When it comes to publishing, nothing is sacred and having a royal sis doesn’t mean instant success. Such is the case with Pippa Middleton’s party planning book which in the words of an overheard conversation at Starbucks this morning is “lame.” Someone in front of me was ordering a latte, talking with her friend about Pippa’s book. “I can’t believe,” she said, “that someone would publish this drival.”

I can. It’s what we do. Well, not always of course. There are thoughtful, amazing books published all the time, but publishers still bow to books, penned by names that are often splashed across the celebrity mags. They are, according to some, sure bets.

But perhaps that sure bet is waning. As is the case with Pippa’s book, or the colossal failure of Penny Marshall’s memoirs.  Pippa got a whopping $600,000 advance, Penny got $800,000. Between the two of them, they’ve sold less than 20,000 books. Pippa’s book inched towards the 5,000 mark this week, an excruciating and slow climb.

In the words of the NY Daily News piece: “The best thing that can come out of this may be that large publishers may finally think twice about awarding colossal advances to authors based on celebrity status alone. Now that would truly be cause to celebrate.”

I hope someone invites me to that party.