That's a terrifying prospect as a writer, because, most usually (of course there are exceptions), we don't make our own covers. In fact, depending on your path to publishing, you, as author, might not get any say at all about what the cover looks like.
A bad cover can make the uphill climb of finding an audience that much harder. It's like birthing a beautiful and intelligent child, only to have someone else reject it as worthless because your child is wearing dirty or ugly clothing. I've seen several indie writers put out a book with a less-than-professional cover (usually a financial decision), then re-release it with a better one and see large changes in the kind of attention their book attracted.
If you've been reading here at all, then you already know that my debut novel is coming out with +Curiosity Quills Press on April 23, 2015. (I am perhaps, maybe, just a smidge excited about that). Curiosity Quills is a small, independent press. My contract with them gave me input on the cover, but no right of refusal and no requirement that they actually use my input. So, I was on tenterhooks, waiting to see what my cover would look like.
You wanna see it? It's available out there, but I've never officially revealed it. So here it is!
I love it! And, boy was that a relief!
The cover is by +Polina Sapershteyn , a graphic designer in NYC that Curiosity Quills contracted for the work. (Here's her website if you want to check her out)
There are several things I love about this cover.
First, the bright yellow is really eye catching. When I've seen it displayed onscreen on an Amazon search page, for example, I feel certain that anyone seeing it would at least glance that way because of the bright yellow. The image also instantly suggests humor and superhero, two important hints about the book on the inside of this cover.
Second, +Polina Sapershteyn captured a lot of revealing details about threads of the book in this one image. The torso is thick in the waist, in a way that is not typical of superhero comics, but is completely normal for my menopausal characters. The costume is non-professional looking--the cape held on with a tied ribbon and the tunic consisting of a teeshirt looking material that wrinkles across the breasts. That fits so well with Helen's thread in the story (she's the one who does eventually make herself a costume)! The image used on the center of the chest suggests gender and LGBTQ+ issues. That fits so well with Linda/Leonel's thread.
I was utterly amazed by how well Polina was able to represent my work, especially when you consider that she and I have never met and only made contact online after she'd already done my cover! There's not much there from the ideas I submitted, except thematically. But, you know, she's a graphic artist. I'm not. Her ideas were better than mine. There's something to be said for trusting the judgment of professionals.
So, what do you all think? Do you, as readers, judge a book by its cover? Have you seen other covers that you felt really captured a book or really didn't? Do you like mine? :-)