Royalty Free Photos, and More on AI

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Royalty Free Photos
* More on AI (sigh)
* The Writing
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“One of the main reasons why I embrace the indie method of publishing is not only for the additional cash it makes me, or will make me down the road, but because of the independence it offers me both as a creative and a businessperson.” Vin Zandri, in the lead-in to his recent YouTube offering

Royalty Free Photos

A fellow writer emailed to ask where I get royalty free photos for my cover art.

Actually, I’m a fairly good photographer (I have a good eye) so I’ve taken several shots myself that later became covers.

But when I need something else, I tend to go to royalty free sites. Here are my favorites:

Paid Plans Ranked

First, a disclaimer. A few sites are way out of my price range, especially because some of the pics that appear on these sites also appear on others.

Those (too) expensive sites include

  • Dreamstime
  • Fotolia
  • Getty Images
  • iStock
  • Shutterstock

But feel free to check them out. I know Dean uses Dreamstime at least sometimes.

Next I’ve listed the paid sites that I have found useful. The pics aren’t free, but if you invest in a package, they’re relatively low priced:

  • (my favorite)
  • Bigstock
  • Canstock

And finally, the free sites I have used are

  • Unsplash (my favorite)
  • Pexels
  • Pixabay

There are a ton of others. Just key-in “royalty free photos” into your search engine.

Also, you can key-in “royalty free photos” into the search box in the sidebar of the Journal at and you’ll find another post or two about this topic.

If you have downloaded the free, searchable PDF Journal Archives, so much the better. You can use the same search term to check all of the archives.

Happy hunting!

Caution: There’s a place out there called GraphicStock. I advise you to stay away from it. They try to reenroll you when your plan ends, and it almost takes a lawyer to get you out once you’re in. And frankly, the images aren’t all that.

More on AI (sigh)

There’s a post in TPV titled “Here Comes Bing”. It talks about using AI to generate an outline from which the writer will then write a book. Nifty, eh? Not.

Here’s the comment I left.

“AI models aside, I’ve never understood why anyone would want to slog through writing a story when they already know how it will end per the outline. How boring is that?

“This is why actual authors who know what they’re doing don’t include plot in sales copy. Give away the story in the blurb, the reader has no reason to buy the book.”

I don’t write outlines, and I don’t write fiction from outlines. What I write in a story is what happens in the story as I run through it with my characters. It is wondrous to watch the action unfold and to see and hear the characters’ reaction to it.

Most long-term professional authors write this way. Of course, writing is the one art in which beginners are most reticent to learn from professionals. They prefer instead to believe they must outline first, in addition to a lot of other blocks they have to check to be successful.

Yet even James Patterson, famous for outlining his work, no longer writes fiction himself. Probably because he got too bored following his own outlines. But even he gets the pleasure of writing the original story, albeit in outline form. Then he hands it off to some schlep who wants to ride his coattails and share billing. 🙂

Anyway, if you want them, there are three more posts on AI at TPV today too:

“Deep AI – Part 1”

“Deep AI – Part 2”

“Deep AI – Part 3” PG’s take is humorous.

The Writing

Had a great day of writing yesterday (by my current standards) and hoping for the same or better today. As soon as this is posted, I’ll be back at the writing ‘puter in the Hovel.

And thanks to Chris R for the topic on royalty free sites.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “10 Types of Words You Never Knew Had to Be Capitalized” at An excellent article. I agree with it completely. I’ve even added it to my Writer Resources over at

See “Indie Publishers and Copyright” at

See “Long Forgotten (But Cool) Medieval English Words” at

See “Writing Short Stories to Jumpstart Your Novel Writing” at

The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 760

Writing of Blackwell Ops 9: Cameron Stance
Brought forward………………………… 4087

Day 10…. 2696 words. To date…… 26039
Day 11…. 3200 words. To date…… 29239

Fiction for August……………………… 35755
Fiction since August 1………………… 35755
Fiction for 2023………………………… 150302
Nonfiction for August…………………… 24570
Nonfiction for the year……………… 174470
Annual consumable words………… 324772

2023 Novels to Date……………………… 2
2023 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2023 Short Stories to Date……………… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 73
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)… 232
Short story collections…………………… 31

Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

4 thoughts on “Royalty Free Photos, and More on AI”

  1. Why would I write from AI outline? it wouldn’t even be my story…
    Of course there are ghost writers. It could be a business to write someone else’s story (not for me, I am too busy writing my own stories), but still… From an AI outline? It sucks.

  2. In the past I’ve written stories from outlines and while I won’t say I was bored it wasn’t the same as writing into the dark which is, in my humble opinion, the most fun way to write. Outlining is pushed in all forms of writing but in screenwriting ten times more I find. The ‘gurus’ tell you to outline every scene, even dialogue possibilities sometimes, and its just……nope.
    I’d rather write screenplays WITD and have fun and perhaps not sell than outline meticulously and sell but hate every minute of writing the thing.
    Fun is paramount for me, selling is just icing on an already delicious cake.

    • Thanks, Matt. I’m not much familiar with writing plays or screenplays, but I take your point. I suspect if I was writing any form that reqires a certain formula (one page per minute of air time, for example) I’d probably still write into the dark. Afterward I might go over it more times than usual to hone it down to fit the time allotted, but I would never be able to write from an outline. I’d rather go fishing or do something else fun.

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