When preparing the images and illustrations for inclusion in the book, it is important to make sure that they will print cleanly and clearly. There is little value in creating low-quality images that look acceptable on screen but then become pixellated on paper.
Resolution and DPI
DPI (dots per inch; sometimes also called PPI or pixels per inch) is a relatively unhelpful term for our printing purposes these days. Essentially, DPI is a number that describes how many dots or pixels will be printed per inch onto the paper; a DPI of 300 will therefore (theoretically) be of higher quality than 72, because more dots/pixels per inch should give a much clearer image. The concept is important, but the term and its value are less so.
However, resolution is a much more valuable term. Resolution is the absolute size of the image, such as 1800 x 1200 pixels, or 600 x 200 pixels. The resolution describes the absolute size of the image, and for almost every purpose, the greater the resolution, the better. Given the choice of a 600 x 400 pixel image, or a 1200 x 800 pixel image, or a 2400 x 1600 pixel image, the larger option is always going to be the better choice.
For more information, please refer to this excellent discussion of the subject by Ken Watson.
If we need to print an image so that it occupies an area of X inches by Y inches on the page, then we know how many inches will receive dots or pixels. If we know the resolution of the image, then we can calculate the DPI. For example, an image 1200 pixels wide printed over 8 inches will give us a DPI of 1200 pixels / 8 inches = 150 pixels per inch. If we take the same image and print it over 6 inches then the DPI will be 1200 pixels / 6 inches = 200 pixels per inch. If we take the same image again, and print it over just 4 inches, then the DPI will be 1200 pixels / 4 inches = 300 pixels per inch.
Obviously, printing the image over fewer inches will result in a higher quality print, and spreading it over more inches will result in a lower quality print. Therefore, an image with a width of 1200 pixels will print well as a small illustration to support a piece of text, but will not print well as an entire page.
Generally speaking, we want to print images at as close to 300 DPI (or better) as possible. A DPI of 72 is often sufficient for a digital image on a screen, but for printing on paper, we need closer to 300 DPI.
Therefore, if you provide images in as high a resolution as you can, then image can be placed into the manuscript at whatever size seems most appropriate, and the quality of printing will not be a problem. If you only send low resolution images, then the quality of the printed product will be low.
Cleaning the images
The images you send us should be clean, without any noise or mess. In other words, thinking of a simple line drawing, black and white, there should only be a white background with deliberate black lines upon it; there should not be any random grey pixels, or any crease marks, or anything else.
Cleaning up images to remove such noise and mess is not difficult, and there are several image editing websites that will let you do this free of charge. It just requires a little time and effort. If you are unwilling or unable to put in the effort yourself, and if you don’t know anyone who can do this for you, then we can arrange for it to be done for you, but we may then have to offer a lower rate of royalties to reflect the additional time and effort that our team needs to invest in your work.
Black and white, or colour?
We tend to print most of our books with a black and white interior, to keep production costs down and to offer an RRP that is acceptable to our customers. Printing in colour will increase the price of a book considerably, and for this reason, at this point in time, we would prefer to reserve colour interiors for all covers and for special “luxury” projects.
If you have strong thoughts on this matter with regard to your project, please talk to us about it early in our discussions, so that we can come to an agreement before commencing work on the project.
Images to be printed in black and white should still be perfectly clear and detailed, and must show what they are intended to show. An image is useless if all the detail is in roughly the same shade of grey as everything else; therefore, photographs of two fencers in real life, taken against a “busy” background such as a forest, will probably not be the clearest way to show anything.
Always such a fun subject. Fallen Rook Publishing Ltd is a company registered in Scotland, and therefore Scottish law will apply to all of our publications and projects. If you are based in another country, then it doesn’t matter what the copyright laws are in your country; we may only publish projects according to Scottish law.
As an ethical publishing house, we will do our very best to uphold all copyrights and intellectual property.
You must ensure that all images used in your project are entirely your own creation, or that you have the necessary permissions in writing from the copyright holder. If you have any questions about the copyright for any of the images in your project, please get in touch with us to discuss the matter, and we will do the best we can to answer your questions.