Peter Selgin

Peter Selgin - Designer

Milledgeville, GA, USA

I'm an illustrator and designer specializing in book covers, with Simon and Schuster, The New Yorker, Forbes, and City Opera among clients.

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Of all the things I've done as a visual artist, from doing illustrations for The New Yorker to writing and illustrating children's books to drawing story boards for movies and doing caricatures aboard the QE2, none have given me more pleasure than designing book covers. As the author of several of my own books, I know just how meaningful and powerful a well-designed cover can be. It saddens me when a worthy book, one that an author has put years into, doesn't get the sort of cover it deserves. It's more than a shame; it's a crime. The same level of training and skill should go into the cover as into what's inside. Assuming they care about their book, by no means should an author have its cover designed by an amateur. Knowing InDesign does not make one a designer!

My process is pretty straightforward. Typically authors send me a galley and synopsis of the book in question, along with any ideas they or their publisher may want to bounce off me, and — when relevant — any illustrations or images the author may have in mind. Since my work tends to be more on the graphic side, I may or may not incorporate images directly; but if it an image can work with a design I have in mind, then I’ll try. Anyway, the first stage consists of my creating several (1-5, depending on rate) concept jpegs (typically, those I consider strongest among a dozen or so sketches that I’ll do for myself). Assuming one of the concepts meets with the author's favor, they (or their editor) will share it with other concerned parties ( the marketing team). If approved, or approved with changes, assuming a full cover (front and back) is desired, once blurbs, bar codes, etc. are available, I will go on to produce a camera-ready PDF for the full cover, including the spine.
Biographies & Memoirs
Cooking, Food, Wine, & Spirits
Self-Help & Self-Improvement
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction


  • Finalist, AWP Award for Fiction
  • Finalist, AWP Award for Nonfiction
  • Winner, Helen Lemme Award
  • Winner Best Indie Book Award 2021
  • Winner National Indie Excellence Award 2021
  • Finalist Bridge Book Award 2021
  • Finalist Independent Publisher Book Award 2021
  • Finalist Elixir Book Prize 2021
  • Finalist Steel Toe Boots Book Prize 2020
  • Finalist Forward Indie Award 2020
  • Finalist Big Other Book Award 2020
  • Winner Housatonic Book Award 2016
  • Flannery O'Connor Award for Fiction 2007

Work experience

Peter Selgin, Designer

April, 2017 – Present (over 5 years)

Though my background in the visual arts extends over forty years, to when I studied fine art, illustration, and graphic design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, book cover design is something I've only been doing for a few years. That said, nothing has given me more pleasure. As an author myself (of fiction and nonfiction), I know only too well how important a book cover can be, how pleasing it is to see one's book well-designed with an attractive, alluring cover that captures the essence of what's inside. I also know how disappointing it can be when a cover doesn't capture that essence. I work hard to give my clients the very best covers for their books—the sort of covers you would expect to see on a classic. That is my specialty.

Illustrator / Painter

July, 1992 – August, 2011 (about 19 years)

Freelance painter and illustrator with American Express, Xerox Corporation, British Airways, BritRail, Oxford University Press, Simon & Schuster, Volkswagen, Canon Corporation, Forbes, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Outside Magazine, Gourmet Magazine, Italian Food & Wine Magazine among clients.

Portfolio (45 selected works)


Jerome Charyn

“Charyn’s blunt, brilliantly crafted prose bubbles with the pleasure of nailing life to the page in just the right words. . . . [Cesare is] provocative, stimulating and deeply satisfying.” —Washington PostOn a windy night in 1937, a seventeen-year-old German naval sub-cadet is wandering along the seawall when he stumbles upon a gang of ruffians beating up a tramp, whose life he saves. The man ... read more

“Charyn’s blunt, brilliantly crafted prose bubbles with the pleasure of nailing life to the page in just the right words. . . . [Cesare is] provocative, stimulating and deeply satisfying.” —Washington PostOn a windy night in 1937, a seventeen-year-old German naval sub-cadet is wandering along the seawall when he stumbles upon a gang of ruffians beating up a tramp, whose life he saves. The man ... read more


Eaves, Will

Mamaji: A Memoir

Haqq, Elisheba


Dominique, François, Sieburth, Richard, Limoli, Howard

Sergeant Salinger

Charyn, Jerome

Tacoma Stories

Wiley, Richard

A Song of War

Faulk, Robert

Bon Vivant: Essays

Iacuzzo, Charles

The Reincarnations

Elias, Nathan


Zancanella, Don

Half Moon Lake

Brock, Steve

Coil Quake Rift

Elias, Nathan

Madre: The Nun Who Was Mother to the Orphans of Honduras

O'Neil, Kathy Martin, Rodríguez Maradiaga, Cardinal Óscar Andrés

Seeking Authenticity

Cummins, Walter

Close-Up: A Novel

Herman, Michelle

Hamlet's Mirror

Kanefield, Elma Linz, Conjeaud, Dianne

Speaking to No. 4

Ifland, Alta

Peter has 23 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Sharon Day
Have worked with Peter on several aspects of the project - both author and publisher extremely satisfied. Continue to receive praise from customers.

Sharon Day, June 2022

Sharon Day
Working with Peter was a delight. Thoroughly professional and impressive book cover creation that continues to receive praise.

Sharon Day, June 2022

Ben Human
Apart from a wonderful cover design and excellent all-round publishing expertise, Peter was patient, responsive and communicative throughout. It must be a rarity in professional collaboration to have someone so senior and accomplished be so generous with their time and knowledge. I'd love to work with him again.

Ben Human, April 2022

Peter Selgin
Thank you, Ben. I enjoyed working with you. There are some book projects where, almost as soon as I read the title and description, ideas come to me, and this was one of them. I feel that we "got i...
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Reply from Peter Selgin

Steve Brock
Peter was very easy to work with. This being my first attempt to publish a book, I had many questions that he was able to answer. He provided two possible cover designs, both well done, and the one I chose I believe will prompt customers to open the book to see what it's about. That's all you can ask from a book cover, to pique the customer's interest. I'd happily work with him again.

Steve Brock, March 2022

David Swenson
I LOVED working with Peter. He’s quick, creative, and insightful. Peter took into consideration my initial ideas for the cover and built upon that foundation. He then came back with a design that totally hit the mark. His use of graphics, font choices, and overall aesthetic took the cover of my book to a whole new level that I could not have imagined on my own. By all means, reach out to Peter ...
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David Swenson, March 2022

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