Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Now begins the making of my book. With New Issues, there was a very definite house style in regards to font and general design; art was handled in-house by graduate students in design, which saved a good bit in costs, I imagine. So I never had much say or involvement in the production of the book. Happily, I love how it turned out. Now, I have much more say in everything, which is great, but also daunting.

I've been looking around in image databases like Getty and Corbis and have found a black and white photograph that I think is fantastic and perfect. But, securing the right is dreadfully expensive: anywhere from 600-900 dollars.

That's prohibitive, I think, at least for me. Their costs are calculated for books with much higher print runs; I'm hoping I could get an adjusted quote. But I doubt it.

Any suggestions on finding imagery?


Also, I'm lining up blurbs, which is somewhat obnoxious. I hate asking people for things; I hate being an imposition. I have two confirmed but need a few more.


Still, happy to be doing this and not sending out $25 checks.


Eduardo C. Corral said...

Hey Paul,

when you search for images what search terms do you use? Just curious.

Paul said...

But that would be telling!

Eduardo C. Corral said...

Damn! I thought I had you there.

Paul said...

Very sly, very sly, Eduardo...

shanna said...

the library of congress's american memory project contains tons of great (and searchable) photos online. here you go. photos taken under the auspices of government agencies (for instance, documentary work during the wars, during the depression, etc.) are technically not copyrighted--they are owned by the citizenry. but each item is diff--just check the rights and reproduction link on images you like. (plus, this is just one of my favorite browsing spots--all kinds of really neat stuff!)

in general: for paintings & other art, you can try to secure rights to a detail rather than a whole image. (often easier and cheaper.) some museums administer permissions for art in their collections and they can be pretty reasonable, particularly with proper credit and for low-revenue projects like poetry publishing!

or you can find an image you like and ask your designer to try to capture the look and feel without actually copycatting it.

it's great that your press is letting you have a hand in the cover design. many do not!

C. Dale said...


Many smaller museums and galleries in the US receive funding from the NEA and other government agencies. As a result, many of them will give nyou the right to use an image from their collection for free. The Painting used on the cover of my first book was free because the museum that owned it only wanted the citation as payment.

Oddly, the National Museum in D.C. is not as giving. Large museums like the Louvre use clearing houses, but you will have to pay for the rights to use the image and also pay for them to provide you with a high definitiion digital scan.

And then, of course, if you know an artists, the artist might give you the work for free.

C. Dale said...

Oh, and I forgot your blurb!

"Paul Guest ROCKS!"
--C. Dale Young

Paul said...

Be careful, C. Dale: I may use that! ;)

LKD said...

Call me crazy (don't, okay?), but I think the photo Wendy snapped of your grandma's steps, those steps that lead to a house that no longer exists, would make a swell cover image.

And if not, you should cruise some of the blogs, because some of these folks take incredible photograhs. TE Ballad (Early Hours of Sky is the name of her blog) takes great photos. She's the only person that springs immediately to mind, but there are others....and somebody you know via blogland would be willing to offer you an image at a cut rate price.

Congratulations, Paul, on your good good new.

steve mueske said...

Another tactic would be to try a royalty-free clearing house such as Istock.com They have the link to the designer's website with each of their uploaded images. You could contact the artist / photographer directly and work something out, the art in exchange for mention of website or somesuch.

S. Lelia said...

I second what shanna says. I've used LOC's American Memory stuff before for various projects and been quite pleased. Btw, congratulations. {{{{very proud}}}}