He says, "What struck me, immediately, was how exactingly it confirmed every suspicion I had about how things work in the graphic design departments of big publishing houses.
"Basically, the graphic designer gets a paragraph about the book from the book's editor. (Not the manuscript of the book, or an excerpt from the book, or even a personal phone call or visit by the editor, but a paragraph of text written by the editor) The graphic designer then comes up with a few rough designs for the book without any other direction.
"These designs are then taken to "the publisher." "The publisher" hasn't read the book either.
"So "the publisher" chose one of the covers that the cover artist designed. The artist was not particularly pleased with his work, and the author was screaming bloody murder about it, but the publisher had spoken. The reasons for the publisher's choice had nothing to do with the book and everything to do with money. A sci-fi/fantasy buyer at the biggest national chain bookstore had shown some interest in the book, and he/she was more likely to order a large quantity of the books if it had a sci-fi looking cover. (At least this was the perception, heaven knows whether the sci-fi buyer really cared.)"
April here again. Full disclosure: I find this kind of scary, but I have a feeling this is how things work more often than not.