Well, now I feel like I've led you here under false pretenses. I'm sure that with a picture like that one, you were expecting something. Maybe something cute and funny, but what I'm actually going to discuss for a minute is cover designs.
Because, let's face it, covers sell books. I pick up books and buy them based on the covers all the time (okay, the blurb and title help, too), but this is a big problem for me. I always feel like my pitch is just shy of being a commercial for a used car salesman.
So covers sell books. Titles sell books.
But where does it end? Do covers raise false expectations that make readers turn on the writer? I'm familiar with the idea that a bad cover is the kiss of death, but can a cover make a reader never pick up a book by that writer ever again? There's a trope on TV tropes called For Instant Awesome Just Add Dragon (no I'm not linking, you'll have to use google--this is for your safety and productivity, TV tropes will eat your whole day). On that page, there are examples of times people have added a dragon for awesome, including a book with a dragon on the cover. No dragon in the book, no mention even, and there was a dragon on the cover.
I have bought books based on there being a dragon on the cover.
I have been disappointed in a book's lack of dragon (based on cover expectations) and blacklisted the author, and now I'm starting to wonder:
Do cover expectations lead readers to blacklist writers? Or was I a particularly snobish reader to blacklist writers who had dragons on their covers with books that had nothing to do with dragons (not even as Heraldry!)?