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Interview with Mark Malatesta, author consultant and the founder of Literary Agent Undercover.

Last week I was contacted by Brian Feinblum, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Planned Television Arts (PTA) for an interview. PTA is the nation’s leading book promotions firm. They’ve represented mega-bestselling authors like Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame, Dean Koontz, Janet Evanovich, Harvey Mackay, Jackie Collins, Nelson DeMille, and Dr. James Dobson.

Pretty cool, right?

PTA works directly with major trade publishers, university and academic presses, and small, independent publishers, including: St. Martin’s Press, John Wiley & Sons, Entrepreneur Press, Penguin-Putnam, Inc., Random House, Workman, Harper Collins, Harlequin, Sterling Publishers, Simon & Schuster, National Geographic, and McGraw-Hill.

They wanted to know what Literary Agent Undercover is all about, get my take on where the publishing industry is headed, find out what I do on any given day, learn about some of the bestselling authors I’ve worked with, find out why I love working with authors, and discover what I found most rewarding and challenging about my “past life” as a literary agent.

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Mark Malatesta Interview

What is Literary Agent Undercover?

Literary Agent Undercover helps authors of all genres get top literary agents, publishers, and book deals. I founded Literary Agent Undercover in August 2011, after closing my literary agency called New Brand Agency Group (more about that below). Click here to see the rest of this answer and read the full interview.

Exactly what do you do in any given day?

Most days I get up at 5 AM (thanks to 5 AM Wake Up Call guru Bryce Chapman in Australia) and spend a few hours in my home office before going to the gym for a couple hours (weights, cardio, and laps in the pool keep me sane). Most authors would probably be surprised to learn that I only spend two days a week coaching, but I spend much of my time “offline” editing query letters, book proposals, etc. Click here to see the rest of this answer and read the full interview.

Why do you love working with authors?

It would be more accurate to say that I love working with most authors. After all, authors are people and not all people are pleasant. But, for the most part, authors are more attractive to me than most other segments of society… like engineers or astronauts. Why? Let me count the ways. Click here to see the rest of this answer and read the full interview.

Who are some of the best-selling authors you have worked with?

Although my author consulting company Literary Agent Undercover is only two years old, I’ve already helped dozens of authors (in the United States and abroad) get the attention of top literary agents and/or book deals with major publishing houses like Random House and Thomas Nelson. Click here to see some of our Success Stories. I’ve also listed below most of the book deals I was personally responsible for as the owner of New Brand Agency, before I founded Literary Agent Undercover (I’ve excluded TV, film, stage, and other subsidiary rights for sake of space). Click here to see the rest of this answer and read the full interview.

What did you find was rewarding, but challenging as a literary agent? 

The main reason I became a literary agent was to learn how to get my own books published (that’s why I named my new author coaching/consulting company Literary Agent Undercover). When I became an agent I was just a young aspiring author (25 years old), so I viewed the opportunity as the chance of a lifetime – for a while. After a few years, however, I knew everything I needed to know to get my own books published. Click here to see the rest of this answer and read the full interview.

Where do you see the book publishing industry heading? 

I love this question because most people find my take on this topic refreshing. Most literary agents and other publishing professionals are always preaching poverty because they have a victim mentality. In other words, they don’t feel empowered or have much hope. Yes, the publishing industry is changing… but it’s evolving (in a good way). Click here to see the rest of this answer and read the full interview.

Check out the full interview by clicking the link above,
then let me know…

– Mark
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