Alex Kirby – Cover Designer

What is your specialism within book publishing? 

I’m a Senior Book Cover Designer at Yale books (part time) plus I also run my own freelance venture - Mister Kirby.


Can you describe what you do in 10 words or fewer?

I design covers for fiction, non-fiction and crime books.


What led you to go freelance? 

My 12 years at Faber & Faber were brilliant, but I was seeking a new challenge. Plus I wanted to prove to myself that I could launch and run my own business. 


Do you work primarily for publishing companies or independent authors or a mix? 

Since Mister Kirby was launched in July 2018, I’ve worked solely for publishing companies, however it would be great to collaborate with independent authors. 


What’s the best part of doing what you do?

There’s lots, luckily. Each job being completely different; discovering and learning about new subjects and hopefully happy authors.


What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started your freelance journey? 

That business bank accounts can take an eternity to set up!


How many books are in your TBR (to be read) pile/list? And do you plan to read them all eventually? 

I wish I could put a figure on it but the pile just grows and grows and grows … So no, I don’t think I will read them all.


Do you prefer physical books or ebooks?

Physical, no question. As a designer I love to examine the books’ finishes, format and stock close up. At Yale we have an ever expanding library of weird and wonderful formats which we use for inspiration and reference.


Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in publishing? 

Pretty simple and cliched, really – work hard and be nice.


What is your favourite children’s book and your favourite adult’s book? 

My favourite, or I should say my son’s current favourite, is ‘I Will Not Ever Never Eat A Tomato’ by Lauren Child (Orchard). My current book of choice is ‘The Wall’ by John Lanchester (Faber).


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