During this interview and Mark Malatesta review, author Mardell Hill talks about her book, tips for writers, and experience working with former literary agent Mark Malatesta, who helped Mardell get multiple offers of representation from literary agents. Mardell is the author of Intestinal Health: A Practical Guide to Complete Abdominal Comfort, published in hardcover by Rowman & Littlefield.
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Mark Malatesta Review by Mardell Hill
“Two well-known literary agents asked to represent me, and THREE publishers wanted my book. The publisher I chose is perfect for me because they produce titles for the trade, educational, and scientific markets. And they agreed to publish my book as a hardcover!!! If someone wants to get to the highest level, working with you is worthwhile. If someone is serious about getting out there, in the right way, this is the way to do it. Your support and guidance have been invaluable.”
(Rowman & Littlefield)
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Mardell Hill Interview
During this interview with author coach and consultant Mark Malatesta, Mardell Hill talks about her book, Intestinal Health, published in hardcover by Rowman & Littlefield. Mardell also shares her advice for other authors, and she talks about her time working with Mark, who helped Mardell get multiple offers of representation from literary agents and publishers.
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Part 1 – Mark Malatesta Interview & Review
Mark Malatesta: Mardell Hill is the author of Intestinal Health, published by Rowman & Littlefield, a breakthrough book designed for people affected by digestive issues. Mardell is a Certified Colon Therapist and owner of the Boulder Colonic Center in Colorado. She encourages people to blend alternative and standardized medicine to complement, support, and maximize their health as a whole. Mardell has successfully treated more than 3,000 clients. You can learn more about her at bouldercoloniccenter.com. And you can buy her book everywhere books are sold, including here at Amazon. So welcome, Mardell! I’m thrilled to have you on and promote your book.
Mardell Hill: Thanks Mark. It’s my pleasure to be here, and I owe you a lot for all your help and advice.
Mark Malatesta: Is there anything you want to add or share about your book that you think people need to know, or might want to know?
Mardell Hill: Absolutely! What makes this book special is that it was created by my clients. When I say that, it means their everyday questions and confusion about their health. I answer them in a simple, easy-to-understand way. In fact, when a person struggles with comprehending the answer, I create analogies to make it relatable, and I move the uncomfortableness away from the person so it’s not a personal issue for them. That became the core value of the Intestinal Health book.
Mark Malatesta: I love it. I know you’re probably doing a lot of interviews now to promote your book. Let’s talk about the process of how you got the idea for your book, wrote it, and got published. But let’s start at the end and work backwards. Can you share a little about how you got the news about your book deal, what it felt like, and maybe what you did to celebrate?
Mardell Hill: I was elated. It felt like such an amazing accomplishment and acknowledgement toward my purpose to help people. After tirelessly working to send hundreds of queries over many months, I received two literary agent offers at once. It was exciting and confusing at the same time. Thank goodness I had you to turn to, Mark. You reviewed the offers and helped me decide which was best suited for me and the book. Thanks to you, the best choice was made. I felt validated and my journey to becoming a published author began. I was so excited. It was beyond my wildest imagination that I had made it that far.
Mark Malatesta: You really wanted and needed this more than the average person, and I’m happy you stuck it out. Most people would give up after 50 or 100 queries. As you know, I wrote an article inspired by you and your situation. We talked about it, and I got you to keep sending queries because I know when someone has what it takes. I only work with someone as their coach to get an agent if I believe they have a shot. When did you get the first idea that you might be an author one day?
Mardell Hill: I didn’t seek out becoming an author. What happened was I listened to clients day after day and year after year, asking the same questions and expressing the same confusion about their health issues. After years of finding ways to simplify the answers, it was time to write it all down. It grew and grew, and with the support of my clients, we all became excited about creating answers for themselves, friends and family, and thus the book was born.
Part 2 – Mark Malatesta Review & Interview
Mark Malatesta: I love that. I’m curious because when I saw your draft of the manuscript, it was so clean, well thought out, and organized. I suspect you did quite a bit of writing before that?
Mardell Hill: That’s the chuckle moment, Mark. Over the years I dabbled in writing short stories about events that happened in my life. For example, I went over a cliff in a car when I was 24. I wrote that story to express the details of what led up to it, how it happened, what transpired during or after. My intention when I gathered enough stories was to define who I was as a person prior to that significant event, and how it affected my thoughts and emotions after. In other words, how did that event shape my life and make me a better person? In fact, I haven’t been a writer, it was just my dabbling prior to this major book. It was clean thanks to the people who helped me.
Mark Malatesta: I love hearing those stories. Any time someone doesn’t view themselves as a writer, per se, then gets a book deal with a major publisher, and they’re previously unpublished, they’re an inspiration for people in a similar situation. How did you get the idea for your book? You were saying it was mainly from your work in the center right?
Mardell Hill: There’s more to it. One day I was working with a client and she said, “Mardell, I don’t like having to come and see you every time I have a question. Why don’t you write down the answers for all of us?” It seemed like a no-brainer. So, I started carrying sticky notes and a pen in my pocket as I went from room to room working with clients. Every time a client had a question, I wrote it down with the responses and analogies I used, and then I placed the sticky notes around my computer, which turned into a funny sight. I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture of all those sticky notes lined up and down the walls on my computer.
Mark Malatesta: Let’s talk about your author education, because again, this can be intimidating to people since it’s easy to assume that if you’re getting a book deal with a major publisher, you must have been an English major or have an MFA degree. What is your education background, if any. And what have you done over the years and today to continue educating yourself and become a better writer and promoter?
Mardell Hill: That’s great. It’s been a struggle for me not to be embarrassed by the fact that I don’t have a fancy degree. For me, it was self-education. I struggled with reading early on in my life and was a C-student in language arts. Due to my struggles, I wasn’t successful in college, and quickly moved into a career in the arts. But, by my mid 20s, I found myself at social functions with very educated people.
To avoid being embarrassed, I picked up books on language and word development, and I studied on my own, learning and utilizing these words and concepts in conversations. Then, I listened to talk radio and picked up books with more challenging conversations, looking up the words when I didn’t know the meaning and again practicing utilizing the words where appropriate. Over time, I became more articulate and confident in my writing, even though I had a different learning style. I believe everyone can find their own learning style and support network to achieve their own success. Find out what’s right for you and keep going.
Mark Malatesta: I love that. Anyone who has a book published with a major publisher like you has nothing to be insecure about, for sure.
Mardell Hill: It’s helped me a lot.
Part 3 – Mark Malatesta Interview & Review
Mark Malatesta: I can’t remember if it was a D- or D+, but that was one of my grades on an English paper in my sophomore year in college. It was an interpretation of a poem, and my teacher didn’t like my interpretation. Let’s talk now about your best advice for authors on how to write a book. What are some of the best nuggets you have for aspiring authors?
Mardell Hill: Find your passion, apply purpose, engage a support team, and never give up. That’s it in a nutshell. The longer version is: be willing to change direction, revisit, rewrite and update your manuscript at least 20 times while you keep a smile on your face. Be open to advice, but never lose sight of your end goal. For example, twice during the initial writing process, my support team encouraged me to change my direction into explaining diseases in more depth. It was my core integrity to keep the book as positive as I could, offering hope and support for my reader’s education, and options to help themselves. This belief was so strong that I told them I’d either move forward or not move forward at all. I stuck to my purpose, and speaking for my team, I think they’re pretty proud of me.
Mark Malatesta: Changing direction is huge, and working with a team. In my next question, both of those will be illustrated as to why they’re so important. Now we’re shifting towards publishing, so what’s some of your best advice along those lines? From what I remember, and maybe I have it wrong, I think you were about to pull the trigger on self-publishing when we met. I think I tried to talk you out of it and said, “Give yourself a chance with agents and publishers. Why not let them finance your book instead of you, if you can make it happen that way?” When you were comparing and contrasting traditional publishing vs. self-publishing, what was going through your mind? Obviously, you changed direction there, so can you talk a little about why you decided to go traditional?
Mardell Hill: Absolutely! The short answer to why I got a publisher, Mark, is you. When you explained the difference between self-publishing and getting a publisher, I felt compelled to pursue a traditionally published book. In fact, I was going to take a chunk of money and self-publish, but instead I invested it in you. Honestly, when I came to see you, I had no clue. I researched self-publishing and vanity presses, but I had no idea what it would take to get a traditional publisher. After talking with you, I realized it would be worth it for me to pursue getting a traditional publisher and letting them do the work.
Being a single mom helped me decide. My finances were limited and self-publishing would have required me to finance the entire book launch. Next, my book had a better chance to be distributed to a much larger audience with a traditional publisher. And finally, if I made every effort to get a publisher and it didn’t work out, I knew I could always turn to self-publishing then. But, after following your lead and doing the work, it paid off!! Your coaching is the perfect vehicle to get linked with a great publisher.
Mark Malatesta: I love the way you said that, and it’s exactly right. 99% of the time, you’re better trying traditional first and seeing what happens. What’s the worst that can happen? You spend a little time, or a decent bit of time and money to see if it happens. It’s worth taking that time and money to see. You’re a perfect example. If it happens, it’s great. If it doesn’t work, you have Plan B to self-publish. At least then you know you should be self-publishing, because you couldn’t make it happen the other way.
Mardell Hill: Right.
Part 4 – Mark Malatesta Review & Interview
Mark Malatesta: Let’s shift gears and talk about your best tips and strategies and advice for authors on how to market a book, once they know how it’s going to be published. You can talk about anything here, because there are marketing strategies for people writing their book, their book just came out, it’s about to come out, or it’s been out. From your point of view, what are some of your best suggestions about marketing?
Mardell Hill: As I learned while working with you, it’s about building a platform. Each author needs to explore their genre and which platform is best for them because they know themselves best, and they know what they’re trying to accomplish. For example, social media, speaking engagements, published articles, radio, etc. All these are platforms, and authors need to choose which one are going to be the best for them.
Take into consideration where you’re most comfortable and what’s accessible with your schedule. Find the strengths in your personality and demonstrate those in your platform. Practice openly sharing your passion and purpose in a consistent way, both before and after publication. You want to build up your momentum before and set this up. I’ve been working on building my platform for a few years and now I’m revving it up. Your platform will keep going and you can use that momentum after your book launch.
Mark Malatesta: It’s intimidating and a lot of work at the beginning, but the more you do it, the more comfortable and efficient you get. The little things you’re doing in one area start to build. I love you bringing up that platform can be and should be different for everyone. You don’t have to do everything. If someone loves social media, they should do that, but you don’t have to, to be a successful author.
Mardell Hill: That’s right.
Mark Malatesta: I think I was speaking somewhere, and that’s how we got together, if I remember correctly. I do want to talk about how we met and what we did together so people can understand whether they should consider investing in working with me or someone else to help them get their book published. You said earlier that you invested in me, and I put it back on you and said you invested in you. You invested in your book and in your business.
A lot of authors don’t understand why that’s important. Let’s talk about that process and what motivated you to work with me in the first place. Some people, when they find me, tried to do something in publishing but they failed and got frustrated. Others realize it’s a good idea to seek out a coach before they start. Where were you and what were you hoping to accomplish when we first started?
Mardell Hill: I’m not an author by trade, and so I was looking for qualified people to build a team and make my journey easier and more successful. Who isn’t, right? Going back to being a single mom, my life is a multi-tasking haven and shortcuts are my survival tools. I had a friend who recommended you. I trusted her implicitly and signed up for a seminar you were hosting. I’m so glad I did, because at that seminar you inspired me and I heard other authors speak. That helped me understood more of what the world of authoring is about. I felt inspired by you, and spoke to you for a few minutes afterwards. You gave me great tips which gave me more confidence in you. Then you coached me and led me after that into becoming a successfully published author which I couldn’t have done without your coaching.
Part 5 – Mark Malatesta Interview & Review
Mark Malatesta: Two things stick out for me from what you just said. Number one is looking for shortcuts, and then there are ways to do that and ways not to. The smart way that you’re talking about is if there’s somebody who knows what you don’t know, or they know more about it, and can get you somewhere faster and easier, that’s a smart shortcut. That’s the whole point of coaching: avoid mistakes and painful guessing and disasters and wasting time and money.
I’m not talking about the stupid shortcuts like, “Let me see if I can get away with doing something…cheat the system and not do my work.”
Mardell Hill: Like the analogies in my book. When you want to learn how to become a top notch tennis pro, you don’t go to your average person. You go to the top tennis pros and learn from the best to be the best.
Mark Malatesta: Right. That’s the other thing. I hope you took your friend to dinner.
Mardell Hill: I did, actually.
Mark Malatesta: Talk a little about what you did, or tried, in the publishing space before you worked with me. What was it like and what happened? Share any challenges you faced, because I know it wasn’t easy. And if there’s anything you learned the hard way that you can help someone avoid, please share that.
Mardell Hill: As I mentioned, I researched self-publishing and vanity presses. I found I’d need a lot of money to print my book and tons of effort to market it. Again, boring topic, as a single mom that seemed daunting. I knew what my clients wanted, but had no clue what a publisher wanted. I forged ahead with building my book, thinking that was all I needed. Exciting right? Not so fast. I found out what kind of time and money it would take to get it to the public.
So, even though it was an investment to hire you, you drew a straight line directly to where I wanted to be and gave me a backup plan, which was self-publishing if it didn’t work out. But if I did the work with you, there was a much higher chance than if I didn’t, or if I tried it on my own. That way not a penny was wasted. It was all well spent, hiring you, instead of putting that money into self-publishing.
Mark Malatesta: Investing in yourself and your book, whether it’s with me or someone else doesn’t matter. Just the idea of team, and I didn’t really think about this, but your book is highly illustrated with charts, sidebars and things like that that are critical for that type of book. I’m glad you invested in an illustrator before going to agents. If you hadn’t done that, I’m not sure it would have happened. It would have been hard for them to wrap their brains around it.
Mardell Hill: Absolutely. I knew what I wanted the illustrations to look like. When I reviewed a lot of the websites of publishers it wasn’t what I wanted. I knew if I wanted what I wanted, I had to sit down with someone and get it just like I envisioned because I’m a very visual person and see things in pictures. It was super important for me to accommodate that level and there are a lot of people like me who need things in pictures and the book supports that. I’m so pleased with the people who helped me and did such great work, including you, Mark.
Mark Malatesta: Thank you, and I have to add this in or it will come back to haunt me: 99% of the time, a book, even if it’s a children’s picture book, never include illustrations when submitting to agents. Yours was one we could have gone either way with, because the layout and all that is so important to your book that it’d be really hard if it was just plain text for agents to get it.
Part 6 – Mark Malatesta Review & Interview
Mardell Hill: I think it was part of the sale, a key part. And I don’t know if you know this, but they asked me to double the word count. I had to add another 20,000 words to my book! Now it’s big and comprehensive. I collected more questions and got more people to read my first level, and they kept coming back with information. So, the final book is more complete and covers every subject. I’m very pleased with how well it turned out.
Mark Malatesta: So, I have a reason to read it again now.
Mardell Hill: You’ll learn a lot more. I have food poisoning, stomach flu, and what’s the difference between those two? And I have cancer in there, and it goes on and on. You’ll have to read it again no doubt.
Mark Malatesta: I mean that. I won’t get into it on this call, but as you know, I’ve had stomach issues. A lot of people do.
Mardell Hill: I discovered over 90 million cases just in the US alone are complaints for abdominal issues. Who doesn’t have a tummy ache from day to day? Wouldn’t it be nice to learn how to avoid those, and if it happens, how to correct it on your own without having to run to the doctor every time?
Mark Malatesta: Is it gas or food poisoning?
Mardell Hill: Whatever it is, you don’t want it.
Mark Malatesta: Right.
Mardell Hill: I wanted to tell you, Mark, another exciting thing, since we spoke last, the eBook version of my book includes 12 short videos, one for each chapter of the book, and voiceovers. I took all the photos and did voiceovers so everyone could have a personal connection with me, and be inspired about what they’re going to learn in that chapter.
Mark Malatesta: I love that. Let’s talk now about some of the things we did together to get you from A to B. Things that are actionable that authors need to think about differently, that you started thinking about differently during our work together. Some things we did that someone listening could help them in their journey. We had our introductory coaching call, worked on the book itself, got testimonials, finalized the query letter and book proposal, researched and negotiated with agents. It’s all fair game.
Part 7 – Mark Malatesta Interview & Review
Mardell Hill: For me, it was do the research up front. Spend whatever time is needed prior to getting started to get a clear picture of what’s expected, and what it will take to achieve the results of a published book, whether it’s self-published or with a publisher. For example, I had no idea what potential my book had. It started as a desire to help my clients and so that was my purpose and passion. Once the publisher signed me, I had to backtrack and create a bibliography so they could turn it into an academic book, and I was requested to double the size as I mentioned in a short time. So, there was much more than I ever knew it took to publish a book, but I never quit.
Next, I’d have to say it was my attitude of perseverance. No matter how tired I was or how much work came upon me, I chose my paradigm and recalled my passion and purpose so I could endure the challenges. This relates back to my athletic days when I learned not to be overwhelmed by the length or challenge of an event I was in, but see just in front of me and take just one more step and then another step until I hit the finish line. I used this same exact approach in this book. No matter how hard it became I kept my eye on accomplishing my dream and goal.
So, sharing my work was key for me to feel the support I needed to keep going. My soul purpose was to create this for my clients and so I included them in every step along the way. That was super important. Some of them made trips to my business just to provide another question that they wanted in my book. Many people read, reviewed, commented on the work and title, the rewrite. Stepping outside myself throughout the process kept me engaged in my purpose, and generated a cheerleading crowd along the way. It was very uplifting. After all, isn’t your book for your reader and not you?
Mark Malatesta: Right. A lot of people don’t think like that, Mardell. I don’t care what genre the book is, some people think it’s great you have a business and clients and the books related to that, so it’s easy. I don’t care if you’re writing a romance novel, or what the category is, you have to get feedback from somebody and multiple somebodies would be a good thing. It’s like a focus group.
Mardell Hill: Absolutely! It can be a little painful to have someone criticizing, but what they’re trying to say is, “I don’t get this, or this isn’t flowing right.” That’s important for people to hear because everyone has different perceptions. That was the key for, and it’s probably a good piece of advice I’d give to other authors. Step outside yourself from time to time and get some solid feedback. You don’t have to take it all. Take what you like and leave the rest, like I did. I just put my foot down, and said, “That’s not the direction I’m going or what I’m doing.”
Once you have a publisher, don’t put your feet up. Work closely with your publisher and editors and check the work along the way, especially prior to going to print. Just when you think they’ve got every flaw, go through it with a fine tooth comb and magnifying glass and have other people read it and make sure it’s perfect.
When it’s launched, get to work on utilizing your platform to market yourself, your book, and your brand. Don’t wait, and remember it’s a team effort. Watch how your publisher markets and then play off that platform. If you don’t know marketing, ask people and do research and teach yourself. Remember, I was raising a child by myself, running a business, and managing a house. You don’t need to rent a cabin by the ocean and have peace and quiet to write your book.
Part 8 – Mark Malatesta Review & Interview
Mark Malatesta: That’s good. It’s great if you can do it. One of my clients had a friend or relative who let her stay in her Paris apartment for three weeks. But I know there are a lot of real-world people out there who need to do it like you did, little pieces here and there, when and where you can.
Mardell Hill: I’d love to just have three weeks off. That’d be nice. Who cares about Paris? I’d just like not to have to do everything every day for three weeks. That would be a gift from heaven.
Mark Malatesta: Right. Let’s talk now about the query letter and book proposal. I believe when you came to me you didn’t have a query letter or book proposal. Can you talk a little about what it was like to learn about those?
Mardell Hill: Yes. When I came to see you, you were like, “You’ll need a query letter and a proposal.” I was like, “What?”
Mark Malatesta: The book’s done, what do you mean?
Mardell Hill: Yes. I think I said that to you. I handed you the manuscript and said, “See, I have a finished book, we’re ready to go.” You were like, “Right, good start.” I left wide-eyed and jaw dropped, like, “Oh no.” I had no idea, and you led me through it and gave me examples. I’d give it back to you and you kept having me polish it. I thought, “Will he ever stop?” That was all you, Mark. I could never tell anyone how to do that. That’s your brilliance, and why they need to sign up for your expertise.
Even if I tried to download a sample off the Internet and do it myself, it never could have been as polished and clear. Then you gave me all the instructions so I could query people. You told me how to query them, and gave me the list of people to query. Without you as part of my team, I wouldn’t be here, it’s that simple. I’d be struggling along selling one book at a time doing my self-publishing and borrowing money to keep printing books, etc. That is the sum of it. It’s your expertise, and I’m going to let you keep that expertise.
Mark Malatesta: It takes a village as they say. I’ll say one other thing, I remember one phone call we had before you signed up with me. I was in a hotel somewhere, looking out over the mountains. You were thinking about whether it would be worthwhile to work with me, and I said, “We can’t know if you’ve get picked up by a traditional publisher or not. I can’t promise you will, and you shouldn’t trust anyone that does promise that. No one can promise that.”
What I did know is you had a real chance, and that if you ended up self-publishing, our work together would have at least helped you do a better job promoting your book. Creating a query letter and book proposal is like creating a press release and marketing plan. Those documents have all those elements. They force you to get clearer on what your book is about, who it’s for, why it’s really different and special, and how to best position and promote it.
Approaching the process that way means it can’t be a total loss, no matter what happens with literary agents and publishers. Because you can use everything you got out of the process to help you successfully market and sell the self-published version.
Mardell Hill: Yes, and my publisher asked me for more marketing information. They had me fill out forms. I was like, “Haven’t I already done this?” I had! So I went back to my proposal that you helped me build and I simply copied and pasted and kept blending it based on their questions. I didn’t have to recreate anything. I used every piece of information we’d already created and filled out their forms so they had everything they needed. It was life-saving, a life raft in the middle of the ocean. Truly amazing.
Part 9 – Mark Malatesta Interview & Review
Mark Malatesta: For me, it was just thinking backwards. When I became an agent, I was in my 20s and didn’t know anything about publishing. I was like you, and I’m self-taught. I have a four- year psychology degree, I’m not an English major, and I had no great publishing connections. When I was an agent, I was in South Florida, not New York, and I didn’t have a bunch of great mentors I could call.
One of the biggest revelations I had was when I got one of my first book deals with Random House, and their publicity department sent me a detailed publicity questionnaire for one of my authors. The light bulb went off in my head, and I said, “If this is what the publicity team at Random House needs to make a book successful, wouldn’t it be smart if I made sure all my authors’ book proposals and query letters had answers to those questions?” It just made sense. Give them what they want and need early on. Don’t wait for the publicity department because you might not get to that point.
Mardell Hill: That’s why we clicked, because we both think the same way. What do they need? What do my clients need? What does the publicity department need? What I’ve been trying to say is, “Get outside yourself when you’re writing, and start finding out what your readers need.”
Mark Malatesta: Right. Anyone who’s gotten to where you are now has paid their dues in a lot of ways. What is the one thing you’re most proud of as an author? Don’t be humble because sometimes there is a tip or bit of advice for people listening, maybe a skill they need to work on.
Mardell Hill: Building a team that helped and cheered me on the entire way. It reminds me of my athletic days when people would cheer me on at an event. It makes me feel I have hope and courage to keep going. All my life I did independent sports, and even though people cheered me, they weren’t responsible for making me a good athlete. I found more success in being a do-it-yourselfer and I did independent sports.
This book and team building process is one of my greatest accomplishments. Letting myself open up to people, and having them participate in my project and dream, vision, and passion, and my goal. That is the greatest accomplishment I could ever have, because I had to reach like never before, and trust in a way that was out of my comfort zone, but it felt great. Now I get to share this accomplishment. I’m definitely a better person because of this book.
Mark Malatesta: I love that. I’ll admit vulnerability in myself as I’m still learning. It wasn’t until the last few years when I realized how much I need a team. Part of this, for any creative person, if you think of yourself that way, or as an entrepreneur or author, so much of what we have to do has to be in isolation, and at least it starts that way. But if you’re going to take everything to the next level, whether it’s your book or business, you have to bring in other people and get perspective, get uncomfortable, and answer hard questions. That way you can get more clarity about what’s working and not. My wife is the one who’s the happiest I’m figuring this out finally.
Mardell Hill: Happy wife, happy life, is that the one?
Mark Malatesta: Exactly. I don’t have to do everything and figure everything out myself. The more you can figure out how to delegate and fix things faster with an outside perspective, the faster and easier it is and the more time you have off, or focus on the things you’re good at and enjoy, instead of thinking you have to do everything.
Mardell Hill: It’s a great learning lesson.
Part 10 – Mark Malatesta Review & Interview
Mark Malatesta: Right. For the same reason, people doing things independently, they might not invest in getting help.
Mardell Hill: Especially a single mother. But after being educated at your seminar about what it really takes to get a publisher, I realized it was another piece of the puzzle to ensure I could fulfill my dream. I borrowed the money, and instead of using it to self-publish, I invested it in your coaching program and got a publisher. I worked hard and never looked back, so it was a good investment. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.
Mark Malatesta: You have to constantly bust that bubble. Entrepreneurs know this: Investing time isn’t always enough. I’ve worked with a lot of coaches and consultants, for fitness, online marketing, etc. That’s how I was able to get my email list from a few hundred to 70,000. The odds of figuring out how to do that alone, and quickly, aren’t good. You need a coach. And then, if all goes well, you can have more of those things that give you the quality of life you want.
Mardell Hill: That’s right.
Mark Malatesta: Let’s talk now about author scams. We met in person, so I think you had an advantage there of seeing what I was like. But not everyone is good at what they do, and people can get ripped off. That’s one reason I try to get people not to self-publish, because you can spend tens of thousands of dollars and sell 80 books. It’s sad.
Mardell Hill: It was signing up with you that prevented me from being burned. I think there’s a concern for anyone, even if they don’t have to borrow money. We’re all worried about who we’re putting our trust into. In the end, it’s a judgment call. I trusted my instincts about your character and the integrity you displayed, the information you gave me, the people I saw you had already worked with. That made it a no-brainer for me. And if it hadn’t been for you during my contract negotiations, I would have signed a contract that would have obligated me to thousands of dollars to get my book published.
Mark Malatesta: I forgot about that! We won’t name names, but yes, you had multiple offers, and one turned out to be sketchy. Not legitimate.
Mardell Hill: The person seemed like a really perfect fit, and we both thought so. Then there was this little fine print paragraph that in my excitement I missed, and you caught it. If you hadn’t, I would have had to spend money I shouldn’t have had to spend, and I would have lost every chance to get a better publisher. You saved me. I mean, literally, I would have signed in a second. I think I had signed it and set it on my desk and was ready to send it over. You said, “Don’t you dare.” They were supposed to be one of the top people, but that’s what they were doing.
Part 11 – Mark Malatesta Interview & Review
Mark Malatesta: Yes, it’s a literary agency that is pretty well-known. Like wow, who knew?
Mardell Hill: I would have been devastated if I’d signed that. It’s easier to get scammed if you don’t have someone like you to read through everything. You called me so fast, and said, “Stop.” I said, ‘What do you mean?’ Then you coached me through it and I sat down in shock. Then we went with a better literary agent, and, within two months, she had three offers for me, and talked me through those so I could make the best choice for me and my book.
Mark Malatesta: I love it. These memories are so funny, right? I actually remember where I was during that conversation with you too. I was with Ingrid, again in a hotel, in Boulder, and I think we were getting ready to eat dinner… Yes, I remember pacing around the hotel lobby talking to you about it.
Mardell Hill: You were probably shouting, “Stop, stop.”
Mark Malatesta: Ingrid was like, “Go over there and talk.” [Laughter] Thank you so much, Mardell, for doing this. You’re always so gracious and easy to work with. And it’s obvious you prepared for this call to give everyone listening valuable advice. Thank you for that. Do you have any final thoughts, or is there something I didn’t ask about that you want to share?
Mardell Hill: Thank you. Only that you have to pull up your big boy britches or big girl panties and just make your dreams happen. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Go out and get them. That’s what we did.
Mark Malatesta: Absolutely, and thank you again so much. Alright everyone, this is Mark Malatesta, founder of The Bestselling Author, with Mardell Hill, author of Intestinal Health, published by Rowman & Littlefield. You can buy Intestinal Health in bookstores and online, including here at Amazon.
If you’re interested in a private 1-on-1 coaching call with me to talk about the best way to write, publish, or promote your book, visit AuthorConsultation.com.
Lastly, if you’re not yet a member of my online community, register now at TheBestsellingAuthor.com for instant access to more information, and inspiration, like this to help you become the bestselling author you can be.
Getting published isn’t luck, it’s a decision.
See you next time.
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Who Is Mark Malatesta?
This interview and review of Mark Malatesta were provided by Mardell Hill, the author of Intestinal Health, published by Rowman & Littlefield. Mardell worked with Mark Malatesta, who is now an author coach and consultant, to get literary agents interested in her book.
Mark Malatesta is a former literary agent, and 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, including the Best Literary Agents at the Top Literary Agencies on his List of Literary Agents. Mark’s writers have gotten book deals with traditional publishers such as Harper Collins, Random House, 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.
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Mark Malatesta Reviews – Former Literary Agent
Here you can see more Mark Malatesta reviews from authors like Mardell Hill who’ve worked with Mark to get literary agents and traditional publishers interested in their books. You can also see reviews of Mark Malatesta from publishing industry professionals. These reviews of former literary agent 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.
- Author Coaching/Consulting Clients
- Writers Conference Coordinators
- Writers Conference Attendees
- Other Authors