About us

How it came about.
Authors OnLine Ltd was established in 1997 to allow authors to publish their work on the Internet. It was started as a subsidiary of a web design company, Managed Web Space Ltd., which only ceased operating in 2010. One of its founders, Richard Fitt had tried unsuccessfully to publish a book in 1992, and when he was approached by his friend Derek Reece, in 1995 to see if he was interested in starting MWS, jokingly said, 'Only if we can have a website to publish authors who have been rejected by mainstream publishers.' The idea stuck however, and when Derek Reece went to Sri Lanka to visit a friend for 3 months in 1997 he decided to sit on a beach and design the UK's second ever e-book site. The website was subsequently launched in October of that year and the company incorporated a year later.

In 2000 the company came to hear of a revolutionary new printing and publishing system being launched by Gardners Books, the UK largest book distributor called 'Print On Demand', or POD for short (see below) and decided to incorporate that into its portfolio, little realising that it would be the first ever UK company to do so, thus securing its own place in publishing history with its first POD title, 'The Jet Stone' by Peter Townsend launched in January 2001.

Now Based in Gamlingay on the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire border, England, , the company started life in Hertford, an attractive county town some 20 miles north of London, in offices over 'The Dark Horse Brewery' in Adams Yard, supplier to many of the local pubs. A small independent brewery, it was on prime building land and the landlord eventually closed the building as the developers moved in. Unfortunately the brewery itself failed to relocate and a great brew was lost for ever.

The company then moved a mere 30 metres away to a top floor office in Maidenhead Street, where it remained for a further 18 months before, again thanks to re-development, relocating its offices to new premises in Castle Street. Eventually the developers also found this site too tempting to miss and it too was turned into luxury apartments. So ended our relationship with this lovely county town and we relocated to the small picturesque village of Gamlingay, some 40 miles further north, where it is now surrounded by common land, a nature reserve and a wood - developers forbidden!

Electronic publishing
Since the idea came to us that the Internet offered new opportunities to authors to publish their work, Authors OnLine has built one of the largest UK based website of e-books of original work, and it is still growing to this day. Now with the development of dedicated ebook readers such as Amazon's Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Sony etc.,  the eBook has finally taken off and come of age. We now produce ebooks in Multicannel formats to satisfy all these platforms.

Now we offer one of the largest selections of e-book titles of any UK Internet site, with more than 1500 original titles from over 1000 contributing authors.

'Print-On-Demand' - a new technology changing publishing
Since February 2001, Authors OnLine branched out into paperback publishing - not by the traditional method of large print runs, (which often leads to many wasted books being pulped,) but by pioneering in the UK a new printing technology, 'Print-On-Demand'.

Print-On-Demand, (usually shortened to POD,) is a revolutionary, economical publishing system that allows print runs and distribution as demand dictates, from a single copy upwards. Using POD, we can turn your work into a high quality paperback available to order via any UK bookshop or Internet bookstore.

Print-On-Demand has been an instant success - we have already published over 1500 books  and over 1000 authors in paperback since 2001


Meet The Staff


Richard Fitt - Chairman - is the founder and driving force behind the company and has been working full time for the company since its inception. Starting life as an industrial chemist in the leather trade more 'moons' ago than he cares to remember, Richard has had entrepreneurial business ventures into financial services, catering, web design and has even owned a men's clothing shop.

In 1992 he wrote a book for which, as he discovered, it was extremely hard to find either an agent or a publisher, so when the opportunity arose to start his own publishing company he jumped at the idea; the rest, as they say, is history.

When not publishing, Richard spends his time acting and directing for the local theatre - a hobby he has participated in for over 30 years. He is also the current chairman of St Neots Players.

Penny Ridler - Submissions - Penny joins us from the world of retail and is based at our head office in Gamlingay. She looks forward to contributing to the development of the company and learning the complexities of the world of self-publishing.

When not at her desk Penny is kept busy by a husband, 2 small children, a dog and her chicken's, who don't exactly get on well with the dog!

James Fitt - Production Director- Based in Teignmouth, Devon, James is the technical brains behind the book layouts and cover designs. Always a dab hand at computing and artistic design, James is also an accomplished musician.

He has had his own signed band, 'Blunt', in which he was the lead guitarist, and had a minor hit record called 'I'll be Fine'. He is currently the lead guitarist and lead singer of rock band 'Six Claw Paw'. You can listen to some of their latest songs at www.facebook.com/sixclawpaw

Elizabeth Fitt - Production - Elizabeth joins the team in late 2011, from the world of banking. She is based in Teignmouth with her husband, James. She joins him in the production team laying out text and designing covers. Elizabeth looks forward to being able to contribute to the development of the company's future.

Marjorie Hardwicke - Administration and Finance - Marjorie is the steady hand of administration, paying our authors their royalties and keeping a weather eye on the money side of the business. The real power behind the company!

When not steadying the ship Marje is also an accomplished musician, who has been able to play the piano by ear since she was a child. She also sings in a church choir and tends to her 250 ft. garden on fine days!

Sarah Jones - Administration, Finance and Book Ordering - Sarah has been with us since the end of 2009 and has taken our accounts and admin system well and truly into the electronic age. She also runs our Book Ordering department. When not dealing with invoicing and matters financial she is looking after a husband and young son. Sarah also owns a temperamental Arab Stallion called 'Freddie' - good luck with that one!

Alex Kerr - Press Releases - Alex, who moved to New Zealand with her Kiwi husband in 2000 has been helping our authors to write their press releases since 2009. Her other job is Media Manager for 'Winter Sports New Zealand', the organisation to look after New Zealand's elite athletes who compete in top international competitions involving Winter Sports. So she is pretty experienced and gets many of our authors' books noticed by the media.

Since she lives in a beautiful mountain holiday resort with a lake surrounded by ski slopes, it would be quicker to describe what activities she or the family don't get involved with!!

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