I write but I was also a graphic designer for many years so I like to play around with visual images to help inspire me when I am working on a book. There are a number of authors who collect images to help them with locations and characters. I have a Pinterest account where I post images I have found that inspire me while writing and I even continue to add to those Pinterest boards after the book has come out.
It’s also nice to have a physical, tangible prompt to help you along. You might think of it as a talisman or lucky charm. For myself I like to create mockups of my book. These fake covers are then printed out and taped on top of real books. I then have something I can set out on my desk. When I see a “book” like this it reminds me of the goal I’m working towards (or the project I should be working on if I’m wasting time doing something else on the computer.) Yes, it is a bit of a mind game – but it works.
For my first Valda book, Valda & the Valkyries, I created the image to the left. This is nothing like the final book cover but it doesn’t need to be. I don’t stress over getting these mockups perfect. I have a book to write and I don’t have time for that. I just find a good, evocative image, tweak it in Photoshop, slap on some text and call it a day. (One of the giveaways that I rushed these is that they both say “by Mark Neumayer.” Pro designs don’t use the word “by.”)
The image I used for this mockup is a miniature from Reaper minis. If you write fantasy or scifi you can find tons of inspiring images of minis on company web pages and fan sites all over the net.
For the current WIP, Valda Goes Through Hel, I found an awesome image on DeviantArt. Since Hela, the Norse goddess of Death plays a huge part in the story I used the image to create a book cover featuring her. Again, this is kind of down and dirty. My goal with these mockups is not to get a perfect image. I want something that is going to inspire me. It definitely works for me. Give it a try and see if it works for you, too.