Literary agents divide themselves into fiction and non-fiction camps.

Grab that Guide to Literary Agents and start thumbing the pages. (Here's another great source: 1999 Guide to Literary Agents: 500 Agents Who Sell What You Write by Donya Dickerson.) These directories list agents by various categories, and spend a page giving you detailed information about the agent. In particular, you can see what the agent does or does not like to see in a query and a proposal and, more importantly, what books they have represented in the past.

Compile a list of 20 agents whose general interests align with the kind of book you're planning to write. If you've just come back from a fantastic trip to Borneo, look for agents interested in travel non-fiction. If you've got a burning desire to embellish tales about how your parents abused you, make a note of agents who specialize in fictional human dramas. You get the point. If you don't, you're not smart enough to be a writer.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW publish a book?