There was a phase during the production of The Book of Cain in which I tried to come up with cover art on my own. Assemble a few thematic symbols in a book-sized frame, click and go. Karo syrup and food coloring made for a too-sweet blood splatter, and a candle made for some rather unconvincing burn marks, but holding the crystal in one hand and the phone camera in the other actually made for a nicely placed bit of rainbow in the Christian fish, don't you think? (Nah, I didn't think so.)
I will be forever grateful that an actual artist came to my rescue. The production cover for The Book of Cain is, in my estimation, one of the finest covers to adorn any book, let alone a debut novel by an unknown writer. It took vision, an incredible degree of manual artistry, followed by careful and intensive Photoshoppery to achieve. It is vastly more evocative of the true themes of the story, while being visually beautiful to boot.
I must confess, though, that it can be a challenge working with a real artist. "The perfect is the enemy of the good" can become more of a lure to join the enemy camp than a warning against it. And that can make for a long row to hoe, sho'nuff.
I only wish I had a marketing ally with a similar level of talent in that field. Maybe then I wouldn't sound so much like Terry Malloy:
You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it.
Who'll come to my rescue this time? Any takers?