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Here are 26 calls for submissions in June. All are paying markets.

Genres include speculative fiction, horror, personal essays, poetry, steampunk, children's literature, and nonfiction articles. Some of these calls are for themed issues, so make sure you read the full guidelines before submitting.

Note: I post calls for submissions during the last week of every month. But if you want to get a jump on upcoming calls, you can find a list of sites that regularly post submission calls (paying and non-paying markets) on Calls for Submissions.



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Horrors of Hudson Valley

"We want original, supernatural horror stories set within the Hudson Valley Region within the State of New York (please note that New York City is NOT considered a part of the Hudson Valley). The time period for your story is up to you–past, present, future, alternate history–but it must take place whole or in part within the Hudson Valley. Hudson Valley is a real place, with a real history, so please respect the reality of the setting."

Genre: Supernatural horror

Payment: $25 per story

Deadline: June 1, 2016
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Theories of HER

Genres: Poetry, stream-of-consciousness, flash fiction, micro non-fiction (in various forms including essays/opinion pieces and personal anecdotes), and visual art on what it means to BE, admire, and/or interact, etc with women and/or girls.

Payment: .025/word for flash fiction/non-fiction, excerpts etc.

Deadline: June 1, 2016
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Steampunk Universe

Your story should take place in a non-Western culture, stories that take place in the diverse cultures of Central/South America, Asia, and Africa. This call for submissions is aimed particularly at marginalized writers, especially those who are identify as members of a minority, LGBTQ, or living with exceptionality.

Genre: Steampunk

Payment: .06/word

Deadline: June 1, 2016

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Guardian Angel Kids Magazine

Theme: Pets with disabilities

Genre: Stories, articles, poems for children ages 2 -12 

Payment: .03/word

Deadline: June 1, 2016

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Arc Magazine

Theme: “Art In The End Times”

Genre: Poetry

Payment: $50 a page

Deadline: June 1, 2016

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NonBinary Review

NonBinary Review is a quarterly digital literary journal that joins poetry, fiction, essays, and art around each issue's theme. We invite authors to explore each theme in any way that speaks to them: re-write a familiar story from a new point of view, mash genres together, give us a personal essay about some aspect of our theme that has haunted you all your life. We also invite art that will accompany the literature and be featured on our cover. All submissions must have a clear and obvious relationship to some specific aspect of the source text (a character, episode, or setting)

Theme: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Genre: Poetry, fiction, nonfiction

Payment: 1 cent per word for fiction and nonfiction, and a flat fee of $10 per poem

Deadline: June 1, 2016

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Tech Edge Magazine

Theme: Teaching Complex Thinking 

Genre: Nonfiction articles for educators

Payment: $50-$125 per article

Deadline: June 1, 2016

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Goblin Fruit

"We want poetry that we can call "of the fantastical", poetry that treats mythic, surreal, fantasy and folkloric themes, or approaches other themes in a fantastical way. Re-write a fairytale, ponder an old story, consider history from an unusual perspective — really, it's up to you, so long as the fantastical element is there. Since what qualifies as "the fantastical" is easily debatable, however, here's what we're not interested in: science fiction poetry (it's not you, it's us), horror for horror's sake, and poetry that's self-consciously gothic."

Genre: Poetry

Payment: $15

Deadline: June 1, 2016

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Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk & Eco-Speculation

"The anthology will focus on times of environmental crisis and the people inhabiting these tipping points, fighting to effect change and seek solutions, even if it’s already too late. But these are times of hope, not just disaster! Turn your lens to those crucial moments in a world’s history when great change can be made by the right people with the right tools. Remember: hope can spark in even the grimmest of situations."

Genre: Speculative fiction

Payment: 6 cents USD per word for original fiction, and poetry. Reprints are paid a flat rate of $50 for stories under 2000 words and $100 for stories over 2000 words. Please include a complete publication history for reprint submissions.

Deadline: June 4, 2016

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DOA III — Extreme Horror Anthology

Genre: Horror

Payment: 5 cents per word

Deadline: June 6, 2016

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Between Worlds

Genre: Speculative fiction short stories and flash fiction. Stories must in some way feature the idea of portals between alternate worlds.

Payment: £5 per short story. Payment will be made via PayPal upon publication.

Deadline: June 7, 2016

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Third Flatiron: "Keystone Chronicles" Anthology

"A keystone is a central stone at the summit of an arch locking the whole together. It's something on which other things depend for support, the heart or core of something, the crux, or central principle. Anything keystone is fine, be it keystone species, pipelines, cops, beer, or ski resorts, as long as it's speculative fiction."

Genre: Speculative fiction

Payment: 6 cents per word (SFWA professional rate)

Deadline: June 15, 2016

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The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts

Genre: Fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction "if they are compressed in some way"

Payment: $50

Deadline: June 15, 2016

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Enter the Apocalypse

Genre: Speculative fiction about the start and / or middle of any type apocalypse

Payment: $0.01-0.08 per word (averaging close to $0.03 per word)

Deadline: June 15, 2016

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Inside The Bell Jar

Inside The Bell Jar is a quarterly journal accepting poetry, short stories and flash fiction of absolutely any genre. The only real requirement we have is that your piece is related to mental illness in some way; through a character, the general theme, something about the setting – you decide.

Genre: Any

Payment: 5 pounds

Deadline: June 15, 2016
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Eye to the Telescope 21, the Male Perspective

"The Science Fiction Poetry Association is no stranger to gender and sexuality politics. In 2012, Stephen M. Wilson edited our LGBTQ issue. More recently, in 2015, Anastasia Andersen edited our All-Women’s issue. We are also in the discussion stages for a gender issue. For our next issue, our ongoing exploration of gender and sexuality through the lens of SF poetry addresses the male perspective. This issue—guest-edited by Marge Simon, a woman—will explore the male perspective through SF poems written by men and male-identifying persons, and male-persona poems written by anyone."

Genre: Speculative poetry

Payment: US 3¢/word rounded to nearest dollar; minimum US $3, maximum $25

Deadline: June 15, 2016

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Grub Street Grackle

Genre: Humorous fiction, poetry, satire

Payment: Between $30 and $50/piece

Deadline: June 16, 2016

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Duality and Doppelgangers

"Send us your terrible twosomes: distorted mirrors, shape-shifters, uncanny similarities, life-stealing doppelgangers. What might you find in a reflection? A perfect copy? Sometimes you might only understand a thing by looking at what it is not. Duality might mean pitting two opposite but equal forces against one another—and not just good/evil or light/dark!"

Genre: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry.

Payment: Fiction: up to 10¢ per word, Nonfiction: up to 25¢ per word, Poems: up to $3.00 per line; $25.00 minimum

Deadline: June 20, 2016

Accepts reprints.

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Sanguine Press Anthology: Transitions & Awakenings

Theme: I Regret Nothing.Your story must feature a predominantly POC cast to be considered.

Genres: Sci-fi, Fantasy, or Horror (no poetry, please)

Payment: .10/word for the first 1,000 words, .05/word for the next 5,000 words and .03/word after that

Deadline: June 30, 2016

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BLACK POWER: The Superhero Anthology

Genre: Speculative fiction. The main character in your story must be Black or of Afrikan descent. The character can be from the continent of Afrika or anywhere in the Diaspora.

Length: 1500-10000 words. This is firm.

Payment: $25.00 per story

Deadline: June 30, 2016

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EVENT

Genre: Poetry

Payment: $25/page

Deadline: June 30, 2016

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The Threepenny Review

Genre: Poetry, fiction, non-fiction

Payment: $400 per story or article, $200 per poem or Table Talk piece

Deadline: June 30, 2016

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Chicken Soup for the Soul

Theme: Stories about Teachers and Teaching. ‘Tell us your stories about the great teachers who changed your life. And if you’re a teacher, tell us about the kids who changed yours, who motivated you to keep on teaching, who showed you that it was all worth it. We’d love to share your best advice with other teachers as well—what works, what doesn’t, how you stay enthusiastic about your jobs. What advice do you have for your colleagues? Tell us the funny stories too—we know you have lots of those.’

Genre: Non-fiction

Payment: $200

Deadline: June 30, 2016

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Chicken Soup for the Soul

Theme: Blended Families. "Are you part of a blended family, enjoying stepchildren, stepsiblings, etc.? Blending two families after a second marriage can be a real joy… and sometimes a challenge too. Tell us about your own blended families. How did you make it work? What advice do you have for other families? We are looking for true stories about all aspects of blending families—stories that will make us laugh and cry, nod our heads in recognition, and give us great advice. Tell us about your kids if you’re a parent, your parents if you’re a kid, your pets, whatever you think would enlighten and entertain someone else in the same situation."

Genre: Non-fiction

Payment: $200

Deadline: June 30, 2016
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Chicken Soup for the Soul

Theme: Curvy & Confident. ‘Women come in all shapes and sizes. We’re all beautiful and the key is to be fit and healthy within the body type that we were issued at birth. Our new book is all about body image, self-esteem, and feeling comfortable within our own skins.’

Genre: Non-fiction

Payment: $200

Deadline: June 30, 2016

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Litmag

Genres: Fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction up to 3,000 words

Payment: $1,000 for a short story or an essay; $250 for a short short or a poem, $250 for online publication

Deadline: June 30, 2016

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New Zenith Magazine

Genres: Any up to 3,000 words. Flash fiction up to 400 words, based on prompt: “I woke up and found myself …”

Payment: Prose/poetry: All works 250 or less words will receive $5.00. Works of 251 words or more will receive $0.02 per word.

Deadline: June 30, 2016

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Meanjin

Restrictions: Meanjin accepts submissions from outside of Australia, but they publish a majority of work from Australian or Australia-based writers.

Genre: Poetry (charges fee for all other submissions)

Payment: $50 per poem

Deadline: June 30, 2016

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Alban Lake: Potter’s Field 6

Theme: Unmarked graves

Genre: Horror (no poetry)

Payment: Pay rates for original stories: $25.00 Pay rate for reprinted stories: $7.00.

Deadline: June 30, 2016

Accepts reprints.

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Manawaker Studio: Starward Tales

Genre: Speculative fiction and poetry. Reinterpretations and retellings of legends, myths, and fairytales 

Payment: $2 per accepted poem, $2 per 1k words ($1 minimum.) for accepted fiction ($3 per page for graphic narrative fiction)

Deadline: June 30, 2016

 
 
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You've finished editing your novel and decided to self-publish. Now you are faced with a choice. Should you spend the money on a professional book cover designer or design a cover yourself?

Unless you are a graphic designer, hire someone. People do indeed judge a book by its cover. And just as an attractive cover draws the eye, a dull cover can cause readers to move on to a more appealing image. Your best chance of making sure people stop to look at your book cover is to make sure it is designed by a professional.

Judging a book by its cover

The problem that faces self-publishers is how to evaluate an effective cover. "Good" and "bad" reside in the eye of the beholder. Depending on cultural tastes, what is considered "good" can vary widely. Standards also change over time.

Consider Baen Press, a publisher of speculative fiction famous for its ridiculous book covers. (Some of the most horrendous covers can be found on Good Show Sir, along with hilarious comments.) Those covers were not considered awful 30 years ago. (I know because I bought many of them.) Times change, and tastes change along with them.

PictureShumate thinks this is a bad cover, and so do I
In an article on Huffington Post, Nathan Shumate presents what he believes to be the 10 worst self-published book covers ever. According to Shumate, a bad book cover looks "amateurish." In other words, it looks as if the author designed it, which reflects what critics think of writers' artistic capacity (as well as industry norms in which DIY is considered déclassé).

But are professionally-designed book covers any better? Frankly, I can't tell the difference between what the NYT considers the best book covers, and what Huffington Post says are the worst. Books lists "20 Best Book Covers" that are only slightly less trendy. What is currently popular does not always stand the test of time, or of good taste, so I would caution you against anything that smacks of trendiness.

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Ultimately, a bad cover is one that makes your eye move on. If you don't want to gaze at the cover, chances are you won't want to read the book.

What are the qualities of a good cover?

The basic components of a good cover are 1) being able to easily read the title and author and all subheadings, 2) an image that doesn't interfere with the written information, 3) a thumbnail that stands out, and 4) the ineffable quality of memorability. Just like a piece of art, a book cover should be memorable.

My idea of a memorable cover is Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. It is simple, evocative, and aesthetically pleasing.

The theme, expressed beautifully by the image, is spelled out below - for those who need words. And you can easily read both title and author's name. When I close my eyes, I can still see the image and the title. (Those not only stuck with me, they persuaded me to order the book.)

For more memorable book covers - and an analysis of why they do (or don't) work - see Joel Friedlander's Ebook Cover Design Awards.

The bottom line for good book covers is that they make you want to read what's between them.

How do you find a book cover designer?

There are many excellent book cover designers, but locating one who is perfect for your project can be a challenge. To narrow the field, go to Amazon and look at covers for books in your genre. When you come to one that is enticing (would you want to know more about this book based on the cover?) find out who the cover designer is. (You can type "cover design" and the title of the book into a Google search. Alternatively, you can type "cover design" into the "Look Inside" feature in case there is an acknowledgement.) If those methods fail, you can always contact the author (especially if the book is self-published; in traditional publishing authors have no control over cover art). Even if the artists you find through this method do not do freelance work, you now know what you like. When you approach cover designers, you can show them examples of the styles that appeal to you.

PictureAn example of a bad pre-made book cover
Another strategy is to conduct a Google search for "book cover designers." This will yield you 16 million hits and will make you want to run screaming from your computer screen.  But it is worth it to look at some of these sites. You won't necessarily find the best designers with this method, but you will get a feel for different types of design options - of which there are exactly two: pre-made designs and custom designs.

Pre-made covers

Pre-made book covers are usually cobbled together using stock images. The way it works is you choose an image you like, the designer adds your name and book title, you buy it, and the image is then taken off the market, never to be used again.

Pre-made covers tend to be quite inexpensive. Cheap Book Cover Depot offers pre-made covers for as little as $5. Fiverr is another service that starts at $5. But while cheap pre-made covers are passable, they have a bland, generic quality that does not make them memorable. If you pay a bit more, you can sometimes find a pre-made cover that looks as if it were commissioned. (Big Sky Words has a list of 10 good pre-made cover designers.)

PictureA good pre-made cover from Go On Write
Of the pre-made cover designers, there is one who stands out. Go On Write offers pre-made covers starting at $45 that are more than worth the price. The designer, James, has real flair and a solid sense of design. Some of his pre-made covers rival any of the commissioned work you will find. (James also does commissioned work.) Take a moment to browse through the categories on his site. (And compare them to the image of Sci-Fi Book One. See the difference?) If you have to buy a pre-made cover, James is your man. (For more background on James, you can read a rather wild interview with him on Mumbleweeds.)

Individually commissioned covers

Covers that are individually designed cost more (in the hundreds) but will give you the security of knowing your book cover is the equal to anything designed by an artist working with a major publisher. There are two methods of obtaining a commissioned book cover: 1) competitive services in which you place an ad to be viewed by hundreds of designers, and 2) contacting individual designers directly through their websites.

99 Designs is a graphic design service that allows you to post your project in a pricing category ($299-$1199). Depending on your plan, a set number of designers - between 30 and 60 - submit their book cover designs. You have a week to give feedback to designers. After that you choose which design you want. In essence, 99 Designs is a contest.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this system. The advantage is that you get to compare a number of different styles and interpretations, which may broaden your horizons. The disadvantage is that you are under the gun in terms of time. Making a decision quickly, especially if you think the design needs tweaking, may not be in your best interests.

My personal preference is to work directly with a designer. Working directly with a designer allows you to hone your book cover until it is exactly what you want - and the final product will be unique. You will pay more for the design than pre-made covers, but the promise of complete satisfaction may be worth it. I've listed a couple of good designers below. Look at their portfolios and terms to get an idea of what a designer should offer.
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Reputable Designers

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Nu-Image Design

Dan Yeager is very professional and reasonably priced. You have to pay half up front, but he won't quit until you are completely satisfied with the final product. Turn-around time is very fast. The cover for my ebook cost less than $250. He also does full print set-ups.

To the left is the book cover Dan Yeager designed for me.  It is elegant, memorable, and the text is easy to read.


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Ness Graphica

Alexander von Ness has almost 20 years of professional experience in graphic design and over a decade as Art Director in a branding agency. He is a multiple winner and finalist of international graphic design contests in the category of book cover design. I have not worked with him, but his covers are impressive. Like Dan Yeager, he will do limitless revisions until you are satisfied. Prices are generally in the $400 range.

Von Ness works quickly. He promises a first draft within three days.


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Design for Writers

Andrew Brown is currently redesigning his website, but you can see examples of his work on his Facebook page.

More:

Mark's List

Smashwords provides a list of affordable ebook cover designers - both pre-made and commissioned work.

DIY

While I don't normally recommend making your own cover, if you have an eye for design there are plenty of resources at your disposal.

Making Your Own Book Cover? Best Free Programs for Graphic Design

13 Sites Where You Can Get Fabulous Free Photos

Once you have finished your cover, however, don't immediately slap it on your book. Get a second opinion from a professional. Bioblosson Creative offers cover critiques, as well as cover makeovers at very reasonable rates ($30-$50).

 
 
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If you have a flair for design, and don't have a lot of cash to spare for a professional service, you can make your own book cover for free.

There are dozens of graphic programs that don't cost a penny and provide high quality graphics. Features range from simple editing tools (rotation, special effects, text insertion) to 3D design and animation. As far as image manipulation is concerned, the sky is the limit.

I've listed some of the most popular (and easiest to use) programs below.
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When designing a book cover, keep in mind the following:

1) Your book cover will appear as a thumbnail, so make sure the title is clearly visible.

2) Don't get carried away with too much detail. Busy cover images get lost in a thumbnail.

3) Advertising studies have revealed that people are most attracted to faces.

4) Avoid white - at least around the edges. You book cover will appear against a white background.

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Picmonkey - A free photo editor and collage maker that works in your browser. You can get a good idea of what Picmonkey can offer on Pinterest. Features: text, overlays, photo touch up, collage (simply upload images), and editing tools. Picmonkey is easy to use, so if you are a novice, start here.

Paint.net – A free image and photo editing software for Windows based PC's. This program was voted #19 out of the top 100 programs of 2007 by PC World. It has full support for layers and special effects, the tools are top notch and highly recommended by many users. There is a strong online community for support and frequent updates to the software. Comparable to Adobe Photoshop.

Ultimate Paint -  Offers a freeware program with more than a hundred advanced image effects and correction filters. Works with Windows.

Pixelmator - An application for Macs that produces high quality images. It's not free, but you can try it for 30 days without paying a cent. They provide tutorials, support, and a blog to help you get going.

Gimp - A free editing and retouching software program that can be used with Mac, Linux and Windows (anything after XP). Gimp has many of the features of Photoshop: layers, clone tools (to copy pixels), blur and sharpen tools, color gradients, image enhancement, and so on.

Inkscape - A professional vector graphics editor for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It's free and open source. Features include: layers, drawing, text tools, shape tools, moving, and many more. The website has an image gallery and tutorials.

DAZ Studio - A program for making 3D images and animation. Particularly useful for sci-fi and graphic novel illustrations.

 
 
Whether you are blogging, writing articles, or designing a cover for your book, there is nothing that attracts readers more than a fetching image. Eye-catching images not only draw the reader’s attention, they establish a mood, set a tone, and express what you can’t say in words. A great image will also inspire a reader to linger, and to want to learn more about you and what you have written.

Fortunately, finding beautiful images has never been easier – or cheaper. You can, of course, purchase stock photos from any number of services. However, if you are on a limited budget, you can now get great photos for free. These are some of my favorite sites for finding fantastic free images.
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1. Morguefile
Morguefile is my first stop when I am hunting for a photo. The quality is excellent, and you don’t need to jump through hoops to download. No registration is required. You are allowed to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt images. Attribution is not required. Like most other sources for free photos, Morguefile prohibits use of any photo in a stand alone manner. However, unlike other sites, you are free to use photos for commercial purposes (e.g. the cover of your book).

PictureSpilled Milk by Alecsandro Andrade de Melo
2. Stock.xchnge
Stock.xchnge, owned by Getty, has an enormous selection of good quality photos – 398,876 photos as of this morning.  You can use all of their images for non-commercial purposes, but be sure to check the “restrictions” tab if you plan on using an image for a book cover or on anything else that you sell. Stock.xchnge also hosts a blog, tutorials and other perks for photographers. Be careful when searching! The top line of photos (and they are always gorgeous) are not free. 

Picture© Jamie Wilson | Dreamstime Stock Photos
3. Dreamstime
Dreamstime has over 790,000 images. It’s a little harder to search than either Morguefile or Stock.xchnge, and registration is required. But once you figure out how to use this site, there are riches to be had. Attribution and a link back is required. The maximum number of copies allowed for free images is 10,000.

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4. Kozzi
Kozzi offers over 100,000 free photographs. Compared to Dreamstime, it’s easy to navigate. You have to register to use the site, but registration is free.  One advantage of this site is that there are  various size options for photographs. Commercial usage is allowed! (Check their FAQs.)

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5. Free Range Stock
Freerange has an eclectic mix of photos, from abstract paint spatters to squirrels. They post their newest photos on the first page, which makes for an interesting introduction to the site. You can search by category, and by most popular and newest. You must register to download. Commercial use is not allowed. Freerange shares revenue from ads on its site with photographers who submit their photos, which is a nice gesture.

PictureAlien Worlds by micromoth
6. RGB Free Stock Photos
All images on RGB Stock Photos are free for personal and commercial use. (The terms of use for commercial purposes are that you only need to contact the artist for written permission.) Some of these photos are truly captivating. RGB also ranks its photographers, so you can search images by the most popular artists.


 

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