Marcus Sakey had one the other day at The Outfit.
Irene Gallo is an Art Director for Tor, Forge and Starscape books. She also blogs about covers.
I feel like I have a foot in both worlds on this issue. I've been an illustrator more than once in my career, and (God willing) I'll soon have cover issues of my own to contend with.
The good people in the Art Department care, and care deeply, about doing good work. Like editorial (or authorship) is a hard slog to get your foot in the door. The pay is low, the hours long, the rewards largely the thought of a job well done.
As writers, we all want care and thought, commitment and creativity to go into our baby. Especially the bits everyone's gonna see first.
The illustrators want to show off their creativity. They want to do their best work, maybe get an award for a clever design or a nifty typeface. Yeah, there are even awards for typefaces. Even a pat on the back from the boss helps.
So what happens?
Well, the art guys don't get to actually *read* the books, for a start. Too many books, too little time. They get a one-page treatment. Way I hear it, the treatment comes from editorial, who uses the pitch from the agent, who uses... your cover letter.
Don't know if there's any truth to that, but I do know the art folk get one page. They also get several books a week, and have to do several versions of each book. It's a constant grind.
It'd be nice if houses could afford enough staff to let each person spend more time coming up with 'best' solutions, but that's not the industry today. Heck, that hasn't been the industry since the Golden Age of Illustration, somewhere around 1910-20.
No easy answers, but I think the best we can do as authors is to get across what makes our work unique, a selling point nthat translates visually.
That, and light candles in church. I also have a voodoo woman named Phyllis who assures me she can make up a gris gris bag for just these occasions...