It's precisely because Robert Wyatt knows the in's and out's of corporate publishing that he's decided to go it alone with his latest venture in the business. Wyatt, who worked for a number of big houses during his lengthy tenure in publishing, retired in 1997, after overseeing an eponymous imprint at St. Martin's Press for five years.

Wyatt was briefly brought back into the business in 2002. That year he co-published, under the revived named of his SMP imprint A. Wyatt Book, the poetry title Taking Wing with his local Woodstock, NY, bookstore The Golden Notebook. Wyatt has since been spending his time writing...and independent bookselling.

The former publisher has written two books, Jam & the Box and The Fluffys & the Box, which tell the same tragicomic tale, of a Hudson Valley bookseller who wakes up one day to find his wife has died in her sleep, from two different perspectives. (The latter, a novella, recounts the story from the point of view of the dead wife's cat.) Wyatt is self-publishing the books through Lightning Source--the loose "pub dates" for the titles are, respectively, December 31 and January 1, 2010--and is planning to hand sell the books at The Golden Notebook, where he's been working as a volunteer salesman.

Wyatt, who's been blogging about his bookselling and other experiences at, is launching a more elaborate Web site in the near future, and is hoping to generate word of mouth about his books virally.