Back in the 20th century when I had to fall back on being a writer, there were not so many agents. What people did then was get a publisher, and then after a book or two get an agent. Now there are a lot of agents. People look for an agent and then possibly get published. I suggest the following in shopping for an agent: However the relationship begins is how it will always be--so if an agent you are considering hiring treats you like they are doing you a great big favor...well, you see my point.