It's time once again for another installment of PW Select, our recurring coverage of the self-publishing scene in the US, with author interviews, industry trend pieces, and, of course, listings and book reviews of self-published books. This time, we've got pieces on booksellers who are also self-publishers, the former New Orleans mayor who is self-publishing his own story, a profile of an author who rewrote the story of Leadbelly, plus the listings and reviews.

Here is the issue:


In this, our third PW Select, the quality of editorial is going up, and more serious authors are choosing self-publishing. In these pages you will find a compelling biographical novel about Leadbelly; a gripping tale about domestic terrorism; a strong first novel about the radicalization of an Arab-American; a collection of letters between Thomas Jefferson his women friends; and a first-person chronicle narrated by a shih tzu; and more. The production qualities are also improving, as committed authors and service providers help the business evolve.

Self-Publishing: A Second Life


Behind every book is a publishing story. Some good, some bad. Some hackneyed and familiar. We've all heard about the short story collection that was rejected by 30 publishing houses before finally becoming a bestseller, or the debut novel that sold for a bundle, flopped commercially, and ruined the author's career. But the story behind The Midnight Special—recently self-published by Edmond G. Addeo—is perhaps as unusual as the musician it chronicles.

Lock, Stock, and Publisher


Booksellers have the industry connections to publish their books just about anywhere, and some do, like fiction writers Emma Straub at BookCourt in New York City (Other People We Married), Ellen Meeropol at Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Mass. (House Arrest), or Joan Drury at Drury Lane Books in Grand Marais, Minn. (Silent Words). But for some bookstore owners, self-publishing is preferable to going the traditional route, whether it's a single title like Chuck Robinson of Village Books in Bellingham, Wash., or an entire series like that from Dr. John Hutton of Blue Manatee Children's Bookstore and Decafé in Cincinnati.

Self-Published in Seattle


If anyone is still unconvinced that attitudes toward self-publishing have changed, an informal meeting with a group of Amazon CreateSpace authors during BookExpo in May offered still more evidence. The three authors we encountered at the CreateSpace booth showed that whether you're a businessman looking to document your entrepreneurial history, an artist investigating a new medium, or a more conventional writer just hoping to break into book publishing, self-publishing can be a viable option.

A Word from the Mayor


Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin is the latest prominent figure to choose to self-publish a book. Released on June 22, Nagin's book, Katrina's Secrets: Storms After the Storm, covers "the intense crisis period right before the hurricane and then 30 days after," the author told PW.

PW Select Reviews: July 2011


This round of reviews of Fiction, Kids' and Nonfiction books.