Abridged by Gina Burgess
Finding an agent is difficult because there are a lot of really great agents, but there are hundreds of amateurs, and agents who are here today and gone tomorrow. There are probably just as many who are borderline or downright dishonest. Those are the ones that urge you to get your manuscript edited before submitting it, or who charge an upfront fee. The key is never assume all agents expressing an interest in your manuscript are reputable.
I know this because a watchdog group called Writer Beware has a list of more than 300 dishonest agents, maybe more by now. Yes, it is part of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers group, but it is definitely a great resource when you are a writer.