There’s a common misconception that it’s impossible for a new writer to find themselves an agent unless they’ve got friends in the business, or a publishing deal already on the table. It seems that publishing is considered a closed shop. And this just isn’t the case.
I got my agent by emailing her, and asking if she’d consider my work: I didn’t have any sort of deal in place. She asked for a sample of my novel, then she asked for the whole thing; then she bought me a very nice lunch and off we went. The whole process took less than a week. Honestly: if a writer’s work is good enough and is submitted to an appropriate agent, it will find representation sooner or later.