A couple of months before every release, I get an email and a link from my publisher with a new cover. When the email arrives I always give a little 'squee'. I love opening these links to see what the art department has done. Of course I always know what my characters look like in my head, but seeing them come to life on the cover is definitely one of the highlights in the entire process.
When I wrote my latest release from Harlequin Special Edition, Three Reasons To Wed, I had the heroine and hero very clearly in mind for the cover. I filled out the art fact sheets for my publisher with a few different scenes from my book and figured I would get a fabulous (but traditional) cover of a man and a woman in some kind romantic embrace. But no...and when I saw the cover for USA release version the first time a definitely did give a squee........
I've had a lot of feedback from readers saying how much they love the cover, and it makes me wonder how important a cover is when a reader is looking for a book. I also have my 'auto' buy authors, regardless of the cover. But if I'm looking for something new, for me the cover does make a difference. It's like a little window into the world of the story. Of course, I've read some awesome books with very average covers, and some average books with awesome overs.
Do covers make a difference to you when you are selecting a book?