Images: Illustrations, diagrams, photos

Open Contents



In this section:

If you can avoid images in your book, it helps

Images add to the design cost, will affect the level of contract we can give, and they do not always work in ebook format. Do think twice about whether it is worth it.

If you do have images, we only work with black-and-white ones

We can only work with black-and-white images (Illustrations, diagrams, photos etc.) that are copyright-cleared and paid for where necessary.

Is there any way I can have color images in my book?

No. To add color pictures to our standard paperback would be impractical, multiplying the cost and the retail price several times.

If they are in color, we will convert to b/w, assuming the quality is OK.

Image in The Book of the Magical Mythical Unicorn

If you do have images, make sure they are of sufficient quality

Our designer needs to see your images as soon as possible, in case there are any that are not of good enough quality (please supply them as 300dpi JPEGS to a width of 104mm).

If a replacement cannot be found, any reference to the image in the text will have to be removed.

How to name your image files

Give your simple names, and number them in the order they appear in your book. For example:

  • Picture 1
  • Picture 2
  • Picture 3

This makes it obvious what order they are to appear in your book.

Don’t embed photos, diagrams or tables in your Word file

If you want to insert an image into your text you have to add placeholder text for the image. Always put ZZZ before the name of the image. Leave a blank line before and after the placeholder and make the placeholder text a different color that stands out. Add captions if required.

We ask you to use ZZZ before the placeholder text for each image so the designer can easily search the full manuscript to find the image insertion points.

Make sure your image names in your manuscript are the same names as the files you upload. Otherwise your designer has no idea which image goes where.

Add them to Manuscript Upload and Approval Workflow section much as you would add the manuscript, at the same time.

Can I use images from the internet?

No, unless you have downloaded them from a site that supplies high-resolution images. Most images on the internet are not suitable for print production. It’s sometimes possible to use an image if the size is large enough (1280x1024 pixels). Copy/paste the site URL or download the image. But you have to check copyright information on internet pictures. Clarify this issue with the website publisher.

Get permission to use the images in your book!

The source of each image should be given. Do not put up illustrations/photos unless you have cleared permission to reproduce them and paid any necessary fees, including for use in promotion of the book. Check the relevant section in Copyright for more information on permissions, particularly when using photographs of people.

How to upload your images

  • Go to your Production page
  • Open the Manuscript upload Workflow section.
  • Click on +upload a file
  • Under type select Picture
  • Click Choose file and select you file(s)
  • Click on upload file

The maximum file-upload size is 4MB.

I have a lot of images! What should I do?

Please post a query on the Author Forum and we'll assign you a Dropbox to upload them to.


Photographic images should be scanned and saved as JPEGs at a resolution of 300dpi (dots per inch) to a maximum width of 104mm. They should be supplied as close as possible to the size they will appear when printed, but not smaller.

My image file is too small. Can I make it larger?

Don’t increase the size of a digital image. Unless you are an experienced Photoshop user, it is better to leave the image alone. We can enhance the quality slightly, but we can't stretch or alter the image itself. Only supply good quality images.

Do not compress your images

Do not use any compression program to make your images fit. Compression will degrade the image quality to an unacceptable level.

We cannot use a Photoshop file if it is produced in Windows and saved as a PDF

If you’re sending a more complex, designed image, with text as well as picture, we can’t use a Photoshop file if it’s produced in Windows and saved as a PDF. On the way to the printers it has gone through the QuarkXpress program, and that doesn’t work with the different layers and fonts you will have produced in the PDF.

Image suggestions for your cover

We encourage you to find an Adobe Stock image that could work as the basis of your cover.

If the designer does not use your image, it might be because the resolution/quality is not good enough for print purposes.

Remember that colors on screen will not entirely match the colors that are printed (referring to the cover here, we do not print color in the text pages of a paperback).



All drawings must be prepared in an appropriate professional-level software program, not in the variety of drawing packages that come as part of much word-processing software. However good they look on screen, they will not work in print.

Programs such as Adobe Freehand, Illustrator and Photoshop allow for the creation of both line and continuous-tone

Files for print must be supplied as:

  • EPS from Freehand and Illustrator
  • JPEG or TIF from Photoshop.

EPS files must be accompanied by a version in native file format in case we are required to make amendments.

In all cases, each drawing should be created as an individual file.

If you are supplying scans of already-existing line drawings, please scan at a resolution of 300dpi and as close as possible to the size they will appear when printed, but not smaller. If the drawing only takes up a small part of the page, just scan the drawing, not the whole page.

Use solid black for digital drawings rather than shades of grey. The grey does not always carry from one software program to another.

Briefing the artist

If you are supplying clear roughs that will be redrawn by the book designer, we need to have agreed the cost of this, and who’s paying it, beforehand. If it is simple line work for a couple of drawings that takes a few minutes, we will just absorb the cost. If it’s more detailed work, we need to agree payment, usually in the region of £10/$16 per picture. A simple map would be £30/$50. There’s a minimum cost of £50/$80.

Either way, we will need unambiguous source material in the form of clear, rough sketches, along with a description of what is required.

The designer cannot work from descriptive text, trying to interpret what you mean. Photocopies of similar published drawings and other reference material would also be helpful. This is particularly important where accuracy is needed, as with, for instance, specific plants or flowers.

Proofs of your redrawn illustrations will be sent to you for checking. Corrections cannot be made at proof stage, as it is too expensive.

Illustration captions

A caption is a brief description of what the illustration shows and should not repeat the description given in the text. Sometimes used, sometimes not. If they’re helpful in explaining what the picture is about, put them in. Supply them within the text, making a note of them on the stylesheet at the front.

Can I add tables to my manuscript?

Avoid tables. A handful of them can take more time to set than the rest of the book. If there are any changes at proof stage, the whole thing has to be reconstructed bit by bit. Unless yours is an academic title for which we're charging in the £30/$60+ price range, please don’t use them. They don’t transfer to ebooks. If you really need to, we reserve the right to discuss a charge for it.

If they are essential, they should be comprehensible without reference to the text.

Every table should be numbered and referred to in the text in numerical order according to the chapter in which it appears, e.g. Table 2.1 is the first table in Chapter 2. Type each table with its number and caption above it on a separate, numbered sheet of paper (at the end of the chapter).

Don’t make tables more than 5 columns in width; the text in our books is only 4.2 inches wide and anything more than 5 columns looks too crowded.

Bear in mind the number of characters per line; our text width allows for 62, so keep the text brief.

Use a maximum of three horizontal rules and avoid using vertical rules.

Define all abbreviations and symbols used in the table in footnotes placed after the final horizontal rule. Footnotes to tables are indicated by alphabetical, italic superscripts to avoid confusion with numerical references and symbols.