Peter Selgin

Peter Selgin - Designer

Milledgeville, GA, USA

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

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

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

Designer

Self-employed
April, 2017 – Present (almost 6 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

Self-employed
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 (48 selected works)

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 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

Murmur

Eaves, Will

Mamaji: A Memoir

Haqq, Elisheba

Aseroë

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

Concord

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

BETWEEN THE TWO

Violandi, Vincent

While It Lasts: Stories

Nadelson, Scott

Peter has 28 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Dean Dilley
Peter is an ideal colleague for a creative collaboration. He is attentive to details, and eager to brainstorm. He works industriously, and the finished product is skillfully rendered, sophisticated and beautiful.

Dean Dilley, January 2023

Peter Selgin
Thank you, Dean. It was a my pleasure to collaborate with you on such an intriguing project. I wish you and NABLUS GIRL the best of luck!

Reply from Peter Selgin


Alta Ifland
Peter Selgin is a consummate professional--and an accomplished creative artist not only in the realm of design but, indeed, also writing, having published award-winning and acclaimed books of his own. That's a perfect combination for me--Paul Olchvary, publisher of New Europe Books--as an independent publisher seeking quality book covers, since as a writer of books himself, Peter understands th...
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Alta Ifland, December 2022

Peter Selgin
Thank you, Alta. It's always my pleasure to design covers for your superb novels!

Reply from Peter Selgin


Vincent Violandi
It was my good fortune to choose Peter as my book cover designer. I gave him what ideas I’d had and a month to come up with a cover. After several e-mails he had the cover nailed down, in three days. I was amazed. When I have another story to tell, I’ll definitely reach out to Peter for cover design.

Vincent Violandi, November 2022

Peter Selgin
Working with Vincent was a total pleasure. While he allowed me great artistic freedom, his input was always helpful, I will gladly work with him on subsequent projects.

Reply from Peter Selgin


Troop Brenegar
Peter is a consummate professional. Responsive, insightful, polite, and committed to getting the best possible final product. I would absolutely work with him again on any project.

Troop Brenegar, November 2022


Douglas Hood
I had spent many years working on my literary nonfiction. So I wanted a cover to reflect that. When I looked at the portfolios of some 45 designers on Reedsy, Peter's was dazzling and clearly stood out. #2 was okay, the rest were far off. I sent book cover samples of what I liked--and we were in agreement on the look I wanted. He crafted my cover that stands out in the crowd of books and convey...
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Douglas Hood, October 2022

Peter Selgin
Thank you, Douglas, for this kind review. I enjoyed our collaboration, and am so glad you're pleased with the cover, one that I will proudly include in my portfolio). I wish you the very best of lu...
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Reply from Peter Selgin

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