Those who yearn to be writers spend much time and effort trying to find a literary agent -- someone who will love them and care for them and dry their tears and say There, there; and also, of course, make them rich and famous. Shouldn't be difficult, should it? Given that you're so talented and all.
Well, if you thinking about finding an agent, or are between agents, or are even married to one, it would be a good idea to wander over to Bookangst 101. There you will find a couple of pieces which are essential reading.
The first appeared on 29 June and is entitled 'Misadventures in (mis)representation'. The second piece, 30 June, is entitled 'On choosing an agent'. Both will repay study.
My own comment is that both articles tend to assume that finding an agent is in principle pretty easy. And that if you don't get on with one, you just move to another.
Well, maybe in some elevated circles it works that way. But for most writers, getting an agent even to read something, let alone agree to try to sell it, is a pretty major achievement. Many agents these days are just as picky about unsolicited mss as publishers. In other words, they just won't read the damn things.
Arthur Klebanoff, in his book The Agent, says that agents 'typically get their clients by referral or by soliciting [previously published] authors or celebrities. It is a rare agent who finds his opportunities from the slush pile.'
By 'referral' I think Klebanoff means a recommendation from an editor, or someone in the business. But usually, in order to get anyone in the business to pay attention to your stuff, you have to have an agent. So, er... Hmm.