20 Sites with Free and Discounted Books and Ebooks

 

20-sites-with-cheap-books

In this post, I list sites with used and discounted books and ebooks.  I’ve split them up below into those two groups for easy searching because I realize some people don’t like ebooks.

Have fun shopping!  I’m headed over to some of these sites to spend some of my remaining Christmas money.

Free and $0.99 Ebooks

1. BookBub

They send a daily email with four or five popular ebooks deals between free-$2.99.  They are by far my favorite site for cheap ebooks. You do have to be a member, but it’s free and they have a lot of bestsellers and even some self-published titles.

2. The Fussy Librarian

They will email you ebooks they think you will enjoy.  They have an entire free ebook page with hundreds of titles.

3.Read Cheaply

They offer all genres of ebooks for %50 or more off the usual price.

4. Read Freely

They offer free and discounted kindle books, as well as have a large selection of self-published titles.

5. Free Booksy

When authors offer a promotional discount on their ebooks, Free Booksy lists it.  They don’t have a lot of bestsellers, but it’s a great place to peruse for a new read.

6.Ereader News Today

They offer only Kindle ebooks, so if you have a Nook or another device, this site is not for you. You can subscribe to their newsletter, enter genres you like, and they will send you suggestions.

7. Project Gutenberg

It houses over 53,000 books all completely free.  It’s operated by volunteers and though you won’t find many recent titles, you can find a lot of classics.

Used and Discounted Books:

8.Alibris

They have hundreds of discounted books including a great selection of recent bestsellers for $0.99.  They also have music and movies at low prices, but their music selection is very limited.  Definitely, recommend their books and movies, but go elsewhere for music.

9. Thriftbooks

This is my favorite place for cheap books. Though they are more expensive then Alibris, all the books I have ordered from them are in pristine condition despite being used.  Most of their books range between $3.99 and $7.99.  They offer free shipping on orders of $10 or more within the US and they have a recent deal that for every $50 you spend you get a $5 coupon.

10. eBay

I love eBay because you can find so many affordable things.  There’s the regular eBay and then another website they operate called half.com.  You can get new, used, or like new books from a variety of sellers.

11. Amazon

Always a good choice. 🙂

12. Powell’s

They sell new and used books.  They aren’t the cheapest, but they are a favorite in the reading community.

13. Swap sites

There’s a lot of sites that allow you to give a book in order to get one.  All you have to do is pay for the postage to send your book back.  A few of these are:

  • bookmooch.com
  • swaptree.com
  • paperbackswap.com

14. Better World Books

They donate a percentage of their profits and books to promote literacy.  It’s a great site and I highly recommend it.

15. Wonderbk.com

This site has millions of books.  They’ve been in business since 1980 and carry music, movies, and games as well.

16. AwesomeBooks.com

This is a UK company, so if you’re in the UK, check this site out.  They have a great selection at reasonable prices.

17. Piranhas.co

It searches Wordery, Amazon (several different countries), and the Book Depository to bring you the best price.

18. Book Depository

They have millions of discounted books. While they aren’t the cheapest site listed here (most of their books range between $7-$12), they do have a great selection and free, worldwide delivery.

19. Librarist.com

Available in many countries, their prices are some of the cheapest in this list.  I’ve never used them so I’m not sure about the shipping situation or the condition of the books, but they come recommended from other fellow readers.

20. Bonavendi

Like piranhas.co, Bonavendi searches numerous sites for the best price.  I will say, their website is a little confusing, but has some great deals.

Additional idea:

21. Thrift Shops

I love searching through thrift shops for books.  I’ve found a first edition, signed copy of Something Strange and Deadly and an ARC of The Silent Wife (both for under $5). I’m lucky to have a great thrift store, Gift and Thrift, not far from my house and The BookShop in Morehead, N.C., where I go on vacation.  Search online for the ones nearest you.  You’ll be amazed by what you can find!

21-sites-with-free-and-discountedbooks-and-ebooks

5 Simple Ways to Outline Your Novel or Short Story

5-simple-ways-to-outline-your-story

Outlining is often the dreaded phase of writing, perhaps only surpassed by the editing phase.  You’re ready to start typing away, but you have to stop and write down all your jumbled thoughts first so you don’t forget.  It’s exciting, but also intimidating.  You’re going to launch into a story, maybe only three pages or perhaps three hundred depending on your cup of tea.

No matter how long your story is, I advise you make an outline.

Since Elementary school, I have had many teachers tell me I need outlines.  Most of them I ignored. (If you haven’t picked up yet from my other posts, I was never a favorite of my English teachers.)

Want examples of why you should plot out your story?  Just read my first two books, Black Forest and Hollow Dreams.  They are examples of everything not to do when writing a book.

There’s no one perfect method for outlining.  Every writer goes about it a little differently.  

Below I include the methods I have found most useful.

  1. Notecards

While many authors love this method, I’m too disorganized to use it.  Write one scene on different notecards until you have every scene in your book.  Notecards give you the flexibility to shuffle scenes without reworking the entire outline and help you focus on one scene at a time.  Warning: If you’re writing an epic, don’t use this method.  More notecards equal more likelihood of them getting dropped and scattered.  You don’t want to spend hours remembering where your scenes go after you drop them.  I’ve done it, and it’s not fun.

2. yWriter

This free software helps you break your book up into chapters that you can move around or edit at any time.  I preferred to write in Microsoft and copy and paste my words over, but you can also write directly in yWriter and skip Microsoft altogether.  It also has sections for character bios and other fun things.  It’s easy to use after you’re familiar with its many different settings.

If you want to check it out, click here.

3. The School Method

I also call this the classic method.  You follow a standard outline, the kind with Roman numerals, filling in either chapters or any way you want to chop up your book.  I suppose you could even fill it in using character viewpoints, but that might get tricky.  The picture below is one I did.  Instead of Roman numerals, I used dates and wrote beside them what scenes needed to happen at that time.  This works especially well if you have a plot that goes day by day, such as action or thriller.

(Sorry for my atrocious handwriting in this picture.)

timeline-outline

4. The Web

I start with the center idea or character of my story in the middle of the page.  Around it, I include all the names of main and secondary characters, movements (revolutions, groups, etc.) and anything else vitally important to the plot.  I circle each and then draw lines to all the things that interconnect.

For instance, take a look at the web I made for City of Deception, my upcoming YA novel.

web-outline

If you look closely, you notice my main character, Talia, is at the center with lines connecting her to other characters and groups.  This helps me visualize how all the characters interconnect and how their relationships influence each other.

5. Notebook

My favorite method so far.  I’m a bit of a pantser, meaning I write mostly without strict outlines and sometimes even dare to write without any.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize why an outline is necessary and try to balance both my plotter and pantser sides.  All I do is take a notebook and write all my ideas in it.  Either on the first page or last, I write down as many scenes as I have in the order I think I want them to be. Often this is only the beginning, end and the inciting incident. Over time I fill in the scenes I come up with, as well as put character bios or notes in the other pages of the notebook.  If I don’t like where a scene is, I erase it or draw an arrow to where I want it to be. It gets messy over time, but it’s the best method I’ve found that gives me structure but not to the point of strangling my creativity.

There are hundreds of different outlining methods, and I haven’t even scratched the surface in the post.  Those listed above are mostly the old-school, straightforward methods for outlining, but I’ve found old-school is often the best method when it comes to writing.  

Get creative with your outline. Draw pictures if you’re an artist or come up with something unique.  Every writer has their own methods and only you can come up with yours.   

How to Deal with Criticism as a Writer

 

dealing-with-criticismas-a-writer

One of perhaps the hardest things for writers to overcome is the fear of facing criticism.  

I hate to tell you, but it is inevitable.  Eventually, someone will not like your work.  It will hurt, but you want to know a secret?

Criticism is what makes you a better writer.

I have been fairly lucky when it comes to people reviewing my work, but there have been times where someone tells me they didn’t like a particular scene or that they think my work is too “young.” (I’m nineteen and published my first book, for better or worse, as fifteen.  I heard this OFTEN when I first started out.)

Now, I know that it doesn’t seem like that sort of comment should have bothered me, but at the time, it really hurt.  I was lucky enough to receive mostly favorable reviews, but it didn’t matter.  One negative comment would have annoyed me no matter how many five stars I received.

Looking back, it all seems a little silly, but I know every writer hits a point like this when one negative piece of feedback just seems to be ripping your heart open.  Your book is your baby.  You don’t want to hear how you or it failed.

Negative feedback isn’t a sign of failure if you use the information to make your future writing better. Actually, you should LOOK for the critics.  Without criticism, how do you expect to find the weak points in your writing and make it better?

However, I believe there are three different types of criticism, and only one of them is the healthy kind that builds you up as a writer.  The other two you need to ignore because they will only tear you down.

 

  1. Spammy Criticism:

As my dad said once to me, this kind of criticism comes from keyboard bullies.  They are the ones that post in the comment section of blogs not with helpful information, but rather a bunch of nonsense that angers more people than it helps.  This kind of criticism exists to annoy you.  It’s rarely true and is just as the name I gave it suggests: spam.  Flat out ignore it.

2. Self-Criticism

Stepping back and questioning the integrity and quality of your writing is a healthy practice.  You are your best critic, but likewise your worst.  It’s sometimes hard to distinguish between taking a good look at your writing and judging yourself on things that don’t matter.  Self-criticism can quickly morph into self-doubt, and while it’s normal to have a little self-doubt, it’s not normal to get yourself in a panic over things that are out of your control.  I am quite familiar with the fine line between the two, and even after two self-published novels and a third one soon to come I still have to evaluate almost every day whether I’m dealing with self-criticism or it’s deadly twin, self-doubt.

3. Constructive Criticism 

You might remember this term from when you wrote papers in school and your teacher scribbled “helpful” revision comments in the margins before giving it back to you.  Then, if you were at all like me, you remember those comments as a pain and another long night of homework.

I hate to tell you, you still need constructive criticism now.  Occasionally having an unbiased person review your work and give useful feedback is important for a writer.  This is healthy and the only kind of criticism you really need to focus on.

 

So, next time you receive feedback, remember that whoever said it is actually helping you.  Don’t go after them and demand to know how they could say something bad about your work.  Instead, ask them to explain what they meant and even see if they have anything else to say to help you improve your work.

 

Wow.  As I read back down through this post, I’m starting to remind myself of one of my previous teachers.  That teacher used to preach about constructive criticism, but I always hated it.  Funny how viewpoints change.

Before I get weirded out by that thought, I’m going to leave you with this post.

As always, hope this helps!  Feel free to leave a comment or question below.

 

What Anxiety Taught Me About Myself

 

what-1

Thank God 2016 is over.

As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t published a post in 8 months.  I was supposed to publish a book, City of Deception, in July, but it never came out.  I planned to go to university and study history, my second favorite subject only surpassed by writing.  I planned to get my own apartment within the next eighteen months.

But life is a tricky thing, and the last year and a half have been some of the most difficult and stressful months for my family and me.  If something could go wrong, it did or tried to.

I learned how crippling anxiety can be, and spent most of the summer holed up at home recovering from a year that kept getting worse.  It taught me I’m not as strong and invincible as I think.

So, here’s what happened:

I’m nineteen and finished my freshman year at University.  Last fall, about the time I started this blog, I packed up my belongings and moved ten minutes from home into the dorm with one of my best friends as my roommate.  For the first few months, I adjusted to college life, learning that eating pancakes at midnight is normal and studying your butt off ten minutes before your final exam is protocol.  Despite a few mishaps and arguments on my hall, I succeded at being on the Deans list.

But then about January, something happened.

I started getting more than a few butterflies in my stomach when I had to go to social functions (I’m an introvert at heart, but this was extreme).  I struggled to maintain eye contact with people during conversations and trivial things like phone calls to meeting people in the cafeteria for dinner sent me off to my room trembling.

By March, I pretty much spent most of my time in my room with Netflix, chocolate, and impending due dates.  I couldn’t write, something that calmed me down, because my characters reflected my anxiety making me more worried.  It sucked.

Then in April, the panic attacks came.  I’d go to class, do my assignments (because I’m a perfectionist and hate when things try to stop me or slow me down) and spend a lot of time sitting on my bed reading crappy vampire novels just to escape the moment.  Just having to pass people in the hall would all but send me into panic mode.  The anxiety never stopped.

I chose to take a gap year after meeting with a professor one day and all but crying in his office because I physically couldn’t make myself do a presentation for their class.  I would have vomited had I tried to do the presentation.

The point of this post is if you feel I’ve been ignoring you all, I haven’t.  I’ve been struggling, but now am back.  Thank you to everyone supporting me (which, frankly, is few people because most don’t know.)  To those suffering from anxiety: I know what it feels like, and I swear you’ll get through it.  There will be a lot of tears and arguments and ice cream runs, but you will persevere.  I had to choose to change my life by taking a year off against the wishes and advice of almost everyone who knows me.  Do whatever YOU need to deal with anxiety.  Don’t make the mistake of letting others dictate life for you.  Only you really know what you need.

The best way to explain what this is like is how one feels after a long sickness.  Your muscles are sore and you can’t just jump back into your usual routine.  You have to slowly go back to your normal schedules and activities slowly, and that’s what I’m attempting to do.  (I realize that is a lacking example.)

I have people doubting me, especially for taking some time from college.  I might not ever go back.  I don’t know.  Every time I get on Facebook and see how much all my friends have done in one year while I’ve been struggling just to live normally frustrates and depresses me.  Sometimes I cry for no reason.

The last months have taught me the true meaning of one of my favorite Robert Burns quotes:

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Robert Burns

I thought I could plan everything and be strong, but it turns out I can’t get everything right all the time and I am far, far from perfect.  I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.  I don’t know what God has in store or why I have to go through this.

Don’t ask me what I’m going to do because I don’t know.  Every bone in my body screams in terror over the decisions I’m making.  Most days I feel immobile, but I’m doing my best.

All I know is I’m going to get back on my feet and live my life.  I still have anxiety, but I’m learning how to deal with it.  I hope others with anxiety also learn to embrace it and live a meaningful life.

Cover Reveal For City Of Deception

After all the months of writing, editing, and publishing mayhem, I get to share the cover of City of Deception with you.  I think it works well with the story (though I’m jaded since I’m the author) and love this cover by West Coast Design.  Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

City of Deception will go on sale July 2016.  The description is posted here.

city of deceptionAM001

5 strategies for getting through a first draft

5 strategies for gettingFor me, first drafts take forever, especially when I fail to plan out my story before I start writing.  I’m guilty of starting an outline once I’m forty or more pages into a novel and realize I’ve written myself into a corner.  I’m not a pantser or plotter, rather something in the middle.  I’m also guilty of having a lot of unfinished manuscripts (at last count there were twelve).

If you’re struggling with a first draft, my suggestions are:

  1. Stop and Outline

Outline your story.  It can be as basic as “The Main Character must fight against an evil tyrant in order to save his/her family.”  Have a concrete idea of what your story is about and add scenes to your outline.  You don’t need all your scenes. I’m a firm believer in a basic outline, but I make sure I leave plenty of room for creativity.  Over 50% of the scenes that make it into my books are never on the outline.  Just be careful not to get stuck and plan for so long that you never start writing.  Set a firm deadline for when you’re plotting will be completed and writing begin.

  1. Don’t fret about the grammar

Don’t be an obsessive English grad who has to have every sentence perfect.  You’ll just piss everyone off around you. (By the way, I’m not judging you if you are one of those people.  Some of my best friends are grammar nerds.)  Know your basic grammar rules, but don’t worry in your first draft whether it’s who or whom or whether it’s gray versus grey.  The nitty gritty comes after your first draft and hopefully a good editor will help you in the future.

  1. Always leave off at an exciting part

I don’t remember where I read this, but at the time I felt stupid for not thinking of it before.  When you stop writing for the day, leave off at an exciting point in your scene.  Instead of completely finishing a scene with two characters fighting, stop your writing for the day where a weapon is hurtling midair towards your main character.

  1. Keep Track of Your Word Count

Every time you work on your first draft write down your word count.  NaNoWriMo allows you to do this with nice daily graphs.  Outside of NaNoWriMo, the best option is to enter your numbers in Excel or make a list in Word.  I’ve tried online word count trackers and none of them have worked well.  See a daily word count helps increase motivation and show your progress.  It’s hard to feel accomplished when thirty thousand words are still unwritten, but keeping track of your word count will help you to notice the small milestones.  Maybe you wrote 2,000 words one day.  That’s something to be proud of.

  1. Read!

Read good books that either inspire you or fall in the genre you’re trying to write.  When I got stuck on City of Deception, my novel coming out July 2016, I spent two weeks reading while on vacation. When I got back, I had a much better idea of what the book would look like.

An Additional Tip:

If you set a goal for when you want to finish your draft by, give yourself twice as long.  I’ve learned the hard way that you will almost never be able to complete your goal on time.  I’ve published two books and guess what?  I’ve never been able to publish when I plan.  I’m always off by at least a few months.  Believe me, I’ve tried everything to motivate myself to stick to my deadline for finishing first draft.  I’ve tried cutting out coffee, writing more each day, no internet or Netflix and even didn’t shave my legs for eight weeks. (Yeah, don’t ask about the last one.  It is a great motivator though.)  So, always give yourself more time.  It will save you a lot of trouble later.  Everyone has a different rate for how fast they can finish a draft.

As always, hope this helps!   Oh, and now that I’m out of school, I’m going to try to post at least once a week.  I’ve been a lazy blogger the last few months.

Book News

Synopsis (1)I am excited to share the synopsis for my upcoming Young Adult novel with you!  The story is a combination of time travel, dystopian and fantasy, so I have yet to choose the genre it falls in.  (I’m leaning towards time travel/dystopian although dystopian makes me cringe after the onslaught of that genre over the last few years.)

This is the first time the synopsis has been released anywhere, so you are one of the first to read it.  I would love to hear what you think of it.

Synopsis:

When 17-year-old Natalia Alkaev is chosen to live in the royal palace, she is thrust into a world of lies, betrayal and love.

Since she joined the rebellion, she has trained as an information processor for the growing revolution against the royal family.  She is told they are fighting a dictator who will take the throne in the future.  With new time travel technology, the rebels plan to stop the dictator before he or she can claim the throne.  Controlling the future is the key to everything.  But when Natalia is chosen as the new royal ward to appease the classes, she must hide her revolutionary past from the royals or be killed, all the while gathering information to feed back to the rebels.

She soon learns who the real villains are, and it’s not the royals she despises.

It’s someone much closer to her.

Don’t be THAT Self-Published Author

STORIES.jpg

This seems like a topic that would be obvious, but I see it too often:  some self-published authors act completely unprofessional.  When they receive criticism, like a bad review, they go to the reviewer’s blog and leave nasty comments on posts.  They get irritated when someone says their book cover sucks.  They believe their failing or nonexistent sales are due to bad readers, not a bad writer.

What?  Did you enjoy throwing a tantrum like a two year old who wants her crackers/nap/etc?

My advice: grow up.  This isn’t an industry for the faint of heart.  If you are only writing books to make money, stop now.  Your readers will thank you in advance and so will the bloggers/reviewers/writers you piss off along the way.

By acting unprofessional, you mess it up for everyone else who may actually be a decent author but won’t be reviewed by a particular blogger because they had a horrible experience with self-published authors who won’t accept criticism (I had a blogger say something similar to this to me once because of another indie author’s inappropriate comments.)

However…

If you are, or aren’t, one of those authors I realize criticism hurts.  When I first published it really stung when someone criticized my writing.  I still cringe to think of getting a bad review.  But, failure or mistakes are normal.  My mistakes (which are many in the writing world) taught me the most valuable lessons I had to learn and they will you too.  If your book receives harsh criticism: eat some chocolate/comfort food of choice, cry, learn, and move on.  Don’t obsess because that is the worst mistake of all.

If you really need help coping with criticism:

  1. Say thank you anyway

If someone criticizes your writing, say thank you for the review anyway.  It was one person’s opinion, not a personal attack against you.

  1. Listen and learn

Even writers like Cassandra Clare and Stephen King get bad reviews or deal with criticism.  Not that it probably makes them happy either, but it is part of life.  Take the advice, think about it, and consider if the reviewer isn’t right.  However, people do get touchy (especially nerdy fans who hate you killed their favorite character *coughs to cover guilt*), so please feel free to take negative comments with a pinch of salt.

  1. And remember…Mickey Rooney

Post NaNoWriMo

Post NaNoWriMo.jpgAutumn, Halloween, and NaNoWriMo have come and gone.  Since my last post almost three months ago, I’ve survived most of my first semester of college and now prepare to fight my way through massive papers and finals.  My writing went to shambles due to new schedules and other commitments.  However, a number of writers were far more productive.

Many writers spent November pumping out 50,000 words.  If you were one of them and met that goal, congrats!  Even if you didn’t meet your goal, you at least started on that book you wanted to write.  Simply starting a book is a massive goal, especially if you fear a blank page staring back at you.

But now, what do you do with the book you started or “finished”?

With the busy mayhem of November over, what have you done with your free time?  Netflix marathons?   After I wrote 25,000 words in Camp NaNoWriMo in July, I spent August reading on the beach.  August proved to be my least productive month of the year.  So, to get you out of your lazy habits, here are a few ideas for using your time productively so you can finish or publish your book:

  1. Fix plot holes

This was, and still may be, one of the biggest struggles for me when I write something.  It is easy to get caught up in the newest idea and add something into a story that contradicts your character’s main goal.  Maybe it’s a simple plot hole like you gave your character blue eyes in chapter 1, but by chapter 7 they magically have green eyes.  (Or you made a really big blunder like I did in Black Forest.  I started the major battle in the story on the wrong day which messed with the rest of my timeline.)

  1. Make a thorough calendar

If you haven’t already, outline your novel and carefully keep track of the dates.  You don’t want your main character arriving to face your villain early, do you?  Also, start tentatively planning when you want to release your book.  I suggest not setting an exact date as a number of complications and delays can happen, but start figuring out what self-publishing company you may want to use or if you want to traditionally publish.  Having a calendar to stick to will help keep you on track in the long run. (Note: I have learned adding more time than you think you need is a good idea.)

  1. Edit, Edit, Edit!

Unless you’re a grammar fanatic, you dread this part of the process.  Why can’t you be creative and altogether avoid editing?  Can’t your writing be good enough to avoid editing?

The answer is no.  You must edit.

Don’t hire an editor until you are finished with the work and are sure that you’re ready for publication.  Self-editing is important and comes way before hiring anybody else to read your work.  Go through your own writing and look for errors.  Edit on your computer or, as I tend to do, print your book off and mark errors while you sit in the bath.  If you aren’t sure about the exact rules of grammar, I suggest buying a program called “Grammarly.”  It isn’t perfect and doesn’t take the place of an editor, but it will make your job a little easier.  It also won’t break your bank as you can usually get it during a holiday promotional sale for $80.  If not, it’s only $140 full price.

  1. Find Beta Readers

Beta Readers are people who will read your work prepublication and give you feedback on a number of areas such as plot, grammar, characters and a number of other areas.  You can find Beta Readers online on writing forums or recruit close friends to read your book.  A word of caution on using close friends or family: they may tell you it’s great when really, you could use another look at your plot.  Or, they may get frustrated that you ask them to read your work.  My point?  Choose your beta readers wisely and make sure they are at least familiar with the genre you’re aiming for.

  1. Keep Writing

This may seem obvious, but it is easy to get caught up in Christmas and the New Year and forget about your story.  Don’t let it get too dusty in a forgotten drawer.  Try to write every day, but…

  1. Don’t get too close to your work

This last point may seem a contradiction to everything else in this post, but sometimes you need to walk away from your writing.  I don’t mean forever, but let it rest for a few days, weeks, or even months.  Some people find it useful to leave their story alone for a time to come up with more ideas or to come back to their writing with fresher eyes.

As always, hope this post helps.

Finding Stockphotos and Videos for Your Business’s Needs

180HFirst, yes this post is geared to writers yet it says “Your Business’s” in the title (and you can debate me about whether I spelled “business’s” wrong but I found it commonly spelled this way).  If you want to make a career in writing or simply sell books, then think of everything you publish as a business move.  Have fun with writing or you’ll lose your creativity, but treat it like a company that you just became CEO of.  Does a good CEO want their company to grow and sales to soar or run that company in the ground?

In the same way, whether you think writing is simply a hobby or not, you need to come across as a professional in everything you do, every online post and piece of writing you put out for others to read.

A great way to attract the attention of readers (or anyone) is through visual aids. Maybe you need that perfect picture for a blog post, a book cover you’re designing, for your Facebook post or add or maybe you need videos for the book trailer you plan to make.  When I started writing I never considered the need for photos.  Yet, think about all the promotional photos you see with character quotes or release dates for current, bestselling novels.

If you’re on social media you will use photos and videos sometime.

While there are so many choices, it’s difficult to find a good site with royalty free and cheap photos or videos.  Royalty free means that you can use the photos without copyright infringement.  This gets tricky if you plan to use a photo on the cover of something like a book where you can only sell a certain number of copies of that book before you have to pay more to use the photo.

The most common sites are iStockphoto.com or Shutterstock. These sites have a millions of photos, but their prices could empty a self-publishers pocket.  Instead I recommend sites like these (and I’ve used all of these so I’m sure of their work and credibility):

           Stock Photos:

            Pexels- https://www.pexels.com/  They have over 3,500 photos all available for download for free and without restrictions.  They are my main source for photos.

            Canva- www.canva.com They allow you to build all sorts of designs with illustrations, photos and fun fonts. Everything is free or cost a $1, a price that won’t break your bank.

            Unsplash- www.unsplash.com All photos are 100% free to use as you want.  There aren’t restrictions or costs.  You also don’t have to make an account before downloading.

            Gratisography- http://www.gratisography.com They have a collection of eclectic photos great for eye catchers.  

            Videos/Stock Footage:

            Videezy- www.videezy.com Unfortunately this is the only stock footage site that I’ve found that is free, easy to use and has a large selection that I care for.  If I find more in the future I will add them to this post.

Hope these sites inspire your creativity!