Every novelist visualizes particular aspects when they write their manuscripts. We all have pictures in our heads of the protagonist, a certain scene, or some part of the story. I’m very visual, so when I write, I typically envision most things, including possible book covers.
I don’t know if it is because there is a little marketer in me, or if I can’t help daydreaming about what my book would look like on the bookstore shelf. I enjoy imagining the covers of my works in progress and create mockups for them for fun. I also use them on my website as placeholder pictures for my books. I believe it gives the reader a visual glimpse inside my head.
Even though I’m still in the querying process, I created a mockup for my most recent work, Emerson’s Guide to Playing with Sand. Because of the title and the many sand/beach references in the book, I used a beach scene on my cover. I tossed in the hourglass since my main character works with them at her new job in the afterlife. Bright colors lend to the story’s light-heartedness even though most of the characters—spoiler alert—are dead.
Choosing a font for the genre and age is also important. This book is a YA contemporary paranormal romance. Many romance books use an ornate script as one would find on fancy invitations. The fun script on my cover is playful yet easy to read, much like the story.
For a quick image on my site, this cover isn’t too bad. I prefer to design both the front and back covers as a large scene. A full cover image can tell a reader much more about a book. I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it is crucial to get that cover right when marketing a novel.
This won’t be the final cover illustration for my book once published. That doesn’t happen until the publisher sits down with a designer and hashes out various ideas of what would work for the book and catch the most eyes. Heck, they may even decide to change the title of the book, but it’s fun to ponder what the end-result will look like.
If you are a writer and like to visualize your novel, consider creating a cover for your final work—research what goes into creating one, and how to choose the right look to catch your reader. You never know, it might even help you perfect your writing once you have that picture in your mind.