Where do we get art for the explosion in the number of covers? Many book cover designers use stock art, all from the same stock art sources. That means the very same or similar images can appear on the book covers of many different authors. How disconcerting for an author who suddenly recognizes images from his/her cover on the work of another author!
Stock photos are just that. Stock that can be sold multiple times. If you use one of those pictures, you may see it over and over again. It's like the Van Gogh image, "Starry Night," that is found everywhere from prints hanging in homes and doctor's offices to puzzles on sale in bookstores.
|"Sedona" original acrylic painting MMSikes|
|"Jungle Beat" - original acrylic painting MMSikes|
|"Tropical Waterfall" - original pastel MMSikes|
Hearts Across Forever, my first novel, has a cover with a favorite pastel painting I created of a waterfall that fits well into the plot of the story. For Eagle Rising, the cover artist superimposed the image of an eagle over an acrylic painting I did in Sedona, AZ, the setting for my book. Jungle Jeopardy, my latest "Passenger to Paradise" book, has a large tropical jungle painting, "Jungle Beat," I created on canvas a few years ago. This is perfect for the plot of my adventure story set in Central America. Thankfully, I'll never find any of those images on the cover of another book because I retain the copyrights to all my work.
|"Beach at Sunset"- original photo MMSikes|
I have read comments debating the use of photos taken of art on display in museums on book covers. Is it okay to place photos of the original art of others on your book cover without their permission? At first glance, I would say no. However, if the artist is deceased and the work is in the public domain, is it okay then? I don't know, and I would welcome thoughts on this subject.
As with everything in life, the issue is complicated. I like having my own art grace my covers. Then, I have control over the image. I don't expect to see it on the book cover of another author. And that's a good thing.
Please let me know what you think about book covers. Does stock art concern you? Do you use it?