Self-Publishing FAQ: Does My Book Need Images?

The short answer is it depends!

Self-Publishing FAQ: Does My Book Need Images?
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Self-Publishing FAQ: Does My Book Need Images? 

Welcome to the segment of our blog where we take all the FAQs inside our growing AIA community of 35k freedom seekers around the globe and dish out self-publishing advice backed by decades of combined experience.

A really common question our rockstar coaches get is whether every book needs images. This is one of those questions that doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution, but we'll get into that more below. Basically, choosing to include images is going to depend on a lot of different factors, like your book’s genre and the market trends. 

Have another question? Drop us a comment on our Facebook page!

Here, you can see how Elizette answered our student’s question, and then read on for some additional tips and tricks!

Some quick notes: Jordan decided to outsource most of the publishing process, which is a great way to save time while making sure you’re still putting out a quality book. You CAN do all the work yourself, but you certainly don’t have to. Publishing Services is one of the best partners on the market.

Staying On Top of Genre and Market Trends

Research might be even more important than the actual writing part of the publishing process, which a lot of people don’t realize.

Here’s what that looks like in terms of images: 

  • Research Your Genre: Look at similar books in your genre. Are images a common feature? For instance, while children's books and cookbooks often rely heavily on images, some adult non-fiction does not.
  • Competitor Analysis: Check out books that compete directly with yours. What role do images play in these books? Are there more graphs, charts, or photographs? This can give you a good benchmark.

Balancing Quality and Costs

Budget obviously plays a big role in self-publishing, too. So, how do you do right by your readers without breaking the bank? 

  • Quality Over Quantity: If you decide to include images, make sure they’re high-quality and directly relevant. Poor-quality images can detract from the reader's experience (and even cause them to leave negative reviews). 
  • Cost Implications: Remember that opting for colored images rather than black and white can increase production costs for print books, chipping away at your book earnings. And in many cases, readers don’t actually mind black-and-white pictures, but it will depend on your audience, and everything stated above! 

Where Can I Get Images for My Self-Published Books? 

If you decide pictures and illustrations ARE necessary, here are some places to source them: 

Stock Photo Websites:

  • Shutterstock
  • iStock
  • Getty Images

Free Image Resources:

  • Unsplash
  • Pixabay
  • Pexels

Custom Illustrations:

  • Hire artists on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork
  • Connect with illustrators on social media platforms like Instagram

Photography and Graphic Design Tools:

AI Tools

  • Midjourney
  • Dall-E (which is integrated with ChatGPT now)

Pro Tip: As a self-publisher, it’s on you to make sure you have the necessary rights and permissions to use any pictures or illustrations for commercial purposes. Finding a good image also isn’t as easy as changing a colored image to black and white or using stick figures. 

Styles of Photos You Can Generate with AI 

AI still has a ways to go, but it’s getting better every single day. The trick is getting specific with your prompts with the subject and style. For example, a “silhouette” of a superhero will look pretty different than a “pop art style” superhero. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it gives you an idea of just how many possibilities are out there: 

  • Ink Wash Painting
  • Urban Street Photography
  • 3D Renderings
  • Children’s Illustrations
  • Silhouette Photography
  • Architectural Photography
  • Surrealist Photography
  • Documentary Photography
  • Photojournalism
  • Cubism
  • Nature and Landscape Photography
  • Macro Photography
  • Minimalistic Line Art
  • Retro Cartoon 
  • Comic Book
  • Pop Art Style
  • Sketches

Examples of Images That Look Good or Even Better in Black and White 

Here are some examples of AI image prompts and what they produce to help get the creative juices flowing: 

Prompt: black and white knolling picture displaying photography essentials

Pro Tip: “Knolling” is a style of photography that involves things spread out. The image above would be great for a book all about “Photography Essentials for Complete Beginners on a Budget.”

Prompt: Sketchbook vegetables and seeds for a garden

Pro Tip: Sketchbook styles are great for handbooks and pocketbooks!

Prompt: Black and white macro photography of a ladybug

Pro Tip: Macro photography is great for highlighting certain details or giving a more scientific and professional look. 

These images all took less than 2 minutes to generate using ChatGPT’s Dall-E plug-in. 

The best part is that you can plug these images into another app like Canva to edit them quickly. For example, the second image has some wonky AI text. If you get a Canva Pro account, you can upload the image, click “Edit Photo,” then click “Grab Text,” and it will automatically try to convert all the gibberish into recognizable language. 

Of course, you can also outsource the image creation process to a graphic designer if you don’t want to deal with it yourself. That’s the magic of running your own self-publishing business. 

Your Next Step: Free Publishing and Business Training 

Images are one part of the equation, and the rest is waiting for you at our free webinar, where you’ll learn: 

-How much it actually costs to publish a book on Amazon

-How much you can actually make 

-How this proven method can help you escape the 9-5 life for good 

And no, you don’t need a degree or any experience with writing or publishing. We’ll see you there!

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