Drawings, in terms of books, can mean two completely different things:
Let’s look at why you would want or need either.
Most people consider “drawings” something for a children’s book or a graphic novel. In fact, there are a number of books which benefit greatly from drawings. Consider the broader term, which includes tables, decorations and maps.
When you were first learning to read, the first book with no pictures got slumped shoulders, hang dog look and possibly crocodile-sized tears. Why? Illustrations give us a break and enhance our visual imagination.
For centuries illuminated books were the most sought after because the chapter plates were pieces of art in their own right. Especially in books of poetry, an illustration goes a long way toward setting mood.
Does your story line travel a path? Even a map in the prologue or epilogue will give the direction-challenged a better handle on your story.
One of the more novel ideas is to have a illustration announce or warn of a character whose pivotal nature may not be revealed early in the story. Associating characters with illustrations of their professions is an easy way to accomplish this.
Are you guilty of this?
Consider a piece of scrollwork to take the word processor feel out of your piece by giving your reader’s eyes a gentle break.
The other type of drawing is the giveaway. Some authors will not give away a book for all the acclaim in the world. Others pass them out like breath mints at a garlic sampling party.
Giveaways generate good karma in a number of ways. They also yield a list of readers who are interested in your book… and possibly subsequent books, provided you deliver a quality product.
Feels Good: Do you like to win? So does most everyone else you have ever met. Your book may be the only thing someone ever wins.
Gathers Interest: Someone who sees your giveaway may not be all that interested in your book. On the other hand, it may be directly up the alley of that person’s BFF. Referrals are great and can lead to reviews.
Creates Buzz: “Have you entered yet?” is the question on people’s lips and fingertips.
Increases Followers: When you are willing to give away your work, readers perceive you in a more approachable light. Those who do not win are willing to see what else you have going on (blog, website, other works) while they read the copy they bought.
Generates Demand: Giveaways which generate many entries show how popular your book is. If 1,500 people entered to win, it should be worth $3.50 as an ebook.
Creates Buyer Base: The entrants have some interest. The non-winning list is a good place to market when you put the book on sale or put out your next title.
Inevitably, someone is going to go too far. A 92,471 word book is not a good candidate for 137 illustrations… not even small ones. Using drawings to make your book longer increases production costs without delivering a good deal of value, regardless of how good the drawings are.
In fact, overdoing it with artwork is a way to price yourself out of the market. Good illustrations can cost you anywhere from $50 (tiny one) to upwards of $500 for a photograph or a detailed custom-designed piece of page-sized, camera ready art.
Same goes for the other type of drawing. Running giveaways too close together will not stimulate sales. In fact, it deters sales. After a drawing, customers will contemplate purchasing the book. If they find out you are giving away another copy before they decide to bite the bullet, even for 99 cents, they will bide their time and play the odds.
Think that’s wrong? How many people play the lottery? There you have it.
Frequent giveaways can devalue your book. Customers think you have to give it away to generate interest, ergo the book must not be all that interesting on its own. Unless you can show customers the value of your book, they will wait for a free copy.
Consider illustrations where they are appropriate. When in doubt, take a survey from your beta team.
Give away copies for big events:
- 1,000 books sold
- After large media campaign, public interview or book signing
All things in moderation.
Do you have/want illustrations in your book? Have you held a drawing for a free book or ebook? Do you sell or give away autographed copies?
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