3 Ways to Lessen your Publishing Footprint

When I received the call from my muse to write my first book, I was thrilled. When the follow-up call came to publish the book, I stopped short.

Because I’m all about tree love.

Sustainability is important to me.

And the publishing industry has an opportunity to put practices in place that safeguard our beautiful environment.

But the sheer nature of the industry — printing costs, sales margins, returnable books — keeps it far from sustainable.

The logical option?


Because not only do I control the process of publishing, but I set the price of the book. And I can set that price to cover, say…  the cost to plant a tree for every print copy sold of my Anna series of children’s books.

Here are 3 ways you can lessen your publishing footprint:

  1. Print local. Chances are, your local printer has an enviro paper option. It’s one of my requests when I print my books. Printing on recycled paper is slightly more expensive, but not by much. And the extra pennies I pay per book are worth it. Though my books are available for POD on Amazon, I sell more books at events I attend locally … with my enviro paper books. And if you hit it big, like JK Rowling, you can demand your traditionally published large print runs on recycled paper with non-toxic inks.
  2. Choose FSC certification. If you cannot source recycled paper, look for FSC. The Forest Stewardship Council promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. It’s not recycled paper, but it’s a lesser impact option than non-FSC certified. Lulu uses FSC certified paper. Many options will say that their paper contains 10% recycled content. That’s not good enough for me. You can do better. Find an option that meets your standards. God forbid, we are printing our books from old growth forests.
  3. Plant a tree! Plant many trees. When I decided to publish the Anna series, I used golf course etiquette: replace your divot and that of another. I knew if I printed locally on recycled paper AND had a tree planted for every print copy sold, maximum divots were being replaced. For the POD copies that sell through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Chapters/Indigo, the tree I plant more than offsets the 32 pages of paper used in that book. Partner with TreeEra, the Forest Farmer, the Nature Conservancy, Tree Canada or another organization near you. Donate a portion of your profits or plant a tree. Build that cost into your book price.

Of course, eBooks are a great way to lessen your paper footprint. But when you plan to print your hard copies, consider your impact and choose sustainable options.

As indie authors, we have the power to create positive change in our industry together.


I’d love to hear how you’re lessening your publishing footprint. Please share your methods below.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s