How to determine if a literary agent is the right fit for you
How do you know if your agent is "The One?"
Well, as with romantic relationships, it takes more than initial interest to create a great, working relationship.
If you have an agent respond positively to your work, or even offer representation, how can you tell if they are really the right person to be your partner in the uphill, arduous publishing climate?
A couple of questions to ask yourself:
First, what is their vision for your book? Will they require many changes before they think it's publishing-ready? If so, what kind of changes do they want? Do they resonate/align with your vision for the book? If not, you may want to take a step back. Most agents require some amount of editorial work before they send it out, but making sure those visions match is important.
Second, you want to find out what their communication style is like. Are they accessible? Do they mind if you check in? Do they respond to emails or calls? Do they help and alleviate your concerns? Are they looking to build their author's careers, or just looking to sell one project?
Find out what their sales track record is like. Are they a newer agent who's just building their list? Or are they a seasoned veteran who's been in the business forever (there are pros and cons to each)?
Ask for the contact info for someone else they represent, and find out first-hand what the agent is like to work with. Can they give you insight into their submission strategy, communication, personality quirks, etc.?
Basically, you want to do your research before you just say "yes" to any offer of representation. It is a partnership and, just like in romantic relationships, things have to gel in order for that partnership to be fruitful. If you get into a partnership with the wrong person, it could have negative consequences for you and your writing long-term. So make sure it's a good fit.