Peter Selgin

Peter Selgin – Designer

I'm an award-winning designer specializing in book covers, with Simon & Schuster, The New Yorker, Forbes, and Gourmet among clients.

Overview

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: Typically authors send me a brief synopsis (and sometimes a sample chapter) 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.
Services
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs Cooking, Food, Wine, & Spirits Self-Help & Self-Improvement
Fiction
Classics Dystopian Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Poetry
Languages
English
Awards
  • 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

Self-employed

Apr, 2017 — Present

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.

Self-employed

Jul, 1992 — Aug, 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

Cesare

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 n... read more
The Kingdom of Quail

Strickland, Harris

Beware the Tall Grass: A Novel

Morris, Ellen Birkett

On the Run

Shaw, William

Ravage & Son

Charyn, Jerome

The Sieve: A Novel

Prenn, Jeremiah

BETWEEN THE TWO

Violandi, Vincent

Speaking to No. 4

Ifland, Alta

Hamlet's Mirror

Kanefield, Elma Linz

Close-Up: A Novel

Herman, Michelle

Seeking Authenticity

Cummins, Walter

Coil Quake Rift

Elias, Nathan

Half Moon Lake

Brock, Steve

Concord

Zancanella, Don

The Reincarnations

Elias, Nathan

Bon Vivant: Essays

Iacuzzo, Charles

Tacoma Stories

Wiley, Richard

Sergeant Salinger

Charyn, Jerome

Aseroë

Dominique, François

Mamaji: A Memoir

Haqq, Elisheba

Peter has 44 reviews

Professionalism

Quality

Value

Responsiveness

Russell W.

Russell W.

Apr, 2024

Peter did an excellent job in working with me and offered several alternatives for my book cover. As someone who is self-publishing for the first time, I probably had more minor changes than usual, but he remained helpful throughout.
Casey W.

Casey W.

Feb, 2024

Peter was responsive and worked closely with me to end up with a cover I love.
Ajay K.

Ajay K.

Jan, 2024

Peter created the cover design for my book “Tangled in 1984.” Peter’s thoughtfulness and patience to listen made me comfortable to share my ideas and get the book cover that I really love! He guided me through the process while lending his expertise to the design and the overall publishing process. He was extremely accommodating and responsive, which made the design quick and enjoyable. I look ...
Read more
Peter S.
Thank you, Ajay. Working with you was a pleasure.
Christiane L.

Christiane L.

Jan, 2024

Peter was wonderful to work with. He was creative, professional and committed to producing an exceptional cover for my book. He was able to create unique book cover that was enticing to readers in my genre. I would love to work with him again in the future.
Rebecca K.

Rebecca K.

Dec, 2023

Peter was a pleasure to work with, quick turnaround, quality design, and gave great suggestions and encouragement. He's a class act!

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