Lewis Agrell was the art director for Sarasota Magazine, chief artist for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (a New York Times Co. publication), and manages his own business, The Agrell Group.

“As a professional graphic designer and illustrator, I have a great respect for the written word. I have a greater respect for those authors who are able to synthesize a vision and create a cohesive collection of chapters that inform, enlighten, entertain, and challenge the reader. I know how difficult this is, and how long it takes to go from the first inspired idea to the finished product, because I’m married to a writer/editor. After struggling for months (years?) on a book, making sure that every single adverb, adjective, and clause are perfect, there is one more battle that must be fought: the cover design.

“In the big publishing houses authors aren’t even consulted when they create a cover. The design department is charged with this task, and they must do battle with the editorial hierarchy in getting their ideas approved. After several dozen ideas are presented, a final cover design is selected, and then the author is shown what his cover will look like.

“We now have a new world of self-publishing. With the advent of on-demand digital publishing, a new dynamic has occurred: the author can be in charge of everything, from writing, to creating the cover design, and sending the final pdf files to the digital printer. 

“I am a book cover designer. Although I have been both a graphic designer as well as an illustrator, I have primarily focused on book cover design for the past fifteen years.”