Question of the week: About the "getting an agent" question--my problem is, I want to write young adult and juvenile fiction. Since writing YA fiction (usually) isn't as lucrative a writing market as others, do you know if it's standard for a writer to have an agent? I've seen YA agents advertising, but I'm not sure if it might be any more difficult getting representation, or if the difference is negligible and all areas take the same amount of perseverance and luck.
Actually, the YA market is one of the hottest markets to be in right now. Despite the internet and TV, teens are reading like crazy, they're armed with their parents' credit cards, and they're snapping books up in droves. And if you can write YA well - smart and appealing to that demo - and agent would be thrilled to have you.
Also, I should note that having an agent goes beyond just the actual dollar amount that he or she brings in for your book. He helps you negotiate the contract - no small feat - I think my contract is something like 20 pages long, helps you navigate the publicity process/cover art/blurbs/etc, and is generally around as your go-to cheerleader and advisor. I think it's short-sighted to only see your agent as the bait for more money.
I'm not that well-versed in the YA market because, er, obviously, I'm not a YA writer, but I'm sure that others here are, and they can weigh in on the industry. To find the best agent for you, I'd do a thorough search of Publishers Marketplace, Agent Query, google, Writers.net, etc, and if you land one, I think you'll be far better off than without.