I found it very interesting, and affirming actually, that you were looking for a younger agent to represent your book because you didn't think that an older one would get your writing style as well. I've written a chick lit book that, I believe, needs young representation as well. It's a theory that I've confirmed because the younger agents, like yours, have had much more positive feedback. I was just wondering how you were able to find the younger/hip ones to query.
First, just to clarify and so as not to offend any veteran agents (snort, as if they'd take the time to read this blog!), there are definitely some wonderful seasoned agents out there...in fact, these women (and men) have earned their stripes and are undoubtedly great reps. Right? Right. :)
But what you're saying, and what I surmised during my agent hunt, was that they weren't necessarily great reps more me. Agenting isn't a one-size fits all industry, and agents will be the first to tell you that.
Whew, with that out of the way and so as to avoid any "you're an ageist" emails, let's get down to business! How was I able to whittle down my query list to the youngsters? Well, this probably isn't an enormous surprise, given my past posts, but really, it was all through research. Look, I've said it before, I'll say it again: any great writer - be it author or magazine writer - has to know how to dig up morsels and tidbits and information that sets them apart from the average aspiring writer who doesn't take the time or have the sensibility to do so. While I can't remember where I started, at some point in my research, I searched the forums at Writers.net (key words such as "younger," will bring up some threads with info). I also filtered through agentquery.com using the search terms "women's fiction," or "chick lit;" I believe that agentquery sometimes includes their college and graduating year (or shoots you to a link with more information that might). I cross-referenced all of these things with the agent's website, which often includes personal info such as graduation year or something in their bio that could give me a general sense of their age, (i.e, "I enjoy spending time with my husband now that my kids have left for college," or "I spend my non-agenting hours chasing my toddler around the house). I also double-checked my hunches on PublishersMarketplace: if she'd sold a lot of books that focused on younger women, chances were, she related to these heroines on some level, and thus might relate to mine. Oh, and there's always google: type in a name and you'll be amazed at what the engine spits back out...it might require some digging, but you can find 5k races (which list age), wedding announcements, alumni notes, you name it. And it never hurts to ask around: on the various Yahoo writers' loops, other repped friends, etc.
I don't mean to sound like a stalker here. I'm not. I'm just pointing out all of the ways that you can discover information on agents. They're normal people who live lives, and if you want to see if they'll be a good match for you - in terms of age, interests, etc - the information is probably out there.
That said, here are some of the up-and-coming younger/youngish agents whom I discovered on my hunt. (For the women's fic/chick lit category - the only one I looked into.) This list is by no means exhaustive, just some that come to mind.
Stephanie Kip Rostan
Nikki Van Der Car
This list is definitely not complete - just some of the names that I have in my notes. I don't know these gals personally, so don't write them and say that I suggested contacting them! (In fact, sidenote: it is very, very, very bad form to EVER do this to an established writer without asking him or her for permission to use her name. Even if she's passed you contact info, you simply don't name-drop unless she's told you that you can. I've seen a lot of my friends beyond steamed in these situations, and there's no faster way to burn a bridge. FYI.) I have no idea if any or all are accepting new clients, what their submission standards are, etc. I'm just telling you what I have jotted down.
So...which agents did I miss? And do you think that the age or demographic of your agent really matters?