Writer’s Journal: Images

Welcome back to Austen Promises and the Writer’s Journal!

As a writer, I need lots of images. I need them for covers, obviously, but I also need them for teaser graphics, memes, and header images for blog posts. Have you ever wondered where they all come from?

When I first began making memes and things, I thought, like many other people, that I could use whatever image I found on the internet. That turned out to not be the case. I was shocked to find out once that I could not use a picture of a famous painting from hundreds of years ago. “Why couldn’t I,” I asked. “Because,” the answer came, “while the painting is out of copyright and therefore public domain, the image (the picture) of it was not.” The photographer who had taken the picture had a copyright on it. Made no sense to me, and in some ways still does not, but I have learned that this is the way of the world, and there’s no sense arguing about it and wasting valuable energy. So, I could not just grab a picture off the internet and use it. What’s a girl to do?

That answer was to buy the images I needed. “What?!” I exclaimed. “Yes,” the heads that responded nodded in confirmation. “You need to buy images.” Groan. Not what a newbie writer wanted to hear. That being said, there are sites where, I have found, you can get free for commercial use images. My favorite is Pixabay. There are others out there, and I probably have some of them bookmarked, but Pixabay is the one I turn to most often. There is a caveat to this that I have recently learned, and that is that you should search the pictures to see if they are truly free. Apparently, some people jack other peoples’ pictures and upload them to a site as theirs, where they may or may not get paid for them. I am still not making enough to donate for every image I get, sadly, and so I’ve not once “bought them a cup of coffee.” All that to say, there is at least one site that offers free for commercial use images, but you have to be careful.

Back to buying images. I have begun buying some. I got in a couple years ago on a deal through AppSumo where I get 100 downloads from DepositPhotos for $49. I only used a couple, and then the deal came around again last year and I grabbed it again. Turns out, those images never expire on that deal, and I still had 86 images left on my first one. Go me! 🙂 For the cover of the book I’m still editing, I found an image of a country cottage in England at that site. It had power lines that had to be somehow magically erased by my friend Rose (because I’m not that advanced with Photoshop yet) but other than that, it’s perfect.

I have a couple, a guy and a girl, on this cover. I think I searched DepositPhotos for one, but Regency couples are thin on the ground, and I either didn’t like the ones they had or they had no Regency people. I ended up at PeriodImages for that, where I found the perfect couple for my new cover. PeriodImages has not, to my knowledge, had a deal for cheap pictures, though they do send me notices about sales and discount codes. Which I never use because they’re never running a sale when I have money to buy an image. Same reason I don’t look at sale ads for stores and do 99% of my shopping in one place: Wal-Mart. :/

Anyway, at PeriodImages, you can buy one of three licenses for the image, each at a different price level. You can’t just choose based on what’s cheapest, though. You have to think about what you are doing with it. Are you only doing an ebook? Are you doing ebook and print? Are you using it for promotional materials? How many books do you expect to sell? All these questions must be answered when deciding on a license.

I generally choose the middle level, because I know I want print and ebook, that I intend to use the image on promotional material, and I probably won’t sell more than 5,000 copies. If a miracle happens, and one of my books suddenly goes viral or something, I will have to go back and buy the most expensive license, which is, if I recall correctly, around $25. What I pay for mine is around $11.95.

The point of all this is just to say that you have to be diligent about checking out the usage, and making sure you have the license to use the image you choose. If you don’t do your due diligence, you could be facing a lawsuit and paying someone a butt ton of money you don’t have.

Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! <3


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