I’ve seen a photo of an actress in a recent issue of the Esquire. She stands, supposedly naked, behind a slip hanging on a clothesline. Next to the slip, there hang her panties and bra. The photo is probably rated PG because you can’t see anything, but, if you are a man, you’d want to. That’s the whole idea behind the book cover as well. The author and the design team want you to pick the book, physically or electronically, and open it to reveal the naked woman inside (or maybe future worlds or the ancient history or the recipe to a knock-out dish).
I’d say the book cover is more than attractive clothing or hair are for a person. It’s more than a nice smile and a firm handshake. It’s the door to the reader. To the reader’s mind. Or to his or her wallet, if you wish. Ignore the cover and perish. There must be content inside the book, of course, but no one will see it unless your cover flashes some skin first.
Happy cover design. Have fun at it.
A few examples to kill for. For the pictures, go here.
Mark Budman shows off his own covers here.