Pippa Middleton launched her first book yesterday. I haven’t seen it. I’ve been giving parties since before Pippa was born so I don’t feel the need for a book on the subject. But none of us in the business can afford to ignore the Pippa Factor. She got a handsome two-book advance on the grounds that she’s
someone’s sister a witty, innovative newcomer to the world of lifestyle publishing. I’m just saying.
Anyway, it was her launch I wanted to comment on. If you’ve never had a book published I’d hate you to run away with the idea that a book gets a launch just as surely as it gets an ISBN. Most books are deemed unlaunchworthy. If you have an address book full of Names you’ll get one. Or you can always organise (and pay for) your own. Buy Pippa’s book, chuck a few sausage rolls in the oven, go for it. But generally speaking your book will slip into the world without so much as a bag of peanuts being opened.
When A Humble Companion was published this summer I was given a launch party. It was my first ever, after thirteen novels, but worth the wait. An elegant afternoon tea affair with a small enough number of guests that I could speak to them all. Perfect. But now Pippa’s gone and raised the bar. She changed her outfit four times yesterday. Heavens to Betsy, I know writers who don’t even own four outfits.
Am I envious? Not really. I prefer the comfortable life. The only thing I had to consider when I dressed for my launch was, ‘will this waistline accommodate cake?’ I do hope Pippa’s not pushing things to unattainable heights for the rest of us. Imagine if Hilary Mantel had to waste time riffling through dress rails? She could end up a book short of a trilogy.