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.


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.
Biographies & Memoirs Cooking, Food, Wine, & Spirits Self-Help & Self-Improvement
Classics Dystopian Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Poetry
  • 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


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.


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.



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
On the Run

Shaw, William

Ravage & Son

Charyn, Jerome

The Sieve: A Novel

Prenn, Jeremiah


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


Zancanella, Don

The Reincarnations

Elias, Nathan

Bon Vivant: Essays

Iacuzzo, Charles

Tacoma Stories

Wiley, Richard

Sergeant Salinger

Charyn, Jerome


Dominique, François

Mamaji: A Memoir

Haqq, Elisheba

Peter has 37 reviews





Dave O.

Dave O.

Dec, 2023

Great to work with; imaginative and thoughtful.
Michael C.

Michael C.

Oct, 2023

Great to work with Peter. He produced a beautiful cover!
Douglas H.

Douglas H.

Sep, 2023

This work was for a new cover for Audible. Peter knew exactly how to do this and did it for me promptly.
Joseph P.

Joseph P.

Aug, 2023

Peter helped me assess the state of some existing book covers. I thought he had some really good insights and appreciated his advice.
Alicia S.

Alicia S.

Jul, 2023

As with other professionals on Reedsy, this professional seemed to be rushing through the project. I'm grateful he was proactive and came up with several designs before he'd gotten to know me and my project, and I would have preferred if he'd spent more time familiarizing himself with my needs before creating the designs.
Peter S.
Despite my providing Alicia with a dozen concepts for her cover design (several of which I consider to be among my best designs), she was unsatisfied. Per Alicia’s request after I’d put in many hou...
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