One of the joys of working with independent presses is that they often give the author a say in their book covers.
Book covers are very important. You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but an attractive cover that reflects the theme of the book will draw readers. In the bookstore, that will get a book off the shelf and into someone's hands--and from there, you the author can sell the story. Now, this is my educated opinion, but it's been corroborated by authors with more experience than me and some case studies. Here's a series of articles on book covers by Laura Resnick, and an abstract asserting that the reputation of the author (in the case of technical books), reputation of the publisher and the attractiveness of the cover influence readers.
Rob and I have been fortunate that we have worked with publishers who listen to us. the eye-catching cover of Infinite Space, Infinite God was a last-minute decision when the more complex cover just didn't work out. (It would have made a gorgeous print, but didn't work as a cover.) Leaps of Faith started out with a ship entering a space station. Unfortunately, the station looked like a giant PacMan brain to me and I had visions of Monty Python for some reason. I let Cynthia know, and she made some simple changes--using a planet instead of a station--and the cover is very eye-catching.
Dindy at Swimming Kangaroo is letting me take an even closer hand with the cover of Magic, Mensa and Mayhem. She has given me a list of four very talented illustrators to choose from. they are all terrific; so much so that none stood out and screamed "I'm Vern's illustrator!" I spent most of the weekend poring over their art, looking at their websites, consulting with my artist daughter and with Rob. I narrowed it down to two and sheepishly sent Dindy a note with my thoughts. I concluded with the wish that the two I chose would Vern in the style we were thinking of. I really didn't expect that she'd then take that request to them, but later that day, she asked me to send her a description of Vern for the two authors to try out.
So the exciting process continues!
Magic, Mensa and Mayhem comes out March 1, BTW. I can hardly wait!
BTW--here are the finalists I chose: