I’m going to say something that some authors are going to find shocking:
Authors should have little to no say over the actual cover on their books.
Now, before you get in an uproar, let’s talk about what a book cover actually does. It is your first point of sale. Basically, unless it’s from a fan who knows your name and is after anything and everything you write, it is your first marketing pitch toward a new fan.
Marketing pitch. And as a rule, most authors are not marketers. And even if they are? They are too close to their books.
Unfortunately, most ePublishers aren’t exactly outfitted with a huge marketing department, so they take the author’s input seriously. And while that is appreciated, I don’t think that it necessarily is good for the book in the long run.
Marketers are trained and study what attracts the reader. Then they work with artists who have ‘hopefully’ worked hard in cover design to bring out the best seller. Yes, the author should provide basics toward what their characters look like and what the book is about, but when it all comes down – the cover should have the best marketing attraction out there. Not be the one that most attracted the author.
Authors have a tie with their characters and plot and may want to have a tight hold over what their book looks like, but I do not think that is in the best interest of the book necessarily. Not in the long run.
Leave the writing to the writers, marketing to the marketers, and the cover design to the artists.