Tag Archives: Images

Transmedia: Picture This

image credit: allenran 917
image credit: allenran 917

Why connect images to my book?

Images are the most common form of transmedia integrated into books.  Authors of all genres, fiction and non fiction have experimented with the many reasons to do so, including:

  • To entertain.  Most commonly, this reason is applied to early reader books, but it certainly does not have to be.  David Sedaris will often include sketches inside of his collected fables, which are most certainly not for children.
  • To enlighten or clarify.  In fiction, an author should usually try to paint the picture of the setting, characters, objects, etc. with words, however some will choose to reward readers with visual images to reward readers who correctly assume what the characters look like.  And what about non fiction?  The more images for reference, the better.
  • To inspire.  A seemingly unrelated image to the story can place emphasis on the theme of the story, or draw on relations to current affairs, invoking emotion or thought.

If you’re considering adding images to your book, here are 4 examples of popular pictures:

  • Character sketches.  Drawing out your scenes, characters, important objects ins a fun way to engage the audience.
  • Maps.  These could be real maps, or fictional.  Think back to how often you examine the map of Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings.  Practical, and entertaining.
  • Infographics.  People are loving infographics, and why wouldn’t they?  Visually pleasing and easily digestable, they are a great way to recap on information in a reference chapter.
  • Candid photos.  For memoirs and biographies, candid photos are treasured insights into the lives of the star(s) of the story.

Helpful Hints

  • Ask permission.  Always, always, always ensure you have the rights to the images you use.  If you are using images with people in them, even if its your own Aunt Molly, extend a request to publish it.
  • If you are using images you’ve created yourself, ask yourself: does this look professional? There is nothing wrong with outsourcing image creation to other talented individuals; images are there to enhance your story, not take away from it.
  •   Consider the purpose.  As stated above, images should enhance your story, not take away from it.  If you are including an image, make sure there is a reason for it that the audience will understand.