Behind the book: Inside Vintage’s publicity campaign for The Testaments

The people who bring some of the biggest books of the year to life talk about what it’s like to work behind the scenes on getting them published and into the hands of readers. 

Handmaids and Pearl Girls outside Waterstones Piccadilly

What’s it like to work on the campaign to launch one of the biggest novels this year?

Last month, Margaret Atwood’s hotly anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, was published, to incredible demand and critical acclaim – including being announced as one of two winners of the 2019 Booker Prize. We spoke to Fran and Mari, from the Vintage Publicity Team, about what it was like to create a campaign for the biggest book of the year, and what their favourite moments were.

What was your role, and what did it involve?

We planned and implemented all aspects of the UK publicity campaign and co-ordinated the publicity for our group companies in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa & Asia.  

Our campaign spanned from the first tweet Margaret sent out announcing the book on 28th November 2018 to the midnight launch in London on the eve of publication on 10th September 2019, to the Booker Prize and beyond. It involved a global press conference on publication day, a special edition of the Sunday Times Style magazine, 24-hours of back-to-back broadcast coverage on publication day, a 500-copy review mailing, front page news,  political cartoons, internet memes, fashion trend pieces and much more.

What was it like to work with such a high-profile and highly-esteemed author?

It was the joy and honour of our careers. Exciting, fast-paced, high-stakes and…fun!  Margaret is so much fun to be around, we really laughed a lot.

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