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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please feel free to add to the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Great Museums Give Authors Gifts to be Used as Cover Art Or About Anything Else

Christmas Presents to Authors from Museums

Artwork for Your Book Cover Works and It’s Now Free

One of my favorite museums in the world is the Getty Villa in Malibu California. Naturally I’m a member and here’s a scoop authors can use that I gleaned directly from their magazine The Getty.
The museum has about 4,600 high resolution images of the museum’s collection free to “use, modify, and publish for any purpose.” They say these are high-resolution, reproduction-quality images with embedded metadata [which obviously allows people to trace the images back to The Getty when they are published on the Web], some are over one hundred megabytes [which would make them great for printing fine art posters!]. They say, “ . . . we’ll ask for a very brief description of how you’re planning to use the image. We hope to learn that the images will serve a broad range of needs and projects.”

I might remind you that studies of images of great art have shown themselves to be extremely successful sales tools on book covers. I’m going to send this article to the cover designer for second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter and the soon-to-be second edition of The Frugal Editor to my talented cover designer Chaz DeSimone (http://desimonedesign.com). I have to tell you that Getty’s magazine is prettier, more exotic, more compelling than some known for their images like National Geographic. It’s all about the visual.

The Getty Foundation is unusual in that it is one the best funded museums in the world and that it is “founded on the conviction that. . . sharing our digital resources is the natural extension of that belief.” They call it an “educational imperative” to “tell stories.” Yes, I’m in love with them.

They also share this information: “Other organizations that have powerful open access to collections and research include Walters Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, Yale University, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Harvard University.”

I’ll bet if you put your thinking cap on, you might find an art image that works for your book—even if at first you think the idea of fine art is not quite right for your book.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .


  1. Hi Carole, you didn't give us a link to get to the 4600 images?

  2. As usual, you share a wealth of information. thank you. I am going to check them out and see whether there's some kind of fit. I love a challenge!

  3. Hi Carolyn. This sounds wonderful but can you give us the link? Thanks

  4. Carolyn, how interesting and useful. Is there a link or do we need to contact the library itself?

    Thanks for sharing!


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