One of my friends in real life posted this question on her blog: How do I manage the agent thing when I want to write in multiple genres?
And what a good question. We don't read just one genre, so why would we want to write only one genre?
I've been to a few big writing conferences (such as WIFYR) and a few small writing retreats (such as the one last week), and because of these events I've had opportunities to talk to real-life literary agents. I don't know all there is to know about an agent, but I've learend a few things.
First off, it's important to find a literary agent who is interested in you as an author and who wants to help you develop a career as a writer; someone willing to invest in you. This is assuming, of course, that you're willing to invest in a writing career yourself.
Another critical thing (which I learned from Steve Fraser) is to find a literary agent who understands what it means to be an artist. Not everyone can crank out a new mystery novel every year nor do they want to. Art is a process. Art unfolds. And artists evolve and change and need to branch out and try their hand at something new. So, when you and an agent are considering working together, be sure to talk about your career goals--do you think you want to write an entire alphabet mystery series (that's 26 books!)? or do you think maybe after this YA novel you want to try adult non-fiction or maybe a picture book? Some agents are willing to represent you in a variety of differnt genres (if you're a strong writer) and those who know the market well will be able to help steer you in the right direction as well as find a good home for your book.
Don't get discouraged about following your wild genre dreams in terms of literary agents--a good one will take care of you. It's possible to find a good one who will represent you and help get your amazing books published.