Querying literary agents

Literary agents, to many, are elusive creatures; difficult to find and communicate with in their native habitat.  Maybe like a panda or a snow leopard. Last month I wrote about whether you needed a literary agent. The majority of academic authors likely do not need one. Some, however, will need or benefit from one.

Briefly, an agent represents writers and their written works to publishers. They assist in the sale and negotiation between the writer and the publisher.

Let’s say you do want to try to secure one: how do you proceed?