the images on the front cover of your book
Who designs the cover art for my book?
A cover artist–either one who works for your publisher in-house or one who works freelance. You don’t get to choose the artist. Usually, stock images will be used to create your cover; sometimes a cover model will be used.
How much say do I get in my cover art?
It varies. You might get an email out of the blue one day from your editor showing you your finished cover art. Or your editor might ask you ahead of time what ideas you have for your cover. You can also offer to share a collage of images that you think might make great inspiration for your cover art. Your publisher might welcome this or completely ignore it.
What if I hate my cover art?
Tell your agent, if you have one. S/he can communicate to your editor exactly what you don’t like. Be specific–is it the color? the font for the title? the overall tone? the way the person in the image is standing? Your editor might advocate for you to the art department and get some changes made. Or you might be completely overruled. In the end, your publisher gets to do whatever they want with your cover, and they consider it their sales tool, even if you consider it the clothing for your dear word-baby. I’m very sorry about this.
When will I see my cover art?
Probably about a year or so before your book releases. I’m guessing this varies widely.
Is it possible my cover art will change?
Yes. Even without warning. Your editor may have showed you the final cover art, and then may reach out to you again later to tell you that actually, they have completely changed it. Sometimes this is because Barnes and Noble has said they will not sell the book with the original cover art. Sometimes it’s for other mysterious reasons currently not understood by me. Also, it’s somewhat likely your book will get totally new cover art when/if it goes to paperback, in an attempt to reach a new swath of readers.