Speaking of over-hyped events brings us to this week's blog. Or, as we're calling it, the Superblog. Truth is, unless you're interested in online photo services, we don't have much to share with you this week except for this: the train diorama in the Clemenceau Heritage Museum in Cottonwood, Arizona. If we'd taken a better photo, you've have seen the complete layout, with all of the tiny mountains, the wee train tracks, the itsy saloon (complete with bordello), and the T. Rex with a cow in its mouth. In case you're wondering, the T. Rex is not to scale.
A dinosaur dining on a cow isn't, strictly speaking, historically accurate but the good people at the museum know the best train dioramas all feature a T. Rex munching on something. The Heritage Museum is small but sincere, the staff is dedicated, and the admission price is whatever its visitors care to donate. The train diorama was created by volunteers. It took five people a full five and a half years to build the thing. Sometimes it takes awhile to do something right. The diorama is pretty much the highlight of the C.H.M.
You might be thinking to yourself, Well, glad you enjoyed the visit, but why did you put such a lousy cellphone shot on the blog? and we'll tell you why: The museum people told us we could take the picture. The picture was free. We didn't have to pay anyone to use it.
Plus, we kind of like the photo. Because it's gently out of focus, it almost seems like we're looking down on a real little town there.
Y'see, we're used to paying for our photos at various royalty-free photo sites. "Royalty-free" doesn't mean the picture is free. It means, customers pay a flat sum to use shot and then they don't have to worry about paying additional fees for an individual license on the image. (Unless the customers sells 250,000+ copies of their item or ebook, at which point the photo sites want them to pull out the credit card again. So far, that particular nagging worry hasn't kept a lot of self-publishers up at night.)
For the most part, three sites have been ringing up our sales. Those sites are fotolia, Shutterstock, and Bigstock. There's dozens of other such outfits but those are the ones we stumbled across first and we've been too lazy to investigate the others. As it happened, when Renee pulled two photos for the Something Wicked cover, she was on Bigstock.
Then she noticed that Bigstock had a subscription plan. We hate subscription plans but this seemed like a decent deal. For $69, customers can download five largest-possible images a day for a full month. In case you're wondering, fotolia charges the same; Shutterstock will give you 25 images a day but you'll be out $249 for a single month's charge ($199 a month if you sign up for a year).
Bigstock doesn't roll over images so if you don't download your five, that day is gone. Also, customers have to contact the company to cancel the subscription plan or they're automatically re-enrolled each month. Neither of these stipulations were deal-breakers so she whipped out the credit card and took the plunge.
Today, there are 125 royalty-free images in Renee's work file. Flip through the folder, and you'll see zombies and fairies; couples in love and couples in lust; cowboys and horses; and on and on. And on. The subscription plan ends on 06/30 -- she cancelled the roll-over on Day Two so this is pretty much a one-shot -- and, when the whole thing is complete, each image will have cost us 46 cents.
Plus, this has given her a chance to start working on the new cover for our next novel. Which is being plotted but still hasn't been written.
Hey, we've been busy looking at train dioramas. What's your excuse?
Quote o' the day: "When fear shows up and threatens your curiosity and enlightenment, look it square in the eye, acknowledge it, own it and move on. Don't let it hold you back from greatness. The greatest thing to fear about fear is the inaction that often accompanies it" -- Amy C. Cosper