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Review of Mark Malatesta by A. Goddard

This Mark Malatesta review and interview were provided by the author of Woman on Fire: 9 Elements to Wake Up Your Erotic Energy, Personal Power, and Sexual Intelligence (Avery Books, a Division of Penguin Random House).

Mark Malatesta helped the author improve her book and pitch materials, which led to multiple representation offers from Best Literary Agents at the Top Literary Agencies on our List of Book Agents, a 6-figure contract offer, and her book being published in hardcover.

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Mark Malatesta Review – Amy Jo Goddard

I’m psyched to have this be official. After getting 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! Tonight I should sleep well!

Head shot of smiling author AJG with cropped blonde hairGetting multiple agents interested in my work was really important to me. I’ve dealt with agents before and gotten screwed on things contractually so I wanted to do it differently this time. I wanted choices. Having Mark Malatesta help me create that, and navigate my options, was really helpful.

I heard other authors talk about their great relationships with their literary agents and it made me want the same thing. I felt like, “Really? You can have that? I want an agent who gets what I’m doing and is really in my corner.” Now I have that.

Red satin background for book cover of WOF by nonfiction author AJGWhen Stephanie first contacted me, she was very excited. She 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.”

My work with Mark Malatesta was super helpful. He got into the nitty-gritty of positioning me in the right way and making my presentation saleable. We added the right details, punched up my promotional platform, and made everything better organized.

As far as the query letter itself, it’s hard for an author to know what to include and what to leave out – what’s most important. Mark added and cut things so it was tighter and flowed better. He knows what queries are supposed to look like, so I trusted his point of view.

AJG Review – Part Two

Our calls were really helpful, too. Having someone in my corner that got what I was doing and answered my questions was important to me. The whole process of getting a literary agent is overwhelming but Mark gave me systematic steps to follow, and he sent me support materials for each phase we were in – everything was useful. That alone was probably worth the investment to work with him.

Opening white flower on black background as book cover design for author AJG for book LSSFMIf I had researched literary agents on my own, it would have taken me five times as long, at least. Weeks. But I was able to go through the personalized agent list Mark Malatesta sent me during a 5-hour plane ride. There were more than 700 agents on the list he sent me that he said might be interested in my book. I was like, “Holy $%*&#@!” But Mark made it easy for me to find what I needed.

Investing in myself to get Mark’s support was completely worth it. I’m a coach so I totally understand the value. It wasn’t just about my book. It was about the bigger picture of the work I’m here to do. It was about me getting on the right path with the right person to develop my entire career and create the right platform.

If I had come across Mark’s website on my own I would have been like, “Who is this guy?” His old website felt “in your face” and uber masculine, but Mark isn’t like that. He’s laid back and even-keeled, smart and easy going, and he doesn’t take things too seriously. I also trusted him because he was referred to me by Robin Collucci, and I respect her opinion.

If I hadn’t worked with Mark Malatesta, I might have gotten a literary agent anyway, but it wouldn’t have been my dream literary agent. To me, it was completely worth it to have someone like Mark share all his insider knowledge and experience.

A M Y . J O . G O D D A R D is the author of Woman on Fire and Lesbian Sex Secrets for Men (both published by Penguin Random House)

Amy Jo Goddard Interview with Former Literary Agent Mark Malatesta (Audio and Text)

During this 76-minute interview with Mark Malatesta, author Amy Jo Goddard talks about how she got a 6-figure contract offer for her book, Woman on Fire (Avery Books, a Division of Penguin Random House), now available in hardcover. Amy Jo shares her suggestions for authors of all book genres regarding the best way to write, publish, and promote their books. She also talks more about her experience working with Mark.

A M Y . J O . G O D D A R D

by LiteraryAgencies.com

Mark Malatesta: Amy Jo Goddard is the author of Woman on Fire: 9 Elements to Wake Up Your Erotic Energy, Personal Power, and Sexual Intelligence (Avery Books, a division of Penguin Books).

Amy Jo has a master’s degree in Human Sexuality Education from New York University. She’s helped tens of thousands of people through her talks, books, and coaching services. As the world’s premier sexual empowerment coach, Amy Jo sees private clients all over the world by Skype/phone in order to help them have more pleasure, better sex, deeper intimacy, and greater financial success.

Prior to becoming a coach, Amy Jo taught in academia for 15 years at the University of California and the City University of New York. Amy Jo is also the former host of a sexuality program for women on the first women’s sexuality Internet channel (Cherrybomb) and she is a documentary filmmaker. Amy Jo was chosen as one of GO! Magazine’s “100 Women We Love 2010.” You can learn more about Amy Jo at AmyJoGoddard.com.

AJG: Thank you so much. I’m really excited to have this conversation Mark. You’ve been here through the process.

Mark Malatesta: It’s so fun to see the book appear online, right?

AJG: Yes! You were the one who told me it was already online for pre-order. I didn’t even realize it. I love it! Yes I’m excited.

Mark Malatesta: Yes. So let’s get right into it. Even though I introduce people and sometimes say a little about the book, and your title and subtitle kind of say it all, I always love to hear and I know my listeners enjoy hearing, a little bit what the book is about from the author’s point of view. Is there anything you want to add?

AJG: Yes. I mean this book has been in the works for years because the subject matter came organically out of the work I do with women. It wasn’t something where I sat down…it wasn’t an intellectual exercise where I sat down and thought how can I talk about sexuality for women and make it catchy?

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: Really it was very organic. It was really more about me taking a look at the work I was doing and knowing I needed to publish a book about sexual empowerment and my model of sexual empowerment. It was really gleaning from the work that needed to be. So that’s how it came into being and my process.

Of course, it evolved as I was writing it and trying to figure out what worked and how it flowed and what was going to make most sense for a reader who isn’t in a live program with me. I would just say it very much came out of my work, and there are some awesome, awesome client stories in the book. All of my clients got to review and improve what I ended up putting in and it was really important to me to honor their voices and it was really a privilege to share their voices and use their own accounts more than me describing who they were. I think that also brings the book alive in a really great way.

Mark Malatesta: I wasn’t planning on asking you this but now that I’m thinking about it, I absolutely have to because the timing for you with this book is brilliant because of 50 Shades of Grey. Do you have any thoughts about that whole phenomenon and how it ties into your work? Is there any connection there whatsoever? Or is it just a trend and your book is going to piggyback on and benefit from?

AJG: Yes, it’s so funny asking me about that because this week we just released my take on 50 Shades of Grey. We called it 50 Shades of Pseudo Kink and so if you want to check out that video it’s on my Sexual Empowerment channel on YouTube and on my website. In the sexuality field, 50 Shades is sort of like everyone’s favorite thing to bitch about. I think the important piece about 50 Shades really, at the end of the day, is you can have whatever opinion you have about the story and writing, and all that and people have lots of opinions about it.

PART 2 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: But really at the end of the day, I really appreciate that…why it was this book I don’t know. There is so much other good smut out there that could have become the bestselling thing but for whatever reason it was this book. I think what it’s done is it’s really elevated the public conversation about women’s desire and about having desires outside of the box and playing with power and just women’s sexuality in general. I think, in the work I do with women, one of the biggest struggles I see in women a lot is they don’t know what to even ask for because they don’t know what they want as sexual beings.

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: We live in a culture where we follow the sexuality of men, particularly if women partner with men because men are socialized to lead sexually and to initiate. Then we all learn of very old traditional and I think very linear in what someone would call a male model of sexuality. Women often really aren’t even connected to what they could want. So I think that 50 Shades</em opened the door for people to just want something that’s out of the box and different and to talk about it more. I think that’s a good thing regardless of the quality of the book. I definitely have my opinions about it and you can see that in the video.

Mark Malatesta: I have to watch that too now.

AJG: Yes, and I’m providing a kinky guide to people so if they want to read great books about kink and learn about it or just to read kinky smut then I’ve got those on my kinky guide because I want people to read good smut if they’re going to read smut.

Mark Malatesta: Yes.

AJG: But I have to give 50 Shades credit for that. Why it was this book? I don’t know but it was.

Mark Malatesta: My armchair quarterback philosophy on it is part of it is the eBook timing where it was bound to happen. A lot of this stuff gets more commercial and more people reading it because you can read it privately and there’s no embarrassing book cover to walk around with with eBooks. But they did a smart cover too. I don’t know what the original one was but it was somewhat discreet.

AJG: Yes, I think that was a part of it. In that sense, I think everyone in the sexuality field, myself included, benefited. All of my friends who own feminist sex toy shops their sales are up hundreds and hundreds of percent and they’re doing really well. I think that’s great for them.

Mark Malatesta: Yes!

AJG: People are putting more energy, money, and time into developing their sexuality. That’s what I do on the plane.

Mark Malatesta: Right and that’s the common thread and the good thing about all of it whether someone likes 50 Shades or not it gets people questioning what sexuality is, what it could be, seeing options and at the end of the day, whatever you want being more fulfilled and having more pleasure, whatever it is for you.

AJG: Yes exactly. If we scale it back and get underneath, like what would Anastasia actually need in order to be ready for a Christian Grey? Well, maybe she would come and do my program in the real world. I don’t know.

Mark Malatesta: There you go. So, let’s jump to and most people probably do this later on in a call like this but I like starting here once we’ve introduced you and the book. I actually want to start at the end with you getting the great news from, not from me, but from your literary agent that you had a great book deal. I’ll leave it up to you if you want to share the details of the book deal because it’s impressive. I’d love for you to share it, but no pressure. Tell the story about how you got the news, how it felt, what did you do to celebrate? What does it mean to you? This is really the golden carrot for everyone listening…they want to be in your shoes.

AJG: Yes I have a book that I published in 2,000 with a co-author called Lesbian Sex Secrets For Men. That book sold very well and I never thought it would be 15 years before I’d be publishing my next book.

PART 3 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: But here we are and I had a lot of difficult experiences with that and so I wanted to approach it really differently. I think, for me, we can talk about some of the details of how I approached it if people want to hear about that. It really was very calculated how I wanted this to go and who I wanted to work with. I wasn’t just going to work with anyone because I had a lot of really difficult experiences my first time out and learned a lot. I was young, like 29, and knew nothing about publishing and suddenly was in this book deal and…

Mark Malatesta: To fill in for everyone, you had a powerful literary agent.

AJG: I did.

Mark Malatesta: And you had a major publisher for the first book and so you had been down that road. That’s what we’re talking about.

AJG: Yes! Penguin published my first book on the Plume imprint, it was a trade paperback and I had a literary agent who was a Vice President at William Morris and I had that because of my co-author. He already was working with him and so I really walked into a golden situation that first time out. But I knew that wasn’t right for me a second time. I wanted, as the older and wiser Amy Jo, to approach it differently. I really wanted the right people in my court.

Yes I was in New York and I don’t know if you want me to talk about some of the details of getting to the book deal. I know you want to hear how it felt to get it, but it was a little circuitous because I didn’t take the initial offer Penguin made to me, which was a really generous 6-figure offer and more money than anyone has ever paid me to do anything. So that’s what I wanted and I also wanted the right editor and the right team. I wasn’t going to compromise that and the experience I was going to have as an author for the money. I know you thought I was a little crazy for not taking that…

Mark Malatesta: I wasn’t sure but yes. I was so afraid for you. I was like oh my gosh she’s saying no to something and the risk that comes with that is if that’s the only thing that comes along and you just turned it down I was like…oh, boy.

AJG: Yes.

Mark Malatesta: Because like you said, it was a super generous offer. I was terrified for you and was like…I don’t know where you get it. You’re braver than I am.

AJG: Thank you. Yes, I just knew it had to be right and my first meeting with the team over at Penguin wasn’t great. It was by phone and I just wasn’t connecting as much as I wanted to with the editor and I wasn’t sure she was right for me. She got the book, she completely got it and so that part was big. But I said “I don’t want to take this because it’s the first offer on the table and they did have an option on the book because they had done my first book.”

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: They showed up big. They showed up with a really, really respectable offer but I told my literary agent that I really…because of the experience I had when I was younger…I needed to play the field. I work with people’s sexuality and dating and relationships and it’s like I don’t want to take the first lover that comes along because they’re cute.

Mark Malatesta: Right!

PART 4 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

AJG: So, I really needed to take that time to see what else was out there, what the possibilities were, and maybe she was going to be perfect but I didn’t know that yet. So, they said as they do in the publishing field, “If you don’t take the offer, the offer is off the table.” I said, “Alright, it’s a risk I’m willing to take. You’re not going to bully me.”

I think my literary agent took pause with that a little bit, too, because she knew this editor and felt like she’d be a good fit for me and liked her. Then we had interest from two of my other top choices in terms of publishing houses. Big houses, and I had a great meeting with another editor who also got the book and we connected. I felt like, oh my god, all the stars are lining up and it’s everything I want and they’re based in California, which is where I am, which is awesome.

I thought I was going to have a deal there but ultimately she couldn’t convince her boss and her boss was a man and I do think that had something to do with it cause it’s not a book for men. He didn’t get the book and he was holding the purse strings. She kept promising an offer but never made an offer, which held us up for a while.

Then we had an experience with another publishing house that I really respected and whose books I love and they were flaky. They wanted a better title and we had meetings with them about titling and we were still trying to come up with the right title. Then they were very flaky and didn’t follow through.

So, my literary agent and I were finally getting to meet in person and she called me up and said listen, we’re going to be in New York this week. I think we should go back and meet with the editor at Penguin and have you meet her in person. I was like, “Absolutely, I’d love to meet her in person, so set it up.”

I was starting to feel frustrated at that point because I wasn’t getting all those stars to line up. We went in to meet with her and I completely then got who she was. I was a creative writing major and literature major in college and she was a little more like the awkward English teacher. So socially awkward but super brilliant and smart and focused and thoughtful and as soon as I met her in person it all made sense. But it didn’t read well on the phone and then I was like, yes…she still was 100% behind the book and loved the book and wanted the book. That enthusiasm is really important because that’s the person who is going to sell your book.

They are going to sell it to the art department to get them to work for you, they’re going to push the people in their sales department to get the foreign rights, they’re going to be the one really pushing it into the world and she was definitely right. To get to your initial question, the next morning I got a call from my literary agent and she said your editor went to the mat for you with her boss. They are putting the offer back on the table but they’ve taken $20,000 off the offer.

Mark Malatesta: On principle, they had to do something.

AJG: Yes, to show me you don’t get to do that. I had to accept that and knew it was the risk I was taking when I didn’t take the initial offer. It is still a 6-figure offer, it’s still a terrific offer, it’s still more money than anyone’s ever paid me to do anything. But yes there was just a little tinge of we just need to let you know and she really wanted her boss to just put the same offer back on the table.

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: She understood why I did what I did as a human being and she understood the negative experience I had the first time around. She wanted to do right by me and build a relationship, which ultimately is what I wanted.
So. I have all that and I just had to suck it up and…really…I said to my literary agent, “I don’t regret it. I don’t regret that I played the field and went out to have these other conversations and I learned from these other conversations. I learned about the perception of the book.” We were really stuck in trying to get the right title which we ultimately got, I think, definitely the right title and that came through a meeting with my literary agent, my editor and myself which is what I wanted. I wanted support of…

PART 5 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta: Collaboration, yes.

AJG: Yes, people who understand me and want to collaborate and want to have the best outcome for all and a real expert in their part of the pie. That’s what I got and I was super excited. It’s just been a terrific process.

Mark Malatesta: Did you do anything to celebrate or were you too exhausted after that long drawn-out negotiation?

AJG: Yes, I was actually going to see Hedwig in New York that night with Neil Patrick Harris when he was playing the lead. We were going to Broadway and I was going with two really good friends and got to have drinks and eat before, and do the Broadway thing, so that was a fun thing to do that night.

Mark Malatesta: Yes, it’s fun and it’s like people are all over the place. Some people have a couple of glasses of champagne and other people go to Vegas, and some people go see a show.

AJG: Yup.

Mark Malatesta: I love that, and I love that you kind of took that path to tell the story because your situation was complex. I mean we’re not talking…let’s touch on this so we don’t forget…what is your version of the literary agent story that we went through? You had probably more literary agents offering to represent you and this is partly by design from anyone else I ever worked with. Do you want to share a little bit about that from your point of view? I think it’s interesting and people should know it’s the same goal you don’t want to marry the first person you date.

AJG: Absolutely. I had one of the best literary agents in the business in terms of just business. There was a part of me that was like, Am I crazy to walk away from this? But I didn’t feel we were connected. He wasn’t someone that I was going to have lunch with and we were going to laugh and…there wasn’t any personal connection. It was all business.

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: He did right by my first book for the most part. He actually left William Morris and started his own thing and so I think our book got a little lost. He does a ton of multiple 7-figure deals with celebrities and stuff like that. So, he’s really focused on other things and I was a small fish in his pond. I didn’t want that. I wanted to work with someone I really connected with and would be a friend and advise me well and care about the bigger picture of my career and not just getting the deal.

I was in conflict about that for a while but it’s why I decided to hire you, Mark. My friend Robin recommended you. Getting on the phone with you and realizing you had, I mean, such a huge well-researched database of literary agents, and you’d be able to really walk me through that process of writing the most kickass proposal…I’m so proud of the proposal I wrote and it sold the book, so it did what it needed to do.

And it helped me get clear on the book and so I think that’s the other thing. The proposal helps you get clear. Going through that process with you and then getting to the point where I had something I felt really confident to send out was huge in terms of me being able to bring in the people I wanted and being able to…I think you sent me 700 or 800 names that could be a fit. I was so overwhelmed at first but it was like, okay, and I do a lot of travel for work and I fly cross country a lot, and I remember being on the plane and going through these literary agents and knocking a bunch of them out.

So, like anyone who focuses on Christian books won’t be right for me. It’s not a hurdle I want to jump even if they’re a really progressive person. It was this process of elimination. I eliminated men for the most part because I knew I wanted a woman to represent me because that’s who I work with and they need to understand the work, which I think showed in that one where the editor who loved the book wasn’t able to make the deal because of that.

I just started narrowing down and narrowing down and I think I narrowed it down to 100. Then it was an intense process of just sending out the query letters and making sure the queries were personal enough. You helped me develop the query letter and I had to personalize it for each person I was sending to and I got a lot of responses. I got a lot of rejections and that’s part of it. You get a lot of rejections.

PART 6 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta: Yes, no matter what.

AJG: And I learned from the rejections. Some of them actually gave me some feedback and so that was helpful. I was like okay and even if I don’t agree with it, this is someone’s perception and I have to be willing to take that in. So that whole process was so helpful but I…

Mark Malatesta: Do you remember how many people asked for more material? Then how many people actually made offers? I think it was at least 5 or 6 literary agents that you actually got on the phone who were serious. It had to be a lot more who were initially interested.

AJG: Yes, and I think I sent out around 40 queries and at least half said no thank you. But I got quite a few who asked for more material, so I’d say at least 15 or 20 asked for more material, so then there was the process of sending them sample chapters, etc. and following up.

Mark Malatesta: Yes and that’s totally abnormal. I don’t want people listening to think they’re going to get that response rate, even if they work with me ,because you’re an anomaly.

AJG: Yes. I already had a platform and already had a book that had been successful and that’s important to say.

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: I think that would be hard for somebody who was a first-time author and hadn’t developed a platform. I own a business, so I’ve been developing my platform for a long time. That’s really important and they look for that in [nonfiction] authors. They want to see you’ve got more than this book that’s in you. Yes I think for people listening you’ve got to be looking at the big picture in where the book fits in terms of what’s the tribe you’re growing in the world and what is the work you’re doing and what’s the platform you’ve got? But yes, I’d say probably maybe not 20 but 15 asked for more material and then a lot of people said no.

Mark Malatesta: How would you describe that? Especially for you, I want to hit this, because I wasn’t thinking ahead of time about asking you this. It’s such a powerful lesson for everyone listening to shift the way they think about literary agents and it’s not about getting one. It’s about getting the opportunity to talk to more than one, if possible, and describe what that feels like. You got to interview five or six literary agents who wanted to represent you and you were totally in the power position. What was that like?

AJG: That felt exciting. Of course, we all want to be wanted right?

Mark Malatesta: Right!

AJG: We want to be desired. This is the work I do in the world; I work with people who want to be desired. We want that. Yes, my first offer was from a more junior literary agent and I didn’t think she had the chops I wanted, but it was great to get an offer and have someone be really excited about me.

Mark Malatesta: And create leverage with it.

AJG: And to create leverage and begin to say…so then I was able to write to the people that I was most interested in because I had my top list. The literary agent I ended up getting was on my top list. You had me rank them all and I had my top literary agents that I really wanted. Then I also reached out to my former literary agent and said it’s worth having a conversation with him. I didn’t want to discount him, and I don’t know if he’d even be interested in representing my next book. But let me at least have respect for him and reach out to him even though we hadn’t been in touch in a long time.

I also thought maybe he might have a literary agent on his team that might be a better fit for me. That was also part of why I reached out to him. He is the CEO of a major literary agency now. He, to my surprise, was very interested in representing me and immediately got back to me. Then I was thrown into like…oh my god what do I do?

He was interested and then I got offers from three other literary agents on my top #1 list. They were all really great literary agents with great track records and people I was thrilled wanted to represent me. I interviewed them and they interviewed me. We had conversations and I had a conversation with my previous literary agent, and I was really torn. It was really hard for me to decide. I had to go back to why did I start this process in the first place the way I did?

PART 7 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: I set out to really find the right literary agent, to find the right representation, someone I’m going to build a relationship with that’s going to help carry me and my career to where it is now and where it’s going now, which is very different from where I was fifteen years ago.

Mark Malatesta: And we had conversations every step of the way and you probably thought you were paying me to tell you who to go with and you found out quickly I wasn’t going to do that.

AJG: No, I think you were really good at asking me good questions and helping me parse through what was really important to me. I wanted an advisor like you to help me through that process so I didn’t make some of the same mistakes I did the first time. I’m so grateful I got to have the experience I got to have the first time and I learned a lot. I really wanted someone I was going to connect with in a different way. I had a great conversation with this literary agent who I ended up going with, a wonderful literary agent. She completely got the book and she would be the audience. It’s like my literary agent, my editor, and my team. It’s like they’re the audience for the book.

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: So, there is a whole different connection. We laughed on the phone and it was very vibrant and clear that she was…

Mark Malatesta: Do you want to say who she is and give her a shout out?

AJG: Yes Stephanie Tade, and she also used to be an editor and she worked for a couple of pretty large imprints and some of the big publishing houses. She’s also been on the editorial side, which is great because she not only understands editorial but she’s got great connections with editors because she was in that world.

Mark Malatesta: And she’s done 7-figure deals, too.

AJG: Oh, yes.

Mark Malatesta: You’re getting boutique feeling of someone who really gets you and spends the time, but you’re also getting the power.

AJG: Absolutely. Yes and she’s absolutely in my corner and we enjoy and appreciate each other. I really did get exactly what I set out to get in terms of the relationship with my literary agent and with my editor. It feels like the most amazing collaboration and everyone is behind the book and excited about it. I think it’s going to do really good things for the book to have that kind of energy behind it.

Mark Malatesta: So, some second marriages are better than the first.

AJG: Yes.

Mark Malatesta: Okay, so, although it’s been indirect, we’ve had some great teaching points for everybody already through your success story…[showing] how [writers] need to think bigger and look at the whole experience of going after literary agents and publishers and negotiations. Let’s get into the more direct advice part and these next couple we can go through quickly for sake of time. Is there anything you feel that would be beneficial for you to share about how you got the idea for your book? Or the writing you did before you wrote your book or even the different things you’ve done to educate yourself as an author. What do you think people need to think about in those areas that might be helpful for them?

AJG: I think everyone needs guidance around writing. Writing is so vulnerable and it’s like we’re in our own little heads with our writing. I certainly get to the point as a writer where I’m like, I don’t know if it’s good anymore. I can’t tell you. We all need that.

Mark Malatesta: Feedback.

PART 8 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

AJG: Feedback, of course. Yes I did my undergrad at UC Santa Barbara at the College of Creative Studies and I studied creative writing and literature there and I had amazing writing mentors. My main writing mentor from that time in my life is still in my life and she’s incredible. She actually offered to be a reader for my book. So, I’ve had a lot of readers for my book and I chose people who would give me different perspectives and be critical. Then there were some readers who weren’t as critical as I needed them to be. I was like okay, this isn’t useful. I really focused on the readers who were able to dig in and be critical.

One of my readers was a former client and she had also been in the publishing industry for a while. She as the most perfect reader and I was absolutely thrilled to have her as a reader. She was the most critical reader and she understood my work. She worked with me for over a year and absolutely understood the work, the content, and what I was trying to convey and who I am. And she had that publishing ability and so that was absolutely gold. I think you have to have readers, you have to have people in your corner who can give you perspective you’re not going to see and particularly for nonfiction where you’re putting ideas out into the world and you want to make sure the ideas land where you want them to land.

Mark Malatesta: Especially for someone who hasn’t coached and tested everything and I want to make sure everyone gets this. It’s like this book is based on a coaching practice and so it’s real world and not untested or just in your imagination and yet you’re still getting feedback every step along the way to make it as clear and powerful as possible.

AJG: Yes, absolutely, and I was able to send chapters to my editor as I went, which I didn’t get to do the first time. She was giving me feedback and so I was making sure we were on the same page. And I definitely had a dark night of the soul at one point. She hated one of the most important chapters in the book. Her comments were exacerbated by the end and she said something that really pinched.

So I had my big cry. I called my writer friend who recently published a book and said, “Okay, talk me down off the ledge. What do I do here? I’ve been working so hard to get this chapter right and she hates it.” Ultimately, I had to throw it out and he helped me make a plan for re-outlining the chapter, asking myself new questions and starting from scratch. I ultimately had to start from scratch on that one.

But that was so important for my relationship with her and me to actually trust she was going to tell me the truth because ultimately she was right. I was like, “Yes, this chapter isn’t working.” I couldn’t figure out why and it was because it just wasn’t going to work. I had to throw it out and she loved what I wrote after that. So, having that feedback process with my editor and also my other readers throughout was so helpful.

Mark Malatesta: You’re talking about your freelance editor right? I want to make sure we get that…

AJG: No.

Mark Malatesta: No?

AJG: No, I’m talking about my editor at the publishing house and that doesn’t always happen.

Mark Malatesta: Oh, so you’re talking about the first book then?

AJG: No, I’m talking about this book, my current editor.

Mark Malatesta: Oh, okay.

AJG: Yes, I asked her, “Can I send you chapters as I go to show we’re on track?”

Mark Malatesta: Oh, wow. Yes, that’s unusual. That’s great you got that to happen.

AJG: Yes, because she was in a smaller press…Penguin has actually gone through some changes of late and so she’s been promoted to Avery and she was at the Hudson Street Press and the decided to shut that one down. So, she was only doing fifteen books a year and able to give me that attention, but not every editor is going to be able to do that.

That was the other thing I wanted…it’s like getting the smaller press, the boutique attention within the big engine of a large publishing [company]. That was, to me, the best of both worlds and what I wanted. Yes I was able to have that dialogue with her throughout. So, by the time I sent in the manuscript nothing was a surprise or most of it. She had seen most of it like maybe two thirds of the book. It was a really great process and very much what I wanted it to be. It allowed me to really make it a better book having that experience with her.

PART 9 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta: Did you work with anyone like freelance editors or anything like that on the second book before you got to the publishing house?

AJG: I actually hired a freelance editor to help me with the second book and I did a little bit with her. Then I realized I didn’t need her because of the relationship I had with my editor at Penguin.

Mark Malatesta: Okay, got it.

AJG:Which was not what I had the first time. the first time around we were like the stepchild of Plume and went through three editors in our writing process. We felt like we got passed around…

Mark Malatesta: Turnover.

AJG: Turnover, well, the first one was totally wrong for us and she fought us every step of the way. We lost so many battles with her and it was awful. Then they gave us a younger editor and were like maybe she’s a little more hip and young, but she was like a junior editor and didn’t know what she was doing. Then, finally, they gave us an editor but we were already to galleys by that point.

Mark Malatesta: Too late, yes.

AJG: I had such a horrible experience and so that’s part of why I approached this so differently, really determined to have a different experience. I think it will make for a good book and I’m proud of the book. I also went to a memoir writing retreat. I wasn’t writing a memoir but I was writing a lot of personal stories in my book. I saw that Rebecca Walker was doing a memoir retreat this summer in Hawaii and I was like, This is perfect. I’m going to use some of my advance money to go do that. It’s absolutely the right place for me.

Mark Malatesta: Very nice.

AJG: She was terrific. She helped me so much with structure around some of the bigger questions in the book that I was struggling with. I wrote some great pieces at that retreat that ended up in the book. That ended up being terrific and I so recommend her retreat.

Mark Malatesta: That’s great. Do you have one or two other nuggets of advice for people in the process of writing a book? Preferably advice that will work for people in any genre. I mean, you already shared a few things but anything else that might be valuable.

AJG: For me I had to get away and I actually wrote the first draft of the book in January 2012. Then I sat on it for two years. That’s why I hired you. I was like, Okay I need someone to help me make this happen because I feel so overwhelmed by it and I’m just sitting on the book. If I don’t pause and take the time to really focus on this and get support it’s not going to happen on its own.

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: Then you came into my life and it was perfect. It was exactly the kind of guidance I needed. I’m very self-directed and I will do the work but having that kind of guidance and resources you have was invaluable in that process. I had been sitting on it, but I think my advice is sometimes you have to remove yourself. I kept thinking, I’m going to make time to write, I’m going to make time to write this book.

I knew I wanted to write it, and I generally knew what the book was going to be. It evolved over time but I already had the nine-element structure in place, and I was like, I need to go away to write. I’ve got this time in between semesters. I was still in academia at the time. Where do I want to go? Well, I’m writing a book about sexuality so it needs to be somewhere sexy. Do I want sexy country or sexy city?

PART 10 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta: I love that!

AJG: I decided it needed to be sexy city because I’m writing about people and wanted to be around people. Ultimately I wound up in Paris for three weeks, and someone gave me their apartment. My housemate in New York, his mother was visiting from Paris and was like, “I’m not there so stay in my apartment.” So, the stars lined up for me to go do that.

Having that focus each day where I could go and focus on a clear piece of the book, I wrote a half chapter to a chapter a day. I still write by hand. I write my first draft by hand and so I’d just decide I was going to explore a neighborhood and go sit in a café and drink coffee and write all morning and go have adventures in the afternoon. I did that for three weeks and came home with a rough draft of the book.

But I think you have to put time in, and so whether that means removing yourself so you can make the space that it needs…I knew that even if I was off being home in New York wasn’t going to happen. I had to get out of the distraction. Actually, I don’t speak a lick of French so it was perfect.

Mark Malatesta: That was even easier.

AJG: Yes, because I didn’t understand anything going on around me and I could immerse myself with the page and be in the process I was in. but I think you have to give yourself that space and you have to get the right support in place. I think I’ve done that throughout the process. I have a team of people who work with me and they’ve been amazing. You became part of my support team and then my literary agent came online and then the editor and every step of the way I really focused on the importance of bringing on the right people who are really going to resonate with me and believe in me and be behind me.

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: And want to hold up the work and that’s made everything so much fun. You have to have fun doing it. It can’t all be tormented like the writer stereotype. I think we have to make it fun and I think, Don’t compromise on the things that are most important to you. I coach people all the time and I watch around their sexual relationship lives and I watch the way they compromise themselves. They get into relationships or stay in relationships that they absolutely shouldn’t be in because it’s not singing to their soul and not making them a better person.

Mark Malatesta: You’re such a good example because you are an entrepreneur and you think team. While really successful entrepreneurs like you and me…we understand that there is only so far you get if you’re one person in business. If you’re going to scale and really be happy and delegate stuff you don’t like. Do what you’re best at and make more money and help more people, you have to build team. It’s such a misconception and authors don’t realize that writing is a team sport or activity as well but you’re illustrating that perfectly.

AJG: Yes it’s so true. So, what’s the experience you actually want to have around writing? Not just focusing on the end product. What’s the experience you want to have? I’ve learned so much from this process and had so much fun doing it. We’re creating a tribe around it and it’s going to continue to grow and that will propel the book into the world more.

Mark Malatesta: Let’s jump to publishing a book and really there are only two choices: going traditional or self-publishing. You can answer this speaking to one of the books or both of them, whatever is best for you. Why did you decide to go traditional? What advice do you have for people who are on the fence thinking about that right now?

AJG: Yes that was part of what I was doing in those two years. I was deciding do I want to have a professional publishing experience again or do I want to self-publish? I was asking a lot of people and talking to a lot of people about that. Ultimately, I had to look at what was most important to me. You’re going to sell way more books with a larger publisher.

If you can get a large publishing house behind you you’re going to sell more books. They have distribution networks you’re not going to have. There is also a credibility factor and so ultimately that’s what became important to me is that I really want this book to get out into the world. I have a pretty sizable list and tribe, but at the end of the day if you’re selling your own books you’re only going to sell as many books as you have reach.

PART 11 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: So, however many people are on your mailing list, if you don’t have a mailing list you’re really not going to sell books.

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: You’re not going to sell to everyone on your list. You’re going to sell to a fraction of those people, and your social media reach and all that stuff. So, people are way oversaturated I think even with the self-publishing and things that people have to offer. For me, that really became key. This book is really the platform to do more of the work that I want to do and bring more women into the tribe of the bigger work. For me that’s what I needed to do.

Mark Malatesta: Especially for you, it’s a good answer because again there is no right or wrong with whether someone should go traditional or self-publish, but 99% of the time you have a better chance of selling more books and making a bigger difference with your work with the traditional publisher.

AJG: Yes, and that’s when you came into play because then it was like, Oh my god, I’ve got to deal with this world again. I have to figure out the literary agent thing and I don’t even know where to start. It felt daunting. Then starting to work with you and having the process be really organized, like I love how you fed me one piece at a time. Okay, here’s our next step, here is the thing you’re going to do now that works for me. I am definitely a process-oriented person and that really helped to have those steps in the process.

Mark Malatesta: Your book is nine steps right?

AJG: Yes exactly!

Mark Malatesta: You get it.

AJG: Yes.

Mark Malatesta: It’s a survival skill for me. I couldn’t get through life if I didn’t organize everything as much as possible cause there is so much you don’t have control over that you can’t organize. So, you might as well systematize the rest.

AJG: And you have to, yes, in order to…I mean this felt so daunting and overwhelming. I had those moments where I was like, But I just want to get to querying people.

Mark Malatesta: When are we doing the queries?

AJG: Yes, but you were like, “No, no, no. Your proposal has to be ready and done.” I didn’t really get how important that was in the process because that’s what was selling me. It was the yes or no and I couldn’t send a query without having a proposal that was ready. It wasn’t like [you can tell literary agents], “Okay I’ll get you that in two weeks.” You have to be ready and it was really great to have that organized process and really take the time we took to make that proposal what it was so we could really sell the book.

Mark Malatesta: Let’s talk marketing for a second and this is wide open so if you want to layer anything in here about what the publisher is doing now to help you gear up for when the book comes out or anything like that…what’s some of the best advice you have for authors listening about the best way to market a book? And this can be tips for them, things they might be doing now while they’re writing their book or right before the book is going to be published or even after a book has come out. All that is fair game and so whatever is valuable from your perspective because you’ve been to this rodeo more than once already.

AJG: Yes, and I didn’t know what the heck I was doing the first time. I mean number one is you have to be building your tribe. You have got to be building your mailing list. Your mailing list is gold. If you don’t have a mailing list you don’t have people to market to. You can do some on social media but the people who are actually on your mailing list, those of you you’re a part of Mark’s tribe, if you’re listening to this call, you’re somewhere in Mark’s tribe and you’re interested in the things he’s doing.

So, if he has a new offering you’re going to get to see that, right? You’ve got to be building that and that’s something we’ve been doing very strategically and we’re constantly creating new ways to bring new people into our tribe. We’ve got a pretty sizable list at this point and we’re continuing to grow it. Whether you’re doing that through publishing your articles in different venues online where you’re reaching new people or whether you’re doing like launching a podcast or putting video out…if you look at my 50 Shades video, I didn’t just make the video to have fun and make the video. At the end…

PART 12 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta: It’s a keyword and people are looking for that…

AJG: Right, that’s part of it. It’s timely and people are going to find it. But then if they like the video and like what I’ve talked about at the end of the video, then I’m giving them instructions to go download my guide. Then I bring them into my tribe. And they may or may not stay and maybe they just want the kinky guide and then they’ll go away…that’s fine because some of them will.

It’s like always thinking strategically about how you can use the things you’re putting out into the world to invite people to come and get more. That is just like a fundamental of marketing, but I think authors have to get used to the idea that you are a marketer. If you’re not a marketer you’re not going to be successful. And publishing houses want to see that and it’s part of what made me really appealing is they could see I was a businesswoman, I was really developing something and I’ve already got something and it’s growing and so they know that I’m going to sell books for them. So, you’ve got to be willing to sell books and that means getting out there and speaking, getting yourself out there online in whatever venues are right for you and…

Mark Malatesta: That’s the key. It’s different for everyone and you brought up so many different things, but there are literally 50 to 100 ways you can get more exposure and two or three are all you need that really fit your skill set and personality. But figuring those out and doing them, especially for the nonfiction authors it’s more important. You can get away with [little or no platform] as a fiction author. Not even having a website when you get your book deal, but then the second you have that book deal you better be getting a website up and be doing something. If you do it earlier it’s even better.

AJG: Yes.

Mark Malatesta: I have an idea for you, unasked for advice, but I can totally see you working with a private publicist right now to get lots of press like going out with the 50 Shades launch. You’re kind of like the how-to. So, it’s like the media wants to bring you on an interview to talk about this trend or phenomenon but then where does 50 Shades leave off? What do we do with it? And you’re kind of that fill in the gap kind of thing.

AJG: Oh, yes, yes, thank you.

Mark Malatesta: I think they’d gobble that up.

AJG: Yes, I think we’ve done a lot of our own publicity but we’re definitely looking at who do we need to hire to help us. You can’t expect that the publishing house is going to do everything. We did have a meeting with our marketing and promotion team at the publishing house last month and that was because I pushed for it. I said I want to meet the marketing team and get clear on what you all are doing and what you’re not doing so I know what to have my team be working on.

Mark Malatesta: I love that you brought that up too because people don’t have a clue how it works and most of the time you’re not getting that meeting. It’s not happening, but if you get an advance like you did, then you can certainly get that meeting, but they are never suggesting it.

AJG: No.

Mark Malatesta: It will always be you or your literary agent.

AJG: And my book is way behind so many other books that are going to come out before then that they’re focused on. But because of that they had a plan and they came to that meeting with an incredible plan and I was really impressed with their marketing and promotion people. We’ll see how it comes to pass and if they do the things they said they’re going to do. If they do I think the book will certainly be very successful. I do think there is a place, and I remember with my first book, they hired a publicist for the first two months of our launch and that was it. I didn’t know any better at the time that I needed to hire my own publicist after that to keep the momentum going.

PART 13 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: So that’s also something to figure out, how long are you going to have a publicist through your publishing house that’s really focused on your book? Then you’ve got to pick up where they leave off.

Mark Malatesta: Yes, and probably a lot of people were surprised hearing me make that suggestion. Why would you suggest she work with a private publicist? Penguin is going to do all that. Well, you want to complement what they’re doing and you’re going to be doing it longer-term. Whereas with the publisher, they’re used to having a window of right before the book comes out and a little window after it comes out. That’s kind of it.

AJG: Yes.

Mark Malatesta: Then they have the next book and the next book [to promote]. So, the more you can do to push the book during that first six months, and then long-term, you give yourself a chance at a career.

AJG: Yes, exactly. I think that’s part of why they said yes to me because they know I’m serious and committed and I’m going to work harder to sell books for them if I’m getting the things I need. It’s really a two-way street of they want me to work better for them and I want them to work better for me. We’re in conversation about what it’s going to look like.

Mark Malatesta: It’s just a good idea to kind of…I don’t know…it’s like the principle of tithing and you should always calculate, as an author, a certain percentage of your money that you get from a publisher, advance and royalties, you’re going to reinvest into this book, it’s a business and so keep it going and growing.

AJG: Yes exactly.

Mark Malatesta: Let’s talk a little bit about what we did together. You’ve already peppered some of what we talked about with some of the details of our work. But what did we leave out so everyone can get a better sense of what that looks like? I don’t know, you talked a bit about the literary agent list and one thing you left out is it is ranked and so it’s not like 700 random literary agents research them all.

AJG: No, not at all.

Mark Malatesta: The better, more reputable ones, that are most likely to be the best fit are at the top. But talk a little bit for you about let’s say your query letter, the proposal before and after and if you had to describe that in layman’s terms how would you describe the difference to you?

AJG: I mean it was really polished and professional and then there were things that I wouldn’t have even thought to include, angles I would have thought to work that you could see. I think you’ve been on that side of things and know what people look for and respond to and so that was really helpful. And you’d check in with me to make sure we were representing it well and…

Mark Malatesta: Accurately.

AJG: And you would push me and make this visible and beef this thing up. It was a very collaborative process. I came to you with a draft of a proposal and I had done some work because I had done a lot of research and tried to figure it out but ultimately you helped me take that proposal to a whole other level. I had worked on a query letter and you rewrote it and made it so much better. So, I think it gave me so much more confidence of what I was going out with and how to approach it.

Mark Malatesta: There’s nothing like getting 1-on-1 attention to implement something, like all the abstract stuff in books and websites. Even on my website it’s like, yes, I mean, it will help you make something twice as good as now but it’s ten times better 1-on-1. I love your kind of success story and it’s my favorite in one way because it makes everybody humble, including me, [meaning] you probably could have gotten a literary agent without me. You probably could have got a book deal without me. But when the book deal is important, like you said in your testimonial you gave earlier, “It wasn’t just about a book it’s about my career. It’s about my whole mission and my life’s work.” Then you want to do it as good as you possibly can and take it to the next level and we do everything we can when something is that important to us.

PART 14 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

AJG: Yes. I think that’s what it really was for me. I knew I could do that, I could probably get a literary agent, but I wanted support around that process and I wanted to do it right because I didn’t know better when I was younger and there was barely an Internet back then, so it wasn’t like I could listen to podcasts of Mark Malatesta…like I didn’t even have those resources. I just really wanted to do everything right and it was important to me to invest from the beginning so I could actually have the best outcome and truly that’s exactly what’s happened.

I think that is a testament to how I approach the process and how I got support and really did the best I could possibly do. I could have maybe done a good job on my own, but why not make it as best as it can possibly be, and really go out of the gate with a bang?

Mark Malatesta: Honestly that’s often, and I say this all the time to people, that extra thing that you might not necessarily need could be the difference between a deal and no deal, a literary agent or no literary agent or it could be the difference between the $20,000 advance and a publisher not really behind you or a nice 6-figure advance.

AJG: Yes, exactly.

Mark Malatesta: And boy that could then be the difference between a book that sells 10 to 20,000 copies or hundreds of thousands or millions. It’s all those little decisions along the way where we try to take shortcuts…or not.

AJG: Yes, and being able to have you as an advisor through the process was huge. I’m sure people can tell from the interview…I’m a talker. I’m someone who likes to like I work things out by talking them out and being in a conversation collaboration in that way. So, getting to have you as an advisor out in the moments of oh my god what do I do? And also, in those moments where I started getting a lot of rejections, that was super helpful to have you tell me it’s normal and okay.

Mark Malatesta: Yes, they’re idiots.

AJG: Sometimes it’s they’re idiots and sometimes it was, “Okay that’s a good piece of feedback.” But there was one…I remember this one and it burned me and I was like I’m going to prove you wrong. This literary agent wrote to me and said, “Yes you’ve got a few more years before you can have a successful book. You might get a $20,000 advance for this book and when you do I suggest you put all that money into marketing cause you really…”

Mark Malatesta: Work on your platform a little better.

AJG: Yes, that’s basically what she was saying. I was like, Are you kidding me? I know I don’t have the biggest platform in the world but I don’t have a zero platform. So, when I got the high 6-figure advance I really wanted to share that.

Mark Malatesta: Did you email her yet?

AJG: I actually did and I’ll tell you why and it was this week. This is hilarious. I know you told me not to, you’re like, “She’s going to find out.” She probably did. But she actually, she’s got this other business where she’s teaching authors and doing more coaching.

Mark Malatesta: That’s what she was trying to sell you on.

AJG: I think it was! So, the other day I get this email where she put the first name in it, “Amy Jo, did you get a book offer yet?” It was something like, “Tell me about your book offer” or something. I wrote to her and said, “Oh I’d be happy to ,and I remember when you told me I was going to get a $20,000 offer?”

Mark Malatesta: Oh, yes, she set you up!! She set herself up. There you go!

AJG: That was the only reason I sent it…because she sent that email.

PART 15 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta: That’s fair enough.

AJG: I was like okay you’re going to ask me the question I’ll respond. But had I not been working with you, all joking aside, getting those kinds of emails can get you down. It’s hard. I got plenty of rejections and plenty of people who didn’t see the vision or importance of the book. I remember Harvey Klinger responded to me and he was one of the only men I queried. He actually asked for more info and then was like I don’t see anything special about this book. I was like, No!!

Mark Malatesta: We’re running out of time and I work hard at getting people to tell me the truth and create that atmosphere with people and you’re just that kind of person anyway. You told me early on and I don’t remember at what point in the process but it might have been before you started working with me or after but you talked about my old website and how it was uber-masculine and you didn’t like some of my marketing stuff.

I’d heard that before and the first time someone told me that it really annoyed me, but by the time I heard it from you I was like this is the stuff I want to hear. I actually upgraded my website a little later. But talk a little about the skepticism stuff. You’re a great interview and I’m a great interviewer but someone is thinking about maybe doing a coaching call with me and they’re like, I don’t know. What skepticisms did you have and what got you over the hump?

AJG: Yes, I think what got me over the hump is that you were recommended by someone I respected and who knew what I was looking for and knew my business very well. Probably had she not recommended you at that point I probably wouldn’t have taken it that seriously…

Mark Malatesta: Who is this Internet marketer guy?

AJG: It didn’t feel like a match. Knowing you now I feel like the brand wasn’t really…it didn’t really represent who you are. I think that is important. We’ve got to have the brand that really represents who we are and how we’re going to show up with our clients. But then I had the first call with you. Even though I was a little skeptical, I was like, I don’t know but Robin say she’s great so alright he seems like he has something going on. He knows what he’s talking about so let me find out…and I did the initial call with you.

Part of what I was struggling with at the time was my title and so we talked about that and some other things and it was a really helpful call. That was where I realized okay I feel that this is a person who really listens and can really help me get where I want to go in terms of what this process is.

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: So, when you offered the coaching package to help me go from getting the really solid proposal in place, writing the query, giving me the literary agent list, helping me with querying literary agents and going through that whole process it felt like a no-brainer. That was the sticking point where I was stuck…What do I do? Do I work with my old literary agent or get someone new? Do I self-publish? I had to bite the bullet and trust in a process with someone who could really provide the guidance and intelligence in terms of the process I needed. It was like what move to make next.

Mark Malatesta: Right.

AJG: Yes, that’s how that went for me. I am glad you upgraded your brand, Mark.

PART 16 – AJG Interview and Review of Mark Malatesta

Mark Malatesta: You know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and it’s like when you start out on any new venture unless you have hundreds of thousands of dollars to throw at something…like you’re doing a lot of things yourself and I did my web design all by myself initially and yes it is pretty limited but content is king as they say until you can put a pretty face on it. One last question, do you have any final thoughts or any one thing I didn’t ask you about that you think would be valuable for everyone?

AJG: It’s funny that you just said content is king because one of my mentors likes to challenge that and she says actually insight is king, not content because there’s tons of content out there.

Mark Malatesta: Yes, well, insightful content or…

AJG: Yes, it’s like you can provide something insightful and ultimately I think that’s what I got from you.

Mark Malatesta: Got it.

AJG: Yes I think everyone has their own path. I’ve been sharing some of the things that worked for me and the same things aren’t going to work for everybody but it’s really goes back to at the end of the day what is it you really want. And it can’t be just to sell books, but why do you want to sell books? Why do you want to write? Why do you want to put those ideas into the world? Why is important?

I think that’s the thing that gets me out of bed every day. It’s not, Oh maybe I could sell another 500 books today. That’s not what gets me out of bed. What gets me out of bed is the passion I have for the work I do and why I was the one who had to write this book and this book hasn’t been written and it is the message I was put here to deliver to the world in the way only I can do it.

I stay really connected to my own truth and how transformational I know the work is for the people I work with. The book is just another extension of that for me. For me that’s what it is and you have to get clear on what is the real passion or desire that I have in doing this work. It’s a grueling process in some ways and hopefully a fun process and so make it fun, do what you have to do to make it fun cause you have to be in it for the long haul especially if you go the traditional publishing route.

I just turned in my final manuscript, we’re speaking in February 2015 and I turned in my final manuscript a couple of weeks ago. The book is already on Amazon for pre-order which is great and so feel free to check that out, but the book doesn’t come out until September. It’s a real timeline. So, what is the most important thing right now to focus on? The most important thing for the last six or eight months has been writing the best book I could possibly write.

Now that part is done and it’s and it’s about gearing up for the launch and making sure all our ducks are in a row, all the right people are in my corner and that I’m really getting out there and setting myself up well. We’re setting up speaking gigs for the week after my book comes out. I got invited to keynote at a big sexuality conference like two weeks after the book comes out, so it’s brilliant. It is setting up those kinds of things and making sure there’s booksellers at those events so I can sell books as soon as it’s hot off the press.

Mark Malatesta: Thank you so much for a very insightful interview. I know everyone listening is getting a ton out of it so thank you so much for doing this.

AJG: Yes it’s great to get to talk about our process Mark. You’ve been with me since the beginning and not the beginning but the turning point I’d say and it’s been really great to work with you. Yes I hope it’s helpful to your listeners. Thanks for inviting me.

Mark Malatesta: Thank you. Alright everyone, this is Mark Malatesta, founder of The Bestselling Author, with Amy Jo Goddard, author of Woman on Fire: 9 Elements to Wake Up Your Erotic Energy, Personal Power, and Sexual Intelligence (Avery Books, a division of Penguin Books).

This interview and review of Mark Malatesta were provided by Amy Jo Goddard, who worked with former literary agent Mark Malatesta to get offers for representation from top literary agents at the best literary agencies. Their collaboration led to a 6-figure contract offer for Amy Jo’s book, which is now available in hardcover, Woman on Fire (Avery Books, a Division of Penguin Random House).

Mark Malatesta is the creator of the well-known Directory of Literary Agents and this popular How to Get a Literary Agent Guide. He is the host of Ask a Literary Agent, and founder of The Bestselling Author and Literary Agent Undercover. Mark’s articles have appeared in the Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents and the Publishers Weekly Book Publishing Almanac.

Mark has helped hundreds of authors get literary agents. His authors have gotten book deals with traditional publishers such as Random House, Harper Collins, and Thomas Nelson. They’ve been on the New York Times bestseller list; had their books optioned for TV, stage, and feature film; won countless awards; and had their work licensed in more than 40 countries.

Writers of all Book Genres (fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books) have used Mark’s Literary Agent Advice coaching/consulting to get the Best Literary Agents at the Top Literary Agencies on his List of Literary Agents.

Click here to learn more about Mark Malatesta.

Other Mark Malatesta Reviews – Creator of the Directory of Literary Agents

Here you can see Mark Malatesta reviews from more authors he has worked with. You can also see reviews of Mark Malatesta from publishing industry professionals he’s met and worked with over the years. These reviews of former literary Mark Malatesta include his time as an author coach and consultant, literary agent, and Marketing & Licensing Manager for the well-known book/gift publisher Blue Mountain Arts.

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"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]


About Mark Malatesta

Photo of Mark Malatesta - Former Literary Agent 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 Mark Malatesta and click here for Reviews of Mark Malatesta.
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