camera on top of black book on top of brown wooden table

I want to include images in my book. What next?

I want to include images in my book. When should I tell the publisher? When do I need to provide the final images?

If you envision that illustrations will be part of your book, it is important to communicate this to your acquisitions editor as early as possible, ideally in your book proposal. Keep in mind that art should not be included simply to make a work appear more attractive. Illustrations should play an integral role, reinforcing editorial points in the text or furthering readers’ understanding of issues you discuss. If you and your acquisitions editor agree that images are desirable, be prepared to submit sample versions with your text at the review stage. Editors often solicit feedback from peer reviewers on a proposed art program’s appropriateness and importance for the topic.

Once your book is accepted for publication, it is advisable to ask your publisher about its art guidelines and image requirements. Many presses include this information on their websites, but it is also good to communicate directly with your editor about any special guidelines that the press might have. There is also a very helpful guide, created by the AUPresses Editorial, Design, and Production Committee, available for download. Sourcing and obtaining images of sufficient quality for print reproduction can be a time-consuming endeavor, and rights owners and repositories can take several months to process requests, so we suggest authors begin this task as soon as possible. (However, we do not recommend paying any reproduction/permission fees until your project has clearly received final approval from the press and their faculty editorial board.) For more information on permissions, see

You will be expected to deliver final art (and accompanying permissions) when you submit your final manuscript for editing. Before a press can begin the process of copyediting, design, and production, they must have these materials in-house and ensure that all art is of adequate quality for print reproduction and all necessary permissions have been secured. If your illustration program is substantial, this internal review, too, can take some time. In the event that some art is determined to be inadequate for print reproduction, you will be asked to find replacements. You may also be asked to request revised grants of permission if the existing grants are not sufficient for your publisher’s needs.

Please be aware that certain kinds of illustrations can be time-consuming or costly to produce for print production. In addition, permissions restrictions can complicate a publisher’s ability to sell digital/electronic editions of your work or to reach international markets. For all these reasons, it is advisable to be judicious in selecting illustrations.

—University of Virginia Press, May 2022