I am quite pleased with the design for the new cover of the second edition of my book. Is it perfect? It's close. It sets the right tone for the audience of my book. Remember that this is non-fiction reference. Lots of school listings, general information about online high schools, and some about how to choose an online high school. Also, this cover fits in nicely with what other books in my field look like.
I had it designed at eLance. I have had good luck with the designers there and the price, $55, was certainly reasonable. In addition to this front cover graphic, I had it designed in CreateSpace format, Lightning Source format, and e-book format.
Importantly, if you are going to use someone else, be sure that you are capable of going back and forth to get it just right. We did a lot of that; that's the expectation. Don't assume that a designer will get it right the first time.
I do know that there are people out there who design their own covers. Mostly, I'm not a fan. A few are quite good at it, but most are not. Could I have done the cover to the right? Let's just say my skill set goes in a different direction.
Notice, by the way, the logo that is included on the front cover for my Best Online High Schools website. Books and websites should be synergistic; feeding off of each other.
My philosophy has always been to work toward my strengths. This is why I don't ship books; I let Lightning Source and now CreateSpace do that sort of thing for me. I don't do things where my skills are lacking and I don't do things that are so time-intensive that they take away from the importance of writing and selling books.