Book Covers - the ins and outs

Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season :)

Besides baking green bean casseroles and preparing the turkey, I’ve been on a quest. Oh, how I wish it were a quest in some random land filled with adventure. But some days it feels like that.

It’s the quest for stock photos for the cover of my next book (Southern Ghosts Series Book 2). For those who don’t know what goes into a cover, here are some pointers:

1. Never download any image off the Internet for your own use without asking permission and/or obtaining copyright. Just because an image is on Pinterest or online does NOT mean it is free and you can use to your heart’s content. Far from it. Respect copyright and don’t steal.

How do you get images, then? Simple. Stock photo sites. A few of these are,,, and more. Google “royalty free photos” and you’ll get a listing. Most photos run between $7 and $25 each – very worth it to not get sued for copyright infringement.

A few tips:

  • Narrow your search by photos, illustrations, and by subject matter
  • If you find an image you like, most sites have a link that says “find similar” – this will help you find more images along the lines of what you’re seeking
  • I typically save the photo link in a Word document so I have a master list of the possible photos I want for the cover. Then I narrow my choices down to 2 or 3 and work with a graphic designer to create the cover using those images. I purchase any final images that are used.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to search. I’ve often paged through 3000 stupid-looking photos to get to 3-4 that might really work.

Good luck!