Here's a little exercise for all you writers out there (which is probably everyone who reads this blog). Think about all the authors you've read for the first time in the past few years. They may be either established authors, or debut authors. If you were an agent, which ones would you offer to represent, if you had the chance?
As an agent, my list would consist of all subgenres of fantasy and paranormal romance except dark fantasy, plus all subgenres of science fiction, and all subgenres of mystery.
Some novels for which I would have offered representation immediately are:
The Book of Joby. This is a wonderful novel with probably the best opening I've ever read. Ever. Don't believe me? Go to the book store and read as much as you can of the opening without the manager frowning at you. Better yet, go here and listen to Mark read the prologue.
The first three novels I covered at Fantasy Debut: Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin, Thief with No Shadow by Emily Gee and Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep. For MLTF and Karma Girl, it was the voice. For Thief, it was the uniqueness of the plot.
The Queen of the Orcs, beginning with King's Property by Morgan Howell. I loved the portrayal of the orcs here.
Maisie Dobbs. Jacqueline Winspear does such a wonderful job recreating London in the 30s that I would have just had to have her.
Some novels that I ended up loving, but as an agent I might not have given enough of a chance:
You had Me at Halo. This was one of my favorite novels of the year. It made me cry. But I had a hard time with the opening and as an agent, I might not have spent the time necessary to get into this novel.
Auralia's Colors. Yes, I loved this too, but the protagonist was distant and the opening didn't engage me right away.
One For the Money. I would have slapped myself for passing on Janet Evanovich--who has become such a mega-star--but the opening was just not for me and I only got into this series at the urgings of a friend, who assured me that I'd love it. And I did.
Outlander. Another that I would have wanted to slit my wrists over for passing. Again, it was the opening that would have killed it for me. Of course, the novel's hook was so wonderful that I may have given it the chance it deserved. The time travel promise was the only reason I kept reading.
Hmm. The mega-sellers are all among those stories that I would have passed on. Many agents have an "I must love it" qualification before wanting to represent a novel. This shows me how few books I truly love.
What about you? Which authors would you represent? (If you do this on your own blog, please leave a link in the comments so I can go read it. Or, if you link directly to this post, I'll find it through Technorati. Probably. It doesn't find everything.)