What did we ever do before the internet? It seems almost pre-historic when you think of it. I mean, God rest my aching wrists, I wrote my first stories on a typewriter (albeit an electric one--I'm not that antediluvian.) As for getting to know about agents and the like, you had to rely on a) either going to a conference to prove to yourself that they were not inhabitants of some outer solar system or b) looking up information in a book which, I swear, went out-of-date the moment you opened it. You'd send a query into the blue yonder and I'm sure I had at least one reply saying "I'm sorry, but this agent has been vaporized by intergalactic storm-troopers." What a waste of a 25 cent stamp! (Thanks, internet, for reminding me of the price of a first-class stamp in 1990.)
A dangerous writer no longer has to endure such frustrations. Now, all sorts of information pops onto one's computer screen at the touch of a keystroke. (This makes life very easy; it also can suck away at your precious time, link by tempting link.)
You no longer have to buy the book, because most literary agencies have gorgeous looking websites (not to mention blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.) And then there's the super-duper Guide to Literary Agents blog run by Chuck Sambuchino. http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/ There's everything there that your giddy little heart might want to know during your agent search. Chuck's even running a "Dear Agent" contest for the next couple of weeks. Send in the first 150-200 words of your MG or YA novel to be read by agent Jennifer Laughran of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency http://www.andreabrownlit.com/agents.php and vie for the chance to have a critique by her of your first 25 pages. (More details on the Guide to Literary Agents blog.)
That's enough reminiscing for today. I'm going to do the dangerous thing and enter the contest.