Seeing Orange: The Publicity Files

Seeing Orange: The Publicity Files

Posted on August 19 by Karen
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

Over the last three months, I’ve been the publicist for Tom Mulcair and his autobiography, Strength of Conviction. I've worked behind-the-scenes in book publicity for 14 years and here are a few of the things I've learned in just three short months:

1. THE NDP MACHINE

Working with Tom Mulcair actually meant working alongside the national, provincial, and local NDP team, which includes media assistants, tour coordinators, logistical coordinators, security, rally organizers, outreach, etc. Each outlet has its own role like a sophisticated machine, and it's fascinating to watch up close.

 

2. DROPPING THE WRIT

This is an informal term for the process where the prime minister asks the Governor General to dissolve parliament. Originally the writ was scheduled to drop on the Labour Day weekend. Instead, it unexpectedly dropped on August 1st, conveniently the publication date of Strength of Conviction!

 

3. PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

Tom wrote the manuscript on his Blackberry while on long flights across Canada? This speaks to Tom’s infinite patience – I usually curse at my iPhone keyboard while writing short texts!

 

4. NO REST FOR THE DEDICATED

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Catherine, Tom’s wife, at the book launch, and she is lovely and gracious. When we spoke on Monday morning, she and Tom (and team) had flown to Toronto from Vancouver, where they’d spent less than 24 hours. They later flew on to Montreal for the launch of the French edition, Le courage de ses convictions. Tom stayed late into the night, signing books for all attendees (over 170 books!), only to be on the road by 7 am the next morning.

 

5. EXPECT ANYTHING/EVERYTHING

We had the most polite protesters at the Toronto launch event. Half way through Tom’s speech, four protesters got up to question him about the oil sands (and were promptly, yet politely escorted out of the theatre by the RCMP). One protester came back later and not only bought a book, but had it signed, and her picture taken with Tom!

 

6. THE MAN BEHIND THE HEADLINES

In person, Tom Mulcair is engaging and very down-to-earth. I spent time with him and his team in the green room just before the launch, where he signed books,  and reviewed the passages he would later read to a packed audience.

The next few weeks leading up to the election will no doubt hold drama and intrigue, between debates, rallies and attack ads. I, like many others, will anxiously await the results on October 19th.