The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman.
As my friends are all arriving at William Bernhardt's annual writing workshop my thoughts have turned to approaching the right agent. Your querying success depends so much upon this that I cannot stress the importance of it enough. With the state the economy and everyone's finances lately this becomes even more important when choosing which conference you should attend.
Before registering for a conference because it's in a convenient location or is an old favorite, make sure there are agents attending that you want to~or more importantly, should~see. If the conference can't guarantee which agent you get to see that is a serious downside and a reason you may want to reconsider that conference. Let's face it, driving or flying a great distance, at great expense, just to end up seeing an agent who doesn't even represent your genre, is probably a waste of your time.
Research conferences carefully and then research the agents in attendance even more carefully. Make sure there is an agent there who is a good match for you, and not just because they represent your genre. Check the attending agents out on line. Do they have a blog? If so read through it and find out as much about them as you can. Many will talk on their blogs about how they like their submissions. Some even post successful query letters. You can get a great feel for what an agent is like by reading their blog. Don't forget to check Twitter as well. Just remember, many people use Facebook or MySpace type networks for family connections, not work connections, so I don't recommend looking them up there unless their agency has a page.
After a pay cut, a freeze, and furloughs (unpaid days off) were implemented at work, I had to be very careful about my selection of conferences. Which meant I didn't get to go hang out with my friends in Tulsa this weekend. And, I have an agent so that really complicated things~in a good way. You know me though, I couldn't just sit on the sidelines and let him do all the work. So, in less than three weeks now I'll be meeting with publishing house editors in New York! You can bet I did my research on them!