I’m an illustrator and designer specializing in book cover design, with The New Yorker, Forbes, Simon and Schuster, Bellevue Literary Press, Black Lawrence Press, Trinity University Press, British Airways, American Express, and City Opera among my clients.
Of all the things I’ve done as a visual artist, from illustrations for The New Yorker to writing and illustrating children’s books to drawing storyboards for movies and doing caricatures aboard the QE2, none have given me more pleasure than designing book covers. Since I’m also an author, I know just how thrilling it is to see a book you’ve spent years on published with an alluring, well-designed cover that perfectly captures the essence of what’s inside.
I also know how disappointing it can be when a cover doesn’t successfully convey that essence, if the colors aren’t harmonious, or a font isn’t well chosen, or the overall concept doesn’t fit the tone of the book or is crude or dull or doesn’t “read” well or is simply unattractive. I work hard to give my clients the very best cover their book can possibly have, one that catches the reader’s eye with style, wit, dignity, and flair.
The same level of training and skill should go into a book’s cover as went into what’s inside it.
Peter Selgin is the author of Drowning Lessons, winner of the 2007 Flannery O’Connor Award for Fiction. He has written a novel, several children’s books, and three books on the craft of writing, most recently Your First Page: First Pages and What They Tell Us about the Pages that Follow Them. Confessions of a Left-Handed Man, his memoir-in-essays, was a finalist for the William Saroyan International Prize. His memoir, The Inventors, won the 2017 Housatonic Book Award. His second essay collection, The Kuhreihen Melody: Nostalgic Essays, was recently published in 2019 by Serving House Books. His novel about twins, Duplicity, is forthcoming from Serving House Books in 2021. His stories and essays have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Glimmer Train Stories, The Sun, Slate, Colorado Review, Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, Best American Essays 2009, and Best American Travel Writing 2014. His full-length drama, A God in the House, based on Dr. Jack Kevorkian and his “suicide machine,” premiered at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and was optioned for Off-Broadway. A visual artist as well as a writer, Selgin’s paintings and illustrations have been featured in The New Yorker, Forbes, Gourmet, Outside, and other publications. He has also designed covers for award-winning books. He is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia, where he is art director and nonfiction editor of Arts & Letters, an international journal of poetry and prose.