“Hey, I saw your book cover on another book!” How to avoid this scenario…

Faydra Deon
By Faydra Deon January 28, 2013 09:28

“Hey, I saw  your book cover on another book!” How to avoid this scenario…

a-chip-in-his-shoulderWith self-publishing comes self-book-cover-creation.

There are also sites like Fiverr.com where people trying to make a little extra money will create your book covers on the cheap.

Many independent authors, and even the folks creating book covers on the cheap, think they can just jump on a stock photo site and find the perfect image for a new book.

That’s usually fine, but keep in mind that you’re not the only self-published author, or cheap book cover creator, scouring stock photo sites for the perfect book cover image.

Even though there are hundreds of stock image sites, some of the most commonly used are iStockPhoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime, PhotoDune and BigStock.

Another thing that some folks may not be aware of is that the same stock images may appear on more than one stock photo site, so the same image could be on every site I mentioned above.

Business_group_meetingFor example, photographer Yuri Arcurs has his work on all the stock photo sites listed above. The following are links to the same image on all the sites:

What can you do to make sure you’re not using the same image on your book covers as other authors?

First, this information only applies to authors who are concerned about this issue. You may not care that the image you or your designer has chosen is being used by other authors. You’ve decided you like the image, it fits with the content of your story and you’re going to use it no matter how many other books it appears on. That’s not a problem. Go for it.

TinEye-100x100However, if this is not what you want, one service you can use is TinEye.

TinEye is a reverse image search service that will allow you to upload an image or enter an image URL, so you can see where it comes from and where it’s being used on the web. I did that with the book cover image in the top left of this post. I found these other covers with the same image:

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TinEye is a free service, and it takes only seconds for it to search over two billion images and return your results. The service can also come in handy when you want to see if other sites are violating your copyright or intellectual property rights on images you’ve taken exclusively for use on your book covers. What if you’ve paid a photographer for the exclusive rights to a picture he/she took? Wouldn’t you want to know if the photographer is honoring your exclusive agreement, especially since you’ve most likely paid a pretty penny for that exclusivity? TinEye can help.

TinEye even has convenient browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera, so you don’t have to visit their site every time you want to search the web for an image.

You can even use TinEye to search by colors.

If you’re aware of other services, like TinEye, that allow for reverse image searches, please leave a comment on this post. With the way websites come and go, it would be great to know of other sites that do the same or similar things as TinEye.

Just FYI: A search through TinEye for the photo by Yuri Arcurs shows that it is in use 94 times on the web. Who knows how many times it’s been used in print format.

Faydra Deon
By Faydra Deon January 28, 2013 09:28
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  1. Laurie Carlson January 29, 03:50

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE! Thank you for printing this! Especially the info on TinEye, too! That would be GREAT to find out if even Bloggers make photos to see how often it’s being used, or, if WE make OUR OWN photo, if IT has been taken!
    This will come in VERY handy for Indie Authors the most, and the MOST important of ALL authors! They are just starting out, or have hit the Best Seller lists, yet remain Indie! LOVE it!!!!!
    GREAT info to share!
    Laurie Carlson

    Reply to this comment
  2. Shirley Ford January 29, 04:33

    Thanks for the warning! I used a stock free photo for my first novel, but have changed it. I am not in a position yet to have a cover designed specifically for me, so an artist friend painted a picture from my spec and I have created my own unique cover. It will never win awards, but at least it is mine.

    Reply to this comment
  3. D. A. Isley February 28, 00:30

    Very good information. A lot of self-published authors don’t know about this. For me, I avoid this scenario by taking my own photos and creating my own covers.

    Reply to this comment
    • Faydra Deon Author February 28, 02:35

      Well, thanks to TinEye, you can do a search for your own images to make sure others aren’t using them without your permission.

      Thanks for reading the article, and thanks for your comment.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Yalanda Lattimore April 18, 12:41

    So glad this to find this article. Just put out the call for book cover ideas. Definitely trying to avoid the “stock” pile for something original 🙂

    Thanks so much for all you do.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Jamie L. Saloff August 6, 11:24

    Another reason not to use just a single image, but employ a cover designer (or DIY) who will layer images that create a unique-to-you cover design. This problem is happening more and more. Don’t be a noob… check it first.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Colin B Leonard August 30, 03:32

    Design your own. Be original. Created book cover and also word for title. Originality is untouchable.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Gay N. Lewis February 18, 14:00

    Helpful info. Thanks.

    Reply to this comment
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