We often like to throw around the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover," but in reality that's exactly what most of us do. I do it all the time. If I'm browsing for books, the cover is often what causes me to pick something up and flip through it. It's a nature thing to be drawn in by the visual. Sure there are many good books I've read that had terrible covers and some I read that had great covers but weren't such great books. That doesn't change the fact that a strong cover makes your book stand out.
This is why, as an author, cover art can be so challenging. You want something that represents the book, but also something that is visually interesting and appealing. You then have to worry about getting the rights to use images and the various other complications that can arise like image quality, size, etc.
For my second poetry collection, which comes out in September, I knew I wanted a vintage photograph of gay men on the cover. Particularly I wanted an image from the 1950s or 1960s because the book references that time period quite often. I was actually very lucky to find the image that I did on this great site devoted to collecting images of the LGBT community called Ourfamilyalbum.org. The image I found is of gay men on a beach in New York in 1954. The way the men are standing together, yet apart, speaks to many of the themes of the book.
It is with great excitement that I share the cover here on my website. The book releases in two months from Sibling Rivalry Press. Pre-orders will be available soon.