8 Ideas for Self-Published Authors Who Are Environmentally Conscious | Self-Publishing Relief

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8 Ideas for Self-Published Authors Who Are Environmentally Conscious | Self-Publishing Relief

Thanks to the digital revolution, it’s now easier than ever to be environmentally conscious as a self-published author. At Self-Publishing Relief, we know that with a little thought and effort, you can take advantage of new options for book distribution while reducing waste and mitigating publishing’s effect on the planet. Check out these great ways to be environmentally conscious and eco-friendly with your self-published book.


8 Ideas For Self-Published Authors Who Want To Be Environmentally Conscious And Eco-Friendly

Publish Digital Only

As a self-published author, you have the freedom to choose the formats in which you’d like to publish your books. One effective, eco-conscious choice is to release your books in digital formats only. Many genres, like romance and science fiction, make the bulk of their sales as e-books, so it can make business sense to consider this option.

Note, too, that publishing digitally includes not just e-books, but also audiobooks, a rising segment of the publishing business.

Use Print-On-Demand Technology

Take note: You don’t have to give up print books to be a self-published author who wants to go green!

In traditional publishing, publishers tend to print more books than necessary. Many of those remainders end up as pulp or in landfills. But self-published authors use print-on-demand technology, which avoids excessive waste by only printing a book after it’s ordered.

You can further minimize your carbon footprint by choosing your POD publisher based on its sustainability practices. IngramSpark, for example, will not use paper sourced from old-growth forests, conservation forests, or those from the Amazon Basin.


Use Recycled Paper During Drafts

As every self-published author knows, composing and editing a manuscript require a blizzard of paper, long before the book is ready to be published. Cut down on waste by remembering to:

  • Buy recycled printer paper and notebooks.
  • Print on both sides to reduce use.
  • Recycle all used paper.

Recycle Ink Cartridges

Most ink cartridges are made out of plastic. Do you recycle the cartridges when they’re empty? Many office supply stores have places where you can drop off ink cartridges for recycling. Do you remember to refill them if they are refillable? Have you considered using soy printer ink cartridges? The soy ink is biodegradable and nontoxic, so it’s much better for the environment.

Give E-books As Prizes And Reading Copies

To encourage book reviews, authors often send book bloggers advanced reading copies (ARCs) ahead of publication date. And marketing-savvy self-published authors will have contests and promotions where the prize is often a copy of their books. Rather than shipping print books (which uses time, energy, and paper resources), offer an e-book instead!

Both Barnes & Noble and Amazon allow you to gift an e-book directly to anyone, right from the book page. You could also use the low-cost service Bookfunnel to distribute e-books as advance review copies or reader magnets.


Plant A Tree

Offset the environmental cost of book publishing by being proactive! Check out The Nature Conservatory’s effort to plant a billion trees.

Buy Yourself An E-reader

A Kindle Paperwhite with eight gigabytes of storage can hold about 6,000 books. Fill up one of those instead of filling up your bookshelves and you’ll save a lot of trees!

Embrace Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is a legitimate and very effective promotional technique where you dedicate a portion of the sales of your book to a charity of your choice. Readers love the warm, communal feeling they get when buying a product that also gives back to a good cause.

In the early part of this century, the publishing business was the third largest industrial greenhouse gas emitter in terms of pulp and paper. Fortunately, there has been an ongoing movement to embrace  more environmentally conscious options. Publishers are now turning to responsibly sourced paper, increasing their use of recycled paper, exploring less toxic inks, and using ecological fibers for cover materials.


Question: In what ways do you, as an author, strive to be eco-conscious?



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