The esthetic parts of book publishing, like cover art, were some that I had most hoped to slough off to my self-publishing company. I'm a software engineer, and art is not one of our strengths.
Unfortunately, the first cut iUniverse offered on cover art was so bad that even I, with my engineer's eye, could tell it was awful. On the off chance I was being too picky, I sent it around to a couple of my more artistically inclined associates. They were universal in their disdain for the covers. I was seriously discouraged, because this was an area that I had really intended to get my money's worth. I sent it back, with comments, and their response was pretty much "Well, this is the cover we promised to make for you. If you don't like it, make one of your own". After talking a bit more with my Publishing Services contact, it became more of a "Why don't you show us what you were thinking about and we'll take another swing at it". Fair enough.
Happily, thinkstock is a really neat outfit, and they have an enormous and fairly well indexed collection of stock photography and art that you can use to gen something up. I took an afternoon and with my rudimentary GIMP skills cut & pasted my way to a selection of three alternate covers. I'd post them here, but unfortunately I haven't paid ThinkStock for the source images yet, so it'd be infringement.
Yesterday I sent them on to iUniverse. We shall see what happens next.
I'm really hoping they come through. This is an area which I really need the expertise of a practiced professional.
Aside from that, we're essentially ready to publish. Whee!