Hello Ms. Rejecter,
I have read interviews with agents who mention that they like it when a writer shows they've done their research on them by mentioning a current client of theirs or what types of books they prefer. Is this true? And if so, does it really have any effect on whether or not the agent will want to read more? My dilemma is I'm not sure how to show I've done my research, read books by their clients, etc. without sounding gushy. What's your take on this?
Mentioning a book type they prefer shows only that you own a copy of Writer's Digest. The most hilarious part is when people get it wrong, and say something like, "I know you much you love chick-lit..." when in fact, the agent hates it and has never done it except for that one time because the offer was huge and the writer was especially talented.
Mentioning a client of theirs as being an inspiration to you or whatever is a good idea, and does give you points, but not really a whole lot of points. The biggest "point givers" are (1) your actual novel idea and (b) any writing credits you have. The other stuff is minor.