Over the last couple of months I've been reading agents' blogs, studying query letters and synopsis'. It's been a fruitful, sometimes confusing search as every agent wants something a little different. There seem to be few hard and fast rules they all play by, but they do exist. So far I've learned this about all of them: 1)Do your research--know what the agent is interested in representing. Don't waste your time and theirs by querying an agent who represents romance if you write thrillers. 2)Get the agent's name right (a real sore point with many of them) and 3)Don't bend their ear excessively. Concise, sparkling letters seem to be the most successful.
The variations confuse the issue. One agent doesn't want to know the MC's name--others complain because the writer left it out. Another thinks putting up a webpage is a bad idea and doesn't want to read work that's been posted anywhere. Some prefer the writer have a site with a chapter already posted on it--saves everybody time. A few agents want a letter especially tailored to them, but many don't care (as long as you've got their name right).
I think I will order a couple of books on the subject because I need something I can carry around with me and highlight in bright pink. This isn't an off-the-cuff procedure and may require a few notes. Maybe I've finally found a genre my husband won't sneak off to work with. (Common dialogue in our house: Boys, have you seen that book I was reading the other day--you know--the one with the birds on the cover? Dad? Dad took it? Since when does he read poetry . . . )
I've decided that it makes good sense to have a webpage, but I haven't made up my mind about the chapter yet. I have a little time at the moment so I think I'll proceed with it while I continue researching and waiting for beta readers' input.
I have a little background in website design (made extra money running one for a real estate company for a year or so), but it's a few years old now, which means I don't know anything anymore. I don't have the money to hire someone else to do it, nor do I have the money for the newest Microsoft Front Page. I've just downloaded a 60 day trial so maybe that will bet me through until I can decide what to do next.