Words Tell; Pictures Sell

If you read or write a blog, you know that images can make all the difference in engaging readers, attracting their attention and conveying the message. And if you read traditionally published books, fiction or non-fiction, you know that they don’t have many images in them.

This was to keep publishing costs as low as possible, both in ink and in number of pages used. With self-publishing books, both print and digital, the rules of including images are changing.

Why do you want to have images in your book?

Humans are visual creatures. We are attracted to bright images. They keep our interest and our focus. And in an eBook, they break up the monotony of page after page of print.

When you’re thinking of adding images into your book there are five factors you need to keep in mind:

1. Limit your image file size
Amazon.com charges authors a file delivery cost (70% commission structure only) that goes up based on the total file size of the eBook manuscript. Adding in images will increase the total file size and increase the file delivery cost.

Your images should be clear and recognizable, but also optimized for minimum file size.

2. Avoid gratuitous use of images
I’ve read eBooks with gratuitous use of images. They didn’t really add anything to the information the author was trying to get across. I think the author had the best intentions that he or she was engaging the reader but the images weren’t necessary to get the point across.

3. Make each and every image work for you
When I was writing my book, “Must-Know Trout Fishing Tricks, Tips, & Techniques”  I was re-purposing some older articles from an eZine. All those articles had images. I realized that I could include the most descriptive and needed images into the eBook.

Some of the chapters in the eBook don’t have images at all. If the text could stand on its own, I didn’t include an image just for the sake of having an image. (See number 2) But I did add in pictures for concepts that are really hard to grasp without being able to see it. Like the basic anatomy of a fish.

Even though the fish anatomy is fully explained in the text, isn't it easier to see it as well?

Even though the fish anatomy is fully explained in the text, isn’t it easier to see it as well?

4. Know from where you are getting your images
In the past week, I’ve met with two clients who are not only excellent writers, but also gifted photographers. These lucky folk have the ability to take near-professional photographs to use in their books to offset their information.

I’ve been able to use many of my own photos in my books. But sometimes, you won’t be able to create the perfect setup for the image you need. In that case, you’ll need to purchase your image.

When you purchase it, make sure you are using a reputable stock-photography vendor. And don’t ever use an image from Google Images. Just because you credit your source does not mean that you have permission to use the image!

5. Charts and graphs don’t work well
Current eReader technology doesn’t lend itself well to including charts and graphs. They are usually very detailed images that a reader needs to be able to view full-size. If your material requires a chart to be fully understood, you need to break the chart into sections and make each section as large of an image as you can. This means the chart may take up several “pages” on the eReader.

If your chart doesn’t work without being able to view the whole image at one time, a different publishing format may be your best bet.

Are you thinking of having images in your eBook? Not sure if your chart will be readable? Contact me for a free twenty minute consultation about how images can work in your eBook.

Kim Galloway
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