I heard back from Bella Books earlier this week about the image I submitted for the cover of my book, and they rejected it. I was quite disappointed. In fact, I still am. Now I wait and see what their design team comes up with. I sent them a list of things I would not like, and that's all I can do. They've said that they'll have the cover finalized in May. We shall see.
The issue of covers and authors is one that I personally find confusing. I guess the philosophy behind not letting authors have cover approval is that authors are writers and don't know anything about marketing. Marketing is the publisher's specialty, and authors should stay out of it. I think that many (maybe most) publishers consult with the author about the cover for his/her book, but when the chips are down, the publisher makes the call.
A prime example of this came to me from my friend, Kristan, who sent me a link to a post written by author Justine Larbalestier about the cover for her book, Liar. You really should click on that link and read the story in its entirety, but to sum up, the publisher, Bloomsbury, decided in their infinite wisdom to put a picture of a white girl's face on a book in which the protagonist is a black girl. Larbalestier, of course, disagreed strongly, but she ultimately had no say in the matter.
I can't think of a more telling instance of marketing and integrity going in opposite directions.
You all know by now that I would like final approval of the cover of my book. You also know that, just like most authors, I don't have it. And the more that I think about the idea that I should accept this--perhaps even be happy with it--because publishers are some sort of experts at marketing, the more I am annoyed. You can't read an article about being a successful author and having good sales without reading about... yep, you guessed it, self-promotion. These days, publishers expect the authors to do a lot of heavy lifting in the marketing area, and if your book doesn't sell, they are quick to point the finger at the author who didn't do enough marketing on their own.
A successful book is a collaboration between author and publisher, perhaps now more than ever, and I don't think that the cover should be excluded from that collaboration.