I still have the letter she sent me requesting a full manuscript. A letter! A full! [I was happy if people asked for the first three chapters. Sometimes they asked for the first five pages. One agent only asked for the first page. So to be asked – right off the bat – for a full was amazing.]
For evidence that she took me on, all I have is a list of questions I had scrawled out for her, but I seem to have been too nervous to write down many of the answers. [Full disclosure #2: she was probably the 100th agent I queried.]
And I have some of the rejection letters that first book got. [Full disclosure #3: and that’s all it got. Rejection. Usually with a lot of love for the first part of the letter, followed by a "And yet," or "Despite this," or "However." All were of the heart-breaking close but no cigar variety.] My second book did not even get very good rejection letters. My third sold in three days.
Now everything is done by email and she reads manuscripts on her Sony E-Reader. The only time I affix a stamp to something going to her is on a Christmas card.
And while I think most agents have written contracts with authors, we have never had anything but our word. I would trust her with my life. And I trust her with a new baby every year or so.
This is the article that prompted me to contact her. It was pre-Internet, when it was a bit more difficult to find the names of agents. So I saw her name, thought "what the heck?" and somehow procured the address.
Moral of the story: don't ever give up.