I just picked up a link to an article of advice on seeking a literary agent (Mike Shatzkin on Idea Logical) via my friends at MWA Northwest and I think this is solid advice for writers seeking representation as a step to commercial publication. Some people may get skittish over the apparent anti-self-pub statement early on, but that’s really not what the article is about, nor is it truly a slam on self-publication–it’s an industry observation meant to help the writer evaluate their needs and the industry’s likely response to their offering. The bullet list at the end is pretty much the same advice I give to writers. Use the Publisher’s Marketplace or Literary Market Place database to find agents who suit your needs, then winnow down to a handful. AgentQuery.com and Writer Beware are good places to check what’s up with those agents, if they are reputable, ethical, and looking for what you’re offering. Then seek an agent who is reputable, has contacts and sales in the genre or field you want to publish in, and who is a comfortable fit. You’ll get along better and longer with an agent you like who makes you feel that your work is good and exciting and worth their time than a lukewarm relationship with the biggest name in the business. Get the agent who suits you and your work and be prepared to work hard and even put your favorite project aside in favor of something fresher.