Doing live readings is a great way to build a fan base and, if you are lucky, to sell some books. They’re immense fun, too.
‘How many people are you expecting at your reading?’
‘Well, it’s impossible to know. Maybe five, maybe 20.’
‘But how many people will you will be happy with?’
‘Well, anything over three.’
We’re on our way to my reading from my Berlin thriller Blood Summit at the excellent English language bookshop Shakespeare & Company at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna. Not only is it a Friday night, but the World Cup has started: Portugal vs Spain, no less. I am managing my expectations appropriately.
We gather in the bookshop. It is a beautiful place, in the heart of Vienna’s old town. Outside, a cobbled street. Inside, books reach to the ceiling: a temple of imagination, stories and ideas. If you have never visited Shakespeare & Co, go today or, at the latest, next weekend. They are open until 9 p.m. six days a week.
People keep coming. By the time I start the reading, at 1930, the shop is already crammed – I count 19 people. More keep arriving, slipping in cunningly through a hitherto unsuspected back door.
A wonderful place for a book-reading – Shakespeare & Co
The excerpts I read seem to go down well.
Afterwards, we have a lively Q&A session ranging across writing techniques (I note that this blog contains a wealth of advice under the “Writing: About Writing” tab); the role of women action heroes; Trollope, Edmund de Waal, Phillippe Sands and Lee Child; whether Helen Gale (the hero of Blood Summit) should settle down and raise a family, or should star in a future drama; and much else.
In summary, the evening is a success. I am hugely grateful to Gerti and the team at Shakespeare & Co for organising it (including a glass of wine!) and to all of those who attended for coming along to listen. An honour to have you all there.
My reading copy of “Blood Summit” is showing welcome signs of wear
If anyone is looking for a copy of Blood Summit, the best way is to pop down to Shakespeare & Co and buy one there – buy now while stocks last! While you’re there, check out the rest of their awesome selection and keep this marvellous Viennese institution thriving. You know it makes sense.
The “Buch des Tages” – book of the day – on Friday.