Here’s a quick tip in our Cover Design Mistakes series: don’t use unmodified royalty-free (stock) images. While we were sorting through hundreds of book covers to put together today’s list of Handpicked Free Kindle Books, we came across these two covers:
Actually, the issue is using an unmodified image in a cover design. It’s a mistake. Why? These days custom photography is beyond the budget of most designers—so most photography used on book covers is royalty-free, stock photography licensed from sites like iStockPhoto. And although iStockPhoto will give you 2909 results when you search for “knight,” the following image is on the top of the second page of search results (sorted by most popular).
This means that if you don’t modify the image via cropping, coloring, or other effects, your book cover could look exactly the same as the next author’s.