There has been a lot of flap lately over the cover of LIAR, by Justine Larbalestier. If you don't know about the controversy, where have you been??
Just kidding! Seriously, this plays into my hands in the fears I wrote in the previous post: what happens if you hate the cover art? More specifically - what happens if the book jacket doesn't match your book... at all?
Justine describes the main character this way: Micah is black with nappy hair which she wears natural and short.
The cover photo? A decidedly Caucasian woman with long, fine hair.
I'd comment about this at length, but better, smarter people have done that for me. So here is a great blog post about another author's view of the situation, which had me thinking about this more widely than just this book. What is the purpose of cover art?
Author John Green (of the aforementioned post) points out that publishers want to get the books into the hands of as many people as possible - to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. But he brings up a great point:
I would argue the job of a cover is not to get the book to the broadest audience but instead to get the book to its best audience.
So does a publisher (and it's marketing/cover art department along with it's partners in crime in large chain bookstores) have an obligation to make the cover as appealing to a wide-spread audience it thinks it can sell better to - or to appeal to the audience, albeit maybe a smaller one, that would actually love the book?