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MarkH

Fantasy author would welcome some feedback

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Hi everyone,

I'm very happy to say that I've just had my debut novel published and would love to swap thoughts and opinions on what makes a compelling read. Obviously, some of my motivation is market research, but if I don't ask people who are interested in books who can I ask! With this in mind, what do you think attracts a potential reader? Would it be the front cover like mine below or is it more likely to be on the strength of the synopsis? Just how important is the cover art and what really determines our decision to invest the time to actually sit down and read a book? As a new author, I feel these questions are very important, so any insights you can give will be greatly appreciated. It may help me not to make the same mistakes if I ever get around to writing another one! :)

magiclandsamazonfe8.th.jpg

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Welcome to our neck of the woods, Mark! And congratulations on the novel--that's quite an achievement, and something (Lord willing) I hope to do someday.

Summing up what makes a compelling read could take some time, but it basically differs from book to book. When I'm browsing through a store, I will admit that I'm often drawn in first by book titles or covers; if it's a well-designed cover, I'll pick it up. I'm drawn more toward simple covers (almost any Cormac McCarthy cover comes to mind).

But while I find sci fi/fantasy covers lacking, the synopsis is what I focus on. But still, if it came down to two books that had tempting stories, I'd go with the better cover.

Basically, I realize that the cover doesn't always reflect the quality of the material inside, but it DOES play into my purchasing decisions.

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Thanks for replying Jason :) And I second your prayer that you achieve your dream of publishing a book some day. I absolutely agree that the synopsis is the most important thing. A good cover may encourage someone to take a closer look at a book, but it's the synopsis that makes the real difference. If you get a chance to check it out, I've posted my own synopsis at this link: http://hometown.aol.co.uk/markjohnhockley/...age/mywork.html

It would be great to get some feedback on it.

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Congrats on publishing your first book.

Covers and titles are a HUGE thing for me. If the cover and title don't pull me in, chances are, I'll never read the synopsis.

Typically, though, I don't purchase a book unless I've heard great things from others whose tastes I admire, or I know something about the author.

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For anyone interested there are a number of mini reviews of The Magic Lands on Amazon.co.uk It would be great to hear from some readers and I'm always happy to answers questions if anyone has one!

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As a small thank you for all of the support I've had here, I thought I would post an excerpt from a work in progress, which hopefully will end up being my next book. This is only a rough version, so don

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I thought this review that was just posted on Amazon UK might be of interest. I'm really pleased with it because the reader absolutely 'got' what the novel is meant to be about.

'If ever you've strayed in a dodgy part of town you'll have felt what this novel at times conveys; a sense of anxious dread and paranoid suspicion. Evil doesn't play by the rules or rather it does but the rules are hidden. You're left constantly wondering what lurks beyond the next page and 'The Magic Lands' doesn't disappoint with twsts and turns aplenty.

Surreal, beguiling, entrancing, deflating, uplifting and even at times demanding the book reminds you of life itself and I guess that's the point. I'd recommend this for the older teenager and above or a bright younger teenager as the concepts, whilst wrapped in a context akin to a child's story, are altogether adult and belong to a world we know in real life to be decidely grey and occasionally bleak.

However there is hope - but again, as in real life, at a cost - and the reader is ultimately rewarded for the journey they take with the two boys and their companions. I'll leave you to discover what that is for yourself but if you like your novels to reach out, grab your brain and go 10 rounds instead of lying passive like the pulp they often are then I highly recommend this book to you.

'The road is cruel and dark, my friend.'

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I thought I would let everyone know that my old AOL page with excerpts from The Magic Lands is closing. I have now created a new site that has the first two chapters from my book available to read. You can find it here: http://www.freewebs.com/markhockley/

Please do check it out if you get a chance. Comments are always welcome!

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Extract from a review of The Magic Lands:

"Surreal, beguiling, entrancing, deflating, uplifting and even at times demanding" - Rev Andy Drake

This makes me very happy and I thought I would share :)

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