Adding illustrations

Can I start by uploading a text-only version of an eBook—to KDP, most likely—and later update the book to include the illustrations? This would let me get the story “out there” more quickly. I should only need one more revision pass to get the text ready.

Yes, you can do this, but do you really want to? One great thing about eBooks is you can upload and publish new versions anytime, with some limitations.

In your case, you might decide to make the two books discrete products—a print version and an illustrated version. But take care to make each version a quality product, putting your best foot forward with what you’ve got to offer. If the book is really lacking without the illustrations, wait until you’re ready to include them.

But yes, it is technically possible to upload new and improved versions of your book. Doing this and nothing else will change the deliverable that readers download. Do you really want to deal with readers’ disappointments over needing to “upgrade” their books? Or worse, pay for an upgrade if you sell the illustrated version separately?

Another consideration is that you want to avoid disappointing the buyers of the non-illustrated version once the illustrated version comes out. You might offer the second version free or at a steep discount. It’s all about building and taking care of your readers and your brand.

So, this is a win-lose situation most of the time.

Where can I find artwork to use in my book?

What may seem like a difficult or even overwhelming question to some, finding artwork to use in your book has lots of possible answers.

  • First of all, look within, grasshopper. Do you own a camera? Your own photograph, maybe cropped, embellished, or amended in a photo editing application already on your computer, may be the solution. You may have untapped creativity where you least expected it! (And, you own all the rights!)
  • Have any good friends or relatives with drawing or photography chops who might be delighted to help you out, for a small fee? Think about it and talk with them. You may be surprised.
  • There are cover art resources available through KDP and CreateSpace.
  • Search “artwork for my book” in your favorite search engine.
  • Try the pay-per-image photo libraries such as Fotolia, Getty, and others. You create an account, buy some credits, search and select photos from their libraries, and download the image size you need. Make sure you understand the rights you are acquiring for each photo you license.

Can I embed videos into my book?

Yes. This is only a viable idea if you are producing a book intended for a tablet, smartphone, or computer screen, where the video can be viewed. To embed your video, use one of the Kindle Creator applications (Kindle Textbook Creator, etc.) or Adobe InDesign as your production platform. If you’re  Apple-exclusive, then use Ibooks Author, but you knew that already.

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