A First Impression: Book covers can make or break a book.
It seems like this is an ongoing saga, but you'll be excited as I am to hear that I think we have a cover for the Very Secret Sex Lives Of Medieval Women which the Publisher and I can both live with. Live with, not love. The art, of course, I love to pieces, but the text and other additions to the page to "pretty it up" have been a point we are having some trouble with. Currently, the title had two fonts in the title and either one of those would be quite nice!
I'm still sad that none of the covers I asked for and provided were acceptable. Such is the life of an author, I am discovering. Many of the elements which actively have nothing to do with the book have been removed and now it's down to the font again.
Conversations with other authors have shown that this is extremely common for authors to not have a say in the cover or end up with one which is not only not historically inappropriate for the book they wrote, but sometimes actively harms the perception of what's inside the covers to the intended audience. I hear them loud and clear. Putting things which are not right for the time period makes the author look like he or she has no idea what she's talking about and gives the impression that the book itself will be filled with such nonsense and historical fallacies.
I've actually been in that situation where I was looking at the cover of a book by a respected medievalist and wondering how a picture of a woman with her hair out, kirtle half-laced with a thick belt and a viking drinking horn on her belt got put on the cover and wondering for a minute whether the book had anything to do with medieval housewives at all. Of course, I knew of the author and bought the book trusting that the information would be solid, and it was. I notice the book has been republished with a really lovely photo instead since I bought it.
This is very not much the case for me as a brand new author. I have a small but enthusiastic following on facebook where we discuss and share research and historical clothing re-creations and sewing techniques and look at manuscripts together for discussion, but I am not a known author. A cover with things which are not right will sink the book before it even starts, leaving the publishers to wonder why it received such a poor reception when it sounded like a good book.
It's a book I'm proud of. A non-fiction book about the voices of medieval women, some lost to dusty court records, voices unheard. I want to remember them and hear their voices. I want to share those voices and even through a snippet of text, connect with their lives.