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Pete's Sci-Fi Blog

About the blog

This blog is about: Science Fiction and Fantasy. Games, books, films, comics, as well as my experiences with the writing and publishing of my Kinsmen series of books. I hope you enjoy it.The Kinsmen homepage

Selling your book at a craft fair, is hard

The Kinsmen Posted on Mon, June 30, 2014 13:28:41

Yesterday I tried selling my self-published debut novel at a
craft fair at Elsecar Heritage centre in South Yorkshire, England. I’ve never
tried to sell my book face to face before, and even though I thought I’d be
more anxious, I found the whole thing very enjoyable.

I also learnt that:

Selling books at a
craft fair is hard.
The odds aren’t good that the people passing you happen
to like reading Science-fiction. Although some of my readers have told me that
even though they don’t read sci-fi, they thoroughly enjoyed the book. That
being said you need to reel them in. I found it best to ask if they have
friends or family who like reading the genre. Then follow up with, that is if
you don’t read it yourself. It’s surprising how hard people think. They’re
going through all those people they know, all those relatives including in-laws
that the book may appeal to. You’re not just asking that person but everyone
they know. They may just take your card. They may even buy a book.

Have the goods on you.
It’s nice for them to have something to focus on. Let’s face it you’re not
going to buy something unless you can at least have a look at it. I started
walking around with my business card only for the first quarter of an hour
until the penny dropped. It’s nice for them have a little look and feel of the

Go with your gut.
You get vibes off people before even opening your mouth and you get signals
while talking. It didn’t matter if they personally weren’t interested in the
book. Sometimes it’s good to have a nice chat. You’re selling yourself as well
as the book, and you never know that during
conversation someone they know, who may like your book, suddenly occurs to
them, or perhaps after. Just don’t forget to leave them your card no matter
what. Which leads onto…

At least give them
your card.
Taking someone’s card can mean nothing or everything. A person
can take it just out of politeness, or because they are genuinely interested.
It doesn’t matter, because you never know. Maybe a week from now or even a year
from now that card may crop up again when an opportunity arises. Give out your
card as much as possible. Many of them will come to nothing. The odds are
against you. They always are. But give out enough and make a good impression,
and some are bound to come to something.

Be willing to manoeuvre
on price
. I have to ask myself this question why did I write this book. Did
I want to make money? Of course. Is it the most important thing? No. I’d love
to make the money back on all the costs I’ve spent on publishing this book. But that’s a lot of books. The most
important thing for me is to have people read my novel. Sometimes, only
sometimes, you have to be a little flexible. Sure I may have pretty much given
a book away. But what if they like it? Recommend it to a friend, or write a
review. You met these people personally, it makes a difference. If you always
stick to price when you’re out there selling, I feel it can work against you.
In the final analysis if nobody’s reading your novel. Then who cares.


Sell yourself. Be
friendly and chatty, get them talking about themselves. Relax and don’t be
pushy. Tell them about your sales and any good reviews or feedback you’ve had.

That is what I learnt.

Videogame Memories #7

Videogame Wonderland Posted on Fri, April 25, 2014 15:56:47


Arcade, Atari, 1985

Nineteen Eighty Five. A small
seaside town called Filey, England. There we were, my younger brother Andy, my
two cousins Paul and Elaine, myself and our first sight of the Gauntlet Arcade.
We stood there for the briefest of moments. Four players. Four sets of
joysticks and buttons. We’d never seen anything like it before, and it was
blowing our minds. Four different characters, each with very obvious different
strengths, weaknesses and skill sets: Barbarian, elf, Valkyrie and Wizard. This
was incredible!

Gauntlet was a top down dungeon
crawling game, where the aim of the game was to work your way through the
hordes of enemies to find the next exit and move to the next level. Throughout
you collected treasure, health and potions. It was such a great experience to
decide which character you wanted to be. Did you want to be at the front with a
character like the Barbarian who could take the punishment or hang back and attack
from a distance with the wizard. I love the fact that there was some strategy
involved if you wanted to last and get your money’s worth. Take out the monster
generators as quick as possible, barbarian at the front, let those that need
the health take it, and leave the potions for those like the wizard who could
destroy the most enemies with them. It was great to work as a team in the
Arcade. We played a few other games that day. But I’ll always remember afterwards.
We were buzzing from the experience, a shared experience, as we talked of our
adventures in the car on the way home.

For all you gauntlet fans It
seems there’s remake out this summer on steam, oh yeah!’s+1985/

Videogame Memories #6

Videogame Wonderland Posted on Thu, April 10, 2014 14:58:21

Mr Do’s Castle

Arcade, Universal, 1983

The other game I came to love in
that downstairs room in Filey, Was Mr Do’s Castle. Just thinking about it
almost brings tears of nostalgia to my eyes, taking me straight back to the golden age of Arcades. Like most
classics of the time, the game was simple yet effective. defeat the monsters by
knocking a block down on top of them. If you collect all the blocks with keys on
them and then reach the flashing shield at the top, it goes into Pac-man mode where
you can kill the monsters by just hitting them with your hammer for everyone
you hit you get a letter: E,X,T,R,A , (extra life) but only for a very limited
time. then they each split into two and moved quicker. It was as exciting as
Pac-man ever was and if you ever played it you know how scary it felt having all
those monsters after you. You needed a cool head, quick thinking and a bit of
luck to get through it. The music was great, very catchy, which changed to an
alert (again just like Pac-man) to
heighten the tension even more. The sound effects were also cool.

Videogame Memories #5

Videogame Wonderland Posted on Fri, April 04, 2014 15:46:05

Star Wars

Arcade, Atari, 1983

As children, Star
Wars was in our blood, in our veins. I mean, it was the blood, and our veins were our
veins…You know what I mean. Anyway, as if the first film didn’t totally blow
our minds, in 1982 ‘The Empire Strikes back’ cemented the fact that Star Wars
ruled. A year after this ‘ Star Wars’ hit the Arcade and like the films it rocked. It came
in two models the inferior stand-up version and the one you sat down inside.
The game put you in the seat of an X-wing fighter, destroying three, count them,
three Death Stars. The game played like a dream, fast-paced and adrenaline
pumping. The music , straight from the film and sampled key quotes from Darth
Vader and Han, also from the film played in ‘surround sound’ creating an
incredible immersive and exciting experience. By the time you were done, you
came out of that thing a little sweaty and totally hyped up, well you would be
after being set on by squadrons of tie-fighters and attempting to blow up three
Death Stars. Without a doubt One of the most thrilling arcade games of all time.
You can watch it on YouTube or play one version or another, but the only true
way of experiencing Star Wars was in that giant Box.

The second self-publishing conference

The Kinsmen Posted on Mon, March 31, 2014 15:57:47

I just recently attended the second self-publishing
in Leicester, England. It’s the first writing conference of any kind I’ve
attended, and I must say it exceeded my expectations. At first I was a bit unsure,
here were all these other writers (if you write, you’re a writer, published or
otherwise) and most of them seemed to know someone. I was thankful that I’d been in
contact with at least one person attending. Talking with Imran Sadiq, helped me to open up and talk
to others (Ileandra Young, Ron Fortuna) at the conference, as well as feeling at
ease asking questions during the sessions.

The sessions themselves were excellent (I was particularly
impressed with Aimee Bell) —informative and interesting. The speakers told me
what I was doing right, and more importantly where I was going wrong. As well
as getting the expected freebies, there were plenty of handouts and I made
pages of notes, which, hopefully, will keep me on the right track for years to come.

I remember considering whether I should go to the conference or not. Was it
worth the fee, the cost of travel and accommodation? The answer is without doubt yes.
I’ve read over a dozen books on writing, marketing and selling. Not to mention
the countless hours on the internet. Yet the conference was still able to
supply me with a wealth of useful information, far outweighing the cost.

I’d recommend it to anyone.

Videogame Memories #4

Videogame Wonderland Posted on Fri, March 21, 2014 10:14:03

Donkey Kong Jr.

Arcade, Nintendo 1982

If this were the history of videogames, then I would now be talking about Pac-Man. However these are my favourite memories, and even though I like Pac-man a lot, It never made me want to go back for more as much as other games of this era.

I played the original
Donkey Kong and liked it fine, but I played Donkey Kong Jr. more, and, I was
good at it, which always makes a difference; getting value for your 10 pence. Despite the first one being more
remembered because of its introduction of Mario, I preferred the game-play,
mechanics and sound of this game. We all have unique memories. Not everyone one
played the same games and they meant different things to different people. On a
1983 summer holiday, In an obscure caravan park on the East coast of England. I
spent many happy hours learning and finally completing this game. I much
preferred being the monkey rather than the human character and I loved the idea
that I had to save my Dad. I have tried to complete Donkey Kong Jr. recently.
Despite my efforts I can’t.

Videogame Memories #3

Videogame Wonderland Posted on Fri, March 14, 2014 09:49:33


Arcade, Atari, 1979

works, it’s as simple as that. There’s something fundamentally satisfying about
shooting apart giant rocks into smaller ones, trying to survive a screen
full of these lethal objects all different sizes and moving at different speeds
and directions. I think it was the fact that it so simple, yet each game was
quite different.

Everyone had
their own way of playing Asteroids. Mine was to systematically take out each
Asteroid one at a time. I learnt early on that to shoot everything in sight
just filled the screen with dangerous debris, which could then take you out so
easily, when an alien ship appeared. When that did happen I had the space I
needed to do some unorthodox manoeuvres and hopefully take out said alien ship.
Asteroids was pretty much a staple in most Arcades I visited (I visited a lot
of Arcades), when so many others came and went. It obviously had lasting appeal
on so many people as well as myself. It is a game I’ve gone back to over the
years and still to this day love to play it.

Videogame Memories #2

Videogame Wonderland Posted on Wed, March 05, 2014 13:51:49

Space Invaders

Arcade. Taitio. 1978

I was five
years old and ripe to be heavily influenced by anything new, weird and
wonderful. Space invaders entranced me. It’s rhythmic sound as the alien
invaders slowly descended upon your ship made my own heart beat like a drum. My
mum and Dad went to a pub in Filey on the North East coast of England. There
was a children’s room downstairs and my brother and I would sit down at the
tabletop version of Space Invaders with our cokes, put our 10p piece in and
play ‘2 players’ of this adrenaline pumping game. It was a fight for survival,
and with my brother sat on the other side of the table, waiting his turn it was
also competitive to see who could get the highest score. By the time that last
invader was drawing closer and closer to the bottom my heart was racing, my jaw
clenched and I was sweating despite the room being fairly cool. Anything I may
have seen before this is too vague to remember clearly. This was my first
memorable experience of an Arcade game. It was the one which begun the ‘Golden
age of arcade videogames’ and I feel privileged to have been there at its

was your earliest memorable experience of an Arcade or videogame?

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