ISSUE #51
Plans for the Fall

August 27, 2021

Good Friday, readers.

 

Ongoing at Rahaman Writing:

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I hope you've all had an awesome August. Mine has been full of progress and planning. I expect to be finished editing Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind in its entirety around the end of the month, however, I want to make sure it gets as successful a release as possible, so I currently plan on releasing it at the beginning of December 2021.

 

The reason for the big gap between the completion and release of the book is because I want to promote Inner Expanses throughout October, as it is a better "Halloween" book, though, I plan on including an ad for Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind in the backmatter with a link to preorder the collection. From my marketing research, preorder sales basically count as day-1 sales, as readers actually get the product on the release date (digitally, at least). The plan is to get more readers for Inner Expanses and to essentially guide those who enjoy it toward my next book.

So, that's October accounted for, but what about September and November?

(sorry if going out of chronological order triggers you).

September will be about me formatting
Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind and double-checking everything while setting up preorder stuff on Amazon. I doubt that I'll need a full month for this, so I'll likely use the downtime to do some reading and major website updates.

November will be when I transition from promoting
Inner Expanses to promoting Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind. I will also be dropping a 40~ second-long trailer that is unlike anything you, or anyone else, has ever seen. I'm talking about original, studio-grade animation with a voiceover by yours truly. Here's a little screenshot to whet your appetite.

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The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #40:

 

I dislike hearing when people admit their failure before even trying something. An example I notice a lot is when people insist that they cannot write beyond a certain amount. While quality is INFINITELY more important than quantity when it comes to writing (and most other things as well), being able to get out more words will allow one to not only get closer to their goals, but will also grant a certain degree of satisfaction due to having a very easy-to-gauge amount of progress in the form of a single number: one's word count.

To get this number to grow, you need to push yourself. There's no tip-toeing around with this one, you're just going to need to sit your ass down and type/pen out one bloody word at a time until you have more of a story. However, there's no need to start with a beloved idea or treasured tale.

 

A great exercise is to just write a bunch of nonsense. I don't mean random words, mind you, I mean, using proper grammar and spelling, write about whatever.

 

Leg feeling itchy? Describe how and why!

Hear a dog barking? Write about what breed you think they may be!

Had a nice breakfast? Ramble about how awesome it was!

 

Keep doing this until you reach whatever word count goal you want. Then, do this every day. Not every week, or whenever you damn-well feel like it, do it EVERY DAY.

 

If you can keep the pace up, you'll find it easier to write greater volumes after a few weeks. All that would be left to do is to apply this when working on stories you care about and things may go smoother in terms of getting more words down per writing session. Remember, you can always (and definitely should) go back and edit what you write in the future.

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Another change! Usually, this is where I have the description for the next part for Of the Sky, Of the Sea, and Of the Stones, however, I'm going to be putting this worldbuilding tale on hold while I power through the last part of editing Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind.

 

And, after that, I plan on writing the rest of SSS in big chunks, as if it was a novel. When done, I'll segment it and begin inserting parts into issues of The Rahaman Reader once more.

 

However, until then, be prepared for a lot of exclusive poetry that I will not be sharing anywhere else! Here's the first of such works.

 

This poem, titled "Road of Water", was written when enjoying the lovely photo that the words are resting upon below. This serene sight is a photo taken by Essi Valo, a close friend who enjoys being immersed in nature as much as myself, if not more! She sent me a bunch of photographs that are all inspirational, so you can look forward to stunning nature photography in addition to my poems in the coming months.

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ISSUE #52
It is Done

September 24, 2021

Good news, everyone!

 

New at Rahaman Writing:

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As you can see, I've finally completed my short story collection! Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind has been written, edited, and (mostly) published! It's technically ready for pre-order on Amazon right now (which you can do from the sales page, located here), however, I still need to do a lot of lead-up marketing before the big public reveal, which I why I'm only sharing details with my newsletter subscribers for now.

 

Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind is a tome of bold and bizarre speculative fiction (fantasy, horror, and science fiction) stories. If that sounds like your kind of thing, be sure to check out the sales page for the full description!

 

However, if you don't want to wait until December to read it, I'll send you a digital copy if you show me proof of purchase after pre-ordering it on Amazon (take a screenshot after buying it). Though, this would be exclusively in exchange for reviews, as in those wishing to see my short story collection early must leave a review within a certain time after they read it. If you're interested, please shoot me an email at

innerexpanses@gmail.com 

and state that you would like to get an advance review copy of Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind. After which, you'll be sent a digital ARC copy of my book in any electronic format you wish!

 

There are some other things that I want to share with you, but first, please check out this animated GIF I made of the process that led me to create the cover for my short story collection. Below, you can see some of the different steps I took to design the art and text.

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As the time between these newsletters has increased, so have a lot of the goals I have planned and am meeting. I've once again been able to increase my overall writing output for my freelance work, thanks to Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind being completed, and have also been able to write more poetry.

 

This increased output means that I'll be able to dedicate a fair bit of time to marketing without sacrificing writing time. Though, this would potentially stuff issues of The Rahaman Reader with too much content. So, in this regard, I've decided to make the format of this newsletter a bit more flexible, adding more bodies of text like this in places as well as maybe a couple more images here and there.

 

Furthermore, since I have lots of extra Wix newsletter slots free (I can only send 5 a month, but that's not really a concern anymore), I've decided that once in a while, I'll send a surprise update or bit of content! Whenever important things come up, like new book releases, I'll try to do one of these. In addition, I'll also send out poems or maybe bits of flash fiction or excerpts on occasion.

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The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #41

One thing that I've noticed while reading and leaving reviews on books is that some people have no idea how to write a review or even seem to be aware of the purpose of leaving a review.

 

Let me start by saying that there's no specific format for a good review, but there are definitely things that make a review bad, and I don't just mean the rating given.

 

Firstly, people should only be leaving a review and rating if they have read the entire book. It is impossible to review or rate any bit of media objectively without completing it. Not completing a book would mean an incomplete review, which is useless to literally everyone: the 'reviewer', the author, as well as potential readers, as it gives a skewed and inaccurate perspective of the book in question. If you don't finish a book, don't leave a review! Doing so would be akin to spreading misinformation about a product, and misinformation is the enemy of us all.

 

Secondly, reviews must be objective. Of course, one's feelings about a book and its author will influence the review in some way, but leaning too hard toward either "good" or "bad" can also give potential readers the wrong impression.

 

Thirdly, structure helps! Don't be too long, or too short, and use separate paragraphs for more easily digestible reviews. A good rule of thumb for Amazon review length is that you want most of your review to be visible without potential readers having to click "more" to see the full review.

 

I typically use 3 short paragraphs: 1 general good thing in the first, 1 criticism in the second, and 1 specific good thing in the third. This balance will give potential readers a more objective idea of what the product is like. You don't have to give a serious criticism either, just state anything minor that annoyed you; you don't even need to decrease your rating! 5-star books can still have small flaws and be worthy of every star.

 

To end, I'm not saying you need to review books as I do, just understand that reviews are meant for you to share your objective compliments and criticisms on media that you have completely experienced and that they are about marketing.

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For this issue's bit of content, I bring to you another poem written while enjoying more beautiful nature photography from my close friend, Essi Valo. This one is titled "Creek".

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ISSUE #53
Darkness Falls

October 22, 2021

Good Friday, readers.

 

List of Updates from Rahaman Writing:

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I've been busy with a lot of overdue updates this month. Since I finished Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind, I've had a lot more time after work to do updates for Rahaman Writing that I just couldn't spare the time for before. Most were pretty minor but some were things I should have done months ago.

 

Firstly, as you can see from the above image, I changed up the Polls & Quizzes section. Instead of having both of the existing quizzes on the same page, I gave them their own pages. This is so that I can link one of them at a time in tweets and whatnot. It's a small change, but a handy one for sharing these little time killers.

 

Next of the bigger changes, I removed someone from the Friends page, but not because I have any problem with their site, content, or personality. I decided that I only want others who are into speculative fiction to be connected with my website for marketing reasons. This is so that I and my website friends can potentially cross-pollinate readers who are interested in similar genres and styles of content. I'm not going to name who was removed because I don't want it to seem like I'm shaming them, because I'm not--just making a marketing change.

 

The last of the bigger updates I made this month was the significant alteration to my Biography page. I gutted it before making it far more simple and, in my opinion, elegant. Now, it's just my favourite photo of myself (the only good one I took in the past decade and use everywhere) along with a couple of paragraphs. The first bit is also what I've begun using on some other platforms (Good Reads and Amazon), but the second part is unique to Rahaman Writing.

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In other yet related news, I wrote a pretty edgy poem that feels appropriate to follow up the alteration to my website's Biography page.

 

This one, a poem in the form of a curse, was inspired by a Twitter poll that I did a few weeks ago about how to complete said curse. I tweeted three lines of a stanza and asked people to choose the final line out of four potential options. However, during this engagement tactic, my friend Jordan, who you may know from Coffee, Book, & Candle, mentioned that she'd like to see all of the fourth line options with their own stanzas (this is the kind of similar-vibe marketing stuff I was mentioning before).

 

I really liked this idea, however, wanted to keep it for my newsletter readers as a special exclusive. So, here it is, a curse with which to afflict your scumbag neighbours (untitled).

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The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #42

 

Villains and monsters in books are sometimes painted with strokes so broad that no clear lines of logic are definable, and, as such, have their impacts lessened due to readers developing major questions.

 

"Why is this thing trying to kill the protagonist again?"

 

"What will the villain even gain from their convoluted plan?"

 

"Were they just waiting there the whole time?"

 

These are questions you want to avoid as a writer because they will dull the significance of a threat. Not giving an important antagonist a motive is just as bad as not giving protagonists or side characters motives for their actions.

 

A truly terrifying monster is one with real intentions to harm people. Whether it is for predation or due to some supernatural grudge, there needs to be a reason for readers to care, otherwise, your literary fiend will be forgotten about as another throwaway fictional beast that isn't as intimidating as it could be--regardless of how much time you spent designing their appearance and developing their lore.

 

The same is true for a more humanoid antagonist, as simply being evil and wishing to do more evil because evil is probably the most overused trope in literary history. You want your villain to stand out and be scary, so give readers a reason to feel a protagonist's fear. World domination and conquest are used a lot but are still better than being evil because of evil, though, a more specific reason, like revenge, power-hunger, or desire for riches can work a lot better. These, or one of many more unique motives, will make the scope of your villain's plans easier for readers to follow and worry about on the protagonist's behalf.

 

Overall, a killer motive results in a killer villain or monster.

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ISSUE #54
Heralding Unusual Tales

November 26, 2021

Greetings, readers.

 

New on Rahaman Writing:​​​

 

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This past month, I've been pretty busy with marketing Unusual Tales for the Curious Mind, though, I've also landed another freelance writing contract as well as got a new computer. This has kept me occupied enough to prevent me from doing any creative writing besides a bit of poetry here and there. And I plan to keep this going until the end of 2021, as I don't want to overwork myself.

 

However, when 2022 begins, I plan to get back to my worldbuilding project "Of the Sky, Of the Sea, and Of the Stones", or the "SSS series" for short. At first, this was going to be a pseudo-history book, though I ended up writing it more as an autobiography of a renowned scholar in this world. In the setting of this world, which is called Okeanós, the aging scholar Athos Angion tells readers of his greatest discoveries which helped humans understand their universe better. Through Athos' perspective, I'm developing the lore, fleshing out the world, and writing the history of Okeanós in what I hope is a unique and interesting way.

 

But more on that in the new year, for now, let there be unusual tales! I've updated all of the tales on Rahaman Writing's Short Stories section. These versions are now the same as those that appear in my upcoming collection. So, if you want a taste of what's to come, feel free to check them out. You can do so by clicking HERE or the image below.

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The Baron of Beholders' Writing Tip #43

 

If you have one or more sapient species in your story, make sure to give them a few special occasions. By that, I mean give them days of the year when important ceremonies and events take place. Every culture in the real world has such days--some great examples are Christmas and Easter. Both of those days are significant for religious reasons, however, they have become more complex over time.

 

Give your fictional civilizations such days as well! You can keep them simple and religion-based, however, there are tons of other options as well. This can be a great way to tell readers about a notable natural event, like the annual eruption of a volcano, or to bring significance to some sort of deity and introduce a bit of world lore. The possibilities are endless, just make sure things make sense. For example, a group of people who live in a forest wouldn't shoot off fireworks due to fire hazards...probably.

 

You can even get kind of realism-crazy and have special days that used to be something else; like a day that was meant to honour a god of wine that turns into a time when people get insanely drunk. Drunk people in the middle of revelry can lead to a catalyzing event of some sort.

 

To make your world and its people feel real, be sure to create some holidays, events, and other significant days for your different cultures. Not only is this a great way to introduce concepts, but you can also use them to progress the plot via a significant occurrence and more.

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As winter gets increasingly closer, I feel drawn to the fading warmth. One of the things that keeps me toasty is enjoying nature photography, as well as writing about it. A way that I can do so is with some wonderful shots by my close friend, Essi Valo. Here's another of her incredible photos alongside a haiku I wrote while viewing it.

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