Q: I want to submit a query letter to your agent. Any suggestions on how to appeal to your particular agent in my query letter?
If she likes chocolate, let me know what kind. (joke)
A: Oh, I know this feeling. How can you stand out in the crowd of submissions? Write your query letter on the back of a hundred dollar bill? Drop names of people that the agent might know? Say that you're sure your book will be a great TV show? Include cookies?
The only one of those suggestions that might work is the name-dropping -- and then, only if the name in question has read your manuscript and is willing to provide a blurb for it, if it's ever published. (Not many authors will read unpublished manuscripts because of the possibility of being accused of plagiarizing should they at some time in the future write something similar.)
Another time you might name drop would be when using a comparison -- as in, 'When I learned that you represent Glamora LaMour, I thought you might be interested in my manuscript which contains a similar blend of red hot passion and culinary hints.'
Really though, the best thing that you can do is to give an honest look at what your book is about. Of course you want a tantalizing hook that will make the agent want to learn more . But don't promise something you can't deliver.
For example, suppose you find out that the agent you're querying is fond of books with feisty grandmothers and your main character has a grandmother who appears in one scene. It might be tempting, when you write your query, to make more of that scene than there is.
But imagine the agent , enticed by the thought of a story about a feisty grandma, eagerly reading the manuscript only to find that it's really all about a twenty five year old triathete/astro-physicist . . . well, I suspect that agent might feel not only disappointed but that she'd been had.
My agent asks for a brief letter and the first ten pages of your book. It's those opening pages that will make the difference as to whether she'll want to see more.
All the gimmicks in the world won't sell an agent if she isn't grabbed by the story itself. It's the writing that will single you out from the crowd.