For a sure sort of reader, a ebook that features a map of
its setting is catnip. For these readers, your blurb, your title, and your
cover are secondary considerations: the map’s the factor, and you had them as quickly as
they noticed it.
For different readers, a map is a pleasant addition – especially in case you use it to enhance the narrative experience or, within the case of non-fiction, help the reader understand the logistics of your key occasions. At the similar time, there are virtually no prospective readers who shall be turned off by just a little cartography, so it’s straightforward to see why so many authors go for the win-win arrangement of commissioning and including maps in their books.
In case you’re an writer who’d wish to travel this path, you’re
in luck, because in in the present day’s article, I’m going to be speaking about what you
have to find out about including a map in your ebook.
Earlier than you determine on a map…
I already stated that readers like maps, however it’s uncommon that they want them. Including an extra function to your e-book is all the time going to return with additional hassles – if your map necessitates shade printing, you just made your printing costlier, for example – so it’s inadvisable to do it out of some nebulous sense that it’s anticipated of you. Until you’re a journey writer whose distinctive selling point is your chosen route, it’s not, so in the event you got here right here with the question, ‘Do I have to have a map?’ then the answer is nearly definitely, ‘No.’
If you want to add a map, that’s a special matter totally, but you still shouldn’t rush into commissioning an illustration. First, ensure you’re not relying in your map to do anything your prose should have the ability to handle. Whereas it’s unlikely your readers might be irritated by your map, that doesn’t imply they’re prepared to make use of it, and there’s a big contingent of readers who will see your map, smile, and then never turn to it once more. This holds true even if the story starts describing journeys that the map would really make clearer; a shocking quantity of individuals just aren’t prepared to do the reference work to get that additional context. Or, extra crucially, the point at which they’re prepared to surrender on the guide comes earlier than the purpose at which they’re prepared to seek the advice of the map.
As with most preferences, this exists on a spectrum, however there are a big variety of readers who experience reading prose as a selected mindset; one they’re not snug snapping out of on a whim. For this cause (and because your prose will benefit from being ‘whole’ anyway,) it’s better to use a map as a supplementary function fairly than an important facet of your e-book.
The simplest approach to do this is to not determine whether or not or to not embrace a map till you’re virtually finished with the guide. That method, you don’t permit yourself the posh of assuming the map will deal with the heavy lifting of your description. For those who already know you’re including a map, at the very least don’t commission it until your ebook is in its later drafts.
A remaining thing to think about is whether or not you’re limiting your self together with your selection of map. Maps are notably widespread in fantasy epics, however these tales also are likely to run and run. If your map cements the very fact of a distance or location, you’re either stuck with that reality in later tales otherwise you’ll should work round it. Some followers of Recreation of Thrones have been irritated when, in later seasons, the TV show began fudging established distances so as to transfer characters round in a method that was advantageous to the plot. Unsurprisingly, this began to grow to be a problem when the present deviated from the famously detail-oriented guide collection from which it’s tailored. The type of reader who loves a map can also be the kind of reader who notices this type of discrepancy, so make certain that you’re not hamstrung by any of the small print a map sets in stone.
This was a cardinal worry for fantasy writer Terry Pratchett,
who initially claimed that he would never create a map of his fictional
Discworld for exactly this purpose. Ultimately, Pratchett had a change of coronary heart
– partly because the principles of his world make setting somewhat extra malleable
than for different authors, but partly because he came to see that the small print a
map added have been simply as worthwhile because the uncertainty they changed.
I stated there would by no means be a map of the Discworld. That is it… Individuals asked me if this fossilization of the creativeness will forestall future tales. Properly, London and New York have been mapped for a while, and still appear engaging as places for novelists.
– Terry Pratchett, The Discworld Mapp
What not to do
Okay, so you need to embrace a map. The very first thing to do is
to rent someone to create it for you, and we’ll get to that, however first let’s
cowl the steps to keep away from within the meantime.
First, don’t attempt to create a map yourself. When you’re
the type of illustrator or graphic designer who is aware of they’ve the requisite
skillset, I’m positive you’ll ignore this recommendation, so I feel snug making a
blanket statement: don’t attempt to draw your personal map.
A scrawled, unprofessional map is way worse than no map, and
since we already made positive that you simply don’t need a map, the only cause to
embrace one is to reinforce your ebook. This is applicable even when the map you’re
creating is scrawled and unprofessional within the story; nowadays, it
takes loads of talent to make one thing look slapdash. An illustrated map wants
to scale, it must be the fitting file sort, and it must keep away from tripping
any alarms the reader has prepped for authors who’re biting off greater than they
Second, don’t attempt to steal an present map. In the event you’re a fantasy writer, don’t flip a random atlas the wrong way up and use that in your fantasy continents. For those who’re a non-fiction writer, don’t use a map of your native space just because that’s where you’re writing about and the map is correct. Maps have house owners, and those house owners have in depth authorized protections to stop you using their map, whether or not you adjusted it or not.
For instance of how inadvisable it is to make use of an present
map, contemplate the phenomenon of the lure road; a pretend entry on a map there to
use as proof of copyright violations if the map is used without its owner’s
permission. Lure streets may embrace nonexistent features or deliberately
inaccurate particulars like the shape of roads or the elevation of topography. You
can flip the world the wrong way up, stretch it, change its colour, but when someone
else drew it within the first place, you’re going to seek out your self in a world of
If there’s a map you actually need to use, it’s value
contacting the proprietor to see in the event that they’ll offer you permission, and you may attempt
your luck with public
area maps that you simply’re allowed to make use of totally free. Otherwise, one of the best concept
is to pay someone to do it for you. A map is a comparatively flashy addition to a
guide that can simply look unprofessional should you get it mistaken, so this is certainly one of
those situations the place if it’s value doing, it’s value doing right.
The right way to discover an artist
Discovering an artist and/or cartographer to create your map is
more likely to be fairly straightforward, because the web is teeming with illustrators joyful
to take commissions from authors. Low cost websites like Upwork, Freelancer,
and Fiverr will join you with
freelancers, however such sites justify charging a minimal payment by having strict
guidelines for patrons and freelancers. Since you’re probably in search of a
relationship with more give and take than a single mandated set of revisions,
it may be helpful to Google around somewhat more creatively for illustrators or
use these sites to determine a relationship which you then take elsewhere.
Another strategy is to take a look at sites like Deviant Art or Reddit, where artists
share their work in forums. Since these websites aren’t stores, it might take a
little extra work to make contact, but most freelance illustrators try
their greatest to seek out work, so slightly dedicated looking offers you some
We’ll move onto find out how to work with an artist in a moment, however
earlier than the specifics, there are three things to get straight. The primary is that
you like their work. Ask to see samples and, if potential, any testimonials from
glad shoppers. It’s important that the artist you choose is able to
delivering what you want, and that’s a judgement call it’s essential make early
on. Never assume that an artist goes to satisfy requirements you haven’t already
seen them meet – art is subjective, and should you enter into a fee with
inaccurate expectations, you’re setting yourself up for a state of affairs where both
events really feel wronged.
The second thing to get straight is who’ll have the rights to the completed map. Ideally, you need to personal the rights to the map and be the only one who can use it. That is the association most illustrators anticipate, however make sure you affirm this before any cash modifications palms. The artist might need to offer you unique rights to the map but have the ability to use some version of it of their advertising or portfolio, and nevertheless you are feeling about that, you must be on the same page earlier than the map is created. As a matter of courtesy, you must credit the artist who creates your map anyplace it seems, and once more, that is something most artists will anticipate but which ought to be set in stone earlier than any contract is entered into.
The third factor to get straight is strictly what service you’re paying for. Pretty much no artist you hire on-line goes to be able to offer you infinite revisions, they usually doubtless have a set variety of occasions you can also make modifications without incurring an additional cost. Have them lay out, in the plainest of phrases, exactly what you get in your money. Don’t overlook to think about timeframe – your artist might not know exactly how shortly they will get your map to you till you describe it, but they may give you an estimate, and that’s going that will help you avoid a bunch of potential issues down the road. Lastly, contemplate the distinction between a map and an illustration – most illustrators can draw your setting, but cartography is its own career, they usually might not know tips on how to add the features of an actual map. Be clear about what you need and be sure to’re speaking to someone who can provide it.
Learn how to work with an artist
Your artist and/or cartographer is going to be working to
your specs, so a vital a part of commissioning a map is figuring out
what you’re asking for. Would you like a totally top-down view or a slight
angle? What scale do you need to use, do you care about elevation markings, and
are there any in-universe rules that the illustrator must know
It’s value pausing right here to say that ‘needs’ actually does imply ‘needs.’ Your illustrator is getting paid to create a map, and they need to know certain things to create that map, nevertheless it’s unreasonable to anticipate them to study the high quality details of your fictional world. An illustrator must know distances and sizes, but history solely issues when it comes to sensible outcomes. For instance, it’s fantastic to ask your illustrator not to use any purple, however it’s over the road to send them an essay on the fictional commerce conflict that may have made that sort of dye unobtainable in the course of the fictional period during which the map was first drawn.
Have reference materials prepared to offer, including a number of examples of the type of map you want and both an inventory of key parts and a sketched model of your personal. Use brief sentences and bullet-point lists to ensure readability – illustration tends to take place over a number of periods, so your reference supplies are there to verify, not to memorize.
Budgeting on your map
Hiring an illustrator is rather like hiring some other sort of professional, and also you’ll have to set an agreed worth for his or her work and finances accordingly. Most working illustrators will require some type of down cost, but ensure that any deal also works for you, especially in the event you’re working with a fledgling illustrator who doesn’t but have a history of excellent enterprise. If your illustration is going to be formatted, you’re more likely to want a number of file varieties, and most illustrators can be prepared to either cost a down cost and settle for the remaining after information have been delivered or – if they’ve been burned by dine-and-dash shoppers earlier than – at the very least to deliver some information earlier than you’re expected to fork over the complete payment.
For those who’re the one funding your map, make sure you get your money’s value. Think about the map’s potential use in your advertising, your online presence, and maybe your cowl design. You might even think about how a map might be reduce up to give it a number of uses. A world map is a superb resource, but if your complete e-book charts the course of one battle, it’s feasible to make use of just that section of the map that considerations your quick story and save the remaining for later in the collection. That means, you paid for one map and your reader received two.
Map to success
Maps are a good way to make the world of your story feel real to the reader, and whereas freelance tradition has lots to answer for, it does imply that illustrated maps are an choice even for self-publishing authors. Set a price range, be clear about what you need, treat your illustrator as a fellow artistic skilled and you’ll find that including a map in your work is way easier than you may need anticipated.
Have you ever labored with an illustrator to create a map on your guide? Share your expertise within the comments and, for more perception into this matter, take a look at What You Need To Know About Setting Your Fiction In One other Nation, What Authors Need To Know About Ships And Spaceships, and Should Authors Use Familiar Places As Story Settings?