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I noticed that some web fiction and stories online will have pictures or artistic images showing parts of the story to help the reader digest what is happening with a visual concept from the writer. Do you think this helps web fiction do better in terms of traffic, readers, and general enjoyment or do you not think this matters?
It is said that pictures are a better medium of communication than words but personally, I would not prefer pictures/images in web fiction. Till the time it is not something that is absolutely required, I would not use them.
Depends on the reader, personally a person like me would love illustrations
Illustrations are typically used as an eye-catch, giving a good, instant understanding of what the novel is about. It is certainly very popular with fiction that targets young adults. In fact, this style of adding some insert artwork has ballooned in popularity online.
For example, the concept of this type of media exploded in Japan, where 'Light Novels' have grown to be such a large part of sold reading that it's hard to imagine not selling a book aimed at young people without images. This influence bleeded into online works, where many try to imitate that kind of success.
I write one such fiction online myself, and I often get requests by readers that wish to see artwork of the characters depicted for their favorite scenes. So definitely, it draws certain crowds. It depends on whether that is the type you are looking to attract.
Web readers generally have less attention span as compared to someone who is picking a book and reading it so, illustrations will be helpful in bringing more visitors or retaining them. Some distinctive artwork can make the story standout and people may also like to share it on social media, resulting in additional visitors.
So it depends on your audience, I often write fiction and then turn it into an audiobook, as my voice adds to my words. You need to experiment with all niches or hire someone to take it to another level. Like you can have the best ebook, but the cover needs to entice the reader to buy, like a trailer for a movie.
Audiobooks are another way to add "illustrations" (in a way) to your work. Definitely a nice avenue for people who prefer it to ordinary reading