Authors Online have succumbed to Create Space's market killing promises of free publishing for novelists.
If you are based in the United States, or if you wish to indulge in a vanity press publication for you, your friends and your family, what more could you want? Excellent service.
Indeed, the book of short stories I was lucky enough to be involved with, Between Stops, was published via Create Space, and an excellent book it is too! Very happy with the service, for the most part.
[Potential IRS tax issues, as with Kindle, but that's a whole nother ball game, which you can have fun with yourselves.]
What Create Space doesn't mention, is the fact that they appear to be utterly uninterested in linking up with UK wholesalers; and, in turn, UK wholesalers are wary of taking books from them without a guarantee of quality. The result of these two things being that UK bookshops are unable to stock your Create Space published novels.
Create Space have confirmed it is okay to set yourself up as the UK distributor - but that kind of defeats the whole 'I'm a writer living in a cave' scenario. Let's face it, I'm anti-social and lazy, and unwilling to lug my wares all over the country in the vain hope of maybe selling something. But maybe you're up for it?
The key thing to note, is that it is doable, if you have the time and the inclination. ... Good luck!
Instead of doing that, I have updated my book links, and am now trying to work out the ins and outs of Ingram Spark - Lightning Source's publishing arm.
Luckily, Authors Online, the wonderful people that they are / were(?) - even beyond the grave - have been chatting to Ingram Spark, and they should be able to facilitate authors who have registered with Ingram Spark in moving their books across. Apparently with no need to change the ISBN's, they say.
There's probably much more the author will need to do, but I'm still investigating.
If you are one of us several thousand authors affected, there is only a short time window - two weeks - while Authors Online are still going through their death throes and cleaning up the blood and guts, as they fall into their grave. Organised and tidy people that they are.
I will miss them. They made life easy.
The mysteries of cover design and art / artists and colour saturation, and margin width and necessary number of pages to fill the required book width, etc., etc., were all things I'd never even considered before attempting self-publishing. I may have developed vague inklings about the need for them in the last several years, but now I will actually need to know about and understand them.
Still, life is all about learning new things every day. It's interesting.
And, ultimately, rewarding and fun.
So while I cry a tear for Authors Online, and thank them for their invaluable help, it is now time for me to take a further step into the dark at the back of the cave. ... I just hope there aren't too many balrogs and other things back there, waiting in the blackness of the unknown.