Waverly Place Literary Agency

Art collector signs with WPL Agency

Long Island art collector Dr. Harvey Manes has signed with WPL Agency for representation of his book, Collecting Art for Pleasure and Profit.

A feature from The Westbury Times follows: 

While most people have to go to a museum to see paintings by Pablo Picasso or Andy Warhol, Dr. Harvey Manes simply has to walk into his living room. Over the last 45 years, the Old Westbury orthopedic surgeon has amassed quite the collection of art from world-renowned painters, a hobby he describes as both a passion and investment. 

“It’s not just a collection, it’s an investment. Instead of buying stock where you just have a piece of paper, I buy a beautiful piece of art,” Manes said. 

Dr. Harvey Manes with an original Picasso
Manes has always had a strong connection to art, which was sparked by trips to the Brooklyn Museum of Art as a child. He began sculpting in college and the desire to learn more about art and its history grew, motivating him to major in art history at SUNY Binghamton before going to medical school. After becoming a doctor, he began collecting art, which he said at that time was well-priced, ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. Now those same pieces go for $100,00 to $500,000, he said. 

“In the ‘70s, you could buy a Picasso or Warhol or Lichtenstein for a somewhat reasonable price,” Manes said. “The prices were high, but they weren’t astronomical.”

Over the years, he’s garnered about 100 pieces, building an eclectic collection from modern, contemporary and old masters artists, as well as sculptures. Artists in his collection include Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Roy Lichtenstein. Manes said he doesn’t specialize in one category or artist, he simply loves all types of art. 

But buying a major art piece to add to his collection is no small feat. He said before he buys a piece to add to “his family,” he has to love it and make sure it fits in with the rest of his collection. One of the first things he takes into consideration is whether it is eye-catching and an iconic image. He also considers if it’s something the artist is known for, noting that he wouldn’t buy a portrait from an artist known for his landscapes for example. 

"Un Chien et Oiseu Dans Le Paysage" by Fernand Leger
And then there’s the cost. The average price he pays for a piece is $100,000, and Manes said he loves getting a bargain. The most he’s spent on a painting is $350,000 for a Lichtenstein; a piece that is now worth more than $1 million. 

“I research prices to see if it’s in the right price range,” he said. “I love getting a bargain and getting a piece for what I believe is lower than the actual value.” He buys his pieces from auctions and galleries from all over the world, but most of his collection comes from places in the U.S. He often opts for phone bids over in-person bidding at auctions, the biggest of which are in May and November.

“I find when you’re in the audience and see someone bidding, there’s an ego thing going on,” Manes said. “But if you’re bidding on the phone, the audience doesn’t know who’s on the phone. It could be the richest or poorest man on the other end. The audience gets intimidated and I get a better price on the phone. It’s less emotional.”

And Manes doesn’t just collect for his own pleasure. He loves to display and lend his work to various museums. He currently has 14 pieces on loan at the Nassau County Museum of Art as part of their “The Moderns: Long Island Collects Modern Art” exhibit, which runs through Nov. 8, [2015].

“I enjoy lending them so people can appreciate it,” Manes said. “I feel like I have temporary possession of these pieces. It’s for all the world to appreciate.” 

"Old Westbury Home Houses Greats" by Betsy Abraham originally published in The Westbury Times, Oct. 2, 2015. Used by Permission.

The agent's side of pitching: #ASJANY18

I'm in a hotel ballroom with forty or so literary agents and editors for book publishers, magazines and websites. We sit at numbered cafe tables draped in tablecloths with oversized name cards that can be read without reading glasses.

The agencies and companies are impressive. It's a competition for us as well. After participating in many conferences for years, I'm excited to be here and eager to hear about writers’ newly completed manuscripts and works in progress.

American Society of Journalists & Authors, Client Connections pitch sessions May 18, 2018

The appeal of ASJA writers is their knowledge of what's happening now in their areas of expertise. They keep up with the news. As with any topic, they've done the relevant background reading; sometimes the question of why something is happening now can be informed by the past. But author/journalists are particularly adept at staying on topic and synthesizing the past with the present to produce books on what concerns readers now. 

What I like about journalists is their orientation towards stories. Many of us are drawn to true stories that read like novels or play like movies in our heads. To read exciting larger-than-life stories that are also true can be gratifying entertainment as well as a good use of our time (because they're true).

A move to Brooklyn

After eleven years in the West Village, Waverly Place Literary Agency has moved to Brooklyn to be closer to writing talent. Literary agent Debbie Carter will be attending book events for emerging writers (and readers) at indie bookstores and libraries in the area. If you're traveling to NYC for a writers' conference, it's worth adding a day to your itinerary for a visit to Brooklyn for a walk, lunch, and a trip to a bookstore. People here love to talk books.

Upcoming and recent conferences

August 11, 2018, 10:15am-4:00pm, Writer's Digest Pitch SlamOne-on-one appointments with writers and agents at New York Hilton Midtown

Recent conferences

June 10, 2018, The Writer's Hotel, One-on-one appointments with writers and agents, at Roger Smith Hotel, 501 Lexington Avenue, NYC

June 2, Rutgers-New Brunswick Writers Conference, One-on-one appointments with writers and agents,  Rutgers Continuing Education Center, 300 Atrium Drive in Somerset, NJ

May 30-June 1, 2018, Book Expo America at NYC's Javits Center

May 18, 2018,  American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA) Client Connections, one-on-one appointments with ASJA members, Sheraton NY Times Square

Contact info

Debbie Carter, Literary Agent
Waverly Place Literary Agency

(212) 925-3721

Queries accepted by email only, no attachments

Follow @WaverlyPlaceLit

Areas of interest and query guidelines

Representing books with charisma for adults, teens and children. Areas of interests are:

  • Narrative nonfiction memoir/biography about extraordinary people and experiences, obsessions, recent stories of immigrants to the US and Americans abroad, travel, history, home & lifestyle, New York, Americana, pop culture, music and the arts. Not interested in essay collections; topics in medicine, health, psychology, science, technology, finance, business, politics, religion/spirituality, stories of abuse or victimhood, accidents, feminist screed, sports, pets, cooking, food or true crime.

Three Lives Bookstore
  • Multicultural and international fiction that's relatable to American readers

  • Mysteries, thrillers, suspense novels with likable heroes or anti-heroes that are satisfying but not predictable. No serial killers or gruesome description.

  • Mainstream fiction, excluding category romance, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, religious/spiritual fiction, gratuitous sex and violence or the sentimental. Accidents or medical diagnoses as inciting incidents show a lack of imagination.

  • Historical fiction that's relevant to our lives today, rendered in a contemporary style

  • Literary novels with an emphasis on story, dramatic action and dialogue, set in the indefinite present

  • Short story and poetry collections with popular appeal

NOTE: Not interested in any fiction with academics as protagonists. Looking for characters and situations that are more relatable for readers.

  • Children's and teen multicultural fiction, mysteries & thrillers, historical fiction, animal stories, fantasy grounded in reality, narrative and informative nonfiction for the trade market. Note to picture book writers: Will only consider writers who have at least three complete manuscripts that have been critiqued in workshops.

See favorite books in all categories on Goodreads.

Query Guidelines

Please send one- to two-paragraph synopsis and description of your background. Email queries 24/7 to literary agent Debbie Carter, WaverlyPlaceLiterary@aol.com, with no attachments. In the subject line of your email write Q: followed by a description of your book. Unsolicited manuscripts will be discarded.  Multiple submissions ok.

NOTE:  If I don’t respond within two weeks, please try again.

Jefferson Market Library, Sixth Avenue


Submits to publishers large and small. One-year contract offered when writer and agent agree that the manuscript is ready for submission. Commission is standard 15% domestic, 20% foreign and subrights. No reading or editorial fees.  All expenses (postage and photocopying, if any) are pre-approved by client. Although not a member of the AAR, the agency follows AAR recommended business practices.

Listed in the Literary Market Place and Writers' & Artists' Yearbook.

Please see Areas of Interest before sending queries to WaverlyPlaceLiterary@aol.com.

All submissions read by Debbie Carter, not by assistants or interns.

Associations: AWP, BIO, Historical Novel Society and Women in Music

Prior to starting her agency in 1998, Ms. Carter trained with an AAR agent and worked in the music business in A&R and artist management.  She holds a BA in English and music from College of Arts and Sciences, NYU.