The first thing to do is to make a list of agents who take your genre.
My clients, for instance, write nonfiction and historical fiction.
A good agent for them to explore would be someone like Heide Lange at
Sanford Greenburger (see headshot above). www.greenburger.com/code/agents/heide
Let us use Heide as a process example.
When you read Heide’s bio, you’ll find that she’s been agenting a long time and is a notable author herself. The agency she is with has been around for over a hundred years. Heide’s bio tells you what types of nonfiction she’s passionate about. The clients she represents tell you what kind of historical fiction she likes to represent.
The next thing you would do is check her name and the agency’s against indices like Preditors & Editors to cross-check for trustworthiness. You want to find out if authors consider her a reputable person to work with.
If you can establish a link to your work through someone she knows, that’s the best way to have her find out about you. More agents accept clients through recommendations of other authors and agents than any other way.
If a link cannot be established, then write a custom query to her exact specifications. I always recommend that an editor look over your book proposal before you email it.
Feel free to leave a comment about your agent experiences.
-Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist