The Peter-Parky effect

<p>It was this week last year that <b>Peter Kay</b> made a rare media appearance to promote <i>The Sound of Laughter</i> on &quot;Parkinson&quot;. The publicity-reluctant comedian spent a couple of minutes on Michael's settee, adding another few arena-loads of fans to his already devoted following and causing the impressive weekly sales of his autobiography to rocket into an even higher stratosphere, surging from around 30,000 a week to more than 65,000.</p>
<p>Thus the &quot;Peter-Parky&quot; effect was born: a magical bit of media coverage that sees the alignment of the right author, with the right book (especially non-fiction), talking to the right audience, at the right time, to ignite particularly bright book sales fireworks.</p>
<p>Whether it was that one appearance alone that lifted Kay to another level and whether more appearances from him would have shot him to a different universe altogether is debatable, but the &quot;Peter-Parky&quot; is surely every publicist's dream. Moreover, it is safe to say that we have not yet witnessed the phenomenon this year, so all is still to play for.<br />
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A number of books are however benefiting from the small-screen limelight in the run-up to Christmas. <b>Nigella Lawson's</b> return to the box has done what her publishers hoped, helping <i>Nigella Express</i> outperform her TV kitchen rivals <b>Ramsay and Oliver</b> these past few weeks; <b>Richard Hammond</b> leads &quot;Top Gear&quot; colleague <b>Jeremy Clarkson</b> on the bestseller lists, as their current series reaches the half-way mark, and Sphere must be thanking its lucky stars that a sulk from <b>Sharon Osbourne</b> a couple of weeks ago lead to just a temporary walk-off from ITV's &quot;The X Factor&quot;, rather than a full-blown defection, with her memoir follow-up, <i>Survivor</i>, striving to emulate its predecessor's success.</p>
<p>Thursday sees the start of &quot;River Cottage: Gone Fishing&quot;, in which <b>Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall</b> does what it says on the tin, with <i>The River Cottage Fish Book</i> perfectly timed to tie-in; while chirpy chappies <b>Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman</b> continue on their African motorcycle journey on Sunday--providing not quite the level of intriguing insight as fellow TV traveller <b>Michael Palin</b>, but charging ahead with tie-in sales nonetheless.</p>
<p>As for 2007's Parkinson-moment, there are plenty of author media appearances crammed in between now and Christmas. <b>George Best's sister Barbara</b> discusses her new memoir <i>Our George</i> (Macmillan) on &quot;This Morning&quot; tomorrow (8th November), while <b>Lucy Kellaway</b> plugs the quirky <i>The Answers </i>on BBC2's &quot;Working Lunch&quot;; and as for the chat show king himself, he welcomes <b>Lewis Hamilton</b> this Saturday, crowning weeks of media hoopla surrounding the Formula One rookie and his book release with a few minutes of settee time. Sports Personality of the Year? Christmas Bestseller? It's written in the media stars.</p>