How To Use Images Legally (Or How To Make Use Of Images Without Pissing Someone Off)

First off let’s knock out some terms you need to know. First up Royalty Free.

Royalty Free: Does not mean free image. It means you acquired the image, usually with a payment, to use it however you want. So now you can use it on webpages, calendars, pretty much anything you can think of, sometimes there’s a limit on how many times but usually it’s a big number like 10,000 uses.

Creative Common License: Types of licensing that art can have, including images and literature. These are the different types:

  • Attribution: Lets people modify as long they credit you.
  • Attribution Share-Alike: Same as above plus all new works or derivatives carry the same license.
  • Attribution-NoDerivs: Lets people redistribute for commercial and non-commerical as long as doesn’t change and credit’s the creator.
  • Attribution-Noncommercial: This license let’s people change your artwork non-commercially and all derivatives must also be non-commercial.

Public Domain: Is something that is in use for anyone for any reason. Many forms of literature can also be obtained this way, and that’s why you find different versions of H. P. Lovecraft collection on Amazon.

Fair Use: This is the law used for critiquing, commenting, news reporting teaching etc. that has a lot of gray area, but essentially is the reason we can use book covers on a blog for reviews.

There are also a few others, which are just mixes of the ones above, but these are also used to protect your literature as well. Remember that when posting something only.

So, nothing is free unless it’s in the Public Domain. Remember that, you can’t just google and image and be like, “Sweet! That picture is awesome for my new ebook.” As cool as Ghost Rider looks, you can’t use it without permission.

Which brings us to our first and only rule: Always ask for permission.

It may take a long time to get a response, but it’s worth it. Unless you want an artist demanding payment for a book that sold pretty well. It may be worse if the book didn’t sell very well, and he demanded compensation. Afterall, how well the book sold means nothing to an artist, it’s the fact that you stole permission.

So, now, we look at websites.

DeviantArt: You’ve got incredible talent here. Some of the higher tier art are done by graphic designers and many are just artist trying to find an audience. Here, you’ll run into the CC (Commeon Creative Licenses) where deviantArt has a strong policy on thieves, they don’t police it very well but they do catch up to many, banning accounts with ease. Don’t forget to ask people for permission.

Dreamstime.com: A great place to buy Royalty Free images. Photographers post pictures where you can buy them for cheap prices. When you first sign up you get 10 free credits off the bat without paying anything, and can use those credits to buy different images. I use this site for my fitness blog, and the pictures are incredible. Great for blogging, and the free credits are enough to get you started.

Wikipedia: Most materials in wikipedia are under the Attribution-Sharealike licenses, which means you can use images there on your blog and other places, great place to find artwork.

Flickr: Also, uses the same license as DeviantArt, but what you’ll mostly find here are images. Make sure you ask for permission here and pay attention to the licenses attached to an image.

Appropedia: Here you’ll find a great way to search for CC licensed images and stuff on the public domain.

Amazon: Almost forgot Amazon. Sign up for an amazon associate account and you can use their images on your blog for free and earn money for referring people to the site.

There are other sites out there that provide images for a fee, and it’s not as much as you think. There are also lots of artist that would love to help you for free. Just don’t be afraid to contact them. There’s also lots of companies that will design your covers for you. I’ll cover book covers more specifically in another post. Stay tuned.

-L. Vera

References:

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/

http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/

How To Use Twitter, The Right Way

Writers! Bloggers! Are you using Twitter? If you are, answer these two questions:

1) Are you using it to publisize your work, or want to?

2) Do you have fingers?

If you answered yes to both these questions, then this post is essential for you.

Twitter the ultimate advertising tool.

First of all, twitter should not be your main source of advertisement. I just want to make that clear, that there better and more effective ways to advertise than twitter, but they all cost money. Twitter is free. Free. It’s one of my favorite words. Free. And I’ll say it a lot, don’t even try to stop me.

Now let’s cover why.

One tweet, can easily be seen by a number of people. Now hundreds of tweets would be seen by at least hundreds of people. Usually one tweet for my blog will bring in 2-10 people. With Triberr, I can easily multiply the amount of views. Here at AKAQ (A Knife And A Quill) we get an average of 160 unique views a day, with just tweets and facebook post. We don’t advertise in any other ways, at least not yet. Even before I had used it to get people to read my stories on devianArt, which would easily get me 10-20 views per tweet. Which, due to responses, has help grow my fanbase. And those fans respond to me and send me messages on twitter all the time. So here’s a secret to my small success: twitter is worthless without followers.

How to make Twitter work for you.

I see it all the time, a new author with 80 followers. I just invited two authors into my triberr tribe only to realize they barely have any followers. Which is okay, because it didn’t cost me anything to get them in my tribe and most importantly, they are probably going to read this post.

An author with less than a couple of thousand followers isn’t helpful. I hear this all the time though, “Yeah but my followers are loyal, strong followers.” First of all, I doubt it. Second of all, if you have only 80 followers and expect to be one of the big dogs, it doesn’t look impressive. Even though, and here’s a big assumption, you post a lot, having few followers makes it look like no one wants to follow you. It may take a while before you get out beyond 200 without some help. So that’s why you are reading this post. To get more followers, so that you can advertise tweets to more people. We need more followers, and not just any followers, but followers who read what we tweet. So of those 80 how many are fiends and family? So this is how you get followers, it’s a known practice that many people use including corporate businesses, because it works.

Follow people like your mouse button has a mind of it’s own.

Tweepi is an easy software that will help you on your way. You can search for a user, and follow all the people that follow them. For example, pull me up and follow everyone who follows me. Follow at least 200 people and see how many follow you back. It’s amazing. Then in a week unfollow those that didn’t, rinse repeat.

“But L. that’s not fair, you didn’t get those followers fairly.” Fairly? Since when was advertising fair for anyone. We have authors who throw money at their book to sale copies, we have authors who make fake reviews, and we also have authors who buy thousands of copies of their book just to get on the best seller’s list. What’s wrong with following a couple people you don’t know? I see it as being polite.

I went to college, not for a literary degree – I wish I did  – and I ended up at Texas A&M for a year before going broke from it. There they have like hundreds of traditions, many of them are fun and interesting. But the most important tradition, which I think was great rule to follow, was saying “Howdy” to everyone you saw. It was fun and friendly and many times a conversation would spark up. And you made a friend.

Twitter is the same way. The millions of people on twitter don’t know you exist, but something as small as a “follow” can bring a new friend into your mix of tools. Meet @M_rinny a devoted fan of mine I met on Twitter. She re-tweets my tweets to her followers, she replies to many tweets, she talks about my stories; she’s one person that has by far been a huge impact on me getting noticed. Here’s another @mendystar1. She’s a deviantArt watcher that actually helped me get on twitter. She’s the reason I’m even on it to begin with and have gotten this far in my writing career.

Follow as many people as you can. It’s like saying “Howdy” to people who can help you.

-L. Vera

P.S.: My twitter account is @LVeraWrites and I have over 8000 followers and growing. Also, this was also just a introduction to Twitter, expect more articles in the future on how to use twitter “The Right Way”.