Yesterday, and Royalty-Free Cover Art

In today’s Journal

* New Story
* Also Yesterday
* Royalty-Free Cover Art
* Update on The Passive Voice Website
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

A New Short Story

“Curious Shapes” went live yesterday on my Stanbrough Writes Substack. Go check it out.

If you enjoy it, tell Everyone. If you don’t, shhh! (grin)

One guy wrote to say he liked it. So I says to him, I says, “Whaddayou, sick?” (grin)

Also Yesterday

Since I was still in conscious-mind mode from a copyedit I recently finished, I did a lot of admin stuff. The key points are

  • The Openings Critique offer I made is going so well I thought I’d open it up. I even put up a new page on the Journal website. The rules have changed a bit, so be sure to check it out. Now I can leave it alone and just help those who want help.
  • I also revised the menu at Readerly stuff is now grouped in the top line. Writerly stuff is grouped in the bottom line.
  • Finally, I deleted all of the pages and posts and media at I will allow that URL to expire. The substack delilvers the free short stories, and I moved the rest to
  • To see a bunch’a pictures featuring some dork posing as me Click Here.

Royalty-Free Cover Art

Occasionally I get questions about where to find royalty-free art for book covers. The easy answer is “Key ‘royalty-free art’ or ‘FREE royalty-free art’ into a search engine.”

But that’s also kind of a cop-out.

It points you in the right direction, but that’s it. It leaves no room for suggestions or recommendations or endorsements. So here you go:

UnsplashIn my opinion, this is the king of free royalty-free cover art, Pixabay and Pexels notwithstanding. The variety at Unsplash exceeds the others in my opinion.

Unsplash also has both a free plan (unlimited downloads) and a paid plan (around $80 per year). In the latter, your search results are more closely curated, and every photo is guaranteed to be model-released etc. No limit on downloads.

(If I may request a sidebar, always download the largest available photo. Goes to clarity and resolution, Your Honor.)

In many cases, the artists and photographers at Unsplash will sell a commercial license (e.g., you want to legally use the image to design not only covers but coffee cups or whatever). That is available elsewere too, but at Unsplash it’s right up front.

Many artists and photographers are also available for custom work. After doing numerous covers with free Unsplash photos, I recently signed on for the paid plan.

Other free sites (if they didn’t close yesterday) include the aformentioned Pexels and Pixabay as well as Visual Hunt and I’m sure dozens of others. This is where I would tell you to key-in “free royalty-free art” and click Enter.

For paid sites (subscriptions, plans, etc.), my hands-down favorite is Deposit Photos. Great quality, a wide range of images and, if you can pay up front, very low per-image pricing. They’re currently offering 100 images for $80. Eighty cents per image? Hard to beat that.

Deposit Photos also offers a free background remover, a free image upscaler, and a reverse image search in addition to other tools.

BigStock is also pretty good and I’ve created covers from some photos I got from them.

For any old-timers out there, I also used to use CanStock photos, but they’ve shuttered their doors (no pun intended).

Another one I used to use occasionally was ShutterStock, but they’ve largely been absorbed by IStock, a paid site whose prices are more or less comparable to those at Getty Images. In other words, they’re ridiculously high when compared with Deposit Photos and BigStock.

One note: Often, the same photo you download from one site is replicated on other sites, so it pays to shop around. Not for specific images—that’s all but impossible because different companies name their photos in different ways—but with your search terms.

It’s important to define and revise/refine your search terms as you go. When you put together a good set of search term that gets you the results you want, It’s also a good idea to save those search terms in a text file somewhere too so you won’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you go back.

Hope this helps.

Update on The Passive Voice Website

I can’t imagine this, but apparently The Passive Voice website has been blocked because PG failed to upate his site registration.

I clcked through the original warning, hoping to send him a message through his Contact Me link and ask whether he knew his security certificate was expired.

Unfortunately, I still couldn’t get through to his site or to him.

There’s a lesson here. This is EXACTLY why I spread my direct email address to anyone who wants it instead of using a Contact Me page on the site itself.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

Failure Doesn’t Suck

When the story’s over

The Numbers

The Journal………………………………830

Writing of Blackwell Ops 25: No Name Yet

Day 1…… 3243 words. To date…… 3243

Fiction for May…………………….….… 12977
Fiction for 2024…………………………. 316762
Fiction since October 1………………… 619820
Nonfiction for May……………………… 16060
Nonfiction for 2024…………………… 170400
2024 consumable words……………… 487162

2024 Novels to Date……………………… 8
2024 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2024 Short Stories to Date……………… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)……………… 90
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……… 239
Short story collections…………………… 29

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 are lies, and they will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

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2 thoughts on “Yesterday, and Royalty-Free Cover Art”

  1. I too have been wondering about thepassivevoice. If I recall, he did a post some time ago about one of those outfits that does copyright trolling. I believe they were located in the UK. Apparently, his site came into their crosshairs. His post indicated that he had solved the problem, but now I’m wondering if it’s ongoing.

    • Hi Peter. Maybe but I doubt it. There’s some sort of problem between the registrar for PG’s site, himself, and his webshost. If I didn’t renew my site registration or failed to update my ICANN contact info, the Journal would disappear too. I’m sure he’ll get it worked out, and soon I hope.

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