CanLit Rewind: The Man in the Red Suit by Bruce Templeton
With the holidays just around the corner, it’s perhaps appropriate that we turn our attention to our final CanLit Rewind title, Bruce Templeton’s The Man in the Red Suit. This collection of Templeton’s memoirs of thousands of Santa visits, published by St. John’s-based press Creative Book Publishing, are stories that can’t be read without serious tugs on your heartstrings. This International Santa Claus Hall of Fame inductee has more recently released a second memoir of Santa stories, The Man with the White Beard.
This year marks forty years of supporting and celebrating some of Canada’s finest literary presses for our parent organization, the Literary Press Group of Canada. To help celebrate, for the entire month of October All Lit Up will be highlighting books from our publishers that either helped launch a new voice in CanLit or made an impact at the press it was published with. Go on a CanLit Rewind with us to rediscover some backlist gems!With the holidays just around the corner, it’s perhaps appropriate that we turn our attention to our final CanLit Rewind title, Bruce Templeton’s The Man in the Red Suit. This collection of Templeton’s memoirs of thousands of Santa visits, published by St. John’s-based press Creative Book Publishing, are stories that can’t be read without serious tugs on your heartstrings. This International Santa Claus Hall of Fame inductee has more recently released a second memoir of Santa stories, The Man with the White Beard. Creative talks about the publishing story of this book, below.* * * stands out to us for a number of reasons. First of all, the decision to pursue this project was based solely on the idea itself, and on the sincerity and passion of the author, not on the manuscript. The original manuscript needed a lot of work, and would likely have been rejected under our standard review parameters, simply because of the amount of time and financial resources it would take to complete it. But, having read through the material and after speaking to the author at length about why he wanted to do this, it was clear that there was a unique and inspirational story to be told. When the book was published, it spent several weeks on the Globe and Mail bestseller list for Canadian non-fiction, with more than 7000 copies selling through Costco’s St. John’s warehouse alone. The author was interviewed on local, regional and national radio and TV programs, and the feedback from the book-buying public was phenomenal. Right from the start, the author committed to using the royalties earned from the sale of the book to make a difference for several charities. Being heavily involved with The St. John’s Rotary Club, he decided to make a significant donation to Rotary International’s “End Polio Now” campaign, which aimed to immunize children against polio in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Once he made his donation, he approached various local Rotary Clubs, the St. John’s Ice Caps and other local businesses and asked them to match his donation. The result was a $40,000 donation to the Polio Plus program. Incredibly, this amount was matched by both the Canadian Government and the Bill Gates foundation, for a total of $120,000, which purchased vaccines for 200,000 children.The spirit behind the book is what drove this incredible effort, and Creative Book Publishing is honoured to have played a small part in it. The Man in the Red Suit is one of Creative Book Publishing’s most successful titles to date. It has sold more than 10,000 copies nationally and made the Globe and Mail bestseller list in 2012. With the success of this project came increased visibility and recognition for our press. It has also changed the way Creative evaluates submissions. We’ve learned that sometimes the essence of a story is not always readily visible in the material that’s presented, especially for a first-time author. As publishers, we have the privilege of taking personal stories to print, and helping the author to clearly identify and convey the message they want to present to the reading public. When that message is delivered so beautifully, and so successfully, it makes us feel very good about the work we do. The Man in the Red Suit has undoubtedly situated itself in the broader “CanLit” canon as one of the most heart-wrenching and inspiring Christmas books in the marketplace. It is a book that readers will remember and revisit every Christmas season. In 2015, the author of The Man in the Red Suit, Bruce Templeton, was inducted into the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame.See Bruce Templeton tell Santa stories (that will probably make you bawl) at the TedX event in St. John’s: * * *It’s been a slice, rewinders! Check up on all of our other Rewind titles, here.