The Daily Journal, Tuesday, August 20

In today’s Journal

* Yesterday, I mentioned
* Topic: Cover Design, Part II
* Daily diary
* Of Interest
* The numbers

Yesterday, I mentioned that I’ll be returning to Douglas, Arizona to take cover photos, meaning pro-level photos specifically intended for use as book covers (and other IP things) vs. snapshots.

I have hundreds of my own photos already, but most of them are snapshots. That was the intention at the time, and as a result few of them are appropriate for use as covers.

In a way I’m glad, because going through them would be a monumental task, and frankly I’m not going to do it. I’ll organize the ones I take in the future into various folders so I can find them more easily.

Anyway, all of that started me thinking more about the requirements of good cover design. So I thought I’d talk about that in a topic today. Where to get what you need, things like that.

Topic: Cover Design, Part II

If you would never create your own covers, you can skip this post. But if you’re the adventurous, learning type who wants full control over your work, keep reading.

To create your own covers, you need cover art. I use photos for most of my covers, and a lot of the time, I use cover art (photos) that I get from online royalty-free stock photo agencies.

My favorite at the moment is Unsplash at Their photos are not only royalty free, but free to use. They only request you credit the photographer, which of course is only right.

Other free sites are Pixabay (, Pexels (, and (, which is a subsidiary of ShutterStock (see below). Any Google search will reveal many others.

Of the several paid stock photo agencies (DreamsTime, CanStock, BigStock, ShutterStock, and many others) my favorite is Deposit Photo at If you work it right, you can download cover art from the pay sites for as little as $1 per photo. Deposit Photo currently has a deal to get 100 royalty-free photos for $100 and you can download them as you need them any time over the next year.

Deposit Photo has a much larger range of photos than Unsplash. It’s even larger than some of the other paid sites, at least in the main categories I searched (dark mystery, western silhouette, crime, and so on).

Stock photo sites can deliver excellent images on which to base your cover designs.

But there’s a problem with royalty-free stock photos no matter where you get them: If you ever decide you want to put that cover on t-shirts or posters and sell it that way too, you can’t do it. You either have to go back to the artist and obtain extended licensing, or you have to license the art for all commercial purposes ($200-$300 or more) so you can sell other products bearing the art legally.

In many cases, you can also approach the photgrapher and ask him or her to create original photos for your commercial use (again, $200-$300 is realistic). I might do that with some of my Blackwell Ops products in the future.

But to me, it’s much less hassle and definitely less expensive to use my own photos for my cover art and other uses.

I have a pro-level Sony A65 DSLR that costs about as much as one piece of original art would cost if licensed from the artist or photographer, and I know how to use it.

My camera is set, too, to turn out high-resolution photos (2760 pixels wide x 4000 tall). (If you want pics only to upload to Facebook or some other thing, you can set a lower resolution and your camera or card will hold a lot more photos.)

With my high-resolution photo, using my Serif PagePlus suite, I can create a cover that’s 6250 pixels wide by 9375 pixels tall. You can pretty much see it from a low orbit. (grin)

Then I resize the final cover to 2000×3000 pixels for upload to D2D, Smashwords, etc.

But the beauty of it is, the cover is my own. I also have the extended license for the fonts I use, so I can put the cover on anything I want, license it any way I want, and so on. I have complete control.

And that’s why I spent much of yesterday getting my camera back up to speed. (grin)

Any questions or suggestions, please visit the site and leave a comment.

Caught up on my sleep last night and rolled out late this morning. I had a kind of episode. Nothing major, but I’m thinking I need more rest. I’ll do that today after I file this.

Pretty much first thing this morning, I happened across a photo (by a dear friend) that has long intrigued me. Today it suggested a story title. I haven’t written the story, but I have a feeling I might soon.

And I felt moved to create a cover for the story, should it come to pass. I thought I’d share the cover with you. If it inspires you to write a story, have at it. It would be different than the one I’ll eventually write anyway. (grin)

I also inched along a bit on the novel but nothing of note to report. I’ll get back to it full force soon.

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Making Decisions” at

See “The Bloody Benders: America’s First Family of Serial Killers” at

See “Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston Are Keeping It Fresh” at

See “Free Fiction Monday: Standing Up For Grace” at

See “Racing The Clock” at

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 940 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 940

Writing of Blackwell Ops 7: Glen Marco (novel)

Day 1…… 3222 words. Total words to date…… 3222
Day 2…… 1170 words. Total words to date…… 4392
Day 3…… 3191 words. Total words to date…… 7583
Day 4…… 1374 words. Total words to date…… 8957
Day 5…… 1952 words. Total words to date…… 10909
Day 6…… 1021 words. Total words to date…… 11930
Day 7…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 11930
Total fiction words for the year………… 370667
Total nonfiction words for the month… 20810
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 238880
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 609547

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 2
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 195
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

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