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A year ago, I was an unpublished author who was eager to share my imagined adventures with the world.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.