Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Adding Images to Books

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! Self-publishing offers writers another choice on the road to publication, whether they’re already traditionally published and/or e-press published, or unpublished. Although the author maintains control of the process, she also has a lot of hard work ahead of her. Education about self-publishing and the publishing industry is vital to a good product and creating a professional image.

The content is ready! The book is written, the polished manuscript has been to an editor, critique partners, and beta-readers, the tagline and blurbs are written, a contract for cover art has been signed, ISBNs are purchased, and front and back matter are complete. The e-book and print files are ready to upload.

What about Adding Images to Books?

Cookbooks, children’s books, and many other fiction and nonfiction books have photos, screenshots, and artwork on the interior pages. Even adding a publisher logo to the title page requires the ability to add images to the document.

Writing Tip Wednesday: The Self-Publishing Handbook will be my first attempt at adding pictures to the content of an e-book and print book. I’ve researched the topic of adding images, and, much to my dismay, almost every source gave different instructions and recommended different file types and/or sizes. So, I’ll be experimenting when formatting time comes around.

Three elements of adding images are consistent from every resource I looked at.

1) Use Insert-->Picture-->Photo-->Picture from File to add pictures. Never copy and paste an image into the document. Pictures can be screenshots taken with built-in screenshot software or with SnagIt, a free download. Use Photoshop or another program to crop, adjust color, and change the resolution to 150 pixels per inch.

2) Wrap-around text does not work in self-published book formatting. This means all text must be above or below the inserted picture. No text can be to the left, right, or both.

3) The picture should be centered using the Format-->Paragraph control. Be sure to eliminate any first-line indentation, as this will cause the picture to be slightly off-center.

Are you ready for the conflicting information?

1) Some sources recommend using PNG files, while most others say JPG. Images can be converted to JPG and PNG format from PDF format using the Save As command, or is recommended by one resource.

2) Size recommendations vary. The consensus seems to be the picture can’t be larger than the smallest e-reader device’s screen will allow. The numbers range from 400 pixels x 300 pixels to 500 pixels x 600 pixels to 560 pixels x 740 pixels to 600 pixels x 800 pixels. One source suggested limiting to the size of each picture to 127KB. Another recommended limiting the size to 5MB for the complete file. Still another says to make the images smaller using Format Picture-->Size-->Shrink Image (for PC) or Format-->Format Object (for Mac). This source also recommends using to make the image the correct size. Images can also be compressed through the Format Picture/Object command.

3) Some resources say to save the document as Web Page, Filtered and convert it to a zip file for upload to retail outlets.

I’m certain I’ll end up with a headache when I tackle adding screenshots to help guide self-publishers through the process! However, the handbook will have new information based on my experience—minus the cursing that may occur.

If you’re lucky enough to have adding images figured out, check off #7.a. on the to-do list and please share your expertise! What worked? What didn’t work? Does size matter?

The To-Do List
1) Finish the book. 
2) Polish and edit the book. 
3) Write taglines and blurbs. 
4) Create or purchase cover art. 
5) Purchase ISBNs, if using a single ISBN for all retailers using the same book format (print or e-book). 
6) Create front and back matter. 
7) Format for e-book and/or print. 
7.a.) Add images. 
7.b.) Create audio book.
8) Update website, blog, and social media.
9) Create metadata list.
10) Plan a marketing and promotion strategy.
11) Publish the book.
12) File copyright paperwork, if registering.
13) Add buy links to websites, blogs, and social media.
14) Implement marketing and promotion strategies.
15) Write the next book!

Be sure to check out the writing craft series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Craft Handbook, in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and CreateSpace, and the writing career series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Career Handbook, in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and CreateSpace.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

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