I recently created an 30 page early reader children's book and have begun the process of looking for an agent.There's the first problem. Don't talk about number of pages. Talk about number of words.
1a.) Is a hard copy of a query letter recommended over an email? Can you clarify what is preferred?There's your second problem: I don't know the answer to this, because I don't know who you're querying. Everyone is different. Some agents prefer hardcopy; others prefer email. You should find out what the agents you want to query would like from you.
1b.) I work in the internet industry and was wondering if I could create a very simple website with a flip through of the book that would show all copy and images. Within an email query, I could paste a URL that the agent could click on to take them to the site to review the work. It seems like a very simple way to show the agent the book and what I'm all about and save time on both sides as the review would take five minutes instead of the mail it in, wait in the pile, usual procedure.Take it from me, you are not the first person to think of this. But if you'll take my advice, you may in fact be the very first person to think better of it. I promise-- cross my heart and hope to die!-- that the method of querying that each agent requests (whether hardcopy, email, or hot air balloon) is what is easiest for them.
If you can think of a method that seems like it would be easier than the requested method, what that really means is that you think it would be easier for you in that position. But they know what is easiest for them.
Show them you can play ball. Show them you can read instructions, and did a modicum of research before querying. Show them you want to work with them. What many a querier shows agents is, instead, that he only wants to work with himself.