Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie – Reviewed

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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on a publisher’s website; plenty of books, author success stories, and what seems like a very open policy for new and unpublished authors.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the perception wrongly presented is that Pegasus is a standard mainstream publisher with sympathy for new and unpublished authors.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:

Willmot questioned their approach to submissions:

“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.

RATING: 3.0/10

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43 Comments

  1. Annie Marks said:

    I’ve already had three books published by Robert Hale and I went to Pegasus because I thought their reach was probably wider than Hale’s. Now I’ve received a letter offering me a contract and expecting me to pay £2,500! After having three books published on their merit – and had good sales from all three – I’m appalled that they think I’ll be happy to pay for book number 4. I don’t think they even read it; and apart from assuring me it would be available on Amazon they really weren’t offering anything else at all.
    It’s disappointing though, I wouldn’t have wasted my time if they’d been honest up front and told me they were a vanity publisher.

  2. EllesBelles said:

    I have also just received an offer of publication and the big £2750 has really put me off. Whilst I believe that they do publish the books I do not think they it is worth the £2750 as you have to sell a minimum of 7000 copies to get the money back and with the little press they do I would struggle to see how 7000 copies would sell quick enough to get me back my own money.

  3. Tanya Anderson said:

    I received an offer of publication yesterday and the charge of £2850 – exactly £100 more than the previous writer. Maybe they increase the charge each week! It was interesting opening the large A4 envelope though and seeing the smart shiny Publishing Contract, but I won’t be returning it.

  4. John McKay said:

    I have recently signed a contract with them and can honestly say that their service so far has been excellent. I consulted with many of their authors before I made the decision to sign and although one or two had a couple of criticisms, in general their experiences were largely positive. The thing is with Pegasus, is that they get you a foot in the door, they are able to get your books into Waterstones and I suppose how well your book will do will depend on the amount of effort both their marketing department and the author themselves put into promoting it. The contract sets out exactly what they will do and they are bound to as much as the author.
    My book is in the final stages of production. The editors have clearly spent a lot of time scrutinising the text and have offered many words of advice. The overall decisions on anything creative have always rested with me and not them, including blurb, cover design etc., although they have made very good suggestions with these, some of which I have agreed and incorporated and some which I have not. .
    Sometimes life is taking a chance and going for it!
    My novel, ‘The Absolution Of Otto Finkel’ will probably be released within the next couple of months. Please take a look at my website for further info – http://www.johnrmckay.com
    Good luck everyone.

    • Wendy said:

      I read your comment wiith nterest as I have just received a contract from Pegasus and am wondering whether to sign or not as they are asking form £1900 contribution. Time has moved on since you posted this comment – are you still impressed with Pegasus or has your opinion changed. Do you have any advice for me?

      • John McKay said:

        Hi
        The book has now been published and although I was not happy with the price they set (too high) they have produced a quality product. If you would like more details please email me at jrmckay@sky.com

          • John McKay said:

            I’m not ‘so-called’. And I don’t work for them. My initial contacts with them were largely positive. However, as many say, they do not do much to promote the book once published – in fact, very little. As my novel was set at a very high price (although a quality product) the sales have been extremely poor. For that reason I have self-published my further three novels and have had a better return! If I had my time again then I probably would not have gone with them. However, the ride has been quite enjoyable (Waterstones signings etc.). The only advice I can offer anybody wanting to publish is to find an agent. If this is unachievable then self publish through Amazon and do it for the fun of it.

    • Tom said:

      Hi John,

      I have also been offered a contact by Pegasus under Vanguard Press. Can you give any feedback now that your book is published through them. How was the experience, was their marketing stratagem good and how are sales for you? I’m also in the same boat as Wendy and looking to know whether to go with them or not.
      Thanks for any response.

      • John McKay said:

        Hi Tom
        My experience with Pegasus have been largely positive and I am to hold a book signing at my local Waterstones in a couple of weeks, something that would not have happened if I had ‘gone it alone’. Please feel free to contact me at jrmckay@sky.com.

        • jennifer said:

          Hi i have just received an offer from pegasus to publish my book, but they want me to pay money toward the publishing of my book. I am very wary about this, have you had a good experience and have you received an advance or royalties

    • Bern said:

      Hi I have had the same offer and starting to read reviews. Your review is positive since March 2015 what has your outcome being after using Pegasus? Any feedback would be appreciated.

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  7. King Medlin said:

    Thanks, Mick! Thanks to all of you for your posts! Very insightful. I’m in Denver, Colorado and I just got their Email this morning regarding one of my submissions called “Star Kitten”. It looked so real, too! They said they enjoyed reading my first three chapters and wanted to see the whole manuscript. Was the next Email going to be a solicitation to pay them for publishing my novel?
    King and Caroline Medlin (Purple Hazel)

    • Rashmi said:

      Hi King,
      Have they asked you anything since that time?They have asked a full manuscript from me too, and I am planning to send it.

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  9. David L. Young said:

    Pegasus (through their Vanguard imprint) published 4 of my historical novels about Shakespeare and Marlowe. They didn’t charge me too much for this either. The people were nice to deal with and I even met them at their Cambridge Industrial park office when I came to the UK and had a pleasant chat with them. However they did absolutely ZERO about pushing my books in any way and in the end I cancelled my contract with them and have had them published more successfully elsewhere.

  10. Jaqui Turnham said:

    I have also had a contract from Pegasus, I was not really aware that they were a vanity publisher, I am not going to go forward, mostly because I live in S.Africa, and the Rand to Pound exchange rate makes it impossible, plus I would not get back what I put in for several years, if at all! I am looking for a publisher for a childrens book, if anyone out there has any info for a publisher that is not of the vanity variety. Perhaps we should help each other.

  11. Michael Bolger said:

    Book title ‘When A Man Carries The Lamp ‘ Nursing in the sixties from a mans point of view. Well done work on the book but poor back up re advertising/promotion of the book. This has to be by the author.

  12. Michael Bolger said:

    Yes I agree had a book published in 2000 had to do all promotion my self had local paper interview and book sign at Waterstons but sales poor. Was contacted by TV presenter my comments on the subject I believe resulted in several episodes of very popular nursing series!

  13. Patricia said:

    Hi I got a contract with Pegasus and I am very pleased with what they are doing for me my book should be out soon in a few weeks time and I cannot wait to get started

  14. Chris Fidler said:

    All I would like to say is DO NOT have anything to do with Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie, they gave me a list of all the book shops they would get to stock the book which my wife wrote which foolishly I paid them £2,500 to print my wife’s book not realising they are a vanity publisher, but when I rang the book stores they said they have never heard of anything from them, and to make matters worse my wife was having treatment for cancer when they met us to discuss the publising of my wife’s book but still took the money.

  15. Tony Alleyne said:

    I have just recently had a response from Pegasus about a manuscript I sent them. It reads as follows:

    Dear Tony,

    I would like to thank you for your patience during the submission process.

    I am pleased to inform you that ‘CLICK, CLICK BANG!’ was presented at our most recent publishing meeting. After discussing your work with my colleagues in production and marketing, I put forward a comprehensive case for its inclusion in our future reading lists. It is now my pleasure to inform you that your work has been accepted for publication.

    Unfortunately on this occasion we are unable to offer you a traditional contract. However, we do not wish to see this work rejected and therefore would like to offer you one of our inclusive contracts.

    An author friend of mine told me that no reputable publisher will charge an author for publishing.

    So far I haven’t signed any contract from Pegasus.

    • Mark W Hunter said:

      Tony, I’ve had the exact same communication today.
      It makes me feel sad…but it does not look good!

    • Terry-ann said:

      Hi seems this is a standard letter they send out I have one as well the only difference is the book title. They may or may not be genuine, but I somehow think that they prey on new authors who are desperate to see their work in print. what’s important to this company at first glance is not the expectation s of the author, but how much money they can make before a book is published. Any publisher who feels a book will be successful and make money for both. Themselves and the author would support the publication financially and asking for money up front is not putting your faith in that individuaI, taking any risk away from the publisher, they have their money either way, but the author is left out of pocket.

      I also think this company probably sends out their standard letter to all who make a submission whether it’s a good read or not. I for one will not be taking up their offer on this ocassion after researching them.

  16. Lorraine said:

    Hi. I’ve just had an email asking for £2200 towards the cost of publishing my book “The Witch In The Ditch” which I wrote and illustrated. The idea of submitting my manuscript and illustrations for publishing was to actually receive an income, not to have to fork out for publishing! Aside from the fact that I don’t have £2,200. What do I do now? I have a great little book ready for publication. My first book as a grandmother.

  17. Dr. Fayad W. Ali said:

    Oh! Oh! I have received the same (word for word) reply as Tony Alleyne, April 18, 2016 and Mark W. Hunter, May 19, 2016. They request 2 400 pounds from me for -The stars do shine. I am glad I read your comments. Thanks guys.

  18. Dr. Fayad W. Alii said:

    After reading all these comments and offered much the same on yesterday, I became wary and decided not to part with my hard earned money. Maybe Pegasus is a great establishment and may even publish the works of some authors for no cost up front…I don’t know. I am happy that at least they felt my work was worthy of publishing, hoping, of course, that they did read the manuscript. I now have a great book for publication, actually two. Any idea or suggestions? fayadwali@hotmail.com
    Thanks Pegasus, I still won’t say anything negative. I respect your policy. Best wishes.

  19. Eve H said:

    I work for a small London-based chain of bookshops which also has a publishing arm. I’d like everyone here to know that Pegasus do absolutely nothing to promote your books to shops. Not even emails. They don’t need to. You are paying up to £2500 for their “services” but I doubt they spend more than £800 on designing and printing your books. They are listed on wholesaler’s websites as being available to order but the wholesalers won’t actually have any stock. If they operate in a similar way to the notorious Minerva Press who used to advertise in Sunday papers back in the nineties, the books sit in a warehouse. After about five years they ask if you’d like your unsold stock sent to you. Most people decline because they don’t have room for 500 or so copies of their book so they just get pulped.

  20. adrian browne said:

    Most unprofessional , inept company i have ever dealt with ; i ordered several copies on new authors first publication and pre-paid hoping to have copy straight off the press … that was four weeks ago and release date nearly 10 days ago , still waiting . So i chased them up , 1st call lady hung up when i pushed for delivery date , 2nd lady hung up when i called back , tried to speak to director was told she would call me back . Guess what , within 15 minutes of that my money was refunded via Paypal !!! They are ruining any new authors chance of succeeding and should be avoided at all costs .

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  22. Jane said:

    I also received the exact same letter word for word. I feel gutted as I was so excited to finally realise I would get my book to print. The same pattern as above of asking for full manuscript, letter and request for £2400. I live in New Zealand so that is approx $4300. I have spent the last week trying to find a way to get the funds but fortunately have read this and other sites recommending against them. I had thought Pegasus was a reputable company that did all they said. I signed the contract but now feel disheartened today and will try and cancel it. Shame there are people like this out there they should be shut down. Especially if they don’t do all they say they will in regards to promoting the book.

  23. MT-B said:

    I received an identically worded email offering an ‘inclusive contract’ from Vanguard Press rather than a ‘traditional contract’ from Pegasus. The cost (too me) is £2,400. Smells like ‘bait & switch’.

  24. MT-B said:

    Out of a sense of devilment I read Vanguard’s contract and returned an annotated copy indicating 8 clauses that unfairly promoted the Publisher’s interests above those of the author (payment schedules, cash flow, breach etc); 2 errors in contractual law and posed 19 questions that required clarification over intent and lack of definition in 7 pages of text. It is one the most poorly drafted contracts I have had the misfortune to read. Rather than address matters Pegasus replied that ‘the offer wasn’t right for me and that the contract could not be changed.” As Pegasus’ website and submission conditions makes no mention of their use of the imprint Vanguard Press as a vanity publisher it risks contaminating what was once considered to be a strong brand in the publishing sector.

    • Luis Carruthers said:

      Hang on, what do you mean strong brand? Pegasus has never been anything other than what it is now.

  25. Douglas Renwick said:

    Wow! I have just read all the comments above – and the review of course – prior to sending off my synopsis and first three chapters. Thank you for saving me £2500! Can anyone recommend an honest publishing house? I have two novels ready to go, one self-published on Amazon and the other still on my computer..

  26. Jennifer Lynch said:

    What can I say – they are currently reading my manuscript. If I have to pay – I won’t be doing it this way. We will see!
    All my books are self published and there is still amazon scout.

    • Luis Carruthers said:

      It’s extremely unlikely you won’t have to pay, and even if you do get a so-called “traditional contract” that doesn’t mean you’re likely to have any success. This is a company that lacks the expertise, personnel and motivation required to actually sell a book. Their business model is to make money from the author’s pocket. Of course they’re happy if a book sells some copies, but that’s seen as an optional extra and not a necessity.

  27. David Lawrence-Young said:

    I had four historical novels published with Pegasus/Vanguard about five years ago. The books looked OK and when I went to meet them in Cambridge (in a nearby Industrial Park) they greeted me kindly, especially as I come from overseas. The books appeared on Amazon but hardly sold. In the end, about two years ago I cancelled all my contracts with them and took my books elsewhere.
    THEY DID ABSOLUTELY ZERO about selling or publicising my books and THAT is why I quit with them. An author goes to a publisher for PUBLICITY not printing. Anyone can do that. You are hereby warned.

  28. Luis Carruthers said:

    They do not possess expertise in selling books to the public, nor do they have much enthusiasm for doing so.

    Pegasus pays its overheads and makes its profits from money it takes out of authors’ pockets. Sure, they don’t mind selling books and some do sell a bit, but that’s a bonus. Revenue from selling books is not the primary source of income.

    In addition, it’s important to remember when they say the “contribution” goes towards a proportion of production costs this is a total lie. It’s literally a lie. This contribution, as I’m sure some authors have figured out, is enough to pay for the book’s production costs with enough money left over to make a profit too. The business model is such that they must always account for a book selling potentially zero copies.

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