Question: What is the most effective, efficient and expeditious way of getting these stories in front of a literary agent? The agent must belong to the Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR) with an eye toward short fiction. My question has three parts:
1) I have written a substantial block of short stories.
2) I need to "get in front" of an agent with these stories.
3) The agent must be a member of AAR.
John's Answer: 1) Your story collection title is great: Zen for Tough Guys.
2) Here are some agents that have sold short story collections in the past year (from my database of 1500 literary agents):
Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Agency, Henry Dunow, 22 West 23rd Street, 5th Floor, New York NY 10010. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: dunowcarson.com. Sold rights to Paul Zakrzewski's anthology Lost Tribe to Harper. Sold rights to Gregory Spatz's short story collection Wonderful Tricks to Mid-List Press.
John Hawkins & Associates, Matthew Miele, 71 West 23rd Street #1600, New York NY 10010-4101; 212-807-7040; Fax: 212-807-9555. Email: email@example.com. Sold rights to Matthew Derby's Super Flat Times short story collection to Back Bay Books. Sold rights to a short story anthology Lit Riffs to Pocket.
Jonathan James Agency, Jonathan James. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Focus on quality literary fiction and short story collections.
Lukeman Literary Management, Noah Lukeman, President. Web: lukeman.com. Sold rights to Phyllis Moore's debut short story collection, A Compendium of Skirts, to Carroll & Graf. Wants no manuscripts (September 2010 update).
Regal Literary, Peter Steinberg, 27 West 20th Street #1103, New York NY 10011-3707; 212-807-0888; Fax: 212-807-0461. Sold rights to a novel and short story collection by Brad Watson to Norton. Sold rights to Cathy Day's first collection of interrelated stories The Circus in Winter to Harcourt.
Trident Media Group, Jenny Bent, 41 Madison Avenue, 36th Floor, New York NY 10010; 212-262-4810; Fax: 212-262-4849. Email: email@example.com. Web: tridentmediagroup.com. Sold rights to a novel and short story collection by Ann Cummins to Houghton Mifflin.
3) I believe that the agents listed above are all members of AAR. I do know that they are all reputable agents, among the best in the business.