Software for a book containing artwork

by Cherry Smith

Hi everyone,

I am just beginning to write an astrology book and I want to have lots of pics etc. in it. Is there a free software program available to make it easier for me??

Cheers! Cherry

Answer: If you will be submitting the manuscript to a publisher or agent, don't insert illustrations into the text. That's the job of the book designer. Your job is to just write the words.

If you have illustrations you would like to include, such as photographs or graphs, and you either own these or have permission to use them, then send them in a separate file (most likely electronic format).

You can't publish a photograph for which you don't have copyright or permission. Publishers usually have catalogs of stock photographs that they pay to use.

To indicate where in the text a photograph should appear, insert a reference in this manner...

Insert photo #12 here.


Insert photo filename.jpg here. Caption follows...

Bear in mind that authors usually don't have much control over how a published book will look. Publishers prefer to hire their own book designers and will retain final say on the finished project. This is because a book's appearance can have a tremendous affect on sales (especially when the book is heavily illustrated).

On the other hand, if you are self-publishing and designing the book yourself (assuming you have the skills to do this) then what you need is a desktop publishing software package, such as Page Plus or Microsoft Publisher.

A free desktop publisher that many people have recommended is Scribus (

If you are using an assisted self-publishing company, such as Lulu or CreateSpace, you will need to see what formats you can use and what software tools the company recommends.

Be warned though: if you've never done desktop publishing before, it will take some time to train yourself on using the software.

In fact, if you haven't designed a book before, you should really consider hiring an experienced book designer. To properly design even a non-illustrated book is harder and more complicated than you might expect. Illustrated books are far more difficult to do well. And if it's your first time, you could end up with a book that looks amateurish, which will cost you sales.

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Oct 31, 2014
Thank You!
by: Cherry

Thank you so much Glen for your answer. I had no idea I didn't need to add the pics and make my book look like a book from the start! All I have to worry about are the words. Yay! It takes a load off my mind that the publishers do all the artwork. Thank you so much for your website, I will be seeking answers from you quite often I think. Namaste!!

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