That said, these days most publishers extend me the courtesy of showing me potential covers and responding to my reaction. (They are not required to do so.) Early on, that was not always the case. There have been covers I have liked, and covers I liked far less. I have even disliked some. But I’m not at all sure I’m the best judge. Cover design is a special skill. I’m a writer, not an artist. There is that saying that “You can’t tell a book by its cover.” But the cover art can be a powerful incentive to pick up a book or leave it on the shelf.
Among my favorite covers are the original hardcover edition of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Compare that with the original Avon paperback of the same book. I disliked that one.
There have been a couple of covers that, in essence, I designed. That is, I suggested the nature of the image to the publisher and it was accepted. Those book were hardback edition of The Button War, and Don’t You Know there’s a War On? The back-headed image of the boy on the cover of Don’t You Know… derives from a photo I took of my son, Robert.
Some of my favorite covers are those from foreign editions. These artists consider the books in different ways, and some of the results are stunning.