Need Free Art? Here’s my Review of 5 Copyright-Free Clipart and Photo Sites

You may have noticed that from time to time I drop in a few pieces of clipart or photos in between my posts. I’ve taken some of the photos myself, other times I’ve relied on images tagged with Creative Commons because I don’t have time to focus on my graphic design skills but am very conscientious of the fact that like writing–art takes time, money and materials to make. Creative Commons has give me the ability to know what my rights are to an artist’s work, for some of the same reasons I described for writers in my post entitled, “When do you need a copyright?.

Finding these resources isn’t as easy at it might look because sometimes the word “free” simply means “you don’t have to pay.” That doesn’t always mean that there isn’t some other catch associated with getting the artwork or that there aren’t any copyright restrictions. From subscriptions to spam, there’s often other headaches that come with searching for open source clipart and photos.

Here’s five resources that I rely on from time to time. For your convenience I’ve reviewed a few of them in a more structured format to provide you with the highlights and a little bit more detail than I typically go into. The ratings are from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest rating.

Openclipart.org

From the home page, Open Clipart is extremely straightforward about the goal of their site.

This project aims to create an archive of user contributed clip art that can be freely used. All graphics submitted to the project should be placed into the Public Domain according to the statement by the Creative Commons.

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Can Online Novels be Successful? Find out from Novelist, Ryan A Span in a Guest Post

Hi everyone, special thanks to my guest bloggers who are helping me frame up some great posts this week. The first guest blogger I’d like to introduce is Ryan A. Span, who got his start posting an online serial novel. Ryan is blogging today about his experiences posting a well-read online novel which led to print publication through a small press publisher. Ryan’s writing style is kind of interesting, because he shoots straight from the hip and doesn’t look back. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoy exchanging emails and interacting with him; Ryan’s a really nice guy and very passionate about what we all love to do–write.

About Ryan A. Span

Ryan A. Span is 24, lives in Britain with his girlfriend, and writes books because he doesn’t know how to do anything else. Ryan is the author of Street: Empathy, his cyberpunk debut published by Gryphonwood Press, part of the free-to-read online serial Street.

What it’s Like Being an Online Novelist

One fateful evening in December 2006, I was sitting in front of my latest novel-to-be and decided that this was the one. I’d toyed before with the idea of making regular online releases of my work but had never been quite convinced I had it in me. This time, though, I knew I was holding a story with the potential to go all the way.
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Beware the Self-Titled “Expert”

When I first started this blog, almost a year ago, I wanted to add my voice to a community of writers and hope that one day there will be this magical exchange of ideas where we all sit down and treat each other like adults. Almost every post that I write I try to take the attitude that even though this is my perspective on what has (or hasn’t) worked for me, maybe this same thing works for someone else. Most writers will tell you that in order to be truly successful in the field you have to be in the right place at the right time and be open to criticism. I feel I’ve achieved moderate success based on milestones that I’ve set out for myself: this year I’ll have two publishing credits for novellas. But–and this is a big “but”–I’ve never published a novel before, never dealt with an agent before. Maybe someday I will; maybe I won’t. Since I haven’t been there and it’s not on my radar, I haven’t posted about it yet because I’m doing the research to provide relevant and useful information from whaddaya know–actual agents.

For the most part, I’ve had really great responses because I’ve learned to put the caveat on what I say: I am asking this question because… or I am asking for your opinion. You’d be amazed by how quickly attitudes and egos get out of whack when you either post directly about anything or postulate a vague-ish question to generate some interest or camaraderie.
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What is the Definition of a Legitimate Publisher?

Well, we’ve now been through the cost of writing and where you can look to publish your fiction. We know that there are paid subscription listings available and a few of you may subscribe to other places like Absolute Write or the Freelance Writing Job Bank. As you go through the listings, though, you may ask yourself whether or not the publisher is “worth it.” Here are my top tips to help you create your own set of writing submission criteria for any publisher.

What is the Publisher’s Online Reputation?

If I’m researching a publisher, I like to check out what other writers are saying about them by organically searching for their name or variants thereof. I read through forums, blogs, comments, etc. to see if there are any negative comments about a publisher. If there’s only a few, I may follow up on the author’s blog to see if the comments were credible. Remember, a lot of inexperienced writers may take rejection very poorly–even if the writer was in the “wrong.”

Besides chatter online, I also look for news about their business or how well they promote their writers. Sometimes, I may accept a lower rate per word depending upon how well a publisher might treat me and my work.
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The Cost of Writing Fiction versus Nonfiction

Before I’ve offer you some suggestions on resources you can utilize to get published, I’d like to point out the financial aspect of writing. My only caveat to this post, is that parts of this post compare the difference between how much a short story pays versus what a nonfiction article might. Books and blogging are two entirely different matters, and I am doing everything I can to get some realistic figures and feedback in order to provide you with factual information. Regardless, the truth of the matter is that nonfiction pays more than fiction. Let’s take a look at some sample numbers for a 2,500 word article versus a science fiction short story.

The nonfiction rate came from a major magazine with a large distribution; the fiction rate is a “professional writer’s rate” advocated by the Science Fiction Writer’s Association. When you have a chance to sit down and look at all the different publishers yourself (the most common one being Writer’s Market’s paid subscription service, you’ll often see that nonfiction consistently pays more than fiction does.

What does this mean to you?
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