The literary kind, not the people with badges and guns and stuff. What do they do, exactly? And how do they do it?
These may sound like weird questions, but I just don’t know. I did ask someone that a while ago, explaining that I don’t know. The reply was “If I were in a cynical mood, I might suggest that not knowing how to do the job of agent seems to be a prerequisite for the role!”, and I’m sure I’ll be forgiven for not naming my quotee.
Most authors rave about their agents, and I’ve taken them to be these wonderful mother figures, or bossy older sister types. They read your book and if it’s any good, they magically organise for a publisher to like it too. But how do they do that?
And how can you know that the agent who’s agreed to be your agent isn’t like the one in the quote?
The other thing I wondered about some time ago, is when you need a new agent. What do you do? It’s like adopting a new mother, isn’t it? It’s not just hard to go to someone and ask “Will you be my Mummy?” (sorry, agent), but how to assess who would make a good agent for you.