In the comments to a previous post someone mentioned that it's important an agent have AAR membership. Several big name agents at big houses aren't AAR members. If they offered representation, I'd leap at it. What am I missing here? Also how about an update on books you've enjoyed reading this year and, more importantly, why they worked for you.
You're only missing the info that AAR frowns on book packaging and some big agents do that work. Also, some agents don't belong cause they aren't looking for new clients. And some cantankerous and brutally effective agents subscribe to the Woody Allan "oops, wrong person" Groucho Marx dicta: I'd belong to no club that will have me as a member.
Principally AAR is a marketing tool for agents: we subscribe to this code of ethics, have to meet a minimum standard for admission etc. The benefit is we can market ourselves as AAR members. There are other benefits too of course, but principally it's a shorthand way of saying the agent has been in business, made sales, and promises not to rob you blind.
There are some very well respected agents who don't belong. You're wise to know not to dismiss them out of hand. Like every rule, there are exceptions. This is one.
And I'll do the list of books but more toward the end of the year I think when I have a chance to collect my wits from where I left them on a cross town bus.