So it's surprising to find that the writer often has very little say in the cover art as shown by the story of Polly Courtney who has parted company from her publisher over the style of her book covers and now intends to self-publish.
The issue has spawned much debate among writers. Do covers matter? Well, apparently so. When you have one chance to make an impression on a potential buyer you want to get it right.
But so many covers these days are generic and unoriginal. You know the ones I mean - you can scarcely browse the Net without a few of them popping up around the margins. Slick waxed torso of scantily clad young man with an equally scantily clad female draped provocatively over him, a hand lingering on his trouser belt as if to suggest they're coming off sometime soon. Then there are the sci-fi/fantasy covers with metallic babes wrestling phallic space creatures.
The trouble with this kind of cover is it lumps all these books together in popular perception. If you write an original story shouldn't the cover reflect that originality? Wouldn't something a bit different get more attention?
And not all books slide easily into the chosen genre. Women's fiction isn't always about boyfriends and shopping. Should the covers of chick-lit always feature ditzy thin women in high heels?
There is nothing more annoying than purchasing a book on the basis of the cover and finding it isn't at all what you thought it was going to be. So Ms Courtney has a point.