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BellaOnline's African American Lit Editor

Stock Photos for Black Books

So youíre interested in self-publishing your novel or nonfiction book but you have no idea how to find a cover for it. You canít afford a designer and you certainly donít have the skills to do a cover on your own.

You decide to check out stock images for your book but you notice that finding stock images for black books in particular isnít easy. Many sites do not offer many varieties when it comes to black photos but you can find a nice photo for your book.

Despite the saying, people do judge a book by its cover. You owe it to yourself to have the most engaging, genre-fitting image on your book you can muster. You also want a cover that conveys the message of your book. You want something interesting, intriguing and something that draws the eye. Whether you write black romance or how-to guides, the sites below have tons of photos for you to use for your covers.

Be aware that you should never use someoneís photo without permission. If you do find a photo that you are interested in make sure to read all guidelines before purchasing. The content of these sites might differ in price so be aware of what an image costs and its copyright standing before purchasing. When in doubt you can always contact the site or photographer.


Go to this site and do a search for ďAfrican-AmericanĒ and you will find pages of images featuring individuals, groups and couples.


This site offers images of black people in offices, parks, homes, anywhere. You can find images with single women and men to images with groups of children. You will find images that would make wonderful covers for all types of books.


This site has a premium and regular section dedicated to African-American photos of all types.


Offers various images of African-Americans involved in many activities


This site offers images free for commercial use. You should still take all precaution and double-check before using an image for your books. Morguefile has an impressive set of African-American photos within the People section.

To recap, never snatch a photo from a site and use it without permission. You should be aware of the different conditions for using a particular image. Every photo is different. In addition, just because a site has free photos it does not mean you can use the photo for any reason. Some photos are only for noncommercial use.

When you decide to self-publish you are no longer just the author. You have to follow and respect the same rules that publishers do. Never, ever use someone elseís image without the required permission.


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