong to me! FYI, I’m a humble dude. In saying that, I’m also the only person on this planet that has the pentagram formation on their astrological chart, down to the second. That is just the tip of the iceberg too. Can we talk about this please?

    Thanx, Pete

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Pete, read this article… it will help: http://literary-agents.com/nondisclosure-agreement-nda/. Then, if you want 1-on-1 help from me you can post another question for me here. Or you can sign up for an introductory coaching call with me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Either way I look forward to helping you get your work out there. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  184. Eric Demaree /

    I am writing a Bible handbook with a philosophical centerpiece. I have submitted the philosophical essay to a top journal. They have been reviewing it for 2 months so it is possible they will want to publish the essay. However, if they publish it in their journal they will want the copyright to the essay. Will that be a problem when I publish my book? Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Eric, sorry it’s taken me a while to reply. Long holiday weekend for Thanksgiving and all that. Anyway, to answer your question, if you get the essay published it will only HELP your cause with getting a publisher. It gives credibility. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  185. Patricia /

    Mark,

    I would really like to talk to you on the phone. I realize that you don’t want to hear pitches, so I won’t. I just want to know how I can get my thirteen books out. I have many other “Perks” besides the following one…
    A worldwide, Television Program set up a teleconference with me, with famous people from it. They told me, “These books need to get out to the world…’NOW!’”

    Please, could you help me do just that,

    Patricia | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Patricia, I got your email and I’ll give you a call tomorrow. Sorry for the delay, meeting a lot of deadlines this week so I can take some time off next week. But I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your work. See you soon. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  186. Robin L Swanson /

    Is it okay to submit one manuscript to several agents at the same time? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Robin, there are a lot of variables. So basically, it depends. In general, yes. But when agents say they only accept exclusive submissions, things change a bit. If you provide more info about your unique situation, I might be able to help more. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Robin L Taylor-Swanson Reply:

    Dear Mark,
    Thank you for your quick reply.
    I am a ‘new’ children’s author and being as such very unsure of certain protocols when dealing with literary agents. I remember hearing somewhere that once you submit a manuscript to one agent you have to wait to hear from said agent before submitting the same manuscript to another agent. Yet I saw a writer on your site say after submission he received several offers. Same manuscript, several different agents.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Robin, if you submit to one agent at a time… and many of them take months to respond, or never respond… it would literally take you years or decades to get an agent. Most agents understand that and don’t require exclusivity. Thank goodness. Have a great weekend and let me know if I can help you in any other way. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    Robin L Taylor-Swanson Reply:

    Hi Mark-

    Thank you again for quick response. I will start submitting to several agents at a time. I will also sign up for your services once the holidays are done and I have the money to spare.

    Thanks Again!
    Robin

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Robin, happy to help and looking forward to helping you take everything to the next level in the new year. In the meantime happy holidays and have a great weekend! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  187. Subject:
    your opinion please

    Hello
    i am a french author.
    i wrote an autobiography which has been published in France. The main
    subject is the alcohol addiction.
    A friend of mine (english native) translated my book in english.
    Do i have any chance to find an agent in the USA who could help me
    publishing and selling? What is your opinion?
    thank you very much
    Eric
    http://www.georges-hudine.com | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Eric, great question and I have good news. Yes, as long as you have an English translation, you can absolutely submit your work to literary agents in the United States. Make sure you listen to my complimentary mp3 here that will help you get an agent: http://literary-agents.com. Take advantage of my Literary Agent Directory here: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents/. And consider signing up for an introductory coaching call with me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Warm wishes. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    HEDUIN Reply:

    Thank you Mark
    Eric | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  188. Dave Anderson /

    Thanks Mark, for checking on me and keeping me motivated. Its nice having someone out there who cares, and is willing to share their know age in order to avoid the preverbal stumbling blocks that writers incounter, as you well know. What I need to ask you is, I am, as of now. working with a producer from Californa, with invision productions. He is willing to do all the film work associated with an e-book for a percentage rate. This is my second film offer I have been approched with and I don’t even have my manucript published yet. Should I be persuing an agent at this point, and if so, would I be looking for a literary agent that can take me beyond a book into the film industry? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Dave, I’m just glad to hear the latest and try to help. Your situation is complex and I don’t want to give you advice without all the facts. But based on what you’re saying, and what I already know about your project, yes… you should be trying to get an agent. And yes, an agent can help with film negotiations for you. Great hearing from you, as always. And have a great weekend. Mark

    [Reply]

  189. i would like to ask a question , about people who write in a foreign
    language but still are intersted in entering the us/english language .
    Do you have people to recommend for translation ? In general what
    happens in this case ? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Evi, I don’t recommend people but I can tell you this… if the book has already been published successfully in another country, you might be able to get a translator and/or publisher without paying for it (or paying much). If it hasn’t been published, you’d likely have to find someone and pay them to translate the book before being able to get an agent and/or publisher. If you have any other questions, please post them and I’ll help the best I can. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    evi Reply:

    thank you | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  190. Both my hubby and I want to get agents…. should we look for separate agents or try to find someone who could work with both of us. He has written Confessions of a Butcher- eat steak on a hamburger budget and save$$$. I am more interested in writing for children. We write some projects together and some things separately. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Vickie, great question and the first time I’ve been asked that. The odds of you both getting the same agent are extremely slim. But I’m not immediately thinking of any disadvantages to that scenario. If I do think of something, I’ll come back here and post a follow-up. Have a great Friday and weekend, and hope to see you here again soon. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  191. John Tunstall /

    Hi Mark,
    I enjoyed your audio, particularly your rules for writing a query. I was surprised to hear that a query needs 4 grafs, with the first, or hook, including marketing information. What a revelation, particularly after listening to the supposed “pros” saying anything other than their “standard” is a query killer. Does this also pertain to children’s fiction? My book is a MG animal adventure, and I have some interesting statistics relating to the unique story line.
    Thanks, John | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi John, thank you for that… and I’m glad you found it valuable. Yes, that approach works for every genre. Agents will often reject queries that go too deep into the synopsis. Instead, if you hold back a little bit on that and use that space to “add value” in other areas, you’re able to cover more ground and make a better impression. Mark

    [Reply]

  192. Rahul Abhyankar /

    Hi Mark,

    Okay, so the thing is that when it comes to writing I’m all about fast paced plots and style, and I realized that I had started overdoing it in my book. So I’ve taken a break from it, and I’m going to try writing short but slow stories in which I’m going to focus more on the character development and descriptive power. I’m going to upload it on Wattpad to see how it goes, but I need help. How do I make it slow, and less happening but not boring? How do I add descriptions?

    Thank you! | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Rahul, there are many great books out there that will help you improve your craft as a novelist. Just make sure you also study some of your favorite authors to see how they handle it. Then continue getting feedback on your work. Those three things combined will help you greatly. Have a great Friday and thanks for posting. Good question. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  193. here is my blog address http://flyingmeyrtles.blogspot.com/ | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  194. I just have a journal I thought everybody would be exxited about. Can you count paintinhs for a childrens book as an exclusive query | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    HI Jasmyn, I don’t understand your question. Will you please explain a little more? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  195. Rahul Abhyankar /

    Hey Mark,

    I posted this extract on Wattpad and I’m looking for an honest review. Could you please give me one?
    http://www.wattpad.com/29122972-page-1-2-prologue-untitled-ya-project

    Thanks!
    Rahul | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Rahul, I’m glad you’re getting your work out there and getting feedback from people. I don’t give specific constructive feedback to authors about their writing, however, unless it’s during a consulting call. Otherwise I wouldn’t have time to do the work I do for my clients. That said, I did look at your writing and you’re doing a lot of things well, so I hope you keep marketing your work. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  196. Hi Mark,

    I am rewriting my first book to the series, changing it from third person to first. The one question I have is what format is most popular and acceptable to Literary Agents, Editor’s and Publishers. You have seen my style, however I have taken out all page breaks, section breaks and have placed a small row of ******** in the center where the breaks or page breaks would be. I understand the double spacing but do the margins and fonts need to be a certain setting?

    Thank You

    Karyl | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Karyl, I suggest you check the reference books and Google for questions like this. Font should be Times New Roman 12 point font, double-spaced for manuscript pages. When it comes to first or third person, it depends what you’re writing. And agents have different preferences. You can go either way most of the time. Start looking more closely at a lot of the published books you’ve read and you’ll see what I mean. Just make sure your tense is consistent! And have a fantastic Friday. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  197. I am and would be author/illustrator of children’s picture books looking to get somewhere, anywhere with my craft. Problem is I’m anti-social, loaner, recluse type and have no interest in as they say ‘playing the game’. Any idea on how to remain in my happy shadows and still attract attention from someone willing to be my face out there in the oh so hatted game? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Logan, thank you for being honest. If it’s any consolation, your’e not the only one. In fact, I feel that way often and need plenty of privacy. More good news. There have been, and will always continue to be, published and/or bestselling authors with no desire to “play the game” socially. You simply have to be a great writer to make it happen. The book is king. Everything else is extra. So keep writing and get those queries out there. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  198. Stephen Cain /

    Hello Mark,
    I want to pose a question re proofreading/editing. I recently conducted an experiment with two different proofreaders and two different editors. I sent exactly the same manuscript out but had completely different results when the manuscripts came back. Yes it cost me quite a lot of money but I thought it was worth the investment. I know proofreaders and editors have their own take on things but that said wouldn’t it be more sensible to purchase some expensive editing software? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Stephen, a good experiment and I’m glad you did it because it reveals the biggest challenge when hiring and working with an editor. It’s subjective. Software will never do the trick. You simply need someone who understands your genre, vision, and style… who’s also highly experience and qualified. Maybe there is a directory of them out there, but I haven’t seen it. Thanks for sharing this, it’s good for everyone to see. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  199. Hi Mark. I have a short eBook, about 37 pages, I self published on Amazon. It’s called, “12 Reasons You Need an Accountant for Your Small Business: You and Your Accountant Make a Great Team”. I want to expand it and maybe change the title. I’m an Accountant & Business Coach w/over 16 yrs exp. I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to expand it into a longer book, and if I should send LAs I pitch to a copy of my ebook with the proposal, if one is requested. I need to go trad pub to get more exposure. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi JeFreda, great topic and book idea… although I agree that you would absolutely have to change the title. Instead of send literary agents the ebook, however, you should instead include an expanded and updated table of contents with detailed chapter summaries and a new introduction as well as the first three sample chapters. Consider setting up a call with me to talk it all through: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  200. Stephen Cain /

    Hi Mark,
    Per my previous message, can you recommend a quality agent for fiction? There’s a million out there advertising but I am sure not many can actually produce.

    Regards,
    Stephen Cain | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Stephen, check out my Literary Agent Directory here: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents/. It’s sorted into 116 genres. I recommend you only submit to AAR members to start. Click here to learn more about the AAR and find out why it’s important: http://literary-agents.com/association-of-authors-representatives/. Then let me know what you think. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  201. Stephen Cain /

    I have written and published two books this year and those who have read them have given me good positive feed-back. That said I believe unless someone with clout in the publicity business gets involved to promote in the right places good books will fall by the wayside and fade away unnoticed.
    Regards,
    Stephen Cain | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Stephen, too true. Unfortunately that’s what happens to most self-published authors. Hey, did you see my two articles on self-publishing here: http://literary-agents.com/category/self-publishing-book/. Let me know what you think. Then let me know if you’re ready to take the leap and let me help you get a real publisher. I love a good success story. Here are some of mine: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/coaching-testimonials/. Have a great week! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  202. Jerome Mills /

    Thanks Mark, that help very much reading about the Self Publishing Vs Traditional Publishing. I guess I’m going to try & self Publish w/having to pay out of pocket & being a 1st x author. B Wel Mark Thanks Again | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jerome, as long as you understand that unpublished author can get book deals with traditional presses like Random House. Most of the authors I got published when I was an agent were previously unpublished… and most of my sales were to major publishers. Either way, I wish you all the best. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  203. Jerome Mills /

    I have two question’s, 1st is Page Publishing & Xlibris a real publishing company (Legit company)? 2nd Would you as an agent deal with either one of them and why or why not? Thank you and I like the humor on the site, puts a smile when needed

    Jerome Mills | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jerome, this article will help you: http://literary-agents.com/guide-to-literary-agents/do-you-need-a-literary-agent/. The publishers you mentioned are vanity presses. Literary agents don’t deal with them, only publishers that would pay YOU to publish your work… instead of the other way around. By the way, thanks for the positive words about my website. It’s much appreciated. I hope to keep you entertained for many years to come. ;) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  204. Hi Mark! I’m thinking about writing a historical fiction series following a family or pair of families through American history from birth to present (think Kent Chronicles or Winslow series) and I’m having trouble deciding where to start. From the perspective of an agent, which colony do you think has the best marketability: Roanoke, Jamestown, or Plymouth? They each have pros and cons regarding the historical side, so I’m looking for someone to give me an opinion from the fiction market side. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Troy, I love the fact that you’re thinking about the options like that… makes me believe in you as an author. However, I regret to say that I don’t have a clue which option would be better. That would require a bit of market research. Sometimes there are advantages to going with the more popular option. Other times it’s better to go with the underrepresented option. But, if you can combine the biggest market with a fresh twist, it might be best. Have a great day and thanks for posting. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  205. Mona Mann Beckett /

    Hello, my manuscript Little Mo Daughter of a Schizophrenic is currently an e-book on Amazon.com. I am ready to look for an agent but am confused about which genre. My book deals with my family’s journey from the 1920′s until 2009 when I wrote my story about my Schizophrenic Mother,her years in the Arizona State Hospital, my father’s memiors of turning 21 in a foxhole during WWII’s Battle of the buldge, and growing up in a dysfunctional family in the 1950′s-60′s? Mona Beckett | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Mona, it sounds like it is probably narrative nonfiction since it’s a true story but it might be memoir if you are the main character. Make sense? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  206. Juanita Aydlette /

    Hi Mark.

    I want to enter a writing contest with Writer’s Digest. It’s for a short story, unpublished authors only, no more than 3,000 words. If I do so–and they end up publishing my story, will I have unknowingly signed over my rights to my story? Will I not be able to submit it to agents for publication afterwards? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Juanita, sorry it took me a while to respond. Always read the fine print carefully when it comes to contests. I’m not an expert in this area but I don’t believe you’d have any issues if you entered a short story into a contest and won, and then you later expanded that short story into a novel if that’s what you mean. However, if you enter a full-length novel into a contest, you will likely have more restrictions. Sometimes those awards come with a publishing contract. Make sense? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  207. Martin Blair /

    hi again Mark u ask me to post a question on your blog. as u know by now what I’m seeking from u. what do u want me to do next and please do have a nice day. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Martin, I invited you to this page because this is the main area on my website where you can post questions about how to get a top literary agent, publisher, and book deal. So post a question or two and I’ll respond here online. There is no charge to post questions. If you want to reach your publishing goals faster and more easily, schedule a 1-hour introductory consulting call. You can speak with me by phone or Skype. Before your call, I will send you a detailed questionnaire and review any/all of the following: your book idea, sample chapters, query letter, synopsis, book proposal, etc. After our call (if we both feel like it’s a good fit) I’ll tell you about my longer-term coaching/consulting programs. Click here to learn more about scheduling an introductory call: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. I also have a great deal of valuable information on my website, starting with the complimentary mp3 that you can get on my homepage here: http://literary-agents.com (make sure you listen to this first if you haven’t already – lots of insider tips). You can also access my Directory of Literary Agents by clicking here: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents. I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your work. And have a great weekend. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  208. I actually already have several published crafts/hobbies books; a small publisher approached me with my first book deal, and 4 more later. But since I’ve only worked with this one publisher, I wonder if things could be better – I often feel they aren’t promoting my books enough or my due dates are too short.
    Could getting an agent improve my situation, or at least help me move onto bigger/better publishers? Or perhaps I should be happy that I am still offered book deals yearly. Any thoughts? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Julie, that’s great. Getting an agent could definitely improve your situation, as you said… one way or another. You might consider setting up a time with me here to discuss it: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. The pros and cons of both, based on your current situation… which I’d have to learn more about. Have a great weekend and thanks for posting. Good question, and it’s not one I get often. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  209. okechukwu okugo /

    i have a book on drama of 150 pages and twenty acts with a unique story about a handsome African Prince trying to marry a purported most ugly woman in a hamlet, a peasant – a mere coco yam farmer titled Goliath and the Ant, already published. i need your help sir, Mark Malatesta to marketing the book here in U.S. and i have it in electronic copy.
    sir would you help me? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Okechukwu… sounds like a good story. I have a great deal of valuable information on my website, starting with the complimentary mp3 that you can get on my homepage here: http://literary-agents.com (make sure you listen to this first if you haven’t already – lots of insider tips). You can also post questions here on my website. And I offer an introductory consulting call here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Hope to speak with you more soon. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  210. Gai Lorna /

    Hi Mark,
    (Part 2 of question)

    I have also read an Australian book which suggests that it is nigh on impossible
    for an Australian author to obtain an American author. What is your opinion of
    that? My husband’s book is targeted to the American market, complete with
    American spelling and vocabulary.

    I understand if you are very busy and take some time to reply. There is no
    urgency because the last 9 pages of the novel remain unwritten.

    Thanks again for all your helpful input,

    Gai | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Gai, not true when it comes to getting a US agent. Read this: http://literary-agents.com/international-literary-agents/. And then let me know what you think! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  211. Gai Lorna /

    H
    I want to first of all thank you for your very thorough 7 part series of
    articles on “Finding a Literary Agent.” I was pretty surprised at the
    various scams in which some agents try to involve unsuspecting clients.

    I made a very short list of the best agents for the genre which my husband’s
    novel is represented by but when I followed your advice to check up on them
    I discovered that 3 out of 4 did not accept unsolicited queries. So at least we
    are saved the trouble of sending queries to them | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Gai, I’m glad you’re getting more savvy about the scams out there. And keep doing your agent research so you can target the right ones… looking for your type of book. That is, you’re husband’s type of book! Have a great weekend and thanks again for being part of my community. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  212. Trudy Mazin /

    Hi,
    My married daughter met her husband 15 years ago, they are 30. This has been a tragedy. Her husband died in May. She is having a baby in the next week. Their 15 year love story started in Middle school and grew to a full out friend to lover story. She is having his baby without him but is a strong, focused, stunning, corp exec woman working from home at this time. I would love someone to contact Nicholas Sparks because this is a novel to be written. NOT BY ME….no way, I can’t write. Sugg?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Trudy. I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s story. I’m glad, however, she’s strong and has things going on in her life. Here’s a link where you can find out who Nichloas Sparks’ agent is and make contact: http://literary-agents.com/nicholas-sparks-literary-agent/. However, it’s extremely unlikely that he would even review the idea. But I’m one of those people who says anything’s worth trying. Because you never know. All my best to you both. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  213. Eric Demaree /

    I have written a sociological article titled, “Has Science Finally Discovered God?” Are there any agents who would be willing to negotiate a contract for me with a magazine publisher. My article is currently being reviewed by a philosophical journal, but that process takes almost a year.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Eric. Not unless they’re handling one or more of your books. Any chance you might be able to turn your article idea into a book. On the face of it, it seems like you might be able to. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  214. Rahul Abhyankar /

    Hey Mark,

    Is it really necessary to write the plot first? I’ve been writing since years now and I always just start writing and go with the flow. How does having a story-line beforehand help?

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Rahul, let me put it this way… the clearer you can be about the plot before you begin (as a general rule) the less rewriting you’ll have to do. And the better the book will be. It’s an imperfect art but the more you can map out ahead of time, even though many things will change, the more likely you’ll maintain positive control of where your book is going… and the effect it will have on the reader. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  215. Where is the best place to start in order to publish a new and innovative textbook on calculus? Unlike traditional mathematics texts which bog students down by introducing calculus by “theorem and proof” and limits, “The Calculus Toolbox” turns mathematics instruction upside down and instead teaches the students the practical “how to” of calculus. The text contains humor, mirth, and even some sarcasm aimed at stodgy math professors who teach calculus almost incomprehensibly.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi John, this is one of those rare cases when I have to say… I don’t have a clue. My expertise is with publishers producing books for a broader audience. However, based on your unique approach… you might consider researching the market and seeing if you might be able to produce something more accessible and fun that might actually be sold in bookstores. See what else it out there. Let me know what you find. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  216. Rosemary L'Esprit /

    Hello Mark, Just listened to your “Literary Agents: 7 Insider Secrets . . .” I have a finished manuscript of a memoir that I work-shopped extensively with Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver. My question is this: When agents ask for a book proposal along with the query letter, does that usually include memoir? I suppose all agents are different, but I’d like your opinion on this. I appreciate your work and hope to be able to purchase your introductory coaching session
    soon.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Rosemary, yes… this has changed over the years. Agents didn’t use to ask for proposals for memoir, but now they do. Most agents will want it. Looking forward to learning more about you and your work. Here’s the link to schedule an introductory call: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  217. Pepe Verdes /

    Searching for international publishers that translate and publish from Spanish langage into English, German, French and Italian.
    Thanks!

    PV

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Pepe, my expertise is helping authors find top literary agents. I don’t have a rolodex of publishers. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  218. Ashish Tripathi /

    Hi!! I look forward to publish a novel internationally with traditional publishing houses e.g Random house
    the problem: i don’t know where to start, how to start, & the way to start
    Waiting for your guidance,
    Ashish
    Mumbai, India

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Ashish, you’ve come to the right place. Start by listening to my complimentary mp3 that you can get access to here on my homepage at http://www.literary-agents.com. Then post another question for me here or sign up for an introductory coaching call that you can learn more about here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Either way I look forward to helping you. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  219. A legitimate, AAR agent listed on your site, has read my complete manuscript. She has offered to rep my book, but only if I submit it to an editor beforehand. A first rate editor, with 30 plus years of experience will do that for 5k. Problem: he says the ms is strong, but too long at 120,000 words. He’ll cut 5,000. All well and good, except that she had a different view of the work. Not sure how to proceed. And shouldn’t this come after a publisher is involved?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Dan. That’s fantastic. Sounds like the agent is legit and doesn’t care which editor you work with. If that’s the case, ask the agent for names of editors that he/she recommends so you can increase the odds that your prospective agent ends up happy with the final product. You should also include your agent (to some degree) in the process of choosing the right person and editing. This would be very limited to not annoy the agent, but again… to make sure you give them what they want in the end. Can’t explain all of it here but it might be worthwhile for you to set up an introductory call with me here to talk about it: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Also, if you got this far, there’s a chance you can get another agent (maybe a better one) that wouldn’t require you to spend $5K (and a lot of time) to rewrite the book. Either way, congratulations. Hearing these stories is what keeps me going. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  220. brian robinson /

    Thanks Mark for your help. Question if I decide to leave my self publisher now the book is on sale the reason being they take 75 % of the sales and because their distributions only have a limited out let. If I find a Agent that wants my manuscript and only charge me around 20 %, what happens to the revenue from the sales from there onwards with moneys received from my book with my late self publisher.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Brian, most authors in your situation get a “release” from their self-publisher before seeking an agent or after they secure an agent and/or publisher. Usually not difficult to do. Any residual money that comes in from the self-publisher in this case would go completely to you. Mark

    [Reply]

  221. So I’ve come across a dilemma. I just recently decided to change the plot of my book, and I want one main character to be male (Ryen) and one to be female (Unnamed.) I really want the book to be told from the female’s point of view, but I really need to tell Ryen’s backstory from his point of view. I had previously put it in a prologue, but if I used first-person, it would confuse readers for the rest of the book. I want to use first-person present with the female because it makes everything more real and dramatic. Would it be okay to use third-person past with Ryen in the prologue and then write the rest of the book in first-person present?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Melody, I would try to weave in Ryen’s backstory another way… a bit later in the book… since, as you already know, there’s a good chance the prologue could confuse the reader (including agents). Wish I could be more specific but it’s difficult to do so via blog comments. ;) But hopefully this helps in some way. Mark

    [Reply]

  222. Regina Buckley /

    Hello Mark,

    I read your interview with (PTA); it was fascinating by the way. However, you mentioned eBooks (Kindles). My question: How do you think eBooks are effecting the marketing of Children Picture Books? I guess what I am trying to ask are eBooks becoming a problem for Children Book Authors?

    Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Regina, glad you liked the interview. About your question, I don’t have an answer specific to children’s books… but I do have an answer for books and ebooks in general. It’s a post I wrote about 1-1/2 years ago. It hasn’t been on my site for a long time because I moved my site and pulled some things offline. But I have it up again now here just for you: http://literary-agents.com/are-ebooks-killing-publishing/. I’ll probably run this in my newsletter again in a week or two. ;) Let me know what you think, and have a great weekend! Mark

    [Reply]

  223. Dr. Timothy Brown /

    My fourth major book, Diplomarine, is an irreverent romp through the secret worlds of foreign affairs in the raw as I lived them for 10 years as a Marine intelligence Sergeant and 20 as a career diplomat – 19 countries, 5 war zones, Phoenix assassinations, the Cuba embargo, Gulf oil, trying in secret to clean up Ollie North’s Iran-Contra mess. Endorsed by Sen. Harry Reid, It’s ready for self-publication next month via Amazon. But I’d rather go with a major publisher. How can I do that quickly?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Dr. Brown, if you’re a good writer and you’re fully committed to the process I can help you get a top agent within 30 days. Listen to my complimentary mp3 that I talk about here on my homepage: http://literary-agents.com. Then click here to sign up for an intro call with me: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Mark

    [Reply]

  224. Hugh Hardy /

    I have a manuscript that I would like to get published. I have allowed different people read it, pointed out any mistakes and think it is good. It is a “ripped from the headlines” story. Who and how can I as a new author get it published? It needs to be read in full length and not just a few pages in order to fully enjoy it. I am trying to get it out to mass appeal. I am an African-American author and though I want to be “James Pattersonish” I want to be the first Hugh Hardy.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Hugh. Start by listening to my complimentary mp3 that I talk about here on my homepage if you haven’t already: http://literary-agents.com. Then check out this page to see the different ways you can get help from me 1-on-1: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/. Of course I also have a ton of articles on my website as well. Take some time to poke around and have a great weekend! Mark

    [Reply]

  225. brian robinson /

    Mark you asked me for the name of my publisher it is XLIBRIS.
    Question,
    Please would you tell me if this Xlibris is a scan.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Brian, as far as I know Xlibris isn’t a scam exactly. But I don’t know of anyone who’s used a company like that who’s made their money back in book sales. These types of companies simply get your book online, but then what? They’ll promise to do lots of things to help you sell books (and charge you for it), but it always costs more that what you get in return. That’s why I’m such an advocate for traditional publishing. Mark

    [Reply]

  226. brian robinson /

    Mark,I would like your recommendations as to any author that self publishes their books, what is the best way for the distribution outlets. The publisher I am using has very limited out lets for the money I have paid for my package, however they now have advised me to invest more. This additional fee is for their lager distributions, even though they are taking 75% off the sales from the book.
    Regards Brian | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Brian, this sounds like a bad situation with an unethical publisher. It’s a common “bait-and-switch” tactic that many vanity presses use with constant “up-sells” to their customers that don’t result in sales. Tell me the name of the publisher and I’ll be able to give you additional feedback. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  227. Santiago Lopez /

    Is it true that foreign authors are discouraged from publishing in America due to a 30% withholding tax the US government deducts from their royalties? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Santiago, I’ve never heard this but I can say this. If a foreign author gets his/her book published in the US, a 30% withholding tax would be nothing compared to the benefits it would bring the author. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  228. Toni D Flacco /

    Hi Mark,
    I wanted to ask you about writing for young children. I love to rhyme words and I have written several short rhyming stories that I feel would make great short stories with illustrations. I would like someone to read them and just let me know what chance someone can guide me to getting them published.
    I know the publishing market has changed more now with people publishing their own books and also getting them on line with e-books. What do you suggest? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Toni, that’s the kind of thing I do during an introductory coaching call that you can learn more about here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Of course you can find someone else to help you as well. Just make sure the person is highly qualified, and has specific knowledge about your genre. Otherwise the “help” you get can do you more harm than good. When it comes to self-publishing and eBooks, read these two articles that I wrote: http://literary-agents.com/category/self-publishing-book/. Then let me know what you think. Thanks for posting and have a great weekend. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  229. I am a Creative Writing major at a Washington State University. I am toying with going for my MFA but not sure what all my options are.
    I have 15 years as a successful outside sales person and wonder how I may combine that with my passion for writing.
    I am not sure what the workings of a successful agency or agent may entail.
    What kinds of positions do they hire for. I am assuming they have a team, other than secretaries to help them. Is there a need for hard working salespeople types?
    Tica | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Tica, fantastic question. Now, I’m not the type of person to put limits on anything or anyone… but it would be very difficult for you to get a good paying position at a literary agency right now with your current background, unless it was going to be low level (intern-like position). Although you’re probably an excellent sales person, you’ll have to learn all the ins and outs of agenting to be effective. Agents really just need administrative help and book editing/development help. Once you’ve done that for a while, you’d be ready to start making sales… but not until working in the environment first and figuring out how everything works. Check out this article to see some of the subtleties: http://literary-agents.com/how-to-become-a-literary-agent/. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  230. brian robinson /

    Hello again Mark
    I have paid a publisher for my book it has now been copy edited and it is nearly ready for printing.
    I had a very long phone call this week about my story the rep said near the end of the call his company believes the story is brilliant but it needs a lot better copy editing than the price I have paid. All though his company out lets for the finished book are very limited if I pay the extra money his company could send it to over 500000 out lets. Should I pay the extra. Brian | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Brian, busy week so sorry it took a while for me to reply. What is the name of the publisher? This sounds like a scam. Or, at the very least, an investment that might not be worthwhile for you. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  231. Santiago Lopez /

    Hi Mark,

    Does sending manuscripts at random to unknown literary agents, or publishing houses, invite plagiarism? How can this risk be minimzed or avoided?

    Santiago Lopez | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Santiago, the book business isn’t nearly as bad as the film industry. You should always copyright your work, but it’s rare that authors have issues like those you described. Have a great weekend and thanks for posting. Good question. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  232. Gwenne Gorman /

    Mark,
    Do you know of any places a writer can go to so they can have some peace and quiet to write on their book? Do you know of any writer’s retreats? Or a place where there is daily structure to write with groups of people? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Gwenne, nothing specific but… one of the best secrets on the web is a site called Shaw Guides. They have a lot of information about writers’ conferences and retreats of all types. Here’s a link: http://writing.shawguides.com/. Let me know if you find something, and have a great weekend! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  233. Babette Levin /

    Regarding memoir queries, do most agents require a book proposal along with a query letter, or do they prefer just a query letter first? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Babette, most agents didn’t use to require a proposal for memoirs, but most now want a proposal at some point. Some will ask for it up front with the query. Others will read the query first and then request it. The only way to know for sure is to access each agents website. My Directory of Literary Agents has links to all their websites here: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents/. And have a great weekend! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  234. Hi Mark,
    Do you have any information on Library Tales Publishing Group? I have not been able to find out anything online. Thanks for your help.

    Best regards,
    Ed Schroeder | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Ed, check out the faq section of their website. Doesn’t appear as though they charge their authors any fees, if that’s what you want to know. So I don’t think they’re a vanity press. Let me know if you find out anything more. And have a great day. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  235. Jane Jago /

    Hi Mark,

    I’m carefully compiling a list of agents for a multiple mail out with my revamped submission materials.
    One agency has two agents that I see as good targets. Usually this would require choosing between the two….These agents are with an international group and one is in UK with the other in the US. Can I query both without committing a Faux pas? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jane! You’re instincts are right. Only submit to one at a time. Then wait 6 weeks and submit to the other one if you haven’t hear back (or sooner if you get a rejection from your number one). And good luck! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  236. Should I invest in a web site before my book is published? How exactly would I capitalize on it? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Lynn, this 2-part article about Author Platform will help: http://literary-agents.com/author-platform/. But having a website before seeking an agent and/or publisher is almost always a good idea. But it depends a bit on the type of book you’re writing and your goals as an author. I guess what I’m saying is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to building an author platform. Let me know what you think after you read this article and post again. Happy to help. Mark

    [Reply]

  237. What do you think of e-publishing? Some say it’s the wave of the future, while others tell me you can’t charge enough for your work to make it pay.

    Looking forward to your insights! | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Lynn, great question and it’s one that a lot of authors are thinking about. Check out these two articles to get my take on it: http://literary-agents.com/self-publish-a-book/ and http://literary-agents.com/should-i-self-publish-my-book/. Then let me know what you think. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  238. amanda waite /

    im wanting to get book published can someone help me | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Amanda, I sent you everything you need by email. You can post questions for me here (no charge). Or you can sign up for an introductory coaching call with me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Just make sure you ALSO listen to the fr*ee mp3 available here on my home page: http://literary-agents.com/. Then let me know how I can help you. Looking forward to learning more about you and your work. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  239. How long does it generally take to find a good literary agent? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Good news. Four of my clients have gotten positive responses from agents, asking for more material, less than five minutes after sending out an email query. Another one of my clients got a top agent AND book deal with Random House in approximately 30 days. But that is EXTREMELY unusual. Most likely it would take someone 30-90 days to get an agent if they make it a priority. Agents need time to request more material from you, read it, send you a contract, etc. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  240. Would you limit yourself if you published a book on create space and later looked for a publisher for future books from same author? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Almost always. Again, unless you sell many thousands of books as a self-published author… agents and publishers will get the impression that you’re not able to help them sell books. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hey Jendayi, one more thing… in the future please just post each question separately. You can see that I separated the questions into separate posts here for you. Thanks and see you again soon I hope. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  241. If you wanted to have a long term writing career and create book in the least amount of time for distribution, what is the best way to go about publishing a book with the desire to get it picked up form a big publisher eventually? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jendayi, I don’t recommend that approach because unless you sell many thousands of copies… it’s going to be a negative with agents and publishers. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  242. Dawson Carter /

    Hi Mark, so what can be done when the time comes when I can sign up for an introductory consulting call, and how long will it be afterwords for you and I to get to work on my first publication? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Dawson, not sure what you mean. All the info about how my introductory calls work is listed here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. If we both feel it’s a good fit for us to work more together after that, we’ll talk about it after the call and figure out the best way to move forward. Looking forward to it. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  243. I need help in marketing but would love an agent. Rosie is 13 and the book is a historical fiction of California and the Spanish Trail | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Dianna, I’m responding to questions and comments on my blog today so I thought I’d say hello… even though I just sent you a private email. Have a good night and hope to talk with you more soon. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  244. Michael /

    How do I get a legitimate booking agent? My book is copyrighted and I need it marketed to acquire a book deal with cost from my pockets | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Michael, you mean book agent right? Click here to read a fr*ee 17-part article series on how to get an agent: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/. Click here to learn more about literary agents: http://literary-agents.com/guide-to-literary-agents/. And click here to get a valuable mp3 as well: http://literary-agents. Then let me know what you think. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  245. Do I finish my book before I get a top agent? Or should I get one first | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Tina. I’ll answer this in a generic way for everyone’s benefit. It depends on the genre. Fiction must be completed to get an agent. Same thing goes for memoir, most of the time. If you’re writing nonfiction, however, it’s often possible to get an agent and have them sell the book for you before it’s complete. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  246. Okay, so I’ve got a huge problem. I started writing a book about my life and its gotten pretty in depth. I was a abused as a child and when I was out of the situation, I basically found no insight on what I was to expect in life. My husband believes I should write this book to help other people get an idea of what to expect…but he wants me to remain anonymous. I’d like that too, but I think I’d be able to give help to these people. Maybe have a site they can go to. How can I do it anonymously? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Tina, I want to applaud you for turning your painful past into power… by writing your book. However, I understand your dilemma. You’ve essentially answered your own question. You have to choose between staying anonymous and potentially reaching fewer people, or putting yourself out there even more… and making more of a difference. The most important thing, in my mind, would be to try and get a top agent first… then you can decide which way to go. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Tina Reply:

    Okay, thanks Mark. Your site is awesome. It’s been a major help. Now I’m going to go and find out what you mean by top agent. Thanks for the silent handclap ;-) have a great weekend. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Thank you Tina, I love what I do so your words are much appreciated. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  247. iyimide. O /

    Dear Mark
    I have a few questions, please enlighten me.

    1. What is the minimum word count for a fiction novel.
    2. I have a suspense book that is about 45,000 words, do you think it has enough words to get published.
    3. I live in Africa, considering the distance; do you think agents/publishers will be interested in my work?
    I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Thank you. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hello Iyimide,
    1. Depends on the genre but 60,000 words is a good number.
    2. 90,000 is a better number for this genre.
    3. This won’t be a problem as long as you’re a good storyteller (that’s what matters most).
    Have a great day and good luck!
    Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  248. S. L. Scott /

    Dear Mr. Malatesta,

    During last twelve years, I have written a series of eleven sci-fi novels. The first novel has about 125,930 words. All novels in the series are almost finished. I say “almost” because although I have “edited” the first novels more than fifty times, I have not paid for professional editor to read them. Can you comment on how to select an editor, what to expect from a good editor, and a minimum reasonable cost per page? Thank you. Sandra | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Sandra, good question… need to write an article about this at some point. Price varies wildly depending on the type of editing as well as the background of the editor. The most important consideration in my mind would be finding someone who’s very qualified, not just as an editor but in your genre… and great testimonials by authors published with traditional houses. You’ll pay more, but anything less probably isn’t worth much. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  249. Mark,
    Gavan’s question made me wonder… do agents send out feelers to publishers before accepting a manuscript from a writer? Or do they accept the manuscript with the hopes that they will find a publisher for it? In which case… what if they can’t make a deal?

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Joy, it’s VERY rare. Only the best agents do this because they have the best relationships with editors/publishers. And most agents don’t need to do this… because they already know (from experience) what the odds are that they’ll be able to sell a project. If they aren’t very confident about it, they don’t take it on. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  250. Gaven Busker /

    Hello!

    So when I first heard back from an agent at a respected NY agency she requested the rest of my manuscript, but told me very clearly that she never officially represented a novel until it had been written three times. She gave me great advice on the first draft I sent her, providing excellent line editing and assistance with plot and character. The book got better. She worked with me on the second draft and we went even deeper, sometimes working together in person. She even told me it might take years to get the draft just right. She even told me she had spoken to publishers about the concept and they had asked to be kept informed about the development of my book over the months and possibly years to come. About a year and a half later I resubmitted what I hoped was a pristine (or close to pristine) draft, but now it’s been 6th months and she still hasn’t read it. I know this business takes time, but should I be seeking representation elsewhere, or is this wait time normal? I know I’m not required to stick with her, but I feel bad looking elsewhere because she put so much work into it with me. Thoughts? I don’t like feeling like I’m waiting for just one possibility to work out, especially with the weeks flying by. But as I said, we HAVE put a good chunk of work into this manuscript together, so this long wait seems odd. I just feel like if you’re really interested, and you’ve got publishers interested, wouldn’t you want to push that particular manuscript closer to the top of the pile? Maybe I’m wrong. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Gaven, I feel for you and yes… 6 months is a long time. You should call the agent’s office at this point. Think of it as you making a “courtesy call” to check in and see if they’re still interested before shopping the book to other agents. You should send an email as well at the same time. Let me know how it goes. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  251. I received a request for the first three chapters of my story within two days of my query. I forwarded the chapters immediately. It’s been two weeks and I’ve not received anything. I’m trying to be patient, but don’t know how to read this. The first request came so fast that I figured they’d either love or reject my writing immediately. Should I be optimistic that they’re mulling over it so long or should I take this as an indication that I should continue querying other agents? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Joy Reply:

    P.S. I got the response after revising my query using advice from your mp3 download. Thanks! | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Now THAT made my day. Send me a private message here and tell me a little more: http://literary-agents.com/contact/. I might have a little surprise for you that you might like. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Joy, congratulations. That’s great. About your question, always be optimistic until given a concrete reason not to. Two weeks doesn’t fall under that category. It takes time. Send a polite follow-up email in another week or two if you haven’t heard back. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Amk Reply:

    Hi Joy, What category does your book fall into? just asking. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Joy Reply:

    It’s a YA novel. | Ask a Literary Agent

    Joy Reply:

    What have you written? | Ask a Literary Agent

    Amk Reply:

    What have I written? well its fantasy, Young Adults or Children I cant say that yet..
    Its about a boy whose normal school life is changed when they become the prime suspect for their principal’s murderer…
    but thats just the beginning, he has to defeat the dark king Hegamont whose powers are beyond imagination? but can he? after all, the dark king is none other than his own father!! | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Amk Reply:

    *they and their= he and his 4-5 other friends | Ask a Literary Agent

    Joy Reply:

    Wow, sounds interesting. Mine is about a girl with extra sensory perception (ESP) who discovers her past. She is a product of a government agency that was created to develop psychic abilities in children. I write about the recently declassified defunct STARGATE program in which the CIA and Army used (self-reported) psychics in intelligent operations. This program produced unreliable results and was met with much criticism. | Ask a Literary Agent

    Joy Reply:

    In 1982, utilizing the critical age theory (which states that there is an age, beyond which, children find it difficult if not impossible to learn certain skills, including language) the intelligence community decides to develop the psychic skills of children. My protagonist was a product of this program. In the mid 1990s, major defense budget cuts forced the closure of the program and my protagonist was given a new identity and placed in foster care. | Ask a Literary Agent

    Joy Reply:

    She grows up as an outsider with skills she doesn’t understand. She has no memory of her beginnings.

    It’s really hard to summarize a book in 500 characters. | Ask a Literary Agent

    Amk Reply:

    That’s some genuine stuff you got there, Joy…

    By the way, I am 15 years old so my writing is not that great but some of my friends really like it while on the other hand some criticize it….well, I have re-written this book again and again, I think this is my 4th time but as english is my second language, perfection is still way ahead of me… | Ask a Literary Agent

    Joy Reply:

    That’s so admirable! Don’t make excuses for yourself. I’m sure your writing is very good. You’re so young, you’re certain to have a long writing career ahead of you. From your plot summary, your book would probably fall into the middle-grade (MG) category. (MG books are the gateway to a love of reading.) Having re-written and polished your story you’re obviously dedicated. I’m confident you’ll be a published writer! And a non-native English speaker…WOW! Keep up the hard work! Good luck!

    Amk Reply:

    Thank you very much for the advice and the motivation…
    Good Luck to you as well…

  252. Dear Mark, I was wondering if its possible to re-send our manuscript to the agents who have already rejected us? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Joy Reply:

    I’ve noticed this addressed in some agent’s submissions guidelines, they’ll either say: “Please do not re-submit a work that we’ve previously declined.” OR “If you choose to re-submit a work that you’ve made revisions on, please indicate such in your query.” I suppose it differs from agent to agent. Mark, is there a general rule for those agents who have not addressed this in their guidelines? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Joy, good comment. Most agents don’t mind if you resubmit… but it’s best if you indicate it if a lot of time hasn’t passed. It’s also best if you made significant changes. Otherwise there isn’t much point in doing it. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Amk, absolutely. If not a lot of time has passed, it’s best to mention that you’ve improved the work significantly and you’re resubmitting it. You can also submit to a different agent at the same literary agency. Most of them don’t mind that, either. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Amk Reply:

    Thanks a lot Mark and Joy…this helped me a lot. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  253. Is digital publishing considered self-publishing? Also, do you need a literary agent (or an undercover one) to digitally publish? What are the benefits, risks? I know that’s more than one question, but, hey, I’m an author. Once I get started typing I can’t stop. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Joy Reply:

    You can publish digitally and be represented by an agent. My sister is a successful self-publisher and 99% digital – hard copies of her books can be purchased through a print-on-demand vanity press (I purchased her books in print for posterity). Self publishing is difficult because you have to self-promote. I’ve decided to go the other route. I work two jobs and don’t have the time to promote my book. Benefits/risks: don’t share profits vs. hard work to sell and promote your own book. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Amen, sister. ;) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Anne Marie, it depends. Self-published authors can publish their books electronically but legitimate publishers do the same thing. Click here to read two articles I’ve written about self-publishing: http://literary-agents.com/category/self-publishing-book/. Then click here to get started learning about literary agents: http://literary-agents.com/guide-to-literary-agents/. You should also get my mp3 here: http://literary-agents. Then let me know what you think! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  254. Jeanann Rader /

    Hi Mark,

    Sorry….was unable to find this site the other night. Some things were reorganized on my email server, and I lost usual source information.

    Sincerely,
    Jeanann | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jeanann, no problem… just post questions for me here in the future unless coaching related. Saw Patterson seak once. First thing he did was pull out a picture of his family and talk about them, to establish the fact that he’s not a psycho. People can get nervous around him because of the nature of his books. I thought it was a smart strategy to put some of the audience at ease. Enjoy Mistress and don’t be a stranger! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  255. John M. Dennis /

    I have a rich, multilayered, fun and thought provoking story inside of me waiting to come out. The first part (book) is completed and the second is on its way. What I don’t have is a budget (we are paycheck to paycheck). How can I find help to improve the story without spending money?

    These books are intended to supplement our income.

    Thanks in advance for your help. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi John, I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that you can post questions here on my blog, no charge. The bad news is that I’m limited in the amount of things I can help you with on my blog. And I can’t go as deep with you as I could during an introductory consulting call that you can learn more about here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Also, you should look at your books as a business if you want them to make money. And every business requires some investment to get established and become profitable. This is a common mistake that many authors make. You should go through all the fr*ee content on my website (and others), but at some point, if you’re going to get serious about getting a top literary agent and publisher, you’ll benefit greatly from 1-on-1 feedback… from someone who’s taken the time to get to know you, your work, and your goals. Make sure you listen to the fr*ee mp3 available on my homepage as well if you haven’t yet: http://literary-agents. A lot of valuable information there as well. All my best. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Joy Reply:

    Look into whether your community has a writers group (or check with your local college). They are great resources. They give you an opportunity to share portions of your work and critique others writing. It’s helpful to have those others sets of ears. While less personal/intimate, there are online writers groups where you can post portions of your story. You are required to write critiques to earn opportunities to post — that way everyone’s works get critiqued. Good luck! | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Great suggestion, you can almost always do this with little or no investment as well. However, you need to be careful to find a GOOD writers’ group. Critical but constructive and kind. And also knowledgeable. Not just about craft but also about what it really takes to get published. Also important that the people you trust know the “rules” of your genre. A lot of people act like they know what they’re talking about, when they don’t have a clue. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    Joy Reply:

    Very true a GOOD group is key. The group I belonged to had to modify its bylaws to limit submissions to only published writers and those seeking to publication. We had a member who enjoyed reading long-winded diary entries to the group. Although I enjoyed being a member of the writers group, it’s not nearly as helpful as having a mentor. We were limited to around 10 pages at each meeting and met once a month. It was nearly impossible to have a whole manuscript reviewed. | Ask a Literary Agent

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Exactly, many writers have gotten sucked into writers’ groups that aren’t so great… then find themselves getting less done than they would have alone. The head of the group is the one that has to be on point, setting the right rules and expectations. Otherwise you can find yourself drowning in a sea of drama and chaos. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  256. Mark,
    i published several books with different topics. 3 books deal with contatcts I had with spirit celebrities whose messages I got through by automatic writing. For instance, Frank Sinatra, Princess Diane, One book is presented in form of a science fiction.It deals with the invasion of this planet by extraterrestrials 6000 years ago. I also have a 6 part slideshow ready for pre-production of the extinction of the dinosaurs, the mega fauna etc. Are there agents specialising in these fields? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Rich, although I can’t guide you to agents specifically interested in those types of books… you might find my only literary agent directory very valuable. You can get complimentary access here: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents/. After you enter the directory you’ll see that I have all literary agents sorted by 116 genres. So that will be a good start. Let me know how it goes, and thanks for posting on my blog. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  257. Jane Jago /

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for previous.
    My query is devoid of market comparisons that you outline and focuses on pitching’story/dilemma. I’m not bad at honing supporting docs but feel clueless as to just how to position a psychological thriller about the rehabilitation of two juveniles guilty of murdering another child.
    Existing query results in requests, the writing is praised, some have seriously considered but then passed.
    What would we focus on in a one hour consult that could turn this around? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jane, you might be able to tweak something in the first 50 pages or your synopsis that might make a difference. Those are things I always look at. I also have a checklist of 125 elements that can be used to create an irresistible query. Not all of them are right for every author. What I do is help authors use as many as possible. Part of the process is pulling valuable information out of the author. The other part is coming up with ideas of my own that the author wouldn’t think of. Improve your query results and you’ll improve your chances of securing representation. If you’re getting some positive responses from agents, it makes me more hopeful that I could help you. It’s easier to take someone from good to great. Thanks for posting and have a great weekend. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Jane Jago Reply:

    Thanks Mark.
    I’m very keen to learn anything I can about tailoring my approach to agents, and targeting the right agents, in such a way that the commercial potential of a novel that deals with disturbing themes can be packaged – so to speak .
    I am intending to book a consult and see what we can come up with. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jane, I’m looking forward to it. It’s fun positioning more challenging books. There might be as many agents interested in books that are very unique but there are some, you only need ONE agent for it to happen, and unique books have greater potential to make it big once they’re out there. Have a great weekend and hope to speak with you soon. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  258. Luke Williamson /

    Hi Mark,

    Do publishers have ethical codes about what content they will publish? Do any of them have a set of rules that says they will not publish a books if, say, the violence or other offensive content in it crosses a certain line? How does one find out those codes? As a writer, I would be more comfortable associating myself with a publisher if they DID have some such code. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Luke, it depends on the publisher. I wouldn’t say that there are written rules as much as unwritten guidelines and expectations, based on the backlist of titles that have already been published by a house. That’s the best way to see what a publisher is comfortable with. Great question, by the way. Thanks for posting and have a fantastic weekend. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  259. victoria /

    how can i get a list of literary agencies for free? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Victoria, this is one of my favorite questions because I have a wonderful answer. Click here for the best literary agent directory on the planet: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents/. Then let me know what you think. Thank you for posting and have a great weekend. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  260. HI Mark:

    How can a writer who’s got a memoir manuscript that’s been edited, but still needs some strengthening in the middle benefit from your services?

    I’ll check back to read your answer.

    Thanks! | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Lynette, my recommendation would be to set up an introductory call with me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. We can talk about your concerns and see if they’re valid… and discuss your query, synopsis, proposal, etc. I do a lot of developmental work with nonfiction authors, sometimes with fiction and/or memoir writers. But we’d need to see first if we’re a good fit. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  261. Jane Jago /

    Hi Mark,
    While reseraching agents I found your site and listened to your recording.
    Incredibly informative and a bit of a shock.
    I’m an Australian writer and have been querying UK Agents with a psychological thriller and had requests for chapters and for the full ms. More than one agent has enthused but ultimately passed.
    My query is very different from the one you recommend and would explain why I havent had responses from queries to US agents. Are conventions for the query different in the UK? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jane, thank you for the kind words… glad you got a lot out of the mp3. Regarding your question, a good pitch is a good pitch. Based on my experience with authors (in the UK and the US) pitching agents in the UK, the same principles apply. You might want to consider scheduling an introductory consulting call with me to discuss your query. Learn more at http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. You can also post more questions for me here. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  262. Ed S, /

    Hi Mark,
    In your opinion what is the best guide out there for literary agents and book publishers. There seems to be quite a few. Thanks again for your help. Take care, Ed | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Ed, for literary agent searches, I recommend you use my online directory that you can learn more about here: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents/. If you go to that page and scroll all the way down, you’ll see that I also discuss the pros and cons of all the other popular directories (in print and online). When it comes to publishers, there aren’t as many resources… but you’ll see mention of those as well. Good luck! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  263. My query begins:
    I am seeking representation for my first novel, FINDING HOPE. My book features a young protagonist with unusual mental abilities. It is set in the real world and features scientific theories, historical events and government agencies giving a sense of realism to the story. The main character discovers the top secret roots to her abilities as she struggles with the everyday challenges of being different.
    No responses. Where am I going wrong? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Joy, I’m sorry to say that one of the few things I don’t do here on my blog is evaluate queries. Otherwise I’d be doing it full time. ;) However, you’d be a perfect candidate to set up an introductory consulting call with me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. I’d be happy to give you feedback and help you improve your query that way. Feel fr*ee to post more questions on my blog, however, as well. All my best. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  264. Serenity Davis /

    Dear Mark,

    The main character of my story is an nine year old boy, but the themes and undertones of what goes on in the book aren’t suitable for middle grade and children’s book, but it isn’t necessarily gory or adult enough to be considered an adult novel, considering the things they put in most YA categories these days. I know YA books are targeted for teens, and the character should be as such, but does that always apply? May I have an eight year old in a YA book? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Serenity, what’s the word count of the book? That will help me figure this out with you. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Serenity Davis Reply:

    It’s exactly 63, 378 words. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Serenity, I can’t be sure without looking at your work. But based on what you’ve told me… your book might be closer to an adult novel. Young adult books usually have a protagonist or main character that’s 15-18 years old. That’s because teens/tweens are looking forward. They want to read about someone older than them. Make sense? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  265. Mark,

    I have a book entitled “Have Belly Will Travel” an autobiography with 732 pages and photos with celebrities like, Bob Hope, Elvis Presley, William Shatner from Star Trek series, etc.

    I’m also a screenwriter.

    How can I get an agent? Or an agent’s list?

    Tanya | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Tanya, great title. My entire site is devoted to helping auhtors get top literary agents. The fastest/easiest way to go about it, however, is to start by listening to my complimentary mp3 that you can get here: http://literary-agents.com. Then set up an introductory consulting call with me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Of course you already know that you can post additional questions for me here on my blog as well. Either way, I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your work. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  266. Lawrence Martin /

    Dear Mark,

    As requested, I am re-posting my question concerning a humorous autobiography I have recently finished and entitled “You Sell What?, The bumbling trials of an international sperm merchant.”

    How does one pick the best agents/author matches among the 524 agents listed under the “autobiography” category in your search engine? Should I browse 524 individual author bios or is there a more efficient elimination process? Thanks for any advice and or tips. Lawrence Martin | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Lawrence, the best way to reduce that number is to make note of the agents that are AAR members. Less than 1/3 are. Check out this guide on my site that will tell you all about the AAR: http://literary-agents.com/association-of-authors-representatives/. Also, I created personalized agent lists for my 1-on-1 coaching clients. You might want to consider scheduling an intro call with me here to discuss your situation: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Forgot to tell you that you can see if an agent is an AAR member by looking underneath the name of their literary agency in their listing in my agent directory: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents/ (I’m posting the link for others who might be reading). If the agent is a member it will say “AAR member.” Have a great weekend and check out the post I’m sending out later this morning… a video interview of top agents discussing the latest trends. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  267. Agents have rules about how to query them. One of the common rules is to paste 5, or 10, or 50 pages from your manuscript at the end of your manuscript. I’ve tried to do that but the formatting gets lost and it becomes almost unreadable – the alternative is to retype the whole thing.

    Instead, I created a website for the book – http://www.anamericanfamine.com – where the first chapter, and other good stuff about the book could be easily read. But agents won’t go there – why?? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Kurt, I understand your perspective and I appreciate your creativity. The problem is that agents can hardly find time to read the queries that come in to their email box. So they want queries and writing samples there that they can read quickly and easily. Some agents get more than 1,500 queries a month. They don’t have time to go to websites and click around to different pages… UNLESS you wow them with a great query and writing sample. Then they’ll check out your site. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    kurt dahl Reply:

    I understand about the time constraints – except, it takes *less* time to click on a website than to scroll down the email to the pasted (and usually poorly formatted first ten, or fifty). There just seems to be an unwritten rule that they blindly ( bureaucratically ) enforce. If I was an agent, I’d prefer, and be somewhat impressed by the effort, to go to an author’s website.

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Also, make sure you check out the post I’m sending out later this morning… a video interview of top agents discussing the latest trends. Have a great weekend. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Joy Reply:

    Another option is to cut and paste your sample chapters from a text format (save a copy of your manuscript in .txt). That will remove the formatting that is getting jumbled through e-mail. Also, send the sample chapters to yourself or to someone who uses a different e-mail server to see how the formatting is coming through. I’m sure agents are aware of this problem. I would hope they don’t hold the formatting against the author. Just to be safe make it as clean and readable as you can. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Joy, great tips. This is something I suggest to my 1-on-1 coaching clients. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  268. Claire /

    I noticed that a lot of black authors get their books placed in the AA section, even if they don’t write about black characters. I’m black and I want to get my book published, but what happens when my agent finds out I’m black? Is it acceptable to tell them that I don’t want my book sales limited to the AA section because the main character of my book isn’t black? Or would they not care and place me there anyway? And what about “white washing” my book? How much of a say in my book do I have? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Claire, great questions… and they make me trust you as a writer. I can tell that your writing isn’t primarily about ethnicity and culture and pushing propaganda. So you have nothing to worry about. Don’t reveal your race when you pitch your work. It’s nobody’s business and it’s not relevant. Also, you have a lot of say when it comes to making changes with your work. So don’t worry too much about that. Thanks for posting. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Also, make sure you check out the post I’m sending out later this morning… a video interview of top agents discussing the latest trends. Have a great weekend. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  269. I want to know how to get my foot in the door with and agent? Do I need
    a literacy agent or what is the best way to get in with publishers with out have
    to pay money to many of theses companies? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Marty, click here for my answer: http://literary-agents.com/guide-to-literary-agents/do-you-need-a-literary-agent/. Then visit my homepage and get my complimentary mp3: http://literary-agents.com. It contains a lot of valuable information and will help you take your next steps. Have a great weekend and make sure you check out the post I’m sending out later this morning. It’s a video interview of several top agents discussing the latest trends in the industry. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  270. Mark: I am not an author. I do seek some hard-to-find data about successful authors. I represent a financial concept that will be of enormous benefit to a few of the more successful professional writers in America .It allows a company, or individual, to greatly reduce income tax liabilities in a totally safe, guaranteed way through fully insured by a major insurance company. I do not seek referrals. I want to ask a few questions about how authors do business. Jim Ady | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jim, I wish you all the best but that’s outside the realm of questions I answer here on my blog. You can probably find most of the information you need by doing some quick Google searches. My focus here is helping authors develop their books and get publishing deals. However, if you later want to share some of your information for authors about how they might benefit from your ideas… let me know. I might be able to help. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  271. Rahul Abhyankar /

    Hi Mark,

    How do I develop the characters of my book? Till now they are just reacting to situations. How do I add more depth to the characters and develop their personalities?

    I tried basing a character on a real person, but I can’t base each and every character on a real human. I need help, so that the scenes in my novel do not look forced and mechanical.

    Writing till fit to do so,
    Rahul | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Rahul Abhyankar Reply:

    …or I can frame the same question in a different way: What separates a human from a machine, personality-wise? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    There has to be something important at stake for you character, motivating them and driving them, all the while them wondering if they’re going to reach their goal. Then your readers will care. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem like the outcome matters. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Rahul, I haven’t written anything specific on this topic yet… but I’m planning to soon. In the meantime, this article might help: http://literary-agents.com/how-to-write-a-novel/. This one might as well: http://literary-agents.com/its-not-your-book/. They are somewhat related. The main thing you have to remember is that you must have a likable character that people can relate to somehow. I’m reading a book now that is only about evil characters, hard to care about them or the story. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  272. Rahul Abhyankar /

    Hi Mark,

    What is the ideal font, font size and spacing for a 350 page- thriller? Also is it OK if the name of the chapter has a different font?

    Writing till fit to do so,
    Rahul | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Rahul,

    Times New Roman, 12 point, double-spaced… for every genre. Keep the chapter titles in the same font and size.

    Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  273. Rahul Abhyankar /

    Hi Mark,
    I am a 16 year old author trying to get my book published. But I feel a certain amount of complex shown by the agents due to my age. However I don’t think it would be right to hide my age. So how do I make the content of the query stand out? It’s a thriller, not a children’s book.

    Writing till fit to do so,
    Rahul | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Rahul, you shouldn’t disclose your age. Click here to read an article I wrote about this topic: http://literary-agents.com/young-authors/. And click here for query letter writing tips: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/literary-agent-query-letter/. Have a great weekend and make sure you check out the post I’m sending out later this morning. It’s a video interview of several top agents discussing the latest trends in the industry. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  274. Ed Schroeder /

    Hi Mark,
    I am a published author. The publisher that I am with is small and does not specialize in the area that write. They mainly publish Zombie/Dark fiction. I have little to no help with the marketing of my book. I am in the process of completing a sequel to the first book. Should I look for a new publisher? The easy thing to do would be to go with my current publisher, I write military fiction. Also my publisher does not accept returns which severely restricts exposure in book stores. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Ed, it’s a personal decision and it seems like you’re already aware of some of the pros and cons of going both ways. You pretty much know what you’re going to get if you go with your current publisher again; however, there’s an incredible upside to going with someone new. So maybe it’s worth exploring. Have a great weekend and make sure you check out the post I’m sending out later this morning. It’s a video interview of several top agents discussing the latest trends in the industry. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  275. Dear Mark

    You offer a great service; I like your style.

    My debut novel has garnered great reviews from professional sources, which almost universally mention the book’s potential for film or TV. The book was NOT self published although I don’t share the prejudice of others against books that are.

    Is there a directory of literary agents that deal with TV and film rights to newly published books where the agent did not place the book with its publisher?

    Many thanks.

    Gordon | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Gordon, thanks for stopping by my blog… and I’m glad you’re getting a lot out of it. I’m sorry to say that I’m not aware of a directory like the one you mention; however, many literary agents will handle TV and film rights for a book that they didn’t get published… if it was very successful. Have a great weekend and make sure you check out the post I’m sending out later this morning. It’s a video interview of several top agents discussing the latest trends in the industry. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Gordon Osmond Reply:

    Many thanks, Mark for your reply. It relieved me in a way because I consider myself a fairly skilled web surfer, and I couldn’t locate such a directory.

    I’ll certainly look in on your interview. I’m sure it will be very enlightening.

    Thanks again, and best of luck with the very important work in which you are engaged.

    Gordon

    [Reply]

  276. Hi Mark,

    If I queried a literary agent before and received a rejection but now have a new query letter–based on your 7 secrets–would it be okay to query again?

    Thank you.

    Rick Bettencourt | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Rick. Absolutely. When I work with clients 1-on-1 the new query letter looks completely different than the original so it’s a no-brainer. I also sometimes recommend that an author change the title of their book if possible (even if it’s just temporarily) so they get a fair shot the second time out. By the way, you might want to consider having me review your query this time around before you send it out: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/ Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Rick Bettencourt Reply:

    Mark,

    Thank you so much. I may very well hit you up for a look. Interestingly, I am considering a title change as well.

    BTW, this is a great service and concept you have. It fills a great niche. Best of luck to you!

    Rick

    P.S. Talk soon! | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Thanks Rick, have a great weekend and make sure you check out the post I’ll be sending out later this morning. It’s a video interview of several top agents discussing the latest trends in the industry. See you soon. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  277. Kieran /

    Hey,
    Please can you answer my question
    Does this query letter sound Good, or how can I improve on it:
    Representation Required For The Book: “The Science of Prayer and Miracles”
    Authored By “Kieran Aitken”
    Brief Overview Of The Book:
    Scientists have just proven that God exists.
    In this potential bestseller, the author describes how God controls all things that happen to the human being, and gives a clear message that is sure to send shockwaves through the religious community, and the whole worlds perception of God. The easily explained scientific principles described in this book are sure to change the lives of all the people who have the good fortune to read this masterpiece.
    About The Author:
    After many life changing experiences at a young age, Kieran Aitken has been on the hunt to uncover life’s most secretive mysteries. After many months of intense, obsessive research, Kieran was introduced to some sacred teachings that after reading and understanding them, have the potential to change anyone’s view of the world in which we inhabit. At Fifteen years old, Kieran is sure to stand out from other authors and teachers, and use this great asset to its full potential in the promotion of the book. Kieran is qualified to write about the field of quantum physics, due to Hugh quantities of research, personal experiments that are described in the book, and the personality that will suit the religious and scientific communities alike.
    Why this will be a bestseller:
    Similar books on the subject of God, such as “the god delusion” have sold over two million copies. There have been various other books on the subject of God, and all of those have been great successes. Instinctively, we all know that a subject like God, with the various beliefs, opinions and emotions that everyone attaches to it, is guaranteed to attract media attention, and stir up the communities of religion and science.
    How we market this:
    I am of course, open minded to all suggestions on the marketing of a book from you, due to your experience in the sector book promotion and publishing. But, I do feel that I can bring some valuable suggestions to the table. My research on marketing suggests that the key to making this book a success is to get the media’s attention, and I believe I have done so by making some bold statements in the book, such as “You bring illness upon yourself” and “current religion is dated and misunderstood by many, and a change is needed.” | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Kieran, I’m sorry to say that I don’t evaluate queries here on my blog. Otherwise I’d be doing it full time. ;) However, you’d be a perfect candidate to set up an introductory consulting call with me here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. I’d be happy to give you feedback and help you improve your query that way. Feel fr*ee to post more questions on my blog, however, as well. All my best. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  278. francesca griffin /

    what ever happened to the book of the man on the sample consulting call about autism. This issue is not important to anyone who has a healthy “normal” child. Unfortunately, this problem is growing at an astronomic rate. The days of counting 10 fingers and 10 toes is, sadly long gone. If you could put me in touch with him it would be tremendous for both of us.

    Thank you,
    Francesca Griffin | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Francesca, you can learn more about Scott here at his new website (in development) at http://www.TheUnbreakableBoy.com. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I’ve been busy with speaking events and my 1-on-1 coaching clients. Have a great day and I hope to see you again soon. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  279. Philicia /

    I have published a great book and it was through west bow press. The few copies sold has had great reviews. But I failed to understand the marketing or lack of it. I thought I paid for marketing services. But apparently not enough. I don’t want to invest any more with them because I don’t see the outcome. I believe in my book and I want to market it. How can u help ? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Philicia, sorry to hear about your experience… especially since I’ve heard similar stories 1,000 times before. If you haven’t already done so, listen to the complimentary mp3 that I talk about here on my homepage: http://literary-agents.com. Then visit this webpage here to learn more about scheduling an introductory consulting call with me: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Of course you can also post more questions here on my blog. ;) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  280. Renee /

    Hi, Mark,

    How much need I change (including a renaming of) my currently published novel before I could resubmit as “new” work to a different publisher?

    Would the book past existence prejudice future acceptance toward publication? Would I even need to specify a previous incarnation of the book?

    Is it best to cancel my current publishing contract, then to submit my book to an agent and/or publisher toward a better publishing situation? What are my chances of success that way?

    Thank you | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Renee, that’s a great question but a difficult one to answer. Every agent and publisher will have a different opinion. Yes, there will be a negative bias if agents/publishers know you published an earlier edition (if it didn’t sell a lot of copies). But if you change the title and didn’t sell many copies it’s less likely to be an issue. Did you self-publish or is the book with a traditional publisher meaning you didn’t pay anything? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  281. A. Matthews /

    What would capture the attention of a literary agent should the author be someone that has not been published before? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi A. Matthews… your question is so good that I’ve devoted my entire website to it. ;) I recommend you start by listening to my complimentary mp3 that you can learn more about (and get access to) here: http://literary-agents.com. Then take a look at my fr*ee guide to help you get a literary agent here: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/. If you do that you’ll probably find what you need but you can always post more questions right here. Happy to help. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  282. Tyrone Bruinsma /

    I’ve emailed a gaming company -Guerrilla Games- who developed the Killzone series and they said they would be interested in my novel, but they said that they would only consider it if it were officially published.
    Which means I need a publisher ASAP. Which is the most successful action/military publisher in New York?
    I’m also looking to possibly get this developed in Asia(primarily China or Japan)-Do you know any publishers in that area?
    Thanks | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Tyrone, congrats on getting interest… but 9.5 times out of 10 you need to get a literary agent to get a publisher. Check on this article on my site about this topic: http://literary-agents.com/guide-to-literary-agents/do-you-need-a-literary-agent/. It’s part of a series. If you get a literary agent and publisher here in the US, they will then help you get published abroad. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  283. Marcus E. /

    I’ve been having a lot of this response to my submission attempts:

    “Thank you, but we’re not enthusiastic about selling your book” and “maybe you’ll have better luck with another agent”.

    Now, I’m unsure if it means “your concept sucks” or if it’s “we don’t know how to sell this to publishers”. I’d like to think it’s the latter, but I’m hoping you could elaborate that response for me. Do I need to start going directly to publishers or just give up and find another calling? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Marcus… don’t give up. Read this article: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/literary-agent-feedback/. And don’t call it quits. Very few publishers accept unsolicited direct submissions from authors. Your best best is to improve your query and/or book. If you haven’t already done so, consider taking advantage of this introductory consulting call that I offer here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  284. I have been submitting query letters for my true crime story with many rejects, of course. I have been told that despite the poise and polish that it’s not the right fit. On the other hand another suggested that I work with an editor or collaborator to smooth out the writing. What is your suggestion for my next step and how do I get an editor without an agent. Are you a collaborator and editor?

    Cindy | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Cindy, as long as an agent doesn’t recommend a particular editor or collaborator… it might be legitimate and good advice. But you might be closer than you realize to getting represented and simply need to send out more queries. How many have you sent out so far? Also, you don’t need to have an agent to get an editor. You just need to be willing to invest the money. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  285. Kimber /

    Hi Mark! About 4 years ago when I first started taking writing classes, I won a local contest that resulted in a MG choose-your-own adventure style book being published. They also agreed to publish 2 follow up books in the same series. But all they really did was pay the createspace fees so the books are basically self published. I’m in the process of writing a YA book that I’m hoping to find an agent with. Will having those other books out there, make it harder to get an agent? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Kimber Reply:

    I should also mention the books in question were never marketed and haven’t sold much. The contest people didn’t market them and I didn’t know how. They also could have used a better editor because I’ve found some mistakes in them.

    So they may not show my work in the best light between the errors and the low sales numbers. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Kimber, yes… it will almost certain negatively impact your efforts to get literary agents interested. But it’s still quite possible. I help people do it all the time. Your best bet would be to remove the books entirely offline if you can. Then you won’t have any problem at all. That would be the easiest way to go. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Kimber Reply:

    Thanks, Mark. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my question… to answer all of our questions here. It’s really awesome to find someone who is willing to help us newbie writers.

    I’ll definitely see about having the books removed before I start shopping for an agent. Thanks again for the advice. :) | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Sounds good. Feel fr*ee to post more questions. And consider scheduling an introductory call with me before you send your work out… if you’re able to do so. I can do a lot more for you there. Here’s a link with more info if you aren’t already familiar with it: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Either way, I look forward to (hopefully) being part of your success story. Have a great weekend. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  286. Jean Gendreau /

    Dear Mark,
    While investigating a murder in 1886, a couple gets together. So my book is a mystery, a romance and historical fiction. I am planning to market it as a mystery because in subsequent stories, the couple solves more crimes as their relationship grows. Should I just go to agents who do mysteries or should I also try romance agents and women’s fiction agents?
    Thanks, Jean G | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jean, excellent question. Agents interested in all three genres would be your best fit. If you strike out with those agents, then you have to start approach agents that are interested in only two of those categories, etc. That’s how I would approach it. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  287. Juanita Aydlette /

    Hi Mark. Will I still have a shot at getting an agent if I self-publish first? There are some things, such as artwork and choice of book-cover photo that I want to maintain. My brother is a wonderful, closet-artist, and I would love to have his artwork gracing the front and back covers of my book. I thought of having a few dozen copies printed to sell at a local bookstore here, and also put on consignment at the Walmart store where I use to work. We had one published author at that store. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    A lot less likely, unless you sell MANY copies (numbers vary based on genre, agent, and publisher). It’s possible to do it without those numbers, but it’s significantly harder. I would try not to be too attached to things like your title, the artwork, etc. Publishers have a lot experience. They know what will sell and what won’t… at least more than most authors. So there is a good chance that they might want to change a few things. But you can always cross that bridge when you get to it, as they say. Hopefully you won’t have to! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  288. sawlian cheah /

    Hi Mark

    In Michael Larsen’s ‘How to write a book proposal’, he said in the proposal, we need to read about 10 competing novels and as many complementary books for a comparison with our manuscript.
    Must it really be 10 books for each category? Seems like a lot. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi SawLian, reading that many comparative titles is great… but you only need to compare/contrast 4-6 titles per category in my opinion… in the proposal. That should be plenty in my experience. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  289. Doris Konate /

    What is the procedure for submitting a fiction book for movie production? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Doris, it depends. Are you talking about a book that’s unpublished, self-published, or published with a traditional publisher like Random House? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Doris Konate Reply:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your quick response, the book is my first, fiction, self-publishing through Outskirts, which should be completed at least by end of August early September. I called Tyler Perry Studio’s and they told me that any work submitted for movie production had to be submitted through an established literary agent. I feel that the story would be great movie material and I’m trying to figure out what my next step should be so that I could try and submit the work for movie production. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Doris, not a problem… I genuinely enjoy taking a few moments each day to answer questions for appreciative authors. Based on your situation, you will need to get a literary agent or film agent to pitch your work for you. But literary agents probably won’t be interested unless you’re going to let them shop the book to publishers as well. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    Doris Konate Reply:

    Hi Mark,

    Are film Agents commissioned pretty much the same as Literary agents commission post productivity? | Ask a Literary Agent

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Doris, yes… film agents work similarly to literary agents in the sense that they should only be getting a commission for work they’ve sold or helped sell. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  290. ART /

    Might be a dumb question however I am not a writer but feel it extremely important to write a whistle blowing type book. Been in a business for 15 years and found dirty filthy secrets that affect all of us especially our children . Very surprised a book has not been done before . My question is can a agent or publisher steal my idea by finding a true writer just like what happens to inventors? If yes how do I avoid the theft. And yes I think this information would be big news for a book. thanks | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Art, it’s a good question so thanks for posting it. More likely, an agent or publisher would try to pair you up with a qualified ghostwriter to help you produce the book. But you’d have to write a compelling pitch explaining the project well enough so they could understand it and see its value. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  291. Jon Glapa /

    If you have a verbal offer from a publisher (complete with an advance) that you bring to an agent to a) help secure an agent for the future, and b) help negotiate the contract — is it okay to ask for a lower fee than 15% (maybe 12 or 10%) for that particular book since half the job is already done?

    Thanks,

    Jon | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jon, it’s generally a bad idea to try and reduce the commission (although I get it). For starters, the agent might be able to increase your advance and improve your royalty terms (among other things in your deal)… and/or get other publishers interested (if you move fast). Also, even though it makes sense to a degree to make such a request… I’ve had it done to me and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. You want your agent on board 100%. I wouldn’t do it. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Jon Glapa Reply:

    Thanks for your advice. It’s good to get an agent’s point of view. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    No problem Jon, happy to help. Let me know how it goes. Would love to help celebrate your success. There aren’t enough of those stories to go around. ;) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  292. Hi Mark,
    I’m highly impressed with your insights (and the quick responses). Wow!

    My question revolves around building buzz for an unagented/unsold/unpublished manuscript. I’m working on my second novel and would like to start having art contests, etc, to help create visuals of characters, settings and scenes. Would an agent and/or publisher have any issues with that? In other words, is there any reason NOT to do so? My inclination is that any and all buzz is good.

    Best,
    Elias | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Elias, thank you for the kind words and it’s good to see you here. Happy to help. Anything you can do whatsoever (for the most part) to get more exposure and/or build your mailing list pre-publication is a good thing. Your idea falls into that category. So I say go for it. Thanks for posting. Looking forward to learning more about you and your work. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  293. Franka /

    Hello Mr. Mark.

    Thank you very much for your information in your website. It is very helpful, especially for me.

    I am Albanian and I am a first time writer. Recently I’ve been reading on Internet about literary agents and the book business but I still don’t understand it very well. My novel is in Albanian. I have been asked for a partial of my manuscript of 2 literary agencies.

    Translating a book costs a lot of money here but my question is: Is it worth it? The fact that they asked me a partial and I am hopeful that they’ll like it, is a good start, but how much guarantee may I have about getting published? How many possibilities may I have? Also, it may sounds like a very stupid question but, can I trust them? I’m so far away from America or UK.

    I’m only 17 and I know I’m very young but my fiction novel is a very good one.

    If you could help me by telling me how should I act, you’d really help me because I’m a little bit confused in here.

    Thank you very much for your time and sorry for my bad English. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Franka, if your query is getting interest from US agents that is a very good sign… but no guarantee that they’ll be able to get your work published here. However, the fact that you have interest is the best guarantee you can get that your work might sell here. So it would be a reasonable investment for you to get some sample chapters translated as a start. Have you published your work outside of the US? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Franka Reply:

    Hey Mark,
    Thank you for your information. So you suggest me me to translate and send some sample chapters?
    Yes I have published my book here but I haven’t done too much copies and also it has been just for pleasure. I have sold it at my friends, family and some well known writers who made every great comments which push me to ask for literary agencies.
    I am concerned about something else. Is it okay if a literary agent who is very well known, makes grammar errors in writing?
    Thank you! | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Franka, if literary agents are interested… in my mind it’s worth the investment to have some sample chapters and a synopsis translated. Regarding grammar errors, I wouldn’t put too much weight on that. The agent might have been writing in a hurry or it might have been an assistant, etc. I’m guilty of those mistakes myself. Good luck and keep me posted on your progress. Wishing you well. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  294. sawlian cheah /

    Hi Mark

    In the TOC, do I indent my chapter outlines at the first line and do I double space the lines? Why do we need to double space everything in the book proposal and in the manuscript? Is it for easy reading? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi SawLian, I would single-space the chapter outlines and most of the proposal with the exception of the sample chapters. Indenting doesn’t matter for the chapter outlines. Agents have different preferences for many of these things. Double-spacing for sample chapters and manuscripts is standard for everyone as it makes it easier for agents and editors writing comments. Make sense? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  295. I have an novel that in its earlier drafts was shortlisted in the international Dundee (unpublished novel) Prize 2010 and Virginia Prize 2011. I am British but living in Africa and completing my final edit. It is based on a true story. Years ago I submitted as memoir and an agent wrote to say she was interested but her boss said memoir was flooded. Is it best to send the book as literary fiction or memoir? Also, what would be the difference for me getting a UK or US agent while in Africa? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi JG. Congrats on your accolades. Your story sounds promising. Every market is flooded, in its own way. I recommend you submit the book as memoir since that’s what it is, and approach US agents first. Then, if you haven’t gotten an agent, pursue UK agents. I don’t have space to explain why here but that is your best approach. You should consider setting up a call with me. More info here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  296. Wukelanren /

    Hi Mark! I have a new question for you > If the 1st book of the trilogy was released by one publisher, can I query a Literary Agent with the 2nd book of this trilogy, so the agent could find another publisher? Will it effect in any sense on the publisher, which released the 1st book?
    Thank you!
    Yury | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Yury. Although it might be possible to find another pub for book #2 in a trilogy, it’s highly unlikely. If you’d already sold tens of thousands of copies of #1 you’d have more of a chance. Pitching #2 as a stand-alone book (if possible) would increase your odds. And check your contract to make sure Pub #1 doesn’t have an option on #2. Sorry to not have better news. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Wukelanren Reply:

    Hi Mark! When I was signing the contract, I asked the Manager about that. I said: am I signing the contract for all books under this title?
    He said that: You’re signing a contract only for one (first) installment. If you prefer to create series based on this title, you have to submit it to us in usual form and we will decide to accept/decline the project.
    Thanks,
    Yury | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Yury, I understand that… just make sure you read your contract to see if it says anything about future titles. You might not be committed to publish a second book with them, but they might have what’s called an option. Read your entire contract and make sure you understand everything. And have a great week. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  297. Wukelanren /

    Hi Mark! I’ve sent a letter to 1 publisher and received this answer. Do you know what this supposed to mean? > Thank you for your inquiry. Please know, however, that we are no longer accepting submissions for YA (we have recently updated our Web site and our Publishers Marketplace listing to reflect this change).
    For the youth market, we’re interested in middle-grade novels and chapter books only.
    Wishing you the best of luck.
    They changed that after few hours of my submission!
    Thank you
    Yury | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Yury. It simply means they used to publish books in the young adult genre and, unfortunately, they recently decided to stop. Middle grade books are for younger readers, as are chapter books. I wish I had better news for you. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Wukelanren Reply:

    So, that’s a rejection? And they won’t consider my work?
    Thanks
    Yury | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    I’m sorry to say so, but yes. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  298. Hi, I was was wondering if as an agent, you’d ever rejected a piece of work that was written in second person? Do you, or any other literary agent you know, bother reading second person writing? I don’t mean those choose your own story type of books, but long, narrative books with a good plot, character interaction, etc? Is that particular form of writing something that most agents won’t take on, or does it matter? I wanted to know in case I submitted one. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Kara, my point of view on the best way to write a book (any book) or anything at all for that matter… is to use the style that’s most effective to tell the story or make the point. There are many books that are published written in second person. And any good agent will consider your work if it’s written that way, if it’s well-written. So focus mostly on writing the best book you can, and trust that agents will see your vision. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  299. Tikaani /

    Hello I had a question about identity as being a writer. See I do not want people to know who I am, right now most people do not. I am only known as Tikaani Moon, the image of a black wolf. I would like to keep it this way and never let others know my real name. I feel strongly about this decision but wondered was it possible for me to do this. I feel my pen name image better fits my books and is more interesting. Is it possible to keep my identity secret? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Tikaani. It is possible to keep your identity secret… and, in some cases, it can be used as an advantage for marketing purposes. To maximize the effect, you might consider having a good reason and/or story behind why you want (or it’s necessary) for your identity to remain a mystery. Thanks for posting. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Tikaani Reply:

    Is Tikaani Moon okay? I wanted something that no one else have and suit the image of a dark wolf howling at the moon at night. This is what I developed already. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Tikaani, I don’t see it as a problem. Pretty much any name you use will be okay as long as it isn’t offensive or misleading somehow to agents, publishers, and readers. You can discuss this more with your literary agent, and you should. Have a great week! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  300. Craig Seaton /

    Mark,

    The answer to my question about where to place punctuation when using quotation marks is a bit too involved for a blog post; so here is the very best online grammar source I’ve found. There’s an American method (punctuation always goes inside quotation marks; and a British method which has some exceptions).

    http://www.grammarphobia.com

    The site is authored by Pat and Stewart O’Connor. I would highly recommend their site and any of their books to your readers.

    Blessings!

    Craig Seaton | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Craig, thank you for sharing this… I believe one or more of their books is on one of my bookshelves. ;) And I’m glad you found their site, because the answer to your question is even longer. The answer is, as is the case with lots of things when it comes to language, it depends. The most important thing to do is choose something, and be consistent. Happy writing. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  301. Hi Mark,

    My military fiction book, Duty, Honor, Country: Kill, Capture or do Nothing was just published. As you know today the author is responsible for most of their own marketing. I would really like to have my book carried by the Military Book Club or any of the other big book clubs. I have searched all over the Internet but have not been able to find information on submitting a book to these clubs. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Best regards,
    Ed S. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Ed, to tell you the truth I don’t know a lot about this. When I was an agent, publishers always handled it. That said, I wanted to know the answer so I started looking online. Check out this link: http://www.bookmarket.com/sellingtobookclubs.htm. I’ve met John Kremer and he’s good people. Here’s another link but I don’t know these guys: http://www.inktreemarketing.com/Articles/BookClubs.htm. Let me know what you think. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  302. Wukelanren /

    Hi Mark! I have sent a query to one agent and received an auto-responce with these words: if you have books published please tell me the name of your publisher(s) and the year the book(s) were published.
    Do I have to resend a query with the name of a publisher that will publish my book this year? Or just leave the query like it is?

    Thank you
    Yury | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Yury, you should definitely tell agents that you have a book being published… especially since it’s by a legitimate publisher. It will give you added credibility. Even if agents don’t ask, you should tell them. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Wukelanren Reply:

    Hi Mark! I told about it to the agent in my query, but I didn’t tell the name of the publisher. And.. I don’t think that she would request for more parts of the ms. Don’t know why.. maybe I just feel it.
    Yury | How to Be a Famous Author

    [Reply]

  303. What would you say the difference is between going with a mainstream / big time publisher and going with a small publisher? I know big time is more reputable, but to who exactly? Do they get better distribution if a big time publisher? And also my understanding is that YOU, the author has to do most of the promotion and publicity these days so does it matter at all who you’re published with? Pros/cons please — or maybe an article out there somewhere? Thanks! | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    B Reply:

    Also, do you get a bigger advance if you go with a bigger publisher? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    In general, yes. Bigger company = more resources = bigger advance. In most cases. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi B, the short (and probably frustrating) answer to your first question is… it depends. In general, I believe you’re better off with a bigger publisher. Across the board, you’re going to have more resources and more reach that way… to augment your own promotional efforts. You’re right that this would make a great article, but it’s one I haven’t written yet… so I’ll add it to my ever-growing idea file. ;) Thanks for posting. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  304. Eight rejections in,there is finally some agent feedback.

    “I’m not connecting wholeheartedly with your writing,despite its poise and polish.”

    Translation?

    This from a query and ten pages.I’m also twice his age.

    Any insight is greatly appreciated.Thank You. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Doug, sorry to hear that… this article that I wrote might help. Let me know: http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/literary-agent-feedback/. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  305. I’ve written a children’s picture book and a publisher wants buy the rights.

    I read the book to over 300 children and the response was OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!

    The publisher want’s to know how much I want???

    Can you help me please?

    Thank you

    Michael | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Michael, I love it when someone has good news to share. Congratulations on having such a wonderful problem. There are many variables to consider, however, and there is no way that I could possibly know what kind of advance you should be hoping for. My suggestion, without having more info, would be to ask the range (low to high) that they usually pay for your genre… and go from there. You can probably find some of this online as well with some searching. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    You might want to set up a 1-hour consulting call with me: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing/book-marketing-coach/. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  306. doug /

    Good evening, Mark
    Perhaps you’ve addressed this question many times before,but here it is again.
    I comprehend English when a submission page states a rejection from one agent of the agency is the same as a rejection from the agency in toto.
    If such a statement is not found,is it fair game to query another agent from the same agency?
    I comprehend decorum/protocol,and don’t wish to inadvertantly stomp on any tootsies. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Doug, in short… yes. At least that’s how I advise my 1-on-1 coaching clients to interpret the lack of specific instructions. ;) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    There is a chance that one or two agents might get uppity about it… but, hey, if that’s what you want… say so. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  307. Wukelanren /

    Hi, Mark! It’s me again)) Can you give an advice?
    Well, the thing is that I’ve made some video, it’s a book trailer actually, and I thought, do I need to tell about it to my publisher, after I’ll receive the book cover and add it into the video? I mean, before I’ll post this trailer in the net?

    Thank you,
    Yury

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Yury, it’s always best to keep your publisher in the loop about your promotional activities. Sometimes they will want to provide input. Other times they might even help finance certain things (just don’t tell them I told you that). I’m sure they would be happy to provide you with a cover image as soon as it is ready. Make sure you tell me when it’s done! Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  308. Belle Degenaars /

    Good morning.
    I am interested in publishing a book I recently translated from Italian. It is the history and story of a small village preserved in time so to speak from which my grandparents emigrated. I have grown up hearing stories of this ancient village and have now translated a book written about it’s history. It is non fiction and would appeal to readers interested in history as well as students of Italian language and culture. I am interested to know how to pursue identifying an agent. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Belle, thanks for posting. I have a great deal of valuable information on my website that will help you, starting with the complimentary mp3 that you can get on my hompeage here: http://literary-agents.com. You can also access my Directory of Literary Agents by clicking here: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents. You can get 1-on-1 support from me in three different ways. Learn more here: http://literary-agents.com/book-marketing. I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your work. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  309. Wukelanren /

    Hi, Mark! Today I remembered about a responce from Lit.Agent and thought, Did any of your clients ever received such a responce: I’m not qualified enough about your work. I’d be glad to reffer you to other agents, but I don’t know such.
    What a responce, right? That reply I received about a year ago on the book that will be out soon..

    Thanks,
    Yury | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Yury, good hearing from you. It’s virtually impossible to interpret that kind of literary agent feedback without more information. Could mean they’re not knowledgeable about the genre or have connections in the category. It sounds sincere, if the agent really would follow up with referrals. So take it as a compliment. :) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  310. I don’t know the numbers of sales as my former publisher denied any. But when I saw some of the 26 online sellers reordering my book even after I cancelled my publisher, and the prices they are being sold at, I suspect it is a sizable amount. I tried to find out from Lightening Source, but they said they could not give that info to a 3rd party. I said, excuse me, I am the Author and 3x copyright holder, I am 1st party. It did not help. Can I compete with my own book via an Agent? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jim, even though it’s your book… the publisher created a contract/ agreement with Lightening Source so they probably aren’t going to give you any information. You really should contact an attorney. Also please explain what you meant when you said: “Can I compete with my own book via an Agent?” In what way??? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  311. Greetings,
    My publisher denied any sales and went bankrupt. Twenty six online sellers have been selling my book worldwide and I get no part of it because they were set up under the publisher. I cancelled my publisher. The last I checked my book was being sold for $18. -$32. per copy and reordering. I tried making it an eBook with no success. My website is not available as I need to renew my subscription. Can you tell me how I can get s slice of profit from my own book? I have 3x copyrights. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jim, I’m very sorry to hear about your story. It’s hard enough to get published, and then this. If they went bankrupt, I’m not sure what you can do except get in line with everyone else they owe money and try to collect. I don’t see how you would be able to do this without contacting a lawyer. If I were you, I’d be putting most of my energy into figuring out how to get the rights back so you can sell it yourself and find a new agent/publisher. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  312. Sydney Cade West /

    Mr. Malatesta, does the fact that I’ve independently published four novels, prohibit an agent from picking up my work from Amazon? I own and retain all national and International rights.

    Sydney Cade West | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Sydney, not at all. But the better your sales figures are, the more likely they are to be interested. Several thousand copies sold of each title is a good start. It’s possible to place something that has sold less, but it’s more difficult. I hope that helps. Feel fr*ee to post a follow-up question. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  313. Margie Church /

    I have two questions! How often do you think agents select a book based on the body of work they represent vs. something new and exciting? I know they are in it for the money – and so should we – so safe is easier?

    How much do you think coming from eBook publishing is going to hurt my chances of getting an agent – even with a significant back list and some good success?

    Thank you! | Nicholas Sparks Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Margie, one clarification question. Do you mean based on the body of work that the agent represents… or the body of work of the author, who might already be somewhat established in a different genre? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Margie Church Reply:

    I’m sorry – the body they represent. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    No worries, but glad I asked. Big difference. Most agents are very slow to branch out into a new genre. It’s similar to a successful author of a genre deciding to “roll the dice” and try out a new one. It’s an investment of time, without any guarantee of success. Plus there is a learning curve since each genre has its own “rules” or conventions. Your previous pub experience could help you or hurt you, depending on your numbers. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    Margie Church Reply:

    Thank you. | Ask a Literary Agent

  314. John Silver PhD RN MBAC /

    HI,
    I have just published my first book using a hybrid publisher after being jerked around by Springer Publishing for almost a year. How many sales would I need to attract the attention of a major publisher? I ask because I am starting my second book now and the effort with getting this first book published was tremendous.

    The book is titled “just a union…of nurses” and is now listed on Amazon.

    Can a literary agent be helpful? In what way? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi John, thanks for posting. Sorry to hear about your experience with your publisher. The numbers you’ll need to impress agents and/or new publishers will depend on many things… how long the book has been out… genre… who the original publisher was… etc. In some cases a few thousand copies would be impressive. Other times you might need a much higher number to be persuasive. After checking out your book on Amazon, your numbers are impressive. You should really try to get an agent to help you place your work with a new publisher. What can a literary agent do for you?Read this and feel fr*ee to post a follow-up question: http://literary-agents.com/best-literary-agent/top-literary-agents/. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  315. What if I sent a query, with notes on similar and dissimilar books in my genre, and offered 150 pages of my manuscript (nonfiction). No proposal, although not a problem to create… what do you think about this idea? Query + Comparisons + Offer to send 150 pages. A unique way to pitch? Or totally crazy? … your thoughts? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    B Reply:

    What if I added sample chapters with each query I sent? After all, let them read the book. ?? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Query only, although you should have some competitive analysis thoughts or context in the query. No longer than one page. Don’t offer anything extra or add anything extra that they didn’t ask for. If they ask them for something, give them exactly what they ask for. Anything else is a red flag and agents will make assumptions about you that you don’t want them to make. Put all of your wonderful creativity in the book, instead. :) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    B Reply:

    What assumptions would they make? :) Good article topic

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi B, I was just going to tell you what a great idea that is… that I should write an article about it… then I realized I already did (quite a while back). Here’s a link: http://literary-agents.com/literary-agent-guidelines/. Mark :) | Ask a Literary Agent

  316. What is the fine line between Memoir and something else…? I’m writing a true story, but some of the scenarios and conversations are a little tweaked. They were all said and done at one point but for the sake of the book and my memory, the order in which these things happened and the way they were said may have been changed. Would this still be considered memoir? Or do I go into another category? And what category would that be? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi B. It’s admittedly a fuzzy line. If you do your best to tell the story as accurately as possible, you can still call it memoir. Agents/publishers/readers understand that you can’t remember every detail and you have to re-imagine it. If you’re nervous about it, you could also call it narrative nonfiction based on true events. Or, you can make it a novel based on true events. I hope this helps. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    B Reply:

    thank you

    [Reply]

  317. Wukelanren /

    I was thinking about our talk that we had in December. Especially about the part when I told you that French publisher was interested in my book that will be released this year. And I thought, does my publisher have to send me the final edited draft of my book? Because, in other case I’ll have to send the original manuscript with mistakes to French publisher. And if I will, what I need to say in the description of the work? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Wukelanren Reply:

    For example: This book was published under the pen name George A. Kos by US publisher and if you’re interested in this work, please contact with (publisher), (email), in order of purchasing the translation rights.
    How do you think, will it be fine for this publisher?
    Of course, I’ll do that after the release of the book. But I don’t know if I have to do that? Or I might have to try?.. :(
    Can you give me some advice about that?
    Thanks,
    Yury

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi again Yury, I don’t remember all the details regarding the French publisher. If I were you, I would contact my publisher and ask them how they prefer to handle it. They will give you a contact person there to mention in your letter. Or they might ask you for the information and contact the other publisher on your behalf. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Yury, make every effort to get a copy of the final edited version. I know an author that lost his publisher after many years… and then decided to self-publish the book. But he didn’t have the edited version and had to spend a great deal of time doing it all over again. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  318. Good afternoon Mark.
    My first novel is 200,000 words,an upmarket treatment of college life in the 70′s,a compelling read.
    Naturally,it will never be published as a debut effort.
    This necessitated my second novel of 86,000 words,a man’s view of romance in the 80′s,which will have to suffice as a debut effort.
    I am currently querying the shorter work.When is the opportune time to mention the longer manuscript to an agent? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Doug. That depends on whether you have a third manuscript and, if so, what it’s about. Let me know that and I can give you a better answer. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    doug Reply:

    Mark,thanks for the response.
    Currently pulling together ideas for a third effort(only recently completed revision on #2,and will go through #1 again).
    I do have the confidence to follow up with a #3.
    I began each manuscript with a sketchy outline(basic timeline) and each day my hand merely followed the ink pen(s) across the blank paper.
    Now,if I were retired and didn’t work 50+ hours/week…

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Doug, don’t do it in the query. It’s very long and very different than the shorter work, so it might spook some agents. They also might feel like you’ll try to pressure them to sell it. I would wait until you have an agent (assuming you get one for the shorter work) and then bring it up if/when the agent asks about other works. Just don’t come off as overly attached to getting that agent to shop it, and you’ll be okay. He or she might love it. Just no pressure. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  319. saw lian cheah /

    In sending photos in the book proposal, do I caption it on a strip of paper and tape it below the photos or do I caption it on the back of the photos? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Don’t include original photos, scan them into the proposal. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  320. saw lian cheah /

    In the website on Bookends, LLC, it says to inlcude photos, newspaper clippings of interviews etc to showcase your platform in the book proposal. What if I don’t have anything and just a few newspaper articles on my prize winning stories in previous short story contests and some news articles with my byline when I worked for a news agency years ago as a reporter. Do I include them in with the book proposal or do I wait for the agent to request it? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Always best to give agents what they’re asking for, to increase your odds. :) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  321. saw lian cheah /

    If I have photos coming after a particular chapter, do I need to write that in the summary in that particular chapter in the TOC? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Can’t hurt. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  322. saw lian cheah /

    My chapters don’t have titles so in the TOC chapter summaries, is it okay if there are no titles or do I put titles in the summaries but let it remain titleless in the memoir itself? Do you think titles in a memoir help sell the book? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    You don’t need titles, or you can simply number them. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  323. saw lian cheah /

    Hi Mark

    You said chapter summaries tell the reader the entire chapter. But Michael Larsen in his tips on how to write a book proposal says that each chapter outline in the TOC should cover only the main points. And on Bookends, LLC, the literary agency’s website, it says to make the chapter summaries read like the book itself and not start each chapter with ‘This chapter includes…’ which means it has to be interesting. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Saw Lian. Since the chapter summaries are short, you can only cover the main points. Just make sure you cover the main points. Regarding the other statement, it’s most important that the person reading your summaries understanding what’s happening in each chapter. It’s less important that the summaries read like a novel. Make them as interesting as possible but make sure, first and foremost, that they’re clear. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  324. saw lian cheah /

    Hi Mark

    In the table of contents, for chapter summaries, can I encapsulate the whole chapter by using a paragraph from that chapter but condensed and with a hook at the beginning? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Saw Lian, I so wish that I could say yes. But chapter summaries should be written differently. They should allow the reader to understand exactly what happens in the entire chapter. Step by step. It’s not meant to be interesting reading, or even suspenseful. It needs to be clear, accurate, and comprehensive. I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but I have to be the one to tell you. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  325. Wukelanren /

    Hi, Mark! I have a question for you. Can I send it on your email?

    Thank you
    Yury | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Yury, yes… fire away. You can use my contact form page here. It is private. http://literary-agents.com/contact/ Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  326. Hi Mark, I sent an email to you with a number of updates that I look forward to talking over with you.

    Also, on the copyright question below, can my company hold the copyright? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Janet, I hope you got my email… regarding the copyright question, I’m not sure to be honest with you. I’d probably always prefer to use my own name since that will never change. Companies change, get sold, etc. You never know. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  327. Mark, once again I come to the mountain. What did I do before I found your web sight?
    With you advice, I now have a query letter ready to shoot out the door, but a question ocurred to me today. Should I copyright my manuscript before putting it out there, or does the publisher or agent do it? I am blond, so it is ok for me to ask such questions so far into the game.
    thanks
    lynn | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Lynn, you just made me realize that I need to do an article this… so I just put it on my list. Good topic that I know a lot of authors wonder about. I’m a big believer in doing everything 100% when it comes to those things that are most important to me. And my writing is one of those things. So I would actually file it with the copyright office. Even though your publisher will do it for you. Same thing goes for backing up websites and emails, etc. I have several different types of backups. I’d be a mental case if I lost my data, or if someone copied my books. Take the time and copyright your work. Thanks for always being so kind, and there are no silly or blond questions! :) Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  328. I guess you deleted it. I am tired and I have many screens open. Time for bed. thanks and I will look for your email. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  329. I thought I was sending this to an email–can you please delete my last post?!?!? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Got it… done. No worries. Will reply in a moment by email. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

  330. What’s with small publishers like New Horizon Press, AMACOM, or Career Press? I am looking at agents and one has lots of titles with these. Do I need an agent? Granted, I want to get published and my name isn’t Stephen King, but are these good deals? Fly by night? Advances? Worth waiting out something better? | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jim, some authors do better with houses like that than with big houses. All depends on the nature of your book. Amacom, for example, has a huge network and marketing potential for the right books in their niche. So you could potentially sell more with any of these houses than even Random House. A good agent should be able to help you decide. But it would be best to find an agent that’s also sold to the big boys. What’s your book about? Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Jim Reply:

    Thanks. It’s a history of rock music–but with a fresh, in-depth approach (don’t want to give it all away!). | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Jim Reply:

    It’s tough, I am trying to be realistic–and i have the greatest book of all-time. (haha). I certainly want some credibility with a first book and I would like to think that if it is good I would at least have a shot at some positive reviews and some exposure. | Ask a Literary Agent

    [Reply]

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hey Jim. I sold a few books in that genre as an agent. The publishers you referenced earlier are probably not the best fit. My Directory of Literary Agents has book agents listed under music in nonfiction. Take a look if you haven’t already: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents. Then consider setting up an introductory call with me to talk about your query, etc. You can learn more about hat here: http://literary-agents.com/directory-literary-agents. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    Jim Reply:

    I can’t “Reply” anymore? I have been on this site. I feel pretty good about my query, really but I am willing to talk more. | Ask a Literary Agent

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hey Jim, just hit one of the reply links above… earlier in this discussion thread. That’s what I just did. I think that will work for you. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    Jim Reply:

    I get it. I have been using your service and have some bites. I like my query–what else could you do for me or me for you? | Ask a Literary Agent

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hi Jim, what do you mean by “service”? My Directory of Literary Agents here at my site? The information on my mp3s and/or articles? Sounds like you’re saying that you used one or more of those things and it might have contributed to some of your success. Or maybe that’s just my wishful thinking. I’d love to know that I was somehow part of your success story. Tell me a little more, then I’ll know what to suggest. I’m just happy for you. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

    Jim Reply:

    I am querying agents from your directory. I looked at some other articles, too, which were good, but mainly the directory. | Ask a Literary Agent

    Mark Malatesta, Literary Agent Undercover Reply:

    Hey, that’s still a win and I’ll take it. If you want, send me your query and/or proposal privately here and I’ll tell you if I think I can help you in any way. But it sounds like you’re doing pretty good. I’ll ask you more about your response rate numbers from agents via email. And give you a couple things to think about that you might not have considered… that could make a big difference. Here’s my email page: http://literary-agents.com/contact/. Mark | Ask a Literary Agent

  331. david buckner /

    Is Amanda Urban currently accepting queries? I have read that she is on one post and that she isn’t, on another. Thanks. | Ask a Literary Agent