I just finished a book cover (well a podcast image - a virtual book cover!) commission for The Oaks Grove, the sequel to The Spiral Tattoo, which I also did the podcast cover for.
The Elanore & Gurt novels are a fantasy murder crime series (it looks set to be a series, anyway, it'll need a name after a couple more books!), it follows two very mismatched characters - the huge, scary, and surprisingly civilised Elanore, a troll who's definitely the brains of the outfit, and the lazy, snarky, charming little pixie (well, he's not a pixie, but he's the local version of it - tiny, pretty, wings, magic), Gurt. They work well together, and most of the story is actually about them, rather than whatever murder they happen to be investigating.
The first book was released for free on Podiobooks, got very good reviews, and has since been picked up by an eBook publisher, and is slated for a paperback release. So it's definitely worth checking out! The second book is due out soon and is following the same process.
It's actually an interesting exercise, drawing a book cover, and I drew on my long, long history of reading everything in sight and my reactions to various book illustrations to guide me. Ha! See, it was research!
See, it has to a) attract readers and b) attract the right kind of reader, so it also has to c) convey the general type of story within. And d) it needs plot elements, preferably from the 'main' plotline and c) it's nice if the cover is relevant for more than one scene (e.g. multiple elements, a recurring character or background) so that readers can refer back to it later, and recognise the moment(s) in the story that the cover is about.
Both my covers have had the murder victim - Gurt snuck onto the first one, but I was constrained by the fact the Podiobooks thumbnail is very small, so it couldn't get too crowded or detailed. So I couldn't add as much as I'd like too; most of the books were crowded out by trees in the second, for example.
All painted in ArtRage, of course.