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on a publisher’s website; plenty of books, author success stories, and what seems like a very open policy for new and unpublished authors.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the perception wrongly presented is that Pegasus is a standard mainstream publisher with sympathy for new and unpublished authors.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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27 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?

    • 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

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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. Alan Smith said:

    I, too, was conned into “publishing” with them! I thought, “wow, they like it so much, they want to publish it for me” but didn’t realise (as nothing was said!) that I had to pay fees: they didn’t mention that when they solicited my book (that I’m sure they never read!)

  16. 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.

  17. Alan Aldridge said:

    Today I received a contract from Pegasus under their Vanguard imprint. The contract asks for £2500 which, having read the previous submissions, I am in doubt as whether to proceed.

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