Q. Can you tell me how I can find an agent with experience who is over 50 years old? I'm an experienced, published, academic writer (over 50) transitioning into lyrically-written fiction from scholarly, i.e., footnoted writing. I write literature with analytical, literary theory underpinnings and subtext, and feel that agents under 50 won't be able to understand my work. Any advice on this? And, in the guide books, do agents indicate their experience level? (Also, unfortunately, I cannot afford to travel to conferences, since I've been a low-wage adjunct.)
A. Tamara, I gotta say that this is one of the most unique questions I've ever gotten on the blog.
You can find an agent's experience level by looking at what books they've sold. This is the type of information you will have to look in multiple places for - namely WritersMarket.com, the agency's Web site, and Publishers Marketplace. It's not easy researching who sold what. Younger agents might have plenty of sales. Older agents may be brand new to the game.
Pretty much the only way to target "older" agents is to find pictures of them on their agency pages (or using Google images) and take a guess at who is over 50. But I don't think this is a good plan in the first place. It sounds like you're writing literary fiction, so I suggest you simply target agents who handle this category and strike your interest. Some may "get" your writing style while others don't. Something as unique as your project might require a lot of queries and sample pages e-mailed out before you find your perfect match.