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Including Visual Elements

If we work together on your book, you will probably want to include some visual elements as well as text. This isn't essential. I have written books that were all text. However, adding visual elements (diagrams, graphics and photos) is a good idea. It breaks up the text and makes your book more readable and interesting.

Here are a few points you may like to note.

Creating Visual Elements

I am not a graphic designer but I can prepare simple graphics and diagrams for you if necessary. For anything that requires the skills and talents of an experienced graphic designer, you can either hire a designer yourself or I can recommend the designer that I usually work with.

Any photos that you want to use will probably be ones that you already own. I can take care of photo manipulation if you want, for example to tidy up an image, crop and size it, or paint out any elements you want to be removed.  

Using Colour Images

The Kindle version of your book can include full colour images. No problem at all.

The paperback version can use colour images, but your book will be very expensive to print and to buy. It costs about four or five times as much to print in colour as it does to just stick to black and white. For this reason, most people decide to just use black and white versions of their graphics and photos in the paperback version of their book.

This leaves me with just one more technical point to explain. Let's say you have a colour photo and you'd like to include a version of it in your book. For example, here's a picture I took of some tango dancers in Buenos Aires:

Tango Dance 1.jpg

In the printing world, 'black and white' means an image that consists only of solid black and pure white, with no other tones in between:  

Tango Dance bw.jpg

This doesn't look very good, does it? 

What's technically known as the 'grayscale' version looks much better. It contains all the shades of gray between pure black and pure white, like this:

Tango Dance grey.jpg

When I say that you will probably want to use 'black and white' images for the paperback version of your book, I actually mean 'grayscale'. So your photos can still look pretty good.

I can prepare the grayscale version of any photos or images you want to include in your book. This process isn't easy and it does call for a bit of experience. It's not just a case of pushing a button. Unless you're careful, you can end up with a version that's either too dark and 'crushed' or too light and 'washed out':

Tango Dance bw Too Dark With Caption.jpg
Tango Dance bw Too Light With Caption.jpg

Although I can prepare grayscale versions of your photos for you, there's no perfect way to tell how images will be affected by the printing process. All we can do is prepare the book for publication, get a proof copy, see how it looks and make any fine adjustments as necessary. We may have to go through this stage more than once. This isn't anyone's fault. It's just part of the publication process. 

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