Window Shopping for Book Covers

 

Silly Book Cover

 

I know I’m getting ahead of myself, putting the cart before the horse and all that, but I like browsing through pictures and playing around in Paint with images that could possibly be my book cover. And there are tons of sites with pre-made covers to set my imagination on fire.

If I have a working title, not just any old working title but one I might actually use, I’m much more likely to talk about my book, think about it, and, most importantly, work on it.

It’s also nice when someone asks me what I’m writing. I can say, “Cool Title” instead of prattling on about the characters, what I think the genre might be, where the story may or may not be heading because I’m really not exactly sure, explaining that I’m a pantser (and then explaining what a pantser is).

If I have a cover? I’m completely inspired.

I write more. Because, now, my book is like Pinocchio. Someday he’ll be a real boy, right? It’s the same thing. Someday it’ll be a real book.

Many will say this is ridiculous. You have to know what your story is about before you can find an image to reflect that. True. But if a visual encourages me to keep writing, it’s well worth the time spent.

And I might find one of the reasons I was sifting through photos was because I needed a break from my writing and now I’m back to it. With gusto.

Whether I wind up using the cover or not, I have one now. In this moment. I can see it in all its glory. The title, my name, an image that speaks to me (literally or figuratively—you make the call).

Window shopping a waste of time? Perhaps. But it’s a helluva lot of fun and fabulous motivation.

 

 

Do you design your book cover before you finish your book? (Before you’ve reached page 10?)

 

* Just so nobody asks, I’ve created a picture for this post (at the top) to answer the question of whether or not I will design my own cover. The answer, quite obviously, is “No”. A resounding NO. 

 

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67 thoughts on “Window Shopping for Book Covers

  1. Yes I did do one once, it really helped. Ironically that story isn’t finished yet! I’m not sure if I would do it again though. Only because I’d want professional ones and I don’t want those till I finish a couple of drafts, because I wouldn’t want to risk having to pay for significant changes – guess that’s a problem with being a pantser. After months of searching I finally found my designer though HURRAH. Just a shame it’s going to break me financially!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I thought you made mock ups for your novels. Huh. You are so good at your blog post photos, I would think it would be easy for you to design a quick cover for fun.

      Yes to the professional covers. Well, at least more professional than I can make. I would never create my own cover for the actual finished product. *shudders* That would be bad. I don’t have a program like Photoshop even if I did know what I was doing. So, ‘Yay!’ for finding a designer. But, yeah, they can be pricey. :-/

      Liked by 1 person

      • I made one cover for Adultland. which worked and was awesome for what I needed. But haven’t done another since and not for keepers because what I want is so complicated. I tried to do one for villains and it turned out crap and that demotivated me in a big way. so I think I’ll just leave it to the professionals now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t imagine anything you design as crap but I’ll take your word for it. 😉 I’m going to have to leave the designing to the pros, too. As you can see by my picture on this post.

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    • It really is important. Some will say that it’s what the story is about and/or how well it’s written and, of course, that’s true but people often pick up the book because the cover appealed to them. 🙂

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  2. No, Sarah, I didn’t have a cover before I finished the book. But I had a rough idea of what it would look like, and was delighted with the results my cover designer came up with. Having said that, before I could come up with ideas (even rough ones), I needed to know the tone of the story, even if I didn’t know everything that would happen in it. Funnily enough, mine has trees in it, but the cover is a lot darker.
    As for the working title, for me that’s a must. You can change it later, but it helps a lot to frame the story and – as you say – when you’re talking about it to others. So, have you got any thoughts on the title yet?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, that does make sense. I don’t know what’s going to happen in mine but I definitely know the tone of it. I’m waiting on that one a bit. But, for a collection of shorts, I already know my writing style so that’s a bit different.
      A title (even a “working title”) is a must for me, too. Exactly. You can always change it. All my books, stories, anthologies, novellas have titles. I just need to see, by The End if they still work. 🙂 The collection of shorts has a title and all will be revealed soon. Ish. Although, it’s starting to sound like I’ve raided a locker room or laundromat. I should stop that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You know, for all the people saying you have to work the cover around your completed book, how many covers are designed by people who haven’t even read the book? You’re right.
      I’d like to design a cover sometime and try to write a book to fit it. That would be a fun challenge. 🙂

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    • It really is fun. And it does inspire so, like you said, it can’t be bad. Unless I obsess and stop writing… Which hasn’t been the case. (I don’t know how to design one, either, which is why I won’t be doing the actual cover.) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you’re wise. From reading at other writer’s blogs, the one thing I do know is that you should always get a professional artist to design the cover. I’ve seen some amazing before and after shots. It’s money well-spent. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Cool title, Sarah. I think it’s a wonderful strategy if it works for you. Looking through those pictures gives your creative spark time off to play around in the background and come up with new ideas. Too often when we try to force them, like forcing children to eat vegetables, they just don’t cooperate. I love your cover, and am intrigued, wondering what might be hiding in the woods among all those trees. I’m looking forward to finding out when it reveals itself. Best wishes for your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Norah. 🙂 Yes to this! “Looking through those pictures gives your creative spark time off to play around in the background and come up with new ideas. Too often when we try to force them, like forcing children to eat vegetables, they just don’t cooperate.” Too funny. But true. I never create anything worthwhile when I try to force it.

      I’m looking forward to revealing the cover, the words…everything. But that thing up there in my post is not my cover. I wouldn’t know how to design a cover and don’t have the right software even if I did. I am leaving that to someone who does! Though, now you say that, the trees do look kind of cool…

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  4. Having a cover or an idea for a cover is a great inspiration for writing. I always have my cover images way ahead of time, because I know that the trigger for the story will be. Three chapters into the fourth book and I have the cover image in front of me. You go girl!
    PS I like this cover!

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    • Ha! Awesome! 3 chapters in and you have your cover. It is great inspiration, isn’t it? And you have fab covers (and a marvelous photographer and model…just saying). 😉

      Thank you. It was kind of fun to goof around in Paint but it’s just a picture for the post. It won’t be my cover.

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  5. I have only one cover that’s been even slightly done by me. Between the Tides. For that collection I took a picture from my phone and made it into a cover because damn it, that’s what I wanted. I always write in the blind but have an idea of what I want. Then comes the long conversations with the artists and the attempt to work with them and their style to get where the book needs to be. My wife has made three covers, I did most of the design of one, an artist made one, and the other 3 was Tony (my cover guardian). Visuals do inspire me but I’ve never worked with a cover that’s already been done. I dunno, so far it’s work out Ok me thinks lol. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, if damn it that’s what you wanted, that’s what you should have done! 😉 Ugh, yes, the long conversations and attempts at communicating what you want and hope they understand or can make it happen. I happen to love your covers. They are simple and classic and beautiful. *swoon* Ha! Your cover guardian. Love that. I’d say your wife is a bit of a cover guardian, too. Yeah, visuals are inspiring and I like having them “done” but only in the sense that it has some cool background, my title and name, not that it would work (size-wise or with a specific photo) as an actual cover. I don’t know enough about that stuff. And, yes, yours have worked out beautifully.

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      • Indeed it is what I wanted lol. And although it takes long conversations, I’ve gotten there 8 times and I’m so happy you like the covers. Sometimes simple, other times complicated and indeed, the Captain is quite the cover guardian. Particularly love Twenty Veinte and Pensando en Metáforas. She did a brilliant job. And whatever helps inspire you, do THAT 😉 cheers

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  6. Oh, my…yes, in 2010 I returned from a 3-day writing conference on fire and I designed my cover and tacked it over my desk at work. Two years later I left to finish writing the first draft. I’d say that cover kept me motivated. I like doing things that seem unrelated to the actual writing. I’ve also created storyboards out of magazine pictures to describe the book. Have fun! This is what we do; why must it be painful, structured and full of expectation?

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  7. Good inspiration! I always have an idea of what my covers will look something like as soon as I have my story line. I have a knack for cover ideas, only my mental creativity is where it stops. I can’t draw or make anything that resembles art, lol. I search photo sites for the elements I have in mind and send them to my book designer with my ideas, and they bring my creations to life.

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  8. I have a few friends who are in the process of writing books and they’ve all decided on their cover art long before they’ve actually finished. I love looking at cover and album art, but i’m not talented enough to design my own!

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    • Did they? Good to know I’m not alone. I’m even looking at covers for my next WIP (which is far from finished). Agreed, browsing through cover art is fun but I’m definitely not qualified to design my own, either. Yikes!

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  9. You know, I have never thought of designing a cover as an inspiration for writing, and I’m delightfully surprised by all the commenters who have. What a great idea!

    As for book titles (or any titles), I find them extremely difficult. A working titled called “Working Title” suits me fine. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is inspiring but, you know, I’m surprised as well. I wasn’t sure at all how these comments would go. Who knew? Well…now I do. 😉

      You’re joking. With all those movie titles floating around your head, I’d imagine you’d be the best with that part of it. Plus the spectacular name of your blog. Huh. I’m shocked.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Heh. As you are aware, I do love spending time on my book covers, and they have a long history behind them. It does help having a cover in mind when I’m writing. Now I just need to get to the point where I can publish them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. You do. And they are AWESOME. A lot of authors (I’m surprised how many) have commented that they either have the cover in mind or have it designed early on.

      Please do publish them! Soon. 🙂

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  11. Pingback: The Awesome Power of Daydreams for Fiction Writers

  12. Sarah, I like the idea of having a book cover before I’ve fully finished the book but wouldn’t even start trying to create one myself. If nothing else I’d become addicted to that project at the cost of all else! 😀😀

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  13. haha Sarah, you make me laugh. Pinocchio book. It will be a real boy someday! ❤ I think your quick mock up inspirational cover is a great start with some wonderful potential. 🙂 Your imagination is definitely on the right track. I always start making covers early. At least at the half-way point in writing the book. It is a tangible incentive to finish and also a secondary creative outlet to let the brain rest and solidify the story in my mind. Another fun inspirational tactic is creating a board for your story on Pinterest! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mock up inspirational cover with wonderful potential. Hmm. I’d say a definite YES to that. 🙂

      I know you’re very good at designing covers but I’m not sure I knew you started so early. I thought you did sketching by hand more than on the computer. Exactly. Covers are tangible incentives and a secondary creative outlet (for those of you multi-talented people out there). And, if you happen to stumble across a wonderfully talented person who loves to design covers, then it also becomes your actual cover. Which is just so awesome. ❤

      Someone else mentioned the Pinterest board. That is cool. I'd like to see some of those. I'm going to search for a few.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Getting carried away is part of the fun, no? And I think your covers are beautiful so, if they continue to get better, it’s all good for us. 😉 Thanks for the link! That is so unbelievably cool! I must get a Pinterest account soon. I’ve only been talking about it for…months? Eek.

        I love your board – talk about inspiration. I didn’t know you could set something up like that with your website and everything. Excellent.

        Liked by 1 person

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