So today's lesson is a "Do". As in, Do stalk the agents you want to query. Now before you go all crazy on me, I am not suggesting you head out to your local Army Surplus store and stock up on camouflage gear and binoculars. That is still creepy.
I'm talking about the safe kind of stalking done from your computer. When it comes time to write up your query list, don't stop at the submission guidelines posted on their website.
At a minimum, I would suggest following all the agents on your list on Twitter. I'll confess, the first time I did this, I felt like a big time stalker writer lady. I was more than a little concerned that agents would see that I followed them, then sent a query a month later and think I was lame, lame, lame.
I was wrong, wrong, wrong. For starters, with the quantity of queries coming in, it's unlikely an agent will recognize you from simply following them on Twitter. And even if they do, this can be a good thing.
There are so many folks out there who go to sites like QueryTracker and collect the email address of every agent out there. They send query letters like they're going out of style without any discrimination at all. Following an agent's Twitter feed (and paying attention to what they say they are looking for) shows that you are serious about your writing career.
But don't limit yourself to Twitter. A quick Google search will show if your list of agents maintain a blog. If they do, follow it. You should also check to see if the agents have given any recent interviews. Read them. You can also check out Facebook, but be careful here. Some agents keep FB personal. Look to see if the agent you want to query (or their agency) has a fan page. This will be a better source of information.
Use the information gathered to personalize your queries and hone in on which agents will be the best match for your work. No matter how you go about it, stalking agents is a good idea.