If you’re considering creating your own book covers (because you’ve had a bad experience or you just don’t have the money, like me), then you need images…good, high resolution, relevant images. This can cost money, but there are a few sites that host FREE images that you can use with no attribution required because the provider has agreed to FREE commercial use or the image is in the public domain. Image providers on the sites listed below have uploaded the content with the understanding that the images may be used for personal and commercial content that you plan to sell. But before you actually use the images on these sites, be sure to read the licensing details that carry “CC0 1.0 Universal” or “Public Domain” licensing (usually a link is provided next to the image you are attempting to download).
FREE Image Provider Sites:
Pexels.com provides beautiful photography, most of which are high resolution. The search box is limited, i.e. no Boolean filters, but they do offer similar suggestions below the search box.
Pixabay.com has filters that can separate vectors from illustrations versus photos as well as images by color, orientation, and category. Very useful when you need to isolate a specific type of image.
PublicDomainPictures.net. Be careful on this website! Shutterstock integrates paid images around FREE ones. When you select a picture, make sure you select the FREE button that reads “Free Download.” Also, this download will not be largest or best quality of the image you are selecting. Clicking the premium download will take you to the paid feature.
Unsplash.com also hosts photos and their search box is significantly limited. They feature “collections,” which promotes an individual photographer’s work versus related images.
Other Websites Claiming to Be Free: There are other websites who claim to be “free,” but be wary. Vintage.com, FreeImages.co.uk, and FreeImages.com are examples of sites that DO NOT allow you to use images to put on your book and sell it without some type reimbursement (credit, payment) even though it may say “free for personal use.” Free for personal use is NOT free for use on your book cover.
DevianArt is a website that hosts artists and designers; but the art is NOT free. It is, however, a good place to connect with artists and ask permission to use their work. Make sure you have a written agreement in place before you add anyone’s original art that does not have a “CC0” or “CCZero” on your book.
Other Stuff to Consider: If you’re not sure of copyright issues, here’s a nifty copyright tool. At this point, I should say consult a lawyer, but c’mon. Who has a bank account with sufficient funds for that? Poor people go to lawyer forums! LOL! Also, be aware of the negative use of images of people, which should not be used to identify the person/model in an “immoral” fashion. Also, consider that I’ve seen a lot of the same FREE images in/on other books.
Don’t forget, you can always go out and take some of your own pictures. I started my blog GrimAndCharming.com after I went seeking pictures for my YA Scifi-Fantasy-Horror book trailers. Now, my husband and I have incorporated paranormal adventure into our “quality time” and my pictures are not only FREE, they are originals and I personally find them priceless. The final option is to pay for images, which I admit I have also done. Woohoo, more money…oh, the horror!
Know of anywhere else to get FREE stuff to help authors? Let me know!