How long have you been agent and how did you get your start Harvey?I started my own agency in October, 1977. I worked for an agent prior to that for a year and a half who taught me how not to be an agent, which was quite instructive.
What makes your agency different than any others?I would say that we're a "boutique" agency. All of my associates and myself included work very closely with our clients and do a fair amount of editing and revising their material before we even start making submissions to publishers.
What are you looking for specifically that you wish you would see more of?Narrative non-fiction, interesting history, biography, science and I'm always looking for terrific new fiction; I'm just not seeing anything that I've liked lately.
Harvey what are you tired of receiving?Queries from writers who keep trying to sell themselves. The material should speak for itself. I'm tired of seeing disease-of-the-week stories, people writing about donating kidneys to relatives (or strangers), people announcing they've got the next Harry Potter, and there's still too much chick lit floating out there; the genre's been glutted to extinction.
How can a new writer get your attention in a good way?Writing something wonderful, fresh with a unique voice or a non-fiction project that's insightful and timely without trying to act like a salesperson at a WalMart.
How can a signed writer stay in your radar without driving you insane? By not calling and just occasionally emailing to check-in.
What do you wish more writers understood about you as an agent Harvey that they don't seem to? That I'm not a miracle worker, but work hard for my writers and expect them to do the same for me. Despite all the hard work though, there are no guarantees in the publishing business, particularly in the current economic climate. Even if I think a proposal (or a novel) is in perfect shape, there's still no saying that a publisher will agree and even if they do and publish it aggressively, success can be a rare and elusive thing. You give it your best shot and let the chips fall where they may...but at least it gets me out of bed every morning!
What's the best way for a writer to reach you?EMAIL!