UPDATE: 10/4/14 – This post is pretty out of date. Check out the resources section on the blog itself for more up-to-date suggestions.
Finding an agent can be daunting, but there are resources that can help:
Literary Marketplace (LMP) – a massive tome that lists everyone in the industry. Since very few agencies have websites it can be very useful if you need contact information. Check out your library, they may have a copy.
Association of Authors’ Representatives (aar-online.org) – the website of the AAR has a database of reputable agents, and you can search by genre and whether an agent accepts email queries. Everyone in the database follows the AAR canon of ethics.
Publishers Marketplace – sign up for the free Publishers Lunch emails to familiarize yourself with industry news and the latest book deals. You can use this as a resource fo find agents. If you can afford it you can also subscribe to the site, which allows you to search a comprehensive database.
Jeff Herman’s Guide – provides a list of agents and some advice on how to find an agent.
Your favorite books – always check out the acknowledgements section to figure out who represents your favorite books. Use these names to personalize your query letter (i.e. Because I’m such a fan of X I thought I would write you about…)