Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie is a UK-based publisher with a registered company address in Castle Park, Cambridge. I’ll leave it to Pegasus to describe their publishing business:
“Over the last decade, the publishing house of Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie Ltd has flowered, growing strongly from its well-established roots in the cobbled streets of Cambridge. The well-loved and historic City itself has seen many changes and absorbed innovative ideas making it even more famous than ever. Similarly, our authors have enjoyed launches of their published books not only in some of the outstanding buildings within the City but in locations world-wide.
Please feel free to browse our site and note that you can buy any of our titles securely online. Just click on a cover, search, or browse using the category list at the bottom of the page.
If you are an author and would like to submit an [sic] manuscript to be considered for publication please read our submission guidelines.”
It’s never a good start to include a grammatical error on a company’s landing website page, and I found several others as well, but on the whole, Pegasus would invigorate an author with quite a degree of hope. Everything is there that you want to see on a publisher’s website; plenty of books, author success stories, and what seems like a very open policy for new and unpublished authors. In fact, to the casual eye, all seems in place, and Pegasus is a real runner for the aspiring author.
First, I have a few cursory observations. I don’t like a company where cash seems to evaporate like dust every couple of years. I don’t like a publishing company operating various publishing options for an author, where one of those options means an author has to pay several thousand pounds to see their book published/printed. Nowhere on the Pegasus website is this option possibility indicated. In fact, continually, the perception wrongly presented is that Pegasus is a standard mainstream publisher with sympathy for new and unpublished authors.
Pegasus, whilst accommodating for the effects of the trend by publishers only to look for celebrities, produces and encourages particularly the work of first-time authors, and supports them in proving their abilities.
“The Company numbers amongst its authors those with diverse and excitingly new talents, and these are encouraged alongside their literary prowess. Their various abilities embrace a wealth of expertise from eg drawing and illustrating their own books, painting and literary research, to becoming experts in 'Sudoku', memorable singers, songwriters and musicians.
They often contribute fascinating details with their diverse talents and use material and experiences from their unusual, exciting and sometimes challenging backgrounds.
Alongside such celebrities as, for example, the many talented writers whose work is currently acclaimed and about whom we write on our website.”
What Pegasus is not telling you is that their publishing policy is focussed on charging authors a fee for publication, and that policy is not reflected anywhere on their website for unsuspecting authors. I am not suggesting that Pegasus has never offered a publishing contract to an author without a fee, but I simply do not believe that that is the norm with Pegasus.
It’s unfortunate for Pegasus because their book covers are reasonably okay, though I’m very circumspect about their ability to distribute their authors’ books beyond wholesale listing. But that is another criticism, and one I can direct at many POD (print on demand) author solution services. Lack of transparency is unforgiveable for a publishing service. It’s why a publishing service never moves from OVERVIEW to REVIEW. And I’m not sure that is going to change by the authors who have contacted me after their experiences with Pegasus, and also their experiences elsewhere.
Here is what Publishing Advisor, Kathleen Nicholls of Pegasus thought of one author’s criticism when their publishing model and approach was questioned:
“Here is how its done. You take anything that is sent to you, send out a message that you are interested... hold on to the manuscript as if it were being read... send out a FORM LETTER as if it were read... and then... and only then offer a vanity press deal. Well your tactics are being uncovered and made known. Of course your web site would be littered with contented cow authors but the rest of your "marks" can eat vanity pie.”
And the reply from Kathleen Nicholls of Pegasus:
Dear Dr Wilmot
Your vitriolic email has been passed to me by the Editorial Section.This is due to the fact that your communication did not state what you wish to have done with the work you have sent to us for consideration. It is clear that you have been corresponding with other authors who have also submitted their work to us, and, of course, it is entirely your own decision regarding how you respond to the publishing offer we have sent you.
Our present authors are all in a harmonious relationship with us as their publishers and are pleased with the progress of their work. Many authors return to us several times to us to have further books published, thus showing their satisfaction. This can be verified by viewing our website www.pegasuspublishers.com.
The Publishing Board of Pegasus have now been shown your message and have stated that they are unable to comprehend what you wish to achieve by writing to us in this manner since a short, courteous email to us would have sufficed. We suggest that you submit to US publishers from now on.
Kathleen Nicholls, Publishing Adviser
On Behalf of Pegasus Publishing Board
Hmmm. So Pegasus is speaking for all UK publishers.
I think not.
Pegasus is what we commonly refer to as a vanity publisher. Most of these companies are disappearing on the UK market, however, a few seem to foolishly think they can still ply their trade without being exposed.