Some history: The first edition of Sweetblood,
way back in 2003 when there were only a gajillion vampire novels (as opposed to today's kahunkabazillion), was a graphic designy image of a twenty-something woman with tasteful blood spatters across the cover and the tagline "A Vampire Novel." It was an okay cover, although I thought the tagline to be slightly deceptive inasmuch as there are no "real" vampires to be found in the book. Still, it was about vampires. Sort of.
Anyway, I figured as long as the cover encouraged more people to look at the book, it was okay. I liked it. I sort of didn't like it. It was a book cover. Whatever.
A couple of years later, the book was issued in small format paperback, and the designers took a different tack: this time, they used a photograph of a young model who perfectly represented the character I had in mind when I wrote the book. It suggested a goth-like, vampire-ish story about a character, and I loved it, I loved it, I loved it, despite the clunky typography. How often does that happen? Hardly ever.
Back to the new cover and the love/hate thing. From an author's point of view, there are three things a book cover should do:
1. It should look good.
2. It should sell the book.
3. It should be true to the book.
The new Sweetblood cover, IMHO, easily meets condition #1. It looks stupendously lickable. I think it will accomplish #2 as well - at least I hope so. As for #3...I dunno. I think most people who buy the book based on the cover will be expecting fangs and blood. Some of them will be disappointed.
I think the neck-biting promise made by the cover takes away from the story. Imagine yourself sitting down to watch, say, "Eat Pray Love" after being told it was a movie about carnivorous alien invaders. The whole time, you'd be looking for flying saucers and waiting for Javier Bardem's lips to peel back and reveal an extra set of jaws. Kind of distracting.
On the other hand, being told that "Eat Pray Love" was about an alien invasion is probably the only way I'd ever pay to see it.
Like. Hate. Love.