Lit Agent, Harvey Klinger Wants Strong Women’s Fiction

By Jeff Rivera Comment

Harvey Klinger has been a staple in the book publishing industry since the mid-70s. When we were thinking of who to interview for agency series, he was one of the first I wanted to reach out to. In our interview with Mr. Klinger, he discusses why he believes his agency has an advantage over others, why he’s looking for a great science project, and what he really thinks of the new technologies coming out .

You’ve been in the business quite some time, Mr. Klinger how did you trek into publishing begin? And secondly, why do you think your agency is one of the best in the biz?
I’m the President of my eponymous agency, Harvey Klinger, Inc., which I began in October, 1977. I think I’m the best agent in the business because 1) I’ve been around since the last glacier hit Manhattan; 2) I come from a family of lawyers, so negotiatating great contracts for my authors is a genetic stroke of luck; 3) I love the creative process of making a good proposal a great one. That, no doubt, comes from the fact that when I got my M.A. in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, I thought I’d get an agent with no problem. Well, that obviously didn’t happen, so I became one!

There’s so much going on in publishing now, and on top of that what is happening to the economy. What have you done to brace yourself for the economic changes to the industry?
I realize that it’s very tough to sell a non-fiction project unless the person already has something of a national forum or platform for his/her work. Many would be authors talk about what they’ll do once their book is published. Publishers want to know what you’re doing now to create a name for yourself in advance of a book’s publication.

It’s so tough for anyone artistic to make a living from their art, what do you suggest authors do to avoid counting pennies?
Get a job in a good restaurant.

Having been an agent since, as you said, “The last glacier hit Manhattan,” you certainly have seen a lot of changes in the way books are published. What do you think about all these technological changes happening such as the Kindle, such as the iPad, etc.?
I think that any form of technology that makes people read books who would otherwise be checking their iPhones or playing video games on their computers is a good thing.

So, Mr. Klinger, what would you say is hot right now, what are editors begging you for?
Strong women’s fiction and great narrative non-fiction on topics of interest.

So, is that what you are looking for now too?
Interesting proposals on science subjects always interest me by experts in their field. I’m always on the look out for a great biography or superb new first novel.

For those aspiring writers out there, what is the best way for writers to approach you?
Check our our website –and if your book sounds like something for me, just email a query.