Art Resources for Indie Publishers


Welcome to this week’s installment of Exclusively eBooks: *Everything you always wanted to know about eBooks but didn’t know who to ask.

I’m posting this book as a serial with bite-sized chunks of information to help you in your quest to publish an eBook. Check out the Table of Contents for the other chapters that have been published.

This week’s installment continues the discussion of the art required for a book. So welcome to Chapter 3: Art, Part 3, Art Resources for Indie Publishers. If you’re going the DIY route, this may help you.

Stock Photography

Stock Photography is the term applied to photographs licensed for specific purposes. Thanks to the Internet, professional photography is available to anyone who’s willing to register, search through images, and use the photo in keeping with the applicable Image License Agreement.

Just about everyone refers to the above as stock photography, but, in actuality, microstock photography services is what non-professional users access. The two terms have become more or less interchangeable. Getty Images and Corbis are the most well-known stock photography companies, but the Internet offers many microstock photography websites with searchable databases. For our purposes, I’m just going to refer to this affordable photographic art as stock photography.

Some photographs are offered free for use on eBook covers. Others may require a minimal fee for use. Best of all, you can find the images by searching the site’s database, purchase them, and download them instantly.


1. You must register in order to use the site’s images.

2. If a fee is required, you may have to purchase a subscription plan or purchase a block of credits.

3. Most images that request a fee are priced according to size with the lowest price for X-small, and the highest for X-large image size.

4. In downloading the image, you want the highest resolution image possible. If all you need is a thumbnail image, the smallest size image will work.

5. Royalty-free does not necessarily mean the image is available without cost. Some stock images are offered by the artist free of cost. Other images require a fee to be paid to download the image. Royalty-free means that you don’t have to pay a fee each time you use the image. If it’s free or you pay a fee, the image is yours to use as often as you wish. Check the Image License Agreement to know the limits of your usage.

Image License Agreement

Generally speaking, the following represents a usual Image License Agreement at most Stock Photography websites. Read the agreement for whichever website you plan to use and make sure what you want to do is offered by the Image License Agreement. Always follow the agreement and the Terms and Conditions of Service of the website.

Sample — You May Use The Image

* In digital format on websites, multimedia presentations, broadcast film and video, cell phones.
* In printed promotional materials, magazines, newspapers, books, brochures, flyers, CD/DVD covers, etc.
* Along with your corporate identity on business cards, letterhead, etc.
* To decorate your home, your office or any public place.

Sample — You May Not Use The Image

* For pornographic, unlawful or other immoral purposes, for spreading hate or discrimination, or to defame or victimize other people, societies, cultures.
* To endorse products and services if it depicts a person.
* In a way that can give a bad name to the Stock Photography Website or the person(s) depicted on the Image.
* As part of a trademark, service mark or logo.
* Selling and redistributing the image either individually or grouped with other images is strictly forbidden.

Contact The Photographer

The Use and Do Not Use sections are usually followed by a statement to contact the photographer if you want to use the image in any way not specified by the above, for example, some of the uses listed below:

* In website templates that you want to sell or distribute.
* For creating printed reproductions that you want to sell.
* On “print on demand” items, i. e., tee shirts, postcards, mouse pads, mugs (products personalized on sites like Cafepress), or other mass-produced items.

Stock/Microstock Photography Websites

Stock Exchange says that they are the leading free stock photography website. I know I use them a lot, and I always include a photo credit embedded in the image to recognize the photographer who made his work available for free. Stock Exchange is now owned by Getty Images.

Reflex Stock offers a subscription plan but also has individual pricing that’s affordable for many images.

Big Stock Photo, owned by Shutterstock, is also affordable and operates on a credit system as does most of the websites where you have to pay a fee for images.

Cutcaster is very low-priced and very user friendly. I’ve uploaded some photographs there and so has my daughter the artist.

Clipart Graphics offers high quality clip art, and there are some book covers that might call for that kind of design.

Free Digital Photos offers free and fee-based images.

StockVault offers free stock photos and images for personal, educational and non-commercial usage. Read their agreement to see if you can use them.

FreeImages offer free images and only request a credit line.

Dreamstime is another site I use frequently because they have a good selection, and they’re reasonably priced.

Shutterstock is the largest subscription-based stock photo agency in the world. These are a bit pricey, but if the perfect image is here. . . .

iStockPhoto touts themselves as “the web’s original source for user-generated, royalty-free stock photos, illustrations, video, audio and Flash.”

Fotosearch has been around more than 20 years, and they’re another resource that’s pricey.

Join me next time for Chapter 3: Art, Part 3, Freelance Graphic Artists, a resource listing for professional book cover design.

In the meantime, check out the eBook reviews and/or Kindle lessons which I post on Saturdays. Why Kindle? Because it’s my favorite eBook reading device, and I’ve learned a lot about the cute little toy. Kindle rocks!

Want your own Kindle? Just click here.

Takeaway Truth

The future is bright for writers who brave this new world of publishing. Join me as I follow this virtual yellow brick road. Destination? The Emerald City, named for all the greenbacks waiting for successful indie authors upon arrival.

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