Tips for Finding the Right Literary Agent

Today’s blog post comes to you from WIFYR Assistant Michelle Hubbard.
It happens every time.  
The newbies burn with questions. After secret scribbling, Emily Dickinson style, they’re ready to come out of hiding and declare themselves writers. Without fail, that one inevitable question simmers to the top. 
They screw their courage to the sticking place and ask the eternal question 
How do I get a literary agent?  
The quest continues through creative writing classes, library lectures, and author launch parties. They wait in the back. They raise their hands.  
So…how do I get a literary agent?  
The author tells everyone to go to writing conferences and meet agents in a social environment. He or she mumbles something about Literary Marketplace and tells you to never pay someone to represent you. 
Yes, yes, and yes—it’s all true. Go to writing conferences, check out Literary Marketplace, and absolutely, positively do not give someone money up front to represent you. Real agents take a cut after they’ve sold your book, not before then. 
But for those of us who write for teens down through picture book, let me add this: Go visit literaryrambles.comIt’s one of the best sites available for youth writers. 
They organize agents into book categories, so you won’t pitch your “Horace the Hippo” picture book to someone who is looking for “edgy” YA 
Literary Rambles also pulls information from interviews, blog excerpts, and agency biographies to provide a dimensional picture of an agent you’re considering.  
It’s like they’re doing the research for you. (Because they are).  
And trust me, you want that research. In the end, it isn’t just about finding an agent. It’s about finding the right agent for you. 
Speaking of agents, here is a recent agent spotlight on Heather Flaherty, who will be joining us at WIFYR this June: