Best Literary Agents – The Top 100 Book Agents of All Time

Photo of best literary agentsBest literary agents – Who are the best book agents and how can you submit your book(s) to them? This article (just updated) lists the Top 100 Literary Agents and it provides access to their contact information so you can query them. Scroll below now to see our list of literary agents so you can get a top literary agent, publisher, and book deal.

But first…

Best Literary Agents – Who Are They?

The best literary agents and literary agencies aren’t easy to identify. That’s because there are many skills that make a top literary agent: a good education, experience in the publishing industry, the ability to spot talented authors, book development, publicity, and general people skills. But there’s skill that’s more important than any other for authors who want to get a top publisher and a big book deal.

And that is… sales ability.

It doesn’t matter how good your agent is at anything else if he or she isn’t a good salesperson.

So, who are the best literary agents based on sales?

I’m not talking about the number of book deals that an agent has closed, either. I’m talking about the number of six-figure (and beyond) book deals that an agent has closed. In other words, who are the best literary agents who’ve gotten the biggest advances and promotional budgets for their clients, allowing them to make the biggest difference in the world?

You’ll get different opinions depending on who you ask, but most publishing insiders will agree that the agents listed below in our Top 100 list deserve to be there. That’s because this list of top dealmakers is based purely on performance. These are the 100 Best Literary Agents based on the most reported six-figure or better deals since January 2004 for all book categories (fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books).

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Best Literary Agents – The Top 100

Enter your info to the right for complete profiles, 
including contact information, for all these agents.

Best Literary Agents (1-10)

  1. Marly Rusoff (Marly Rusoff & Associates)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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  2. Robert Gottlieb (Trident Media Group)
    Top category: Fiction: Thriller
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  3. Kimberly Whalen (Trident Media Group)
    Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
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  4. Russell Galen (Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
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  5. Jenny Bent (The Bent Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
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  6. Scott Miller (Trident Media Group)
    Top category: Non-fiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
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  7. Andrew Stuart (The Stuart Agency)
    Top category: Non-fiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
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  8. Daniel Lazar (Writers House)
    Top category: Children’s: Middle grade
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  9. Larry Weissman (Larry Weissman Literary)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Narrative
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  10. Frank Weimann (The Literary Group)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Memoir
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    Best Literary Agents (11-20)

  11. Stephen Hanselman (LevelFiveMedia)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Business/Investing/Finance
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  12. Deidre Knight (The Knight Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
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  13. Victoria Sanders (Victoria Sanders & Associates)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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  14. Jane Dystel (Dystel & Goderich Literary Management)
    Top category: Fiction: New Adult
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  15. Scott Waxman (Waxman Leavell Literary Agency)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Sports
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  16. Al Zuckerman (Writers House)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Business/Investing/Finance
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  17. Jim Hornfischer (Hornfischer Literary Management)
    Top category: Non-fiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
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  18. Laura Rennert (Andrea Brown Literary Agency)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  19. Christy Fletcher (Fletcher & Company)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Business/Investing/Finance
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  20. Steven Axelrod (The Axelrod Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
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    Best Literary Agents (21-30)
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  21. Celeste Fine (Sterling Lord Literistic)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Diet
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  22. Kristin Nelson (Nelson Literary Agency)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  23. Sarah Davies (Greenhouse Literary Agency)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  24. Stephen Barbara (Foundry Literary + Media)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  25. Janis Donnaud (Janis A. Donnaud & Associates)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Cooking
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  26. Holly McGhee (Pippin Properties)
    Top category: Children’s: Picture book
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  27. Steve Laube (Steve Laube Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: Inspirational
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  28. Tracey Adams (Adams Literary)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  29. Rosemary Stimola (Stimola Literary Studio)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  30. Zoe Pagnamenta (Zoe Pagnamenta Agency)
    Top category: Non-fiction: General/Other
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    Best Literary Agents (31-40)
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  31. Richard Abate (3 Arts Entertainment)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  32. Sara Crowe (Harvey Klinger)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  33. Elizabeth Sheinkman (William Morris Endeavor)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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  34. Rob McQuilkin (Lippincott Massie McQuilkin)
    Top category: Non-fiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
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  35. Dorian Karchmar (William Morris Endeavor)
    Top category: Fiction: Debut
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  36. Kevan Lyon (Marsal Lyon Literary Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
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  37. Helen Breitwieser (Cornerstone Literary)
    Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
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  38. Elyse Cheney (Elyse Cheney Agency)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Narrative
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  39. Bonnie Solow (Solow Literary Enterprises)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Business/Investing/Finance
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  40. Fredrica Friedman (Fredrica S. Friedman and Company)
    Top category: Non-fiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
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    Best Literary Agents (41-50)
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  41. Liza Dawson (Liza Dawson Associates)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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  42. Eileen Cope (Trident Media Group)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Health
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  43. Kim Witherspoon (Inkwell Management)
    Top category: Fiction: Debut
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  44. Joseph Veltre (Gersh Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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  45. Karen Solem (Spencerhill Associates)
    Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
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  46. Nancy Yost (Nancy Yost Literary Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
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  47. David Vigliano (Vigliano Associates)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Pop Culture
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  48. Kathleen Anderson (Anderson Literary Management)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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  49. Danny Baror (Baror International)
    Top category: International rights: Fiction
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  50. Deborah Schneider (Gelfman Schneider/ICM)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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    Best Literary Agents (51-60)
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  51. Gail Ross (Ross Yoon Agency)
    Top category: Non-fiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
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  52. Simon Lipskar (Writers House)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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  53. Dan Conaway (Writers House)
    Top category: Fiction: Thriller
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  54. Josh Adams (Adams Literary)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  55. Alex Glass (Trident Media Group)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Diet
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  56. Ted Malawer (Upstart Crow Literary)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  57. Emily van Beek (Folio Literary Management)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  58. Cathy Hemming (McCormick & Williams Literary Agency)
    Top category: Children’s: Picture book
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  59. Robert Barnett (Williams & Connolly)
    Top category: Non-fiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
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  60. Susan Golomb (Susan Golomb Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: Debut
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    Best Literary Agents (61-70)
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  61. Lucienne Diver (The Knight Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
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  62. Esther Newberg (ICM)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  63. Steven Malk (Writers House)
    Top category: Children’s: Picture book
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  64. Alan Nevins (Renaissance)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Memoir
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  65. Meredith Bernstein (Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
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  66. Danielle Egan-Miller (Browne & Miller Literary Associates)
    Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
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  67. Marc Gerald (The Agency Group)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Memoir
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  68. Curtis Yates (Yates & Yates)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Religion/Spirituality
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  69. Elisabeth Weed (Weed Literary)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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  70. Eric Simonoff (William Morris Endeavor)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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    Best Literary Agents (71-80)
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  71. Jennifer Jackson (Donald Maass Literary Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
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  72. Todd Shuster (Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Business/Investing/Finance
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  73. Caitlin Blasdell (Liza Dawson Associates)
    Top category: Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
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  74. Matt Bialer (Sanford J. Greenburger Associates)
    Top category: Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
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  75. Sealy Yates (Yates & Yates)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Religion/Spirituality
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  76. Amy Rennert (Amy Rennert Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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  77. Rafe Sagalyn (ICM/Sagalyn)
    Top category: Non-fiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
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  78. Meg Ruley (Jane Rotrosen Agency)
    Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
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  79. Lisa Bankoff (ICM)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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  80. David Kuhn (Kuhn Projects)
    Top category: Non-fiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
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    Best Literary Agents (81-90)
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  81. Bill Clegg (William Morris Endeavor)
    Top category: Fiction: Debut
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  82. Lisa DiMona (Writers House)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Business/Investing/Finance
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  83. Melissa Flashman (Trident Media Group)
    Top category: Non-fiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
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  84. Michelle Tessler (Tessler Literary Agency)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Narrative
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  85. Sally Wofford-Girand (Union Literary)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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  86. Merrilee Heifetz (Writers House)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  87. Suzanne Gluck (William Morris Endeavor)
    Top category: Fiction: General/Other
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  88. Jill Grinberg (Jill Grinberg Literary Management)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  89. Peter McGuigan (Foundry Literary + Media)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Memoir
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  90. Ellen Levine (Trident Media Group)
    Top category: Non-fiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
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    Best Literary Agents (91-100)
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  91. Richard Pine (InkWell Management)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Narrative
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  92. Alison Fargis (Stonesong)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Cooking
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  93. Stephanie Tade (Stephanie Tade Agency)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Health
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  94. Suzie Townsend (New Leaf Literary & Media)
    Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
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  95. Chris Ferebee (Christopher Ferebee)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Religion/Spirituality
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  96. Barry Goldblatt (Barry Goldblatt Literary)
    Top category: Children’s: Middle grade
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  97. Ted Weinstein (Ted Weinstein Literary Management)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Business/Investing/Finance
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  98. Andrea Barzvi (Empire Literary)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Diet
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  99. David McCormick (McCormick & Williams Literary Agency)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Cooking
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  100. Brian DeFiore (DeFiore and Company)
    Top category: Non-fiction: Humor

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Best Literary Agents – Additional Information & Resources

Before you start submitting your work to literary agents, there are two more things you need to know. First, this list of the best literary agents is based on deals that have been “self-reported” by the agents to a website called Publishers Marketplace. That means there are a lot of other book agents making six-figure deals that don’t report them. In other words, there are a lot more great agents (hundreds of them) that didn’t make this list.

Click here now to learn about our FREE Literary Agent Directory
and get instant access to more than 1,100 agent profiles.

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Enter your first name and email address now for FREE instant access to the Directory of Literary Agents™, created and maintained by a former literary agent. When you enter the directory you’ll also get free access to our article and audio library with additional information to help you get a top literary agent, publisher, and book deal. You can unsubscribe easily at any time - we do not spam.
Author Success Story: Nonfiction/Narrative Nonfiction  
Author Picture

"Berkley Books recently published my book in hardcover after Mark helped me get multiple agents interested in my work. I was able to speak with literary agents from top agencies such as Janklow & Nesbit, Trident Media, Anderson Lit, and Folio. I signed with Don Fehr at Trident Media and a short time later I had a publishing contract! Having Mark on your side is incredibly valuable." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Daniel Cohen (Single Handed, Penguin Random House/Berkley Books)   
Author Success Story: Eleven Fiction and Nonfiction Titles  
Author Picture

"Finding Mark has been both a treat and a treasure. I now have two different agents for my work, and a book deal with Sky Horse Publishing. I’ve served as Creative Director of the TIME Incorporated Magazine Group; Director of Time World News Service, a Founding Director of TIME-Life Films; Executive Producer for both the CBS and NBC Television Networks; and Producer/ Director: Movies of the Week: CBS Cinema Center Films and Universal MCA. You just can’t do it alone today as an author." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Nathaniel Lande (11 books with Harper Collins, National Geographic, etc.)   
Author Success Story: Nonfiction/Business  
Author Picture

"Not long after Mark helped me land a top literary agent, I got a call from my agent letting me know that I had three different publishing offers from well-known publishers: Amacom, Palgrave Macmillan, and McGraw-Hill who recently published my book in hardcover! It was a fantastic feeling and a huge smile came over my face. For a moment I felt like life was perfect and the angels were singing." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

David Hamme (Customer Focused Process Innovation, McGraw Hill)   
Author Success Story: Fiction  
Author Picture

"Before I revised my query letter with Mark, I got no responses. When I sent out my new query, I got four requests for more material within 24 hours The support Mark provides is fantastic. His suggestions changed my original query significantly, but they also helped me see that I had something to offer. Now I have a top agent! Mark is smart and reliable and working with him has made all the difference." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Dayna Dunbar (The Wings That Fly Us Home, Ballantine)   
Author Success Story: Memoir  
Author Picture

"I got the number one agent on my wish list thanks to Mark. He’s done more than 100 deals in just two year and has a long list of accolades, including being talked about in the New York Times. Within 4 minutes of sending out my revised query letter, my literary agent called me on the phone. Less than 30 days later I had three major publishers making offers. And, a few days after that, I signed a deal with Random House. Mark’s query letter did that." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Lakshmi Subramani (Lights Out, Random House)   
Author Success Story: Memoir/Christian  
Author Picture

"Before I decided to work with Mark, I submitted my book to literary agents but didn’t get any interest. After I revised my query letter and book proposal, I got several agencies interested and decided to sign with Fine Print Lit, a top literary agency in New York. They got publishers bidding against each other and I ended up signing a contract with Thomas Nelson (an imprint of Harper Collins) for what I’ve been told by several people is a very large advance. What cloud is higher than 9?" [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Scott LeRette (The Unbreakable Boy, Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson)   
Author Success Story: Fiction/Young Adult  
Author Picture

"When I got the phone call about my publishing offer with Harcourt, I was in my office with three other people. I slammed down the phone, ran into the secretary’s office, threw myself down on the floor and said, ‘I got a deal!’ They sat there and held my hand. I was speechless. I’ve never ever been that happy in my life. On my wedding day I wasn’t that happy! Getting married and having children are wonderful experiences, but I didn’t ‘work’ to get my children!" [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Carol Plum-Ucci (The Body of Christopher Creed, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)   
Author Success Story: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller  
Author Picture

"Ballantine Books published my first two novels in hardcover and paperback after Mark Malatesta helped create an auction and bidding war for my books, resulting in a six-figure offer. Mark is one of the rare and genuine good guys, but he also has incredible information (even his ideas have ideas). One of the most important keys to success as an author is good information and support." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Jim Brown (24/7 and Black Valley, Random House/Ballantine)   
Author Success Story: Fiction  
Author Picture

"It has been an awfully long and bloody road towards publication but I’m finally on my way. Hard work, struggle, disappointments, and perseverance are important. So is following the advice of publishing industry experts like Mark. He helped me get a top literary agent and now my novel, The Wrong Hand is being published by Penguin Books and their prestigious Michael Joseph imprint, which is ‘principally interested in publishing Top Ten Bestsellers’. It’s hard not to be excited." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Jane Jago (The Wrong Hand, Penguin Books/Michael Joseph)   
Author Success Story: Nonfiction/Self-Help  
Author Picture

"Mark helped me get five different offers for representation from top literary agents. I signed with Stephanie Tade who got me a 6-figure book deal with Penguin Books, which published my book in hardcover! When Stephanie first contacted me, she was very excited and said, ‘I can’t get your book proposal out of my head. It’s brilliant – I mean, really, it’s fantastic. Editors should be salivating by the time they get to the chapter outline.’ Working with Mark was completely worth it." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Amy Jo Goddard (Woman on Fire, Penguin Random House)   

About Mark Malatesta

MARK MALATESTA is a former literary agent turned author coach. Mark now helps authors of all genres (fiction, nonfiction, and children's books) get top literary agents, publishers, and book deals through his company Literary Agent Undercover and The Bestselling Author. Mark's authors have gotten six-figure book deals, been on the NYT bestseller list, and published with houses such as Random House, Scholastic, and Thomas Nelson. Click here to learn more about Former Literary Agent Mark Malatesta and click here for Reviews of Mark Malatesta.

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