From festival to fortune?

When it comes to performing in front of an audience, it is the actors and singers who usually love the limelight, while writers tend to work away in solitude. Or so Writes Lucy Wilkings in the BBC. That is until the literary festival invitations arrive and they get a chance to savour the appreciative atmosphere created by thousands of keen readers.

As the hugely popular Hay festival nears an end, do the festivals’ marquees and author signings have any impact on sales?

Probably not if you’re Dan Brown, author of bestseller The Da Vinci Code. Word of mouth and worldwide controversy went a long way to selling millions of that book.

And maybe not for Mark Billingham, author of The Burning Girl, which reached number 10 in its first week in the UK’s top 100 best-seller list of fiction and non-fiction books, for the week ending 28 May.