Preparing graphics


Be sure that all graphics you upload are either your own work or that you have obtained rights to use them. Graphics found on the Internet aren’t free for the taking. They may be copyrighted, available for a fee (stock photo or clip art collections), licensed under Creative Commons or public domain. Play it safe—don’t assume. For some great information about copyright, read Brad Templeton’s 10 Big Myths about copyright explained.

File types, packaging, resolution and more

  • “Graphics” applies to everything that is not the text of your book—drawings, illustrations, photos, charts, figures, etc.
  • Upload all your graphics in a single Zip file through the online sign-up form. If you are providing a cover graphic, include it in the Zip file with the other graphics. If you have only one graphic, please just upload it as a single image file.
  • Give each image file an easily distinguishable name, and be sure it has a file extension (.tif, .jpg).
  • Acceptable file formats are TIFF, JPEG, PDF, PNG, PSD, AI. Please see the tips for creating graphics, below. Do not upload read-only files.
  • All graphics must be a minimum of 300 dpi resolution, and at least the size you wish them to appear. Larger is even better. Please see the tips for creating graphics, below.
  • Only cover images may be submitted in color, unless you’ve ordered a book in color.
  • Do not place/insert graphics in your manuscript file. Instead…
  • Mark in your text where the image is to be inserted. For example, the file abc.tif can be marked this way: [insert abc.tif here]. If there are special instructions for how you wish this graphic to appear, include them in the placement marker, e.g. [insert abc.tif, top of page, at outside margin].

Creating, scanning and saving graphics

Doing conversions and resizing on graphics may work just fine, or it may be a major headache. Avoid problems by creating good graphic files from the beginning.

  • Scan or create all images at 300 dpi or higher, and at least the size you wish them to appear.
  • Be sure black and white or grayscale images are created and saved in bitmap or grayscale mode. Using RGB or any other color mode—even if you use only black and white within your image—can result in poor image quality when printed as black and white.
  • Save JPG files without compression, that is, at maximum quality/largest file size—every time. JPG is “lossy”—it discards some image data with each save if compression is on, and image quality suffers.
  • Scan all images at 300 dpi or higher. Do not use a “web design” setting—this sets the resolution to 72 dpi and color to RGB. This will not give acceptable image quality.
  • For black and white line drawings, choose the line art scan setting.
  • For photos or black and white drawings with shading, choose the grayscale setting.
  • Scan in color only for color images.