Celebrate Green! Welcome authors Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson!

Brynna:  Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are the mom and daughter  co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays,Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole FamilyTell us a little aboutCelebrate Green! and yourselves.Lynn and Corey:  We wanted to write a book about celebrating in an eco-friendly way that would above all, be a fun, informative read. While we needed to include the factual basis for our ideas, we wanted to leave readers with the idea that turning their holidays and celebrations green can be easy, fun and inexpensive. So the book is crammed with suggestions and eco-alternatives for more than a dozen holidays and celebrations. We cover food, activities, décor and where appropriate, gifts, but our emphasis always is on people over things and having a great time while doing the least possible damage to the Earth.
Everyone has heard of the 3Rs which form the basis for green thinking. We added to this concept, the 3Gs—good for people (those who make or grow what we purchase or consume), good for the Earth, and good for the community (meaning companies give back and also treat those who work for them fairly). With this expanded definition, there are plenty of opportunities for  us to begin changing how we celebrate to lessen our impact on the planet and its people.
We don’t want people to just read the book, we want them to use it. We hope that every copy will be dog-eared and tattered before it is placed in the recycling bin! Our fondest hope is that the book inspires everyone to think before they celebrate.
We’re passionate about this idea because we realized that people celebrate a lot! If you add to the nationwide holidays—Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, the myriad individual/family celebrations like weddings, graduations, birthdays,baby showersfamily reunions and even office events, you see what we’re talking about.  Millions of us tossing out any thought of earth-friendly behaviors a dozen times a year ends up costing people and the Earth much more than money.
Corey always has been an eco-aware person. Lynn is newer to actively incorporating these behaviors into her life. This is one of the things that we believe make us appealing. Not only are we mom and daughter, so we’re from different generations, but we span the spectrum of green. That’s why we believe that as partners, our message appeals to so many people.
Brynna:  We all want to improve our inviroment and learn to be more eco-friendly.  Greener ways to celebrate the holidays is a great way to start.  How did the idea for your book and your website begin?
Lynn and Corey:  It started with the idea for Green Halloween®. After making the Halloween rounds with her two small daughters, and seeing their delight when they received stickers and bubbles instead of candy, Corey wondered why this holiday couldn’t be more child and earth-friendly. When she shared her concept for moving Halloween away from the conventional and into a new and exciting place, Lynn said, “This isn’t just about Halloween, it’s about all holidays!”
From the first, we knew we’d write a book. We just didn’t realize how quickly that would happen. In fact, less than a month after Halloween 2007, the inaugural year for Green Halloween, we had an offer from a publisher.
The website is an extension of the book, not a clone of it. It contains different information for each holiday or celebration and we will be continually expanding it with input from readers. Through our blog and the site, we are privileged to feature craftspeople and businesses who are doing great things, as well as highlight individuals who are finding new ways to put a twist on their holiday traditions. We also encourage anyone who is interested to join our “village,” and support the cause of greening up the holidays. It may seem like a small thing, but it’s a way for everyone to make a difference.
Brynna:  Celebrate Green! is a self-published venture.  Would you recommend self-publishing to unpublished authors? 
Lynn and Corey:  We had not planned for Celebrate Green! to be self-published. Unfortunately, seven weeks from the day the book was to go to print, the publisher went out of business. We took the book to two other publishers who were interested, but couldn’t bring it out for at least a year. At that point, Lynn dug into her retirement savings and we brought out the book on time and ourselves.
Now that the trauma of doing what we needed to do in less than two months has passed, we believe that our publisher going under might have been the best thing to happen to us (not for them, unfortunately). Self-publishing is a tremendous amount of work, especially the way we did it (that is, working with a printer, not “print on demand”). But it gives you almost complete control and tremendous flexibility with the process. Since both of us like to be in charge of our fates, this has been great.
A number of people have said to us, “Well, after you make a success of it, other publishers will be knocking at your door.” While that may be true, we’re not so sure that we would be willing to hand it over.
If you are going to self-publish, it helps if you have a background in public relations or marketing because the tough part isn’t the publishing, it’s the selling. We are fortunate to know a number of very successful self-publishers, and with Lynn’s years of experience in PR, we feel confident we’ll succeed. So if you have a non-fiction book that you believe in, have the money to finance, and are ready to pour yourself into marketing, go for it!
Brynna:  The book is available at www.CelebrateGreen.NET as well as at A Toy GardenVillage Green Gifts and Amazon. And for the best is EEK-O friendly Halloween ideas, visit www.GreenHalloween.org.

Posted on Thursday, Oct 16, 2008, 11:00 PM (UTC -5)