First and foremost, when inserting graphics, you want to make sure each one is licensed for commercial use. You can’t just copy an image off the internet and insert it into your book. There are a few places where you can get free graphics that are licensed for commercial use.
I use Pixabay and public domain vectors. These are the only two places I know with 100% certainty that I’m not being scammed into using someone else’s art without permission. But you may already know of others, and that’s great.
The second prep step you might want to take before inserting your chosen graphics is to make sure their size isn’t too large. You don’t want all your formatting work to go out the window because you insert an image that moves everything 2 or 3 pages off. That could cause issues that won’t correct themselves if you use the undo button.
To resize your graphics, you can right-click on them in their saved folder and open them with Paint. In Paint, you would choose to resize by pixels or inches and make sure the box for ‘Maintain aspect ratio’ is selected. That will automatically change the height along with the width, so your image doesn’t become skewed out of proportion.
Important Note: When resizing the original saved graphic or book cover using Paint, use ‘Save As’ and NOT ‘Save’ or the floppy disk icon. Using save or the floppy disk icon will replace your original graphic or book cover, and you don’t want to do that. Using ‘Save As’ creates a brand new image at the new size you want, without replacing the original.
Sometimes resizing first doesn’t help with your final placement. For example: I used a graphic for my novel that is wider than tall and shrank it down to 303 x 68 pixels before inserting it. It worked perfectly, when I placed the image above my Chapter Title. As long as it was within those two inches of open space, it didn’t cause any problems.
However, I ended up wanting the graphic to be in between my Chapter Title and my Chapter Subtitle. I not only had to shrink the image because of that but lower the amount of space above my Chapter Title from 2.00” to 1.60” because it moved my text and, therefore, my manual break for the ‘Custom Header,’ messing everything up.
So, to answer the age-old question: when it comes to graphics, size does matter.
Once you have your graphics resized, all you need to do is set your cursor just to the left of your Chapter Title in front of the first letter, click ‘Insert’ and choose ‘Image’ from the top toolbar.
Find your image from where you saved it, then click ‘Open.’
Graphics are usually inserted at the top of the page, as you can see in the image above. You can click and drag the graphic to where you want it on the page. You can also resize it until you’re happy with how it looks.
Once you have the image where you want, click on it again, so boxes appear around it, then right-click on the image and select ‘Properties.’
When the box opens, make sure it’s on the tab labeled ‘Type,’ then jot down the exact horizontal and vertical position numbers on a sticky note or napkin (whatever you have handy). You want the image to appear in the same position for every chapter, and this is the best way to guarantee that.
You can click on cancel to get out of the box because you’re not making any changes, only gathering the information you need for the next chapter.
If you happen to resize your image, you can right-click on the graphic and select ‘copy.’ Now, instead of inserting the graphic at its original size, you can right-click in front of the words Chapter Two and hit ‘paste,’ and it will paste at the new size. Again, it’s about ensuring that the image is exactly the same for every chapter.
The nice thing about using copy and paste, rather than ‘Insert’ and ‘Image,’ is that it should paste in the same horizontal and vertical position, not just the same size. You can still check the image’s properties to make sure the numbers match the ones you’ve written down. It’s never a bad idea to double-check, just in case.
Graphics inserted or copied in paperback novels do not need an anchor. Attempting to set anchors could, in fact, mess everything up.
As you just experienced, inserting graphics above chapter titles is relatively easy. However, in cases of using fancy dividers within the main body of text, your images might not insert the way you want them to. Here’s an example:
The graphic didn’t move my text, which was my first concern. But I still think it’s too big, despite resizing before inserting it, and I’m not happy with the spacing. If this happens, right-click on the image and select properties to open that box again. Then, you can adjust the width and height simultaneously by checking the ‘Keep ratio’ box.
After finding the size I liked, I noticed the graphic was much closer to the paragraph above than below. If this happens, reopen the properties box and choose ‘Center’ from the drop-down menu for ‘Horizontal’ and ‘Top’ for ‘Vertical.’ Click ‘Ok.’
If the spacing still looks off, you can click and drag the image, using the blue dotted lines that appear around it as a guide to ensure you don’t move it too far to the left or right.
I captured the screenshot above as I was dragging the image downward. Notice the blue lines are still even with the original placement of the graphic’s sizing boxes. That means it’s still horizontally centered. I’ve only moved it vertically.
Aside from Chapter graphics, you can also use a full-page graphic for your Title Page:
Or insert thumbnail graphics for your other available books in the back matter. Here’s a screenshot of one of my layouts for example:
If you use a full-page graphic for any reason, the resolution must be 300 dpi, just like your book cover. The best way to do that is to save the original creation as a PDF, then use a converter that gives you the option of 300 dpi.
I use the online site: PDF 2 JPG. It’s free, and you can choose the dpi you want. Amazon will reject anything under 300 dpi. They don’t seem to care about the smaller graphics, but for full-page graphics, they do.
To find out an image’s resolution, go to where you have it saved on your computer. Right-click on the image and select ‘Properties.’ Click on the tab labeled ‘Details’ and scroll down to where the resolution is listed.
If you want to use thumbnail book covers to advertise your other books, insert them the same way as the chapter graphics or fancy dividers, then resize and move them until you’re happy with how it looks. At least in that area, you won’t have to worry about messing up any headers or footers since there aren’t any.
Now, for the final step.