One or two folk have asked me about the cover for Winterbirth, so just in case anyone else wonders about this kind of thing: no, it’s not up to the author what cover his or her book gets. Others, better qualified, do the decision-making (i.e. the publishers). I did get the chance to comment on the cover, once the design had been put together. My carefully considered and insightful input boiled down to: ‘I like it.’
It’s very noticeable that the covers on fantasy and science fiction books are changing, at least in the UK. There’s a steady increase in the number of covers that – like Winterbirth‘s – are more about design than straightforward illustration. I’m a fan of the trend, not least just for the variety of it. When they’re done well, I think these newer ‘designy’ covers can be very pleasing on the eye. Whether they have any real effect on the numbers or types of people who buy the books (which is obviously part of the thinking behind them), I’m not so sure, but at least they make the sf/f section of bookshops look good.