Illustrate Your Way to Publication: A Guide to Including Images in Your Book

ByWomen's Business Club

Mar 23, 2023

The writing and book printing process is time-consuming and complex. You’ve spent weeks or months writing a fantastic book, but now you need to find some images to complement the text and bring the pages to life. Where do you start? In this guide, we help you through the process of finding suitable images for your book. 

Why Should You Include Images or Illustrations in Your Book? There are several reasons why you should include images or illustrations in your book:

Capture attention

Hundreds of thousands of new books are published every year. To stand out from the crowd, you need your book to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible and capture consumers’ attention. Pages with images are far more eye-catching than ones without. If someone flicks through your book, in person or virtually, images will draw their eyes to the page and pique their interest.

Improve recall and understanding

Including illustrations or images in your book will also improve recall and the reader’s understanding of the content inside—it’s far easier to work out what’s going on when there are images or illustrations to guide the reader. 

Determining the Purpose of Images 

Before you start the process of finding images or illustrations for your book, it’s vital to understand the purpose the images will serve in your publication. For example, are they there to convey information, support the narrative of your work, or simply add some visual interest to the pages? Knowing the purpose of images will help you find the right ones for your book.

For non-fiction publications, images may help readers understand complex ideas, provide helpful visual examples or break up long, monotonous blocks of text to keep readers engaged. However, in children’s books, images and illustrations are a vital part of storytelling and are often used to further the story and convey the character’s emotions.

Finding Images or Illustrations For Your Book

Now we’ve discussed the reasons why you should include images or illustrations in your book, let’s get into the process of finding the right ones. 

Stock photos

One of the best ways to find high-quality images for your book is to purchase stock photos from websites such as Shutterstock, Getty Images and Adobe Stock. However, it’s not as simple as purchasing images for a flat fee. There are different levels of rights for stock photos, so choose wisely. For example, on Shutterstock, there are standard, enhanced and video licenses, all with different usage conditions. 

Creative Commons

Another option is to browse the Creative Commons collection. If images are restricted in any way, the restrictions will be outlined in the listing.


Similar to Creative Commons, photos posted on Unsplash are available to use under the Unsplash license. All photos can be downloaded and used for free, for commercial and non-commercial purposes, with no permission needed. However, the website does point out that attribution of the creators is appreciated. 

Commission an illustrator

If you lack the time or artistic skills, you may want to consider hiring an illustrator to create the artwork for your book. Doing this will help you stand out from your competitors, allowing you to tell a unique story that keeps readers engaged from start to finish.

Preparing The Images or Illustrations 

After you’ve sourced the images for your book, you need to prepare them for the printing process by ensuring they have the right image resolution, colour mode and file format. Images or illustrations should be at least 300 dpi to avoid blurriness or pixelation, in CMYK colours, and saved in a file format that is compatible with book layout software, such as TIFF or EPS. 

Finding a Book Printing Service

Once you’ve sourced your images and you’ve made sure they’re high-quality and print-ready, it’s time to find a suitable book printing service to print your book! Research different book printers online and compare crucial factors such as binding options, pricing and print quality. If you’re printing an illustrated book, you may want to work with a printing service with experience in this specific area. 

After you’ve selected a book printing service and you’ve received a quote you’re happy with, it’s time to provide them with the necessary files so they can send your work to print. You’ll need to provide them with a PDF of your book’s layout and make sure to communicate any specific requirements before printing begins. The book printer you’ve chosen will be happy to answer any questions you may have, as they want the book to come out as you intended it to.

In Summary

Including images or illustrations in your book will enhance the reader’s experience and keep them engaged from start to finish. By understanding the purpose of each image you include in your work, sourcing high-quality images, selecting the right format, and working with a reputable book printing service, you can be confident that your book will come out how you intended.

By Women's Business Club

Women's Business Club empowers women to succeed in business through awards, conferences, business support membership, and news. Find out more at or send your press release [email protected]. Articles and adverts are chargeable, see media pack at

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