Just days ago we were musing on how Pippa Middleton, sister of Kate, would handle any impertinent questions asked about the royal summer of scandal during the promotion of her party-planning book Celebrate, due out at the end of the month.
Would she answer questions about the topless pictures of her sister, the naked pictures of Harry, her own antics attending a bondage themed party in Paris after which a pal of hers waved a toy gun at photographers, and risk being shunned by the Firm, or would she maintain a dignified silence and risk getting no media coverage and selling no books?
Well, now we have the answer.
She won’t be facing any questions because she won’t be doing any promotion for the book AT ALL. That's right, Pippa won’t be taking a single question on the coolest way to ice cupcakes or fielding a call on the best way to run a game of naked billiards (sorry, carve a pumpkin).
She’s doing nothing. Zilch. Nada.
A clearly deeply pissed staffer at U.K. publishers Michael Joseph, who have, God bless them, done everything they can to express their support for Pippa over recent months, including letting it be widely known that she did not use a ghost writer, tells the Royalist via an unusually abrupt email, “Pippa is not available for interviews in the U.K.”
And it seems the omerta applies in the U.S. as well. The Daily News’ Hollywood correspondent, James Desborough, is reporting today that Pippa has chosen to pass up big money interviews with Oprah, Ellen de Generes and Anderson Cooper rather than risk being accused of cashing in on her royal connections.
“Pippa has been besieged with offers from everyone in the U.S. media offering her a raft of opportunities,” a source tells Desborough, “Offers included being a special correspondent on shows like ‘Entertainment Tonight,’ as well as interviews with Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey and Anderson Cooper … If she were seen using the royal family to promote her book, she would soon be viewed as the next generation’s Sarah Ferguson … If Pippa is quizzed about Kate’s topless pictures, then whatever answer she gives will generate more news about the matter, and upset Will and Kate.”
A plainly bereft spokesperson for publishers Viking says: “Pippa is not doing anything for us. She is not coming here to do interviews and is not available for anything, unfortunately.”
Publishing sources in the UK have told the Royalist that St James’s Palace – HQ for Kate - have been ‘a nightmare’ to deal with throughout the book deal, and now, it seems, with a ban on Pippa doing any press whatsoever, the final coup de grace has been delivered.
The failure of an author to get behind a book and help with its promotion all but guarantees that most media outlets will decline to feature the book prominently, especially given that it is being released in the busiest time of year for publishing when the shelves are packed with celebrities only to happy to dish in return for some airtime.
For a novelist, the impact may not be so severe as the book largely stands or falls on its own merits, but for a personality-driven book like this, failure of the personality to appear and promote the book at all is a disaster for the publishers.
They paid half a million dollars for the tome, and sure as eggs is eggs they didn't do that because Pippa has some amazing insight about the best way to dress a table. Much of that fee however is likely to have been offset by international editions, and it is reported that a $200,000 serialisation is still going ahead.
Some book contracts commit the author to promoting the book for a certain number of days, and, if that is the case here and the book bombs, the publisher could theoretically seek the return of the advance royalties paid, claiming Pippa did not live up to her side of the deal.
A publishing source says, "She wouldn't have had to do much and she would have had her pick of who to talk to. One great interview with Oprah would have done it. Its such a competitive time of year, and the problem is noboday really has much sense of who she is as a person.
"But the reality is that $500,000 is not such a huge amount to have paid. They are not that heavily exposed. And the sense of mystique around Pippa will only grow."
What a mess.
Sixty years and hardly a slip.