Monday, October 20, 2008

The Green Collar Economy Boosted Into Best Sellers List by Netroots Buzz

Unknown, first-time author propelled onto best-seller lists by grassroots, online upswell. Van Jones, author of The Green Collar Economy, becomes the first black environmental leader to achieve top seller status

From GreenForAll:

(OAKLAND, California) - First-time author Van Jones – who wrote this season's surprise best-seller, The Green Collar Economy – admits that he is an unlikely writer of an unlikely book.

After all, he apparently is the first African-American writer to pen an environmental best-seller.

But perhaps what is most remarkable is the unlikely way that his first book wound up at the #12 slot on the New York Times best-seller list – during its very first week in print.

"Well, we didn't have a big budget to promote the book, or anything," Jones said. "So my co-workers and I just started sending out emails to all of our friends, to people we have worked with for years, to bloggers, to other activists. And something happened out there. The whole thing just kind of exploded virally online."

Thousands of people got the email, and ordered the book right there and then. And many of those recipients forwarded the email on to their lists, and so on.

"People said they were getting our email from three or four different people, from totally different parts of their lives," said Alli Starr, a Jones co-worker at Green For All. "It was crazy. Promoting this book became a cause for so many, diverse people. We all wanted to break the emerald ceiling and get a fresh, new environmental voice out there."

The book sold about 5,000 copies in its first week of publication – about half of that in one day, Friday (October 10), in response to an online push.

Jones says that he is proud that the book attracted a major publisher and some heavy-hitting endorsers, including Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. But he is most proud that so many grassroots activists and bloggers worked so hard to put the book over the top.

Shifting the new environmental discussion from green consumers to green workers, Jones' book shows how the transition from an oil-dependent, pollution-based economy can create a powerful engine for renewal - creating jobs for millions. Warning against the dangers of "eco-elitism" and "eco-apartheid," The Green Collar Economy calls for a "Green New Deal" to help people of all classes and colors enjoy the work, wealth and health benefits of a green economy.


A long-time civil rights activist, Jones founded Green For All earlier this year, to get green-collar jobs to disadvantaged people. Jones is sharing his proceeds from the book with Green For All.

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