The Trouble with Using Unedited Stock Images: Making of Monday [v.10]

July 28, 2014

Stock images ROCK.

But if you're going to license a stock image, you need to do so with the understanding that literally anyone else can license and use that same image. If you want to protect the branding of your novel, you'll have to get creative with how you (or your designer) edits images for your cover art.

I know it's tempting to use stock images that look book cover ready as-is, but DON'T DO IT—that's a mindset that leads to multiple authors having the same cover art.

Lame, right?

The good news is that you can avoid this by significantly altering your stock photo(s). For example, I usually incorporate multiple images into my cover designs because including more design elements pretty much guarantees that I won't be seeing the same cover artwork anywhere else.

To illustrate (or in this case, Photoshop) this point, I licensed a stock image of a woman in profile view and challenged myself to use her in four unique designs. Although there's a little overlap between covers (same title/author formatting text for Stella and Forest, long blonde hair in Forest and Painted), I feel each design still looks drastically different from its source image.

        Unedited Image, NFS 

Because I used 3-5 design elements per cover, it's pretty much guaranteed that you'll never share the same design with another author ever. (Speaking of which, they're available for sale here!)

If you'd like to see more mirror covers, just google "same cover different book." The number of big-time, traditionally published novels with cover siblings is surprising...

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