When it comes to the actual text, the author has a great deal to say about what goes into their book. With few exceptions, actually, he or she has the final say. Not so on other things; the cover, for example.
Since a lot of potential readers actually do judge a book by its cover, a number of people are involved in the design to make sure it does its job properly. The author, especially a new author, is not the most important dog in this particular hunt. For me it was a relief to have these talented people spending their energies on the cover, the flap copy, and other things related to sales and marketing; there was quite enough responsibility and discussion involved in working through the manuscript.
It wasn’t that way the first time around, though.
As some of you know, Circumference of Darkness was originally self-published. In that situation, you get to decide everything, whether you want to or not. The original cover was designed by Susan and Paul Collander, and it looked like this:
Sue and Paul were reasonably patient with me as we worked through the design process, but ultimately it proved best to stay out of it, and let them find a solution themselves. I was very happy with the outcome.
I’m also proud of the covers that are now wrapped around both the U.S. and the U.K. versions of the new edition. I was allowed some input, but mostly in the earliest stages. It’s best that way, really. The more positive inverse of knowing your limitations, is acknowledging the expertise of others, and letting them do their thing.