Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cover Reveal: An Empire in Runes

By the time I signed my publishing contract in early 2016, I already had two books written and had an outline for the final book in The Runes of Issalia trilogy. Despite the need to actually write book three and a daunting number of edits before any of them could be published, I believed that it might be possible to complete and release all three books within a twelve month window. 
Amazingly, it all came together and the release of An Empire in Runes is on the near horizon with an official publication date of April 27, 2017! 
I'm looking forward to the release date, eager to receive reader feedback on the culmination of the plot I first envisioned so long ago. 
As the story coalesced from my imagination into words on paper, I found myself deeply connected with the cast of characters, experiencing joy in each of their victories and sorrow when they endured loss. While the story of Brock and his friends ends with book three, the impression that they leave on the world of Issalia is significant and future tales within this world will undoubtedly hearken back to them in some manner. Until then, I hope they live on in your heart and imagination as they exist within mine.
Anyway, on to the COVER REVEAL. It depicts a key scene within the book. I hope you like it.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

It's Been a Great Year

A year ago, I was an unpublished author who was eager to share my imagined adventures with the world. Now, I have two YA/fantasy books published with a third on the way (coming in April). I've been exposed to the pains and joys of publishing and have been able to engage with a group of awesome readers, many of whom are now fans. While I won’t reach my one-year anniversary as a published author until May 5th,  I HAVE hit another milestone this week: It’s been oine year since I launched my online presence, including my Facebook page and author website. Accordingly, I thought I’d share some statistics for those who are interested in numbers.
As I write this, my Facebook Page has 462 followers, with more joining each week. In addition, my page and associated content has reached over 173,000 people in the past year. One quarter of that reach has been organic while the other three quarters relates to paid ads. Below, you will find charts associated with this data.
 Author Jeffrey L. Kohanek Facebook Page Total Likes Chart March 2017
Author Jeffrey L. Kohanek Facebook Page Total Reach March 2017
My author website is my home base, which includes info on my books, the world of Issalia, upcoming author events, and my author blog. In addition to acting as a resource for interested readers, I intentionally created an ecommerce site to make it easy for friends, family, and fans to purchase signed print copies of my books, regardless of payment method.
A year in and I an excess of 4,000 hits to my website, consisting of more than 3,600 unique visitors. As with any website, users originate from all around the globe. While the vast majority of visitors come from the United States, some of the other countries on the top ten list might surprise you. Check out this information, along with the social media referral sites below. As you can tell, about a third of my website visitors accessed my page from a link on social media. Interesting stuff.
 YA Fantasy Author Jeffrey L Kohanek website visitors  YA Fantasy Author Jeffrey L. Kohanek Website Visitor Referrals
Thanks to everyone who has liked or shared posts on social media and I especially thank you for reading my books. Book three of my series comes out in April. I am eager to hear what you think about the book and about how The Runes of Issalia trilogy ends. While THIS particular story comes to a conclusion, there are other tales to tell and I'm working on the next one as you read this. Look for more info in my quarterly newsletter, coming soon. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

It All Started With a Map

The first time my twelve-year-old self opened The Fellowship of the Ring, my eyes lit-up upon reaching page four. I found the map of Middle-Earth a revelation, painting this new world in a manner I had never before experienced. As I read through The Lord of the Rings, I would go back to that map countless times, studying it as Frodo and company journeyed across dangerous and fantastical lands.
Something special occurred while those books and I found my reading experience permanently corrupted. I would go to the bookstore or library, seeking stories that could capture my imagination as Tolkien did. As a result, I discovered authors such as David Eddings, Raymond E. Feist, Piers Anthony, Lyndon Hardy, Terry Brooks, Margaret Weiss/Tracy Hickman, and others. One thing that each of these books had in common was a map. I would scan the bookshelf for a cover that teased my imagination and I would immediately page through the first section of the book. Without fail, if I found no map, I would put the book back on the shelf and move on to the next.
After tasting the intriguing universes that high fantasy books offered, anything that took place within our own world seemed bland in comparison. I found that a map was the key to unlock these exciting new worlds, worlds that came to life within the pages that followed.
When I decided to enter the fray as an author, creating my own world and the stories of the characters that existed within it, I started with a map. Before I even created a plot outline, I needed a map to shape the world, a world with a rich history and a unique culture. Once the ancient kingdoms and current Empire of Issalia were drawn on paper, the last details of the plot and the magic system somehow became self-defined. Everything melded together as if it were a grand performance, perfectly orchestrated.
I am now deep into the final rounds of edits for the third book in The Runes of Issalia trilogy and I anxiously await for its April release. Although this particular adventure comes to an end, the world that surrounds the story contains many other tales waiting to be told. You can look forward to a prequel and even another series, taking readers to places and experiencing discoveries that I have only begun to imagine.
And to think, it all started with a map.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Beginning of the End

It’s been a while since I shared a blog post. That darn thing called life has been in the way, limiting how much time I could spend writing. Well, it’s a new year and I’m back. Let’s do this.
I began constructing the world of Issalia and Brock’s story almost three years ago. Now, I find myself writing the conclusion of the third and final book in the series. As Brock’s journey nears the end, I've found it an unexpected struggle to finish what I started so long ago. It’s not that I don’t want to complete the book. I’d love to get it done so I can share it with others as soon as possible. However, I found it a challenge to make it live up to my expectations.
Like many authors, I begin the writing process with an outline that identifies the major events and plot elements that I want to include. That outline is nothing more than a map, reminding me of the places that the plot needs to hit along the way. An outline does not define HOW I reach my final destination. In fact, HOW I navigate through the plot is often a surprise, coming to me organically as the words flow out. It is this “HOW” that eluded me when I entered the final chapters of the trilogy. I believe that I owe it to the readers and to myself to ensure that the conclusion to Brock’s journey lives up to the rest of the adventure. After all, I’m emotionally invested in these books and I hope that my readers feel the same way.
When I hit this veritable wall, I wanted to avoid the issue so badly that I shifted from writing new content to pouring through the existing chapters with a round of detailed edits. This bought me a month and then I was again forced to work on the ending. Who knew it would be so difficult?
I’m pleased to report that I had a breakthrough in the past week and the HOW came together, shaping nicely into something that makes me proud. With a new sense of momentum, I now have a clear path to completing this novel and plan to contact my editor next week so we can begin the next phase.
An Empire in Runes, which is the third book in The Runes of Issalia series, is set to release in April 2017. I’m excited to share it with you because I think you’ll love it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Prepare for Your Quest

I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming release of my latest novel, The Emblem Throne. It is the second book in The Runes of Issalia series and releases on October 6, 2016.
When can you place an order? VERY SOON!
On Friday, September 23, I will reveal the book cover and will begin accepting preorders on my website,JeffreyLKohanek.com. Not only will you receive a SIGNED first edition print copy of the book, but you also get it at a special discounted price when ordered before October 5. Preordered copies of The Emblem Throne will ship out on October 14.
Wait, there’s more.
If you have yet to read The Buried Symbol, I am offering a SERIES bundle deal. Place an order for the bundle and you will receive books I & II at a discounted bundle price along with a coupon for $2.00 off book III, which releases in spring 2017.
Come back on Friday to see the new book cover(teaser below) and to place your preorder.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Connecting with Readers

Today’s authors have numerous means to connect with readers, far exceeding what was available twenty years ago. The growth of the internet and the advent of social media have dramatically expanded the possibilities for unknown authors to gain a following. While it is paramount for authors to take advantage of these tools, nothing can truly replace face-to-face interaction. Accordingly, I have a busy fall schedule with a steady stream of personal appearances, where I hope to find new readers and meet my growing list of fans. Here is what is currently scheduled:
  • September 2-3: My fall tour kicks off at Meta Con on Labor Day weekend in Minneapolis, where I will be hosting a booth with another Minnesota-born author, Christopher D. Schmitz. On Friday and Saturday of the event, I will be there selling and signing books, meeting readers, and answering questions.
  • September 7: I am the featured author at Barnes & Nobel Bella Terra in Huntington Beach, CA, where I will be signing books and meeting readers from 6pm to 8pm to raise funds for the Fountain Valley High School PTSA.
  • September 17-18: Come see me at the Long Beach Comic Con. It will be a fun event with cosplay and prize giveaways for attendees who stop by my booth.
  • October 6: October begins with the launch of my new novel, THE EMBLEM THRONE, the second book inTHE RUNES OF ISSALIA Look for pre-order specials to appear on my website in mid-September with copies of the book shipping out in mid-October.
  • October 9: You can’t make it to any of the locations I have listed? Join me online as I participate in Virtual Fantasy Con as a featured author of Epic Fantasy books.
  • October 15: I am the featured author in Black Rose Writing’s booth at the Vegas Valley Book Festival in historic downtown Las Vegas.
  • October 16: You can’t make it to any of the locations I have listed? Join me online for Virtual Fantasy Conas it features authors who write YA Fantasy books.
  • October 28-30: I am hosting my own booth at Stan Lee’s Comikaze at the LA Convention Center. It will be three days of fun for attendees who to revel in comics, cosplay, and geek culture. Yes, my books can be lumped into that last bucket.
  • November 1: Are you interested in learning more about my writing process and about the possible routes to publication? I invite you to attend my workshop, A Writer’s Journey, at the Huntington Beach Public Library at 6pm to kick off …..month at HBPL.
Beyond the events listed above, I will somehow squeeze in a launch party for THE EMBLEM THRONE in the third week of October, despite the fact that I am also in the process of remodeling a house and moving.
No matter how busy I am, I will always have time for my fans. I sincerely thank those of you who have read my book and am extremely grateful to those who have provided reviews on AmazonGoodreads, and other book-related sites. I hope to see you amidst my upcoming events.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sitting Upon The Emblem Throne

I began seeking a publisher once I finished writing The Buried Symbol, a novel that is part of a larger story designed to span three books. Still entrenched within that story and seeing a clear path for where to take it, I decided to work on the second book while conducting my search. Although it took me a whole year to write the first draft of book 1, I was able to crank out a draft of book 2 in just four months, completing it before I even found my publisher.
With a contract signed and a release date to meet, the editing and production cycle for The Buried Symbol required my attention, while my draft of the sequel gathered dust. By the time I began editing book 2, The Buried Symbol was about to release and my productivity was limited with the distraction of marketing and sales efforts.
Here comes the good news: On August 13, 2016, almost a year after I began writing it, I submitted the final copy of book 2 to my publisher. Yes! It feels so good!
Before I discuss the book’s contents, I want to thank my family members for their roles as beta readers and send a special thanks to my editor, Sheryl, for doing a wonderful job in challenging me to produce the best book possible.
Now, about the book:
While Brock remains the protagonist throughout the series, The Emblem Throne reveals more about the other main characters, exposing their backgrounds and motivations so readers feel more connected to them. Expect more magic, more discoveries, and a lot more action in book 2. In fact, I find it almost exhausting because so much happens in the last third of the book. This is necessary because the payoff is coming in book 3 with a lot more action and there is no time to drag things out. Hopefully, readers will be surprised by what occurs and what is revealed.
I have included a synopsis of book 2, The Emblem Throne, below as a preview. Look for it to go up for pre-order in September. I thank all who purchased The Buried Symbol. Without you, there would be no second book.
The Emblem Throne will release for print on October 6, with the eBook following two weeks later.
-Jeff
A Synopsis of THE EMBLEM THRONE: Book II of The Runes of Issalia
Journey on a magical quest to save the world
In pursuit of their dreams to become Masters within the Ministry, Brock and his friends resume their training at the Academy, an institution founded on magic, science, knowledge, law, and combat. Unbeknownst to them, an expansive web of conspiracies and deceit exists within the Ministry and the Academy, hidden behind a veil of benevolence and piety. The exposure of one of these secrets forces Brock and his friends to flee the institution with their lives in the balance.
Joined by a fierce Tantarri warrior, the group embarks on a dangerous quest beset with monsters, both human and beast, to locate a throne that has been lost for centuries. Guided by the cryptic words of an ancient prophecy, and backed by a forbidden magic that they are still learning to wield, they journey across the continent to save humanity from extinction.