I may be a disorganized person but I still like to plan as I go. When I decided that Book One was going to be edited and put on Amazon, I was worried the cover would be a hurdle. I started researching right away. I had no idea what  tangled mess of legality of using fonts and images. Luckily, one of my good friends is a graphic artist and she was able to explain much of it to be before I even started looking.

I started out thinking I could probably use a stock photo. I don’t have the largest budget to work with, in fact I have barely any budget at all. I’m sure that this is a reality for many writers, especially at the beginning. As I began researching images and licencing of stock photos, I come across blogs stating that you can purchase images for just a few dollars. In my mind, “a few dollars” is under ten. When you actually look at the pricing of on these sites for licensing for commercial use, even purchasing credits is in the one-hundred dollar range depending on the image.

Everyone’s idea of inexpensive is different. To some, that may be a bargain. To me, that’s a lot of money.

I then learned about creative commons images and public domain. This is a rout that is possible, if I can find something that works. I’ve found many of these photos look like that roll of film someone took at random events and then forgot to pick them up from the developer. If I can find the right one, with the right legal licensing, it’s a possible place to find my image. I haven’t had luck so far.

Of course, Amazon has a cover creator. I created a mock book just to test it out. Similar to the creative commons pictures, I haven’t found an image I can work with. I’m looking for dark, mysterious, and dystopian. The images on Amazon are too generic yet cheerful. Going without an image is an option, but it feels like a last resort.

I also looked at Canva. The price is fine but once again the images are the same as on Amazon. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of the same images on both sites.

I’m going to continue browsing all of these resources, of course, but I have little hope of finding what I need.

I’d rather use my own image. Not only would I not be settling for something that only vaguely represents my story, I’d also have fully rights to it and never have to worry.

I consider myself to be a fairly artistic person. My family is full of artists. I understand color, design, and negative space. I can see images clearly in my head, and how they should curve and form and connect to create that image line by line. For some reason, that doesn’t transfer to my hands and I draw at the level of a semi-talented pre-teen.

That’s why I’m a writer and not a painter.

I’ve thought about taking a photograph myself. My only camera is my phone, but that’s not necessarily a terrible thing. With the right enhancements and filtering I could possibly make something that would work. Of course, even there you have to be careful. Recognizable places also have legal rights, just like people’s images.

Although it’s been a frustrating few weeks of searching through images and learning about the legal walls, I am glad I researched this topic in advance. It would be horrible to be ready to suddenly learn all of this when my deadline is up. Whether I take the picture myself, miraculously draw something suitable, or find a photo I can reasonably afford, in the end I’ll know it will get done.

If you have any tips or ideas for creating book covers, or want to share your own ideas, feel free to comment.

Thanks for reading. See you next week.

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