We may not judge a book by its cover, but we definitely choose a book by its cover. When we take a book off the shelf in a bookstore, and when we shop online, the first things we do is look at the picture..
While preparing my first murder mystery for publication, I learned that the first question a cover must answer is, "What's it about?"
The cover art for Dark Mural, designed by Zach McGinnis, tells the reader it's about a woman looking at a rural scene. Since her back is to us, we are looking from her point of view. The somber colors create an ominous feeling.
All this is true of the story inside. The rural scene is the mural mentioned in the title; the story is told from her point of view; and the action has some fairly sinister twists and turns.
I had spent many months pounding out the story, but I couldn't imagine what the cover should look like. I told my designer about the elements of the story, and he imagined what it should look like. That's what designers do.
It's very exciting to be this close to publishing a story I've lived with for so long. It's even more delightful to accomplish this step in collaboration with such a talented professional.