What thoughts run through your head when you look at a book cover?
Some covers you like, some you don’t. But do you ever stop to analyse why? Probably not. I know my first cover was a blurry photograph of a beautiful beach.
It could be that it was a nice picture, but it didn’t tell you what the book was about.
Maybe the image was inappropriate for the story.
Nowadays I think much more carefully about a cover. You could say I am eagle-eyed now!
If a model is used, I ask ifs the expression implies the right mood? Is the costume correct for the time period of the novel?
Does it look amateurish?
Some things look plain wrong. The perspective might be incorrect, with sunlight coming from the wrong place or, worse, two places at once. Red-eye can easily be corrected these days, but not blurriness - better to choose another image.
I try to avoid a run-of-the-mill image that bores the observer.
Too many competing images are distracting for the reader and there may be technical issues due to untrained use of software that are spoiling the result.
Sometimes the image may become skewed or distorted.
A cover can be too sexy for its target audience, colours may clash and there may be too much text on the cover. A spelling mistake is a disaster. Fortunately, I never made the mistake of using the word “by” followed by the author’s name. If I have, my memory has air-brushed it out of my mind!
I try to remember its always easier when one main image with a clear message is used.