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, 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.
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.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

And now, for a little insight...

Here is a transcript from a recent author interview that featured yours truly. Enjoy.
Today I have the privilege of having Jeffrey L. Kohanek, author of the book, The Buried Symbol, for an author interview. If you leave a comment below before the end of July, we’ll put your name in a hat, and one lucky responder will receive a copy of The Buried Symbol, book one in The Runes of Issalia trilogy. So, don’t forget to drop a comment below for a chance to win!

Thanks for joining us today, Jeff! What inspired you to start writing a fantasy novel?
From a young age, I’ve felt driven by an internal desire to create. With an early love for heroes with super powers, I found my childhood-self creating my own comic books. In my adult life, I’ve spent a number of years writing in a business-marketing role, which allows for creativity but not to the extent that I would like. Two years ago, I decided to harness that creativity in a new way and focus on writing novels.
I had ideas in my head about a world, a magic, and a story that I wanted to tell. Inspired by other amazing fantasy authors, I spent the next year writing the first book. Six months later, I signed with a publisher and have been on a wild ride ever since.
I was that way as a kid, too. Bet there's a lot of guys who hoarded comic books, but creating our own, that's a different story. What authors have most influenced your life? What did you like about their work?
Different authors have influenced various points of my life. In grade school and middle school, I first grew to love fantasy novels during my journeys to wondrous lands such as CS. Lewis’ Narnia and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. In my teens, my love for epic fantasy grew to a crescendo with David Eddings’ Belgariad and Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar series capturing my imagination, leaving me enthralled with the idea of discovering magical abilities and learning to harness them. When I finally decided to write The Runes of Issalia trilogy, it was with the desire to instill that same sense of wonder in my readers.
More recently, I would say that my favorite authors are Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, and Patrick Rothfuss. I consider Jordan to be the king of worldbuilding, Sanderson to be the best at creating interesting magic systems, and Rothfuss to be a grand storyteller. When you read my series, you should see some influence from each of the authors listed as they have all shaped my work in some manner.

I can see some of Jordan in your writing, especially the good/bad magic of Saidin vs.Saidar. I would agree on his worldbuilding, it's amazing. Your Issalia is pretty immersive as well. Not only present day, but it seems to have a very rich history, which I'm sure we'll get a peek at in later books.

Brock is an overcomer, sort of like Aladdin at the beginning. Tell us about him. Was there a real-life inspiration behind him?
I often gravitate toward the underdog, finding their ability to succeed against difficult odds to be extremely compelling. Thus, featuring a protagonist that is the classic definition of an underdog was as easy choice for me to make.
Brock is the embodiment of the human spirit, refusing to give up though he has little history of success in his past. As the story progresses, things become easier for him partly because of his dramatic status change and partly because he finds himself in a position that takes advantage of his natural abilities.
I modeled Brock after myself, but a better version of myself. While he certainly isn’t perfect, I wanted a protagonist is likable and perhaps even inspirational. He is small of stature, but has a big heart. He has good intentions, but is willing to break the rules when necessary. He is selfish enough to look out for himself, but shows compassion toward others whenever possible. Brock wants to do the right thing because that where his moral compass points him, even if doing the right thing is against the law or against popular opinion.

The plight of the Unchosen in The Buried Symbol is similar to several people groups in our world today who are discriminated against, treated as a bit less than ‘people’. The Untouchables in India comes to mind. Was there something that inspired this facet of your novel?
The evils of discrimination is definitely an underlying theme in the book. By placing the reader behind a main character who is treated like a social outcast, it provides perspective that I hope will have positive impact. However, I cannot lie and say that was my only goal. The existence of Unchosen is a critical plot element for the series, leading to a number of secrets that come to light during the story. The first reveal occurs near the end of book one, but there is more to come as the plot unfolds.
I know what you mean, but of course saying more would be introducing spoilers. :-)

The idea of Runes being a source of power, or a way to identify or harness power, is new to me. Was there something that gave you the idea, or was that something you dreamed up on your own?
Rune magic in various forms exists in other fantasy works. However, the particular approach I took is something that I dreamed up while reading book two of The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. Having an engineering background, I gravitate toward magic systems that are logical, considering magic to be a kind of science that we haven’t yet discovered. When readers follow the story, I want them to feel as if they know how to work this magic and can put themselves in Brock’s position as he discovers the limits of his abilities.
Is that common to engineer authors? Magic 'mechanics' or science, is intriguing to me as well. 

What was your favorite chapter (or part) in the book, and why?
Three specific chapters jump out at me, but they likely aren’t what you think.
  1. I love the chapter where Brock has a flashback dream of his childhood, drawing tears every time I read it.
  2. I also really like the chapter where Brock and Ashland first kiss because it stirs memories of how it felt to be seventeen and fall in love for the first time.
  3. However, my favorite chapter is the morning after Brock’s first experience drinking wine at The Quiet Woman inn. Fantasy books often feature dark taverns filled with rude men groping pretty waitresses. I created The Quiet Woman to be the opposite of that trope, filling it with women drinking coffee or wine and feeling welcome and empowered. Since it rarely has male patrons, Brock’s gregarious nature quickly makes him a favorite of the women who frequent the inn. When Tipper describes Brock’s antics from the previous evening, Brock groans in embarrassment at what he did while under the influence of too much wine. In addition to making me laugh, I see the chapter as a good lesson for all ages as to what can happen when you abuse alcohol. I wrote the chapter from experience, knowing that I need to keep the lesson in mind as well. As a side note, I’m known to take my shirt off and do some acrobatics from time to time, so you know where that part of the story came from.
Is there a message in your novel that you hope your readers will grasp?
I don’t want to sound preachy, nor make my book seem that way. However, if my writing can influence some readers to be a bit more compassionate, I’ve made the world a better place. I also hope to inspire others to overcome the obstacles in their life.
I’d love to read more of Brock and Tipper and their friends at the Academy. When will the sequel be out, and how can readers nab a copy?
Book 2, The Emblem Throne, is releasing on October 6, 2016. Readers will be able to pre-order signed print copies from my website in early September. It will also be out in print and ebook formats with major book retailers after the release date.

How can readers get in touch with or follow you?

For the original interview, visit: Christian Indie Book Reviews

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Influencing the World

Governments and societies have a dramatic effect citizens' lives, shaping their views, beliefs, and perception of the world. History and the daily news have shown time and again the level of influence that governments have on society. Accordingly, when a fantasy author chooses a government to build a world and story upon, it can have a dramatic impact on numerous elements, including character motivation and plot.
Consider Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire Series) and the aristocracy that rules Westeros. The nobles are forever scheming against one another, jockeying for a better position of power regardless of how it impacts the lower classes. That environment creates an inordinate amount of deceit and betrayal, resulting in drama and intrigue at every turn. Nobles who attempt the high road, hoping to circumvent the selfish nature of the game, find themselves at a disadvantage to those who ignore the moral implications for their acts. George R. R. Martin's plot revolves around this dynamic, making it as critical to the story as any other aspect of the series.
This is but one of many approaches an author might a society upon. Dystopian societies have proven popular of late, particularly in teen fantasy novels. The worlds within these stories are often controlled by a fascist government, ruling with an iron fist, or by a socialist government where the leaders hide behind false propaganda used to convince citizens to donate everything to the greater good. In either case, the lower class suffers greatly while those at the top enjoy the spoils. Social inequity and injustice become a plot motive, urging a protagonist to push back and inspire the lower class into a rebellion, similar to The Hunger Games trilogy.
For The Runes of Issalia series, I chose to build my story around a theocracy. The Issalian Empire is a caste-based society with the Ministry acting as the ruling class, dictating the laws in addition to guiding the spiritual lives of citizens, all in the name of their god, Issal. While most governments only control the laws and economy that effect daily life, theocracies are designed to also dictate the spiritual beliefs that impact an individual’s afterlife. Possessing this unnatural level of influence upon the citizens of the Empire naturally creates the opportunity for the Ministry to be fraught with corruption. This concept enabled me to create a plot wrapped about a series of conspiracies, dating back hundreds of years. As the story unfolds, secrets are revealed that give clues to the extent of the conspiracy and the corruption that hides behind the cloaks of Ministry leaders. Those who have read book one have an inkling to the extent of their lies, but you must read on to discover the depths of their deceit.
Fantasy authors can weave many types of tales, focusing on various aspects of the fantastic. Regardless of plot, government and society structure will play a role. Consider the various types of government that you've been exposed to when reading fantasy novels. Kingdoms ruled by monarchs are certainly the most common but even among those, you may find unique aspects that make one world more intriguing than another. For aspiring fantasy authors, I suggest that you strongly consider these elements and choose wisely, for it can greatly influence the story you tell. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My First Author Newsletter

The article below is an excerpt from my first quarterly author newsletter, which was emailed to subscribers today. To get the whole scoop, including the special surprise, you can subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of my Author Website.
It's been two months since The Buried Symbol was released. The reception from readers and critics thus far has been great, although I could certainly use a few more reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other reader sites. As for book sales, it appears to be going as well as can be expected for a first-time author working with a small publisher, but I have nothing to compare against. What I can tell you is that I love receiving feedback from readers and it encourages me to push forward with the sequels.

For readers eagerly awaiting book two, The Emblem Throne is releasing in October!

With my publishing contracts for books two and three now signed, I am back to working against a schedule. Thankfully, the second book was written months ago and merely must endure a sequence of edits. As for book three, An Empire in Runes, I still have much work to do. The book is over half written but deserves a delicious ending to cap-off the series. With my focus now shifted back to editing book two, it will be months before the first draft of book three is complete. Look for an update in my October newsletter. In the meantime, check the progress graphs for each book below.

If you or someone you know would like to purchase a SIGNED copy of The Buried Symbol, visit myWEBSITE and use code LostMagic at checkout and receive a 20% discount.

Lastly, I've included a special treat below, just for newsletter subscribers. 

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive an inside scoop about my upcoming books and author events

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Authors are Fans of Their Fans Too

In my youth, I was always eager to join my parents for a trip to the local mall. Of course, the moment we stepped into the building, I would take off on my own with my first destination usually being Waldenbooks or B. Dalton Booksellers. With a mixture of anticipation and dread, I would run to the fantasy shelves to see if the latest book by David Eddings or Raymond E. Feist was waiting for me. When those hopes were dashed, I would peruse the shelves for the next hour, hoping to discover another author who might transport my imagination to a thrilling new world filled with magic and wonder.
Predating the Internet or email, discovering new books and new authors was far more difficult than it is today. Even worse, it was nearly impossible for this kid living in the sticks of northern Minnesota to have any sort of connection with the authors whose works I cherished dearly. Questions unanswered bounced within my head: What are they working on? When will it come out? What happens next in the series? How many times do I need to reread my favorite books until the next chapter appears on the shelves?
Thanks to technology, access to information and ease of communication has grown exponentially. Booklovers can now interact with their favorite authors in ways that were impossible twenty years ago. As a counterpoint, authors can establish a more open connection with readers, sharing their work and progress in a proactive way. One important tool that satisfies both sides is the Author Newsletter.
Sometime next week, I plan to push out my first quarterly newsletter to readers who have registered through my author website. Recipients will get inside information on my next book and awareness of the activities I have planned for the rest of 2016. This tool not only provides them with some insight on the release date and plot, but also offers more transparency about the writing and publishing process.
Do you have favorite authors? Are you eagerly waiting for the next chapter in a series? If so, I encourage you to visit said author’s website and sign up for their newsletter/fan club. Not only do you get the inside scoop on what’s next, but your involvement provides the author with a tighter connection to readers, encouraging him or her to write more books and to remain engaged in a more personal manner.
If you’d like to receive my quarterly newsletter, visit my website at and sign up at the bottom of the page. Don’t forget to accept the confirmation email from MailChimp.
Get ready, because news is coming soon!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Don't Let the Darkness Win

The darkness is seductive, luring readers into a world of ruthless and selfish characters. This has been particularly true in epic fantasy novels, as the moral gap between protagonist and antagonist has narrowed dramatically over the past two decades.
Years ago, the dark lead character was far less common. There was a time where most fantasy novels featured a protagonist with a good heart, imperfect but well intentioned. Somehow, the cynical nature of the real world around us has prevailed, compelling readers toward the morally ambiguous lead who would just as soon slit your throat as shake your hand. As an example, this type of character dominates The First Law universe. The edginess of it all can become a rush for the reader, making him or her feel that it’s good to be bad.
As a reader, I found myself caught in this fishnet, drawn into a sequence of fantasy series featuring dubious characters driven by their own selfish personal agenda. Not every character was outright nasty, some landed in an ambiguous region where black and white blurred to gray. Even worse, some authors opted to include a few honest characters for me to love, only to kill them off and leave me destitute and in search of replacement within the story. Yes, Game of Thrones, I'm looking at you (A Song of Ice and Fire series).
After a few years of enduring tales featuring individuals who were as bad as they were good, I decided I could take it no longer. It’s one thing to read a novel or series and find a character who is good at heart, but goes through a troubled period. A good example is the Wheel of Time series. There were times when I really disliked Rand, feeling frustrated by his arrogance and self-pity. However, he eventually got past it and found balance to show that he remained the good person we remember from when the series began. I get it. Behavior changes and internal conflict are natural human responses to the events that impact our lives.
However, I would like to know when and why it became unpopular for the main character to be a good person. Books featuring a protagonist who tries to do right, using a moral compass to guide them, often find reviewers labeling the protagonist as shallow or one-dimensional.
What is wrong with the main character in a novel being likable? Shouldn’t readers gravitate toward a likable character? I'm not saying that darker tales featuring cold-blooded lead characters shouldn't exist, it just shouldn't be at the expense of stories intended to inspire.
It’s obvious that a morally conscientious protagonist provides a good role model for young readers. However, I believe that even adult readers need a reminder that compassion and integrity are traits that define humanity and without them, we will at some point cease to be human. For the sake of making all worlds better, real and imaginary, I beg you not to allow the good guys fade from the pages that feed our imagination. Embrace the light, don’t let the darkness win.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Festive Experience

I spent the past weekend at the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, California. Being my first foray into the convention scene as an author, it was quite a learning experience. 
Traveling from southern California, my son and I took an early morning flight, hauling heavy luggage stuffed with books, props, and supplies. After a 4:45 am rise, we arrived at the event at 9:45 am, just fifteen minutes before it opened. We quickly set the booth up and were ready for interested readers!
From 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday and Sunday, I stood before my little tent and greeted attendees. I met some great readers and supportive fellow authors, handed out over a hundred bookmarks, and sold twenty-one signed copies of my book. While I had hoped to sell more copies, my results appear to be a bit better than average and were far better than many other exhibitors. 
In addition to the direct sales, I also was able to create awareness about my book and the upcoming sequels, doing so in a region outside of my local territory. Hopefully, the readers who purchased The Buried Symbol, at the event and afterward, love the book and tell their friends. Word-of-mouth remains the main driving factor for book discovery and purchase. You have to start that snowball somewhere, hoping it grows quickly and continues to roll forward.
Similar to any first-time experience, I learned a lot by attending the book fest. That knowledge will help me be more prepared for future author events. I'm sincerely looking forward to that first public event that includes fans seeking me out because they love my novels and wish to meet the author. That's the real reward for all the hard work that goes into being an author (although making money helps too). I love my readers!
Pictures of the event are included below for your entertainment. Yes, many people spun the wheel to determine their vocation. I found that many people approached me, just to ask what the wheel was and what the runes meant. That allowed me to tell them a bit about the book and spurred some added sales.
Post a message if you have any questions or comments about the event!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Reddit Fantasy Writer of the Day

I am hosting the Writer of the Day blog over at Reddit/Fantasy on Wednesday, June 1. The thread will run throughout the day and you can check out the discussion by clicking the link below.
It's a great opportunity to ASK QUESTIONS about my writing process or about The Buried Symbol and the two sequels that are in the works. Please consider participating because the more activity I have on the thread, the more people will check it out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Promoting a Book: Part 2

This is part two of my blog about my book promotion activities. If you haven't read part one yet, check it outhere for more info. 
Book Reviews
Reviews can do a lot to help garner interest in a book. Good reviews provide potential readers more confidence in your novel and makes the book more intriguing. Knowing that I needed reviews, I reached out to more than 160 book bloggers, offering a free copy of my book in exchange for a review. Sixteen bloggers accepted, pledging to get me a review within a few weeks or months. Less than half have come through thus far, more than a month after sending them my book. I also attempted to get reviews from Booktubers, but have gotten nowhere with that route at this point.
In addition to book bloggers, I provided my book to free and paid book review organizations, such as Midwest Book Review, Booklist, and Kirkus. Some of these routes take months before you get a review, which causes difficulties since librarians and booksellers rely on these review services to determine if they should order your book. Another means to get a book in front of librarians and reviewers is to pay for a listing with NetGalley and/or Edelweiss. Working through my publisher, I opted to do both.
Author Interviews
While interviews don’t have the power of a good review, they offer an easy way to create more awareness. If readers aren’t aware that your book exists, they won’t seek it out. Deciding that any exposure is helpful, interviews also enabled me to present my book and myself in a way that seems more personal. Creating this connection with potential readers may not lead to immediate sales, but it does help to garner their attention and may help in the long run.
I found that getting interviews posted with book bloggers tends to be much easier than getting them to review a book. Interviews provide bloggers with content for their website and require very little effort or time on their part, while doing a book review is a commitment of 4 to 10 hours. I was also able to get an interview in the May edition of Fountain Valley Living, a local publication of 25,000 subs.
Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and YA Books Central are book-focused sites that provide simple tools for authors to run book giveaways. Interested readers can enter to win a free print or digital (it’s up to you which format) copy of a book. I opted to run giveaways on all four sites, tracking them to measure interest generated. While I might lose money by sending out free copies of my book, it’s an investment for the awareness created. I find that these giveaways help to gain the attention of hundreds of readers that I may not have reached otherwise. I just hope that it will eventually lead to sales.
Book bloggers love to run giveaways on their own sites because it adds more perceived value to the readers who visit the website. Any blog site that frequently gives free books out is more likely to get repeat business than one that doesn’t have that service. The fact is that people love free stuff. The trick for any author is to decide how many copies you can afford to give out and when the giveaways begin to lose their value because you are not hitting enough new potential buyers.
I find that paid advertising is the most difficult aspect to gauge regarding book promotion. While there are many routes to advertising, deciding which routes are good investments is quite difficult. I believe that I will have to experiment with sites such as Facebook, Goodreads, and others in order to see what route works best. I have also been considering book blog tours, multi-media websites, and other potential marketing routes.
One promotion that I did decide to try was the social advertising route, getting multiple weeks-worth of constant tweets, Facebook posts, and other social media ads through a company that focuses on that type of promotion. Since that effort is currently active, I can’t gauge results other than increased product awareness.
Festivals and Conventions
The best marketing targets exactly the type of person who is most likely to purchase a product. My product is a fantasy book, so spending time and money on book festivals and geek conventions (like Comic-Con), is a wise investment. With more than a hundred thousand people in attendance, these events attract people who love to read and people who love magic and fantasy. Those are my readers. But I don't want to just be there passively, I am there in full force.
From a distance, you will see my banner inviting you to Discover a lost magic, buried and forgotten. Swing by my table and you will find it decked-out. We are wearing Academy cloaks and holding the lost book of magic. You can spin a wheel to determine your vocation rune and receive your temporary tattoo for your vocation. I'll give you a free bookmark, some candy, and am happy just to talk. Alternatively, you can buy signed copies of my books, with cash or credit. Regardless, I will make sure that the people I meet have fun and remember stopping by my booth.
As you can tell, book promotion is a multi-faceted venture that requires a lot of time, effort, and some level of financial investment. Thankfully, I have the help of my publicist to share in the workload, which is necessary because I work a full-time day job and am writing book and editing book 2. In the end, the time and money I spend now are seeds for the future, helping to grow a fan base that will eagerly consume the books I write. This effort is not only about The Buried Symbol, nor is it just about The Runes of Issalia trilogy. I am investing in myself as an author, hoping to connect with as many readers as possible for all of my future books.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Promoting a Book: Part One

  Jeffrey L Kohanek
When I finally decided to write a book and pursue getting it published, I had no idea what to expect. After 1,000s of hours of writing and editing, I found a publisher and then realized that I was going to have to put my marketing hat on and get serious. It turns out that successful authors put as much work into promoting their book as they do writing it. There is so much involved in book PR that I chose to split this blog into two parts.
I decided that the first step would be to create an author website. It is my home base and is the one location on the internet that I control fully. All messaging, images, contact info, events, author biography, blog thread, and more are intended to be part of a tight strategy. Any social media or bookseller links would send readers back to my website whenever possible, creating a hub to my online presence.
Social Media
In today’s world, I had to have a social media presence. It is a means to share information with my readers and to help create awareness of me as an author and of my books. I created a Facebook author page, opened a Twitter account, jumped onto Google+, created a Tumblr page, and added Instagram to my toolkit.
Book-Focused Websites
I need to be wherever people who like books might go. Accordingly, I now have a book and/or an author page on the largest online booksellers’ pages. In addition, sites such as Goodreads, Library Thing, and YA Books Central are sites designed to help readers discover and review books for themselves. A list of my online links is shown below.
Online Presence: List of Links
Launch Events, Signings, and Guest Speaking
My book released on May 5, 2016. Accordingly, my publicist (thanks for all the help, Jodi) and I set up a number of author events to promote the book. With two launch parties, two author meet-n-greets, and a two-day book festival set within the first month, I will be busy. See the Launch Event Schedule below. If you can make it to any of these events, I would love to meet you and answer questions about the book or my writing process.
Event Date               Event Type and Location
Thurs May 19, 2016:   Book Launch Party @Lamppost Pizza, Fountain Valley, CA
Sat May 21, 2016:      Book Launch Party @Mama’s on 39 in Huntington Beach, CA
Tues May 24, 2016:    Author Event @Mangiamo Gelato CafĂ©, Huntington Beach, CA
Sat May 28, 2016       Author Event @Great American Yogurt, Huntington Beach, CA
Sat June 4, 2016:       Bay Area Bookfest, Berkeley, CA
Sun June 5, 2016:      Bay Area Bookfest, Berkeley, CA
Guest Speaking
I am offering a FREE 30-minute seminar to schools and libraries titled A Writer’s Journey: The Path to Publication, where I will share what I've learned from my experience in writing and getting published. I hope that this will help to encourage others who dream of writing a book while also helping them to avoid some of the pitfalls that I encountered on my journey. My first session is set at Fountain Valley High School on May 19I hope to do more sessions this school year and in the future.
This gives you an idea of what is involved in a book launch. Tune in next week for part two of this blog for more into and to see what else I have cooking.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Creating a Cinematic Exerience

While writing, I picture each chapter as if it were a movie playing within my head. The words on the paper paint the imagery and express the emotions as the story unfolds. However, an important component of films that is lacking is the music to set the mood. An outstanding soundtrack can elevate a good film to become an amazing cinematic experience.
With the launch of The Buried Symbol, I thought that it would be fun to offer readers this type of experience while reading the book. Below is the soundtrack that I would choose to enhance my story if it were a movie. If you decide to play along, follow the text below and listen to the music as directed. Enjoy.

My Best Theory by Jimmy Eat World
Start the song BEFORE you begin the book. Read the intro text below as My Best Theory plays, but be ready to pause the music at 1:11 mins in:  
The Moment BEFORE Chapter 1:
A solitary seabird soars through the night. Hundreds of feet below, the wavering reflection of starlight dances on the rippled surface of the ocean. The bird approaches the pale form of a low cloud bank, so thick that it appears tangible. Without slowing, the bird is engulfed by the wall of fog, the damp air slipping past as it flies blindly through the murk.
The bird dives lower until the tile rooftops of a city begin to take shape. Leveling to fly just above the rooftops, the bird passes over the empty streets of the sleeping city. With two flaps of its wings, the bird gains enough elevation to clear a wall that divides the city. Once over the wall, buildings far more grande than those behind it emerge from within the milky air.
Curling its wings in, the bird slows to land softly on the ridge of a tiled rooftop. With a twitch and a ruffle of its body, moisture flicks off the bird's feathers. Now upon a comfortable perch, the bird sticks its head beneath a wing as it begins to preen itself. The sudden movement of a shooing hand flicking nearby catches the bird's eye, causing it to squawk and take flight. The bird sails off into the mist as the flapping sound of its wings fades into the still night.
Pause song at 1:11 and read CHAPTER 1.
After CHAPTER 1 is finished, listen to the rest of the song as you begin reading CHAPTER 2. The music should finish before you reach any dialog.

Meant to live by Switchfoot
Play the song after CHAPTER 3. Listen to the first verse, thinking about Brock's emotional state. Once the first verse is complete, go ahead and begin reading CHAPTER 4 while the song finishes.

I'm already gone by A Day to Remember
Start the song just before the last paragraph of CHAPTER 10. Once it's over, begin CHAPTER 11.

See me smiling by Yellowcard
Play the song before you begin reading CHAPTER 20.
Pause after the first verse (1:15) and read until the first mid-chapter break.
Play another verse (until 2:18) and pause again as you read until the next mid-chapter break.
Play the end of the song and then finish the chapter after its over.

The Kids in the Dark by All Time Low
Start the song with the fourth paragraph of CHAPTER 25.

Failure by Breaking Benjamin
Start the song after CHAPTER 29. Listen to it until the 2nd verse completes (2:16) and then begin reading CHAPTER 30 while it finishes.

Dare you to move by Switchfoot
I know, I know. Another Switchfoot song. What can I say? Their songs are intended to be inspirational. Play this song right after finishing CHAPTER 49. Let it finish before starting CHAPTER 50.

Starlit Sky by Workday Release
Play this song during or right after CHAPTER 59. Oh, no Brock. What is happening? Let it finish before you begin CHAPTER 60.

Two is better than one by Boys Like Girls
Play song between CHAPTER 72 and CHAPTER 73. Yes, this one is quite sappy. That's how love is sometimes.

My Hero by Foo Fighters
Listen to this after CHAPTER 79. Feel free to begin CHAPTER 80 whenever you wish.

Give me a sign by Breaking Benjamin
Yes, two songs by BB. I like the band and the song works.
Play the song at the mid-chapter break in CHAPTER 87 (page 334). Listen until 1:25 in and pause to read the rest of CHAPTER 87.
Play the song again until 2:52 in and then read CHAPTER 88 until you get to the mid-chapter break on page 338.
Play the end of the song as you read the rest of the chapter. Timing is VERY important on this one. You'll see why if it works out.

My Best Theory by Jimmy Eat World
Play the song at the end of CHAPTER 91. Pause at 1:11 and go on to read the EPILOGUE. After the EPILOGUE, finish the song, imagining final film credits with motion paused scenes similar to SHERLOCK HOLMES (starring Robert Downey Jr.).
That's my soundtrack. Try it out while you read the book. Let me know if you like the idea. Maybe I am starting a new trend for other authors to follow.