The Plasmatic Writer

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Are Pictures Really Worth 1,000 Words?

Posted on March 18, 2015 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

No I’m not setting up for a funny Geico commercial that cuts to a promo of a picture typing up a 1,000 words at a computer, although you can see that image now can’t you? It’s one of those sayings that have been around forever. According to Wikipedia, The adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. It also aptly characterizes one of the main goals of visualization, namely making it possible to absorb large amounts of data quickly.

I’m taking the term and looking at it in a more broad aspect of whether or not pictures can be used to help promote the written word such as books and short stories. We all know book covers and illustrations can be very effective if done correctly. Book covers are the first thing that people see which is why they should be done professionally and be creative to pull the reader in. Illustrations on the inside are sometimes effective as well. Most books that aren’t picture books won’t contain pictures however sometimes for more effect the author will put in a black and white drawing or an actual picture of an actual account. The thing I am wondering is whether or not outside pictures and images work in the influencing and impact on a persons decision to check out and read a book.


We’ve all used images from google images as well as social media sites such as Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest. It is theses sites and this idea that I wish to look further into and I wonder if they work. In the sense of the saying I will ask in a more direct way, do pictures help just as well as words? I think yes. It’s no doubt that advertisements do this constantly and our minds see images and we immediately register it to what’s being sold or said. I think this is also the case with images used to represent actions, plots and whatever else within books. After all most pictures are meant to tell a story and using images for a story only further’s their use. I believe that small image galleries can be used as an effective promoting tool for an authors book. A person can only talk up their book so much and aside from needing another way to do so, pictures serve this purpose quite well. So in this sense yes, a picture is and can be worth a thousand words.


Another question is, does it have to be done correctly? Yes. In order for the saying to be true, the picture has to speak volumes. It has to not only represent what it’s suppose to tell but just looking at it a person can see the story or even get their own story from it. They imagine how the picture takes life as if they were reading it on a page. The next thing is that the picture needs to connect and be symbolic to the story. I’m curious because I always see people using galleries to promote their works and I myself do it but I never really thought anything of it. I didn’t spend a lot of time on it, which isn’t to say I didn’t believe in the results but rather I wasn’t sure of how to truly use images in connecting to my works to the best of my ability. I have several galleries on my site to which the pictures are used to connect to poems and themes of the book. I have since taken to Pinterest and using the site to build a more useful and engaging way. After all isn’t that what the site is there for? To help people connect or look up things that they normally may not know about if they don’t go on and search for themselves?


A picture is definitely worth a thousand words and in this case and then some. Pictures can tell stories, be breath taking in how they look and they have to deliver an overall presence to the person looking upon them. If one picture can speak a thousand words then just think of how many words a dozen or so even a gallery of pictures is worth. The idea is simple and an author should take time in preparing a image gallery wherever they wish to demonstrate some of the happenings within their work. It not only helps but it takes some of the pressure of your mind to think of another tacky marketing scheme with words that would be better registered to a reader through a picture. So the next time you ask whether or not a picture is worth a thousand words think yes and then ask how you can benefit from it.