Now that you’ve got a good list, you need to research the agents. Google the heck out of their name so you can find:

Their Submission Requirements
If you don’t already have their submission requirements, you need to find them. You need to know how they prefer their submissions, and submit only that way (some like email, some want email with no attachments, some still like snail mail).

Some Personal Information About Them
The best query letters are personalized. And by personalized, I mean professionally personalized. You’re not looking for the names of their children (that would be creepy). Instead, read interviews they’ve done, see if they’ve given a speech somewhere, and find out what books they’ve recently sold so you can comment on that or simply congratulate them.

Their Reputation
A bad agent is worse than no agent at all. Much, much worse. Make sure the names you’re considering are not scam artists. Here are a few places to search before you send:

    Preditors & Editors
    You search by either agency name or individual agent name (they alphabetize by first names). You will see who they do not recommend and why. (Notice how many scam agencies are outside of NYC; all of them!) Not everyone listed is bad; they will show good ones as well. Be sure to check they key to see what their symbols stand for.

    Writers Beware – Thumbs Down Agency List
    They list 7 reasons why the agencies are on their thumbs down list, and then those agencies.

    Absolute Write Forums
    A great place to not only read what other writers think of certain agents, but to also ask about the people you’re interested in.

Start a Spreadsheet
Since you will be researching multiple people and most likely submitting to many, now is a good time to start a spreadsheet. Include the names of the agents you’re interested in, along with their physical address, email address, how they like their submissions, the genre they represent, any personal notes, and columns for the date you sent your submission to them and the date you heard back.

>> NEXT: Write a Query Letter