So here's what I've learned. Waiting for the perfect agent is soooooo worth it.
That's right. All those months/years of email rejections? Worth it! Once you land the right agent, that is. You want an agent who really "gets" your story and your characters. Someone who connects with you on a personal level. Remember, this person is going to represent you and your work--don't you think you deserve someone awesome? Also, they are looking to represent you for your entire writing career--not just one book--so ideally, you two are in it for the long haul.
That being said--do your research! For the love of Mike, there's no reason to be ignorant about literary agents. There are so many resources out there, allowing you to learn about different agents--twitter, online interviews, personal agent blogs--all of which help you get to know an agent's preferences and personality.
I know for me, I spent months researching agents before I sent out query letters. But... I know I'm a bit nutty when it comes to researching and planning (especially when it comes to writing). So I might go a bit overboard.
Still, this much I know is true: before you query, do your research!
To start, here are some websites where you can find agents that rep your genre:
Once you have a list of 10-20 agents...
Here are some really awesome blogs that have agent interviews and more details about what each agent is looking for:
LiteraryRambles - (Scroll down to the left sidebar to see all the different agents--this blog is thorough and will give you a lot of fantastic info!)
Mother. Write. (Repeat). - (Check out the "Interview with an Agent" tab)
Once you've reached the Query stage, check out:
How about you? How much time did/do you spend researching agents before you query? Any other comments/ tips for searching for agents? Any other great websites that you've found to be helpful?