Friday, January 13, 2012

Photos in Novels?

Real-life photos in novels?

Sure! Why not? Especially if you're basing your novels on real-life like I am!

I read CANE RIVER by Lalita Tademy about ten years ago, and loved it! Since she based her novel on her own family's history, she included photos and other documents in the novel. I thought that was wonderful, and so story-enriching. I decided then I wanted to do the same someday.

And now I finally have!

Last fall, in my fourth paperback printing of my novel HUNGRY RIVER, I included eight photos. The photos are also in my first Kindle version of the novel. Above is one of my favorite HUNGRY RIVER photos. Readers tell me it helps them "get" the setting.

Last week I released both the paperback and Kindle versions of DRAGON WALL, the sequel to HR. I used one of my dad's "old" (pre-1950) Great Wall photos for the cover (below). Plus, I have ten more photos inside. Readers are responding with delight. And I'm delighted I can share several family photo treasures to enrich my family's novelized China stories. (My books are available from Amazon and my website.)

Real-life photos in our novels? Sure! They add an imagery dimension beyond words. . .

Millie Samuelson


  1. Excellent idea, Millie. I can see how it would draw the readers in when one writes a book with a real life setting. Thanks for sharing.

    I wrote a guest blog on Jerome, and if I wrote a story based there, it would be great of having pictures in it.

    How about my current books? I could include a picture of my favorite coffee house, where one scene takes place. But that might come across as an ad. Oh well.

  2. Appreciate your comments, Jeff/Becky (Becky, I'm guessing)! Now that black & white photos can be included for no extra cost (color ones depend on the order), I'm guessing more and more novels will include them. :-)

  3. Sorry for not identifying myself, and wrong guess. My wife and I share our gmail account, so that's why I kept it a combo. I usually do add my name, but blew it that time.