I love agentquery.com. This listing is great because if the agent has sold, you can see what he/she has sold, the genre that he might be familiar with, the publishing houses that she works with, the kinds of genres he is interested in representing, and which she is not interested in representing. It shows if he is soliciting queries and how she wants them sent, ie, via email or snail mail. Some ask for 5 pages in the body of the email. It just gives you a heads up so you don't send your mss to agents who would never represent your line of work, which if you queried them wastes your time and theirs! Here is the link:
What brought this to mind? Occasionally I send out a query or two to agents because I'm looking for YA representation. Most houses are closed to me without an agent. Although I recently got a request from a publisher and IF they were interested in the work, I would be happy to contract it without an agent.
I'm not doing an agent search right now. I've just sold the next two werewolf romantic suspenses, bringing the total to six, without an agent, and am diligently working on revisions for the 4th one to be released next spring. But if I were, the first place I check is agentquery.
Another place to check is the P&E (Preditors and Editors) listing that shows if the agents are legitimate or if they'd had complaints. Some are so new that you might not see anything much on them. But it's a nice way to check them out, just in case you get some agent interest and you want to make sure they're on the up and up. It's hard enough to get an agent. A bad one is way worse than having none at all. http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/pealji.htm
And even a good one doesn't mean he or she will be the best for your work. Maybe someone else's. They have to love your work as much as an editor does. :)