Austin Macauley UK – Reviewed (Updated, November 2014)

Review_AMP_9

AM Logo

 

Austin Macauley is a UK-based publisher founded in 2007 and it offers both traditional and contributory fee contracts to authors. Company House UK records list Mohammed Bu-Malik as director. The company makes repeated references on its website to a London address in Citigroup Centre 2, Canary Warf — which is a large office tower used to lease virtual and physical office space. Records show the company actually trades out of an industrial business area in Cambridge.

Based in London, Austin Macauley Publishers has established itself as an energetic and imaginative independent trade publisher. Our publications range from historical romances to showbiz memoirs; from illustrated children’s tales to in-depth technical manuals; from hard-hitting thrillers to meditative poetry. Our team at Austin Macauley are optimistic and forward-thinking; we pride ourselves on being able to offer authors both new and previously published the opportunity to become established in the ever-expanding world of books.

Unfortunately Austin Macauley was not always entirely transparent about the fact that its publishing model included contributory fees. Even to this day, it is unclear to many authors. For a long time Austin Macauley persisted with a policy of not initially disclosing the reality that many contracts were contribution-based until after an author had submitted a manuscript for appraisal. The company’s efforts to disclosure the existence of contributory-fee contracts remains entirely unsatisfactory and information is contradictory and misleading, particularly for new and aspiring authors.

From the Austin Macauley About Us webpage:

We are keen to open up the world of publishing at a time when many publishers are turning their backs on untried authors, and when the lure of self-publishing seems to provide writers with control, but at an exorbitant cost and with every chance of being lost in the crowd.

The intimation here suggests to authors that Austin Macauley is a traditional publisher and has nothing to do with self-publishing. We will come back to ‘exorbitant cost’ later in this review. Again, from the About Us webpage under Submitting your work:

Initially, our editors look at every new manuscript with a view to offering a traditional mainstream publishing deal. It is only when our editors have reviewed the work thoroughly that will we be able to decide which avenue would be most suitable for each individual book.

And a little more …

A traditional partnership agreement entails the same benefits as a mainstream agreement. However, as the writer you may be asked to cover part of the cost of publishing the book.

This is the primary place where the cost of publishing for the author is mentioned. The Submissions webpage detailing how and where authors should send their manuscripts makes no mention of costs or contributory fees. In other words, if an author does not read the Austin Macauley About Us webpage, he/she will be oblivious to this important detail. The comments section under this review and the correspondence TIPM has received over several years reflects exactly this experience.

More of a concern to me is this protection notice buried deep in the Austin Macauley Terms & Conditions:

It is possible that, should an author submit work that he or she has written and that the Company (Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.) wishes to publish but does not have at that time the immediate facility to offer a non-contributory publishing contract, an alternative opportunity to publish the manuscript in question is then considered. As a consequence, information and details concering [sic] this alternative form of contract which may involve a contribution from the author is subsequently sent for consideration to the author.

To be fair to AM (Austin Macauley), there is no doubt it offers its share of non-contributory, traditional contracts, but from the correspondence TIPM has received over several years; contributory contracts appear to greatly outnumber traditional contracts offered.

While I like the ease of navigation on the AM website, it’s pretty functional and I would expect a great deal more from a traditional publisher. Yes, it is focussed on books and authors, the way any publisher’s website should be, but it would leave most readers underwhelmed in an era of Amazon, Goodreads and small UK publishers like Salt and Bloodaxe. AM redesigned the website over the summer of 2014 and launched a blog which contains various short pieces on author events and books. Upcoming author appearances are showcased at the bottom of the main webpage and books are actively promoted on the publisher’s social media pages. Over seven years AM has published over 1000 titles (paper, e-book and audiobooks). In November alone, the publisher released 30+ titles in print and e-book formats!

AM books are sold from the publisher’s online bookshop, with distribution through the Ingram network.

I have to say I was somewhat disappointed with the quality of AM’s book cover design. At best, cover design is a pretty mixed bag here, and frankly, some of the book covers look amateurish and nothing like the quality required for the trade market. Prices, though, are competitive, ranging £7.99 to £13.99 for paperbacks, and £3.00 to £4.00 for Kindle editions. Reviews are plentiful on the top 10% of AM titles but pretty dramatically trail off to one or two reviews for the bulk of the catalogue.

AM Books

Our innovative and enthusiastic marketing team continues to employ the tried and tested routes of AIs, print adverts, reviews and interviews, supplementing these with a full range of modern sales techniques, including social media, blogging, reading groups and book trailers. We regularly and rigorously investigate cutting-edge marketing strategies to make sure our authors’ work receives the attention it deserves.

If I had a penny for every time a publisher or paid-publishing company makes these claims, I’d be doing pretty well. Every publisher likes to think it is operating on the cutting edge, but the reality is most publishers that offer contributory fee contracts are not cutting edge, but rather carry out the minimum that needs to be done to produce, promote and sell books in a highly competitive marketplace. For a publisher that claims to ‘rigorously investigate cutting-edge marketing strategies’ for its authors, I’d expect to see the Look Inside feature available on AM’s print books listed on Amazon. Currently AM books only feature this option on e-book editions, and the quality of formatting on the books I’ve sampled are less than satisfactory. Indeed, of the half-dozen or more books I looked at, all of them suffered from inconsistent indentation and every one used the same font and layout — not exactly cutting-edge at all!

AM don’t list editors or staff on the website, and while this is not something all publishers and publishing services do, it does helps to build confidence and trust with authors when examining prospective publishing options. TIPM is aware of staffs who worked for the company since 2008, and right up to 2014. TIPM is also aware of a management change in 2010, and yet over the years — even considering that writers’ forums are filled with the names of AM staff dealing with author submissions (ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7) — TIPM has found it next to impossible to substantiate the records of those names in trade directories and on LinkedIn. Indeed, even AM’s blog piece for the London Book Fair’s website this year was a curious and anonymous exchange.

 

AM LBF14 Stand

 

The company did have a stand at this year’s London Book Fair. You can see its i503 stand in the accompanying photograph (above), which was posted to the AM facebook page. You will also notice the stand is empty with not a single AM employee to be seen, and it’s a theme which runs through all of AM’s web presence, whether you look at the company’s website or its social media pages. Not a single face or footprint. AM staff must be a very shy bunch! I’d have thought any traditional publisher would be clamouring to put a personal face to all its professional endeavours. I have talked to several authors who interacted with AM staff at the London Book Fair, and one other international event, and they all report that at no stage did AM staff members ever mention the possibility of contributory publishing fees during their exchanges.

Based on contract terms offered to authors by AM, including both traditional and contributory contracts; take note of the following points.

This is not self-publishing (not that AM claim it is):

  • All books are issued with registered ISBNs listing AM as publisher of origin
  • The publisher owns the completed production files
  • AM has the right to end the contract anytime
  • AM take exclusive rights not non-exclusive rights

This is not traditional publishing:

  • The publisher does not have widespread trade distribution (there is a difference between wholesale supply, availability and distribution with sales representatives)
  • Books will be published within 190 days once the author supplies a completed manuscript, any other required materials, and payment based on agreed terms for contributory contracts
  • Authors are entitled to 5-10 complimentary copies of their book on publication
  • The publisher asserts no guarantee of a specific number of sales
  • The publisher may pay an advance on non-contributory contracts (see below)
  • The publisher states all books will be edited, designed and produced for distribution and sale

While AM says it announces publication of books with promotional sales sheets (to the trade) and press releases (to the media), this does not replace the absence of dedicated sales representatives at a distributor to negotiate with book buyers on shelf space in shops. Consider any major publisher in the UK. Let’s take the largest independent publisher, Faber & Faber. Faber published 35+ titles in November, 2014. AM published an equivalent amount — 30 titles. This is AM’s accounts record filed with Company House UK in August 2013. Compare this to figures released by Faber in The Bookseller. As an author submitting a manuscript to AM, whether you are ultimately offered a contributory or non-contributory contract, ask yourself if AM can afford the same amount of marketing budget behind each of those 30 titles every month like Faber. I think the answer is obvious. The author is going to have to take on a considerable amount of the marketing effort to promote his/her book even with the best intentions and claims from AM. My point here is not to unfairly compare AM to a trade publisher like Faber, but that’s exactly what AM try to convey to authors on its website — that it is a traditional publisher delivering all that any other publisher delivers.

 

Advances, Royalties, Discounts & Contributory fees

Contracts offered by AM vary widely, from contributory to non-contributory. This information is based on contracts I have seen and from author feedback directly and from the comment section below this review.

Contributory fees vary between £1150 and £3500. The average contribution fee tends to be between £2000 and £2500 depending on the length and type of book. I have seen one contract which specifically outlined fees of £1150 for an e-book, £2300 for a paperback and e-book, and £3300 for paperback, hardback and e-book.

AM says it evaluates all submissions based on the quality of the manuscript and marketability of the potential book. On that basis, the decision is made to take an author on under a traditional, non-contributory contract or a contributory contract (suggesting a fee as outlined above). The third option is that AM reject the manuscript. I have not heard from any author who was rejected by AM, but that does not mean it does not happen. As part of the process, AM (sometimes) include an editorial assessment (no charge) to back up its offer. I have seen several editorial assessments carried out by AM, and for the most part, while running to a single page or two, I found them fair, professional, thorough, and generally helpful to the author.

I am aware of about six verified non-contributory contracts offered by AM. I don’t offer this information as some kind of 100% report on all of the contracts offered by the publisher, but rather a snapshot of the contracts offered by AM that I am aware of. This is simply to confirm that the publisher does offer some authors non-contributory contracts. Some of these contracts have come with a small advance on royalties. The advances reported to me vary between £50 and £150.

Contributory contracts come with what I would consider very low royalties, regardless of what path of publishing you want to compare them with. Typically authors who pay a contributory fee of £2000 to £2500 are offered print royalties of 20-25% on net income to the publisher (after wholesale/retail discounts) and 40% on e-books. Authors can purchase stocks of books, but this really varies widely, anything between 25-60% off the retail price.

Books published by AM are offered to the trade at 40% discount.

 

Overall

AM clearly do some work to promote its authors’ books, but I think it is limited and far from the ‘cutting-edge’ marketing claim it makes.

I don’t consider Austin Macauley a traditional publisher, self-publishing service provider, or even an assisted publishing service. Frankly, Austin Macauley is bits of all of those identifications without really being any of them. Some might even describe it as a vanity press, and nothing more. What I do know is that Austin Macauley is certainly not an option for an author looking for a self-publishing service, and it isn’t an option if an author is looking to be traditionally published. I base that on all I have said above and some disturbing red flags. Perhaps the most alarming detail I stumbled across were buried away on the company’s website Terms & Conditions.

By entering this site you agree that you waive all claims against the Company, its officers, its employees, or its suppliers of information.

Together with the earlier citation on costs from the company’s Terms & Conditions, I can’t conclude there is any effort to be transparent on exactly what kind of publishing business Austin Macauley offers its authors. Whether the company physically occupy offices in London’s Canary Warf or it is just a virtual address, with an operational base in Cambridge, really makes little difference now. What you say you do as a publisher is one thing, but what is actually the experience of authors is another. TIPM’s overriding experience of authors submitting to Austin Macauley (and the comments below this review solidify this) is that they honestly believed they were dealing with a traditional publisher until the moment they received a contributory contract. Mentioning this in a single line on a publisher’s About Us page and throwing in a legal clause buried in the Terms & Conditions page is not an excuse for transparency.

What I would say to any author receiving a contribution-based proposal from Austin Macauley is that you must carefully consider the fee you are going to pay the publisher, especially if you had not expected such a request—regardless of encouragement or praise from the publisher’s editorial department. You must consider this fee in light of the royalties offered (20-25% on net) and work out just how many books you would need to sell to break even. Here is one example, and I’m giving AM the benefit of the doubt here that this is based on NET income to the publisher, not NET Profit (less print costs):

Based on a book retailing at £8.00 –

£8.00 less the retail/wholesale discount of 40% = £3.20 –

And at 25% author royalty, that is £1.20 –

Based on £1.20, an author would have to sell 2083 books just to recoup a £2500 contributory fee!

Okay, let’s call this:

I can’t see what Austin Macauley offer on their contributory contracts that any author couldn’t get for a lot less than £2500 from a reputable self-publishing service provider or dealing directly with freelance service agents. For what Austin Macauley actually does, the costs are exorbitant, with editorial mistakes on book descriptions and some of the books I’ve looked at.

I actually found it hard to come up with pros because most of them are actually what a claimed traditional publisher should be doing anyway, and this is after all of what AM describes itself as.

If there is one single thing Austin Macauley could take on board; it is you cannot ride on two coattails. Most publishers that adopt any type of contributory or partnership publishing model — and actually make them work without confusing authors — do so by defining a distinct identity between its trade imprint and its contributory contracted books.

Something makes me think Austin Macauley set out to muddy that line of distinction as much as possible.

 

PROS

  • Publisher offers non-contributory contracts
  • Small advances paid
  • Functional website
  • Books and author events prominent on website and social media
  • Competitive retail pricing on books

CONS

  • Lack of transparency on contracts which leads most authors to believe they are submitting to a traditional publisher with no costs to them
  • Poor royalties
  • Limited distribution
  • Lack of traceability and identify of staff
  • Poor cover design on many covers
  • Author has no claim on production files
  • Poor e-book formatting quality
  • Publisher releases titles beyond its capacity to promote

 

RATING: 4.9/10 (PROVISIONAL)

Authors

45 Comments

  1. Anonymous said:

    As independent booksellers, our only knowledge of Austin & MacAuley’s publications is through badly written stock letters where they fill in a few details about the book in question. They usually say “the author is well known & from your local area” wherever in the country they are actually from.
    They say we can order them through the wholesaler Gardners, but at a very poor 25% discount and they are non-returnable.
    Also, their Canary Wharf address is actually a vanity, “virtual” address. It’s little more than an expensive P.O. Box with a forwarding service.

  2. Editor said:

    Anonymous,

    A lot of what you say as an independent bookseller regarding this author solutions service, can be applied to many other service providers. And yes, 25% discount on non-returnable books is not going to attract any bookseller, independent or not.

    The links provided in my review do point to Absolutwrite’s thread on this publishing service, which alerts prospective authors to the fact that their address is indeed simply a ‘virtual’ posting address for manuscripts forwarding on.

  3. Anonymous said:

    I actually used to work for Austin Macauley myself until september last year, and I have to say I do agree with some of the comments. However the company was taken over by new management in 2010 and since then changes were made to improve the company image. They did start off as a virtual adress but with new managment injecting cash into the company they obtained permanent office space at canary wharf where the senior members sit. The production office is elsewhere, though, which is where I used to work. I have to say since the take-over they have turned their priority into selling and promoting books. The staff now are extremely focussed on that aspect of selling books with lots of good ideas, and I know they are selling books as ebooks too.

    The reason that I am actually defending them is because, having worked for a publishing company, I was able to get a better job in a much larger publishing house.By the way, the discount they offer to wholesalers and bookshops is actually 40% and above and the stock is on sale or return.

  4. Editor said:

    Thanks Anonymous for some of those clarifications. The change in ownership in 2010 was one of the main reasons I decided to do the review. I had been aware of them for about three years, and when the site was updated and improved and a great deal of transparency introduced to their services.

    I agree, it is approaching the time the review could do with an update and I work on that over the coming months. Their direction certainly changed by late 2010, and it is clear from my own monitoring of them and also through communications on their Facebook page which I follow, that there is now a committed focus to selling books rather than just publishing services.

  5. Anonymous said:

    I have used Austin & Macauley for my book and it has done fantastic! I think it depends on your writing style and will power. I worked with the head of marketing Brett Sanderson he was so helpful and got me on numerous radio stations and book signings. Also with my input on top I had done talks at local libraries as well. Part of being a new or unknown author is also to do some self promotion too; it’s not going to sell thousands of copies by sitting on your backside. Publishing is a risk but if you are motivated and dedicated to your work you will get places! I am glad I used Austin and Macauley as there dedicated team have helped me come along way. Not every book is successful; it is business at the end of the day.

  6. Gerry's Villa said:

    I read all these comments with interest. My book has been accepted by Austin Macaulay on a fee paying basis. At Face value I like them. The but for me is do I trust them? When your paying for your own work to be published, it is vanity publishing. Being approved to be published by a vanity press, does not really endorse your work. Speaking as a writer, I want that Kudos. I want someone to look at my work and approve it. Looking at my work and then saying well done, now hand over £3000.00 isn’t really the well deserved pat on the head I was waiting for. I had no idea they (Austin Macaulay) offered fee biased publishing until the offer arrived. My other concern is, this review was easy to find, why is there not a plethora of happy Austin Macaulay Authors here bursting with personal endorsements for their publisher.
    If anyone has answer contact me gerryward007@gmail.com

  7. Mick Rooney said:

    It’s part of the issue I have with this publisher, Gerry. Most authors submitting manuscripts still don’t realise that most books are accepted on a contribution basis.

    Regarding your point on positive reviews of AM from authors: most authors are more focussed on promoting their book and shy away from publicly reporting on experiences with a publisher – good or bad. The bulk of feedback I get on this publisher is negative, rather than positive, but it should be noted that feedback comes from authors declining the fee-based offers.

  8. David Ellis said:

    It’s interesting to read the comments about Austin Macauley. I received a traditional publishing contract from them about a month ago. Because of the negative comments on AbsoluteWrite, I almost laughed off the offer because I thought there had to be catch. But since signing with them they’ve appeared thoroughly professional and the book is going through the production process. It would be interesting to know how they decide to take on a book for a trad-pub deal and also what percentage get published that way.

    • Mick Rooney said:

      I’m glad it’s shaping up well for you, David, but it’s early doors in the process. They definitely appear to be doing a lot more for authors on the promo side in past year. I’d say the split trad/self is less than they might claim, but it would make sense to offer a trad based on the submission being strong and the author has a reasonable sized readership base already built and a very marketable book.

    • Gerry's Villa said:

      Interesting to read David Ellis comment. I have no reason not to believe him. Just wish there were more valid endorsements of A&M to be found…I have not come to a personal conclusion about A&M yet. It would look like their business model aims to deliver 20 new publications per month. If those authors all paid £2000 the business would be worth £40,000 p/m £480,000pa without royalty interests added. Writers Net is another site that doesn’t offer a good word about A&M http://www.writers.net/forum/showthread.php?75830-Austin-amp-Macauley-has-anyone-heard-of-them
      But that does not mean A&M are not Bonafide. I have to say the people I have spoken with at A&M, all seem nice.
      However Diy publishing on Amazon or LULU does look an interesting alternative.

    • Gerry's Villa said:

      If you are a first time author let me say well done.
      It must not of been easy to get all those words on paper and you have done it, so reward yourself. Well done.
      Now it would seem comes the really hard part getting yourself read by paying clients.
      You know you can count on your family and friends, but they are not going to be that keen on actually having to buy a copy of your book, after all your not Andy Mcnab or J K Rowling, are you.
      So here lays the first questions? How many books can you sell?
      Let us say 500.
      Now at what retail price?
      Let’s guess £8.99
      Let now look at the sum and see if your a millionaire?
      Gross £4495.00 looks good but printing charges for the book have to be subtracted first. 500 books@3.50 per print.£1750.00
      Suddenly £4495-1750 = £2745.00
      Unfortunately there is another deduction if you have signed a contract how much did it say was your percentage was ?
      40% ?
      40% of 2745 = £1098.00
      Now if you paid your publisher £2000 up front, they have made £3647.00
      Your minus £902 plus the cost of writing your book
      The publisher is up £3647.00. minus any promotional expenses.spent out on your book.
      Your writing one book per year? The publisher listing 20 books per month.
      It does begin to look like your on the wrong end of the quill.
      But at least now you can call your self a published author on job application, (you are going to need a job because your £902 in the Red) Also it is probably best not to tell anyone you had to pay to have your book published, or they may say. ‘Your not a proper author then’, and chuckle as the actuality of their words hit you.
      But personally as I stand in the same shoe’s as you. I say to you well done for writing that first book and I hope it will be successful for you and sell millions. As indeed I hope my own will also be.

  9. Gerry's Villa said:

    Things to consider.
    Who judges the judges.
    A&M is supposedly owned by an Arab business man.
    Who are the panel of editors that judge your work and what qualifications do they hold to do this?
    If A&M is a production line vanity publishers, then at one end they will be turning out books. At the other feeding new authors, it will be done on a cycle and have a time frame. The excitement you feel in the build up to A&M excepting your work, will in fact, only be part of the marketing strategy. IF ! It has already been decided to except a target of 20 manuscripts per month to meet A&M production line requirements then your work will automatically of been excepted on the first day of your works arrival. The game of making you wait for their decision, is just to heighten your desire for their acceptance of your work and make you more acceptable to the concept of paying to have your work published.
    But I have no evidence of this other than the fact A&M advertise for new authors, the most vulnerable type of author, and the established publishers have no need of this form of recruitment.
    The other thing that now concerns me is the atmosphere that is built around your work, it almost feels like it is saying, ‘You know what, your not quite good enough, but pay our fee and we can slip you in, sort out your editing, fix your spelling and grammar make you look like a professional.’ You already are a writer, you have written a book, that is a big achievement. A really talented big achievement. Many people talk about wanting to write a book, but you climbed the mountain and you did it. Remember, apart from the mass market of publishing there will always be readers for every genera. Liken it to lots of boxes of Cornflakes get sold, but some people eat caviar.
    When you sign a publishing contract you sell your writes to your book, You sell everything you have just worked so hard on to write down. For me it keeps coming back to, you now want me to pay you to buy my book, so your business can make a profit.

  10. Gerry's Villa said:

    It is probably fair to say I am over blogging on this subject BUT!

    As a kid I never really asked to many questions.
    Example.. What’s that Mummy?
    It’s a Cow darling, it goes Moo.
    That answers is good enough for me then..
    As I got a little older my questioned changed.
    What is the strongest beer you have got barman? ‘Wadsworth 6x.
    That will do for me than.
    When the TV cop’s & robbers program came to the end with the words ‘Your Nicked !
    I just excepted that the bad guys go to jail and didn’t ask my self, did the bad guys get their Miranda rights properly?
    And as a first time author myself I never asked any questions about
    Publishers? Why should I ? You write a book send it in to a publisher, if they accept your book lucky you, Job done, isn’t it?
    What is a publishers?
    It a business, set up to make a profit out of selling books, and if the big cheese at Penguin is on a minimum 80K pa before 1st class executive flights and all the other essential expenses,
    Then that publishers needs to be making a pretty penny.

    My Point!
    And I think it is time I made one, is that you should be asking more question than I ever did.

    Your book doesn’t go in the post and land on the desk of the big cheese. It hit the desk of the lowest pay grade sub editor. You can call this filter number one.

    A profit making business can not leave the process of finding a good book to chance, or a sub editor that may pass your book on a whim, they need protocols and this I am told takes the form of a check list which regardless to how well written your work is, decides whether your in or your out.

    Another thing for you consider is how quickly can you read a book?
    Given there is 40 hours in a working week, if your job was to be a sub editor, how many books could you read in that time?
    How many sub editors can the publishers that you have sent your book to afford?

    If I was a sub editor, rolling into work on a Monday morning after a good session on the pop at the weekend and yours was the first book I picked up, don’t take it to heart if I rejected you. After my ten o’clock cup of coffee you would of passed with flying colours.

    Now to bury my comment deep in this post where it won’t be seen.
    I can’t say anything bad about Austin Macauley, they have always been very professional, and one of the girls I met there is a right little cutie, but that can’t influence my final decisions. When there acceptance letter arrived about 5 weeks after submission, I was over the moon. Wow! I loved Austin Macauley especially the cute one, but then I started to think with my brain and not with what a man normally uses. The folder their letter arrived in was emblazoned with other companies logo’s. BBC, W.H.Smith etc, so I picked two at random and emailed them for there opinion on Austin Macauley. After all A&M was using those logo’s as an endorsement of themselves. Nada, not a word back from anyone. So I tried contacting two of A&M authors through facebook. No reply to date. This in it’s self is not a reason not to use A&M. But the offer they made me was fee based, and I wasn’t ready for that. A&M had never warned me that they where/are not a traditional trade based Publishers.
    As the offer was fee based I then started getting prices from other vanity publisher or fee based publishers so I could compare like with like what A&M was offering me, and I found out that prices for fee based publishing start from as little as £500.
    My real dilemma right now is, am I any good as a writer?
    How do I know when it fulls upon me to pay for the publishing of my own novel?
    I have to acknowledge I owe Austin Macauley a debt. They gave me the final push I need to write.
    But now I feel foolish, in my excitement of getting Austin Macauly’s acceptance letter I told my friends I am going to be a writer. If I now have tell them I am only a writer because I paid for it, their laughter will be greater.

    • Anonymous said:

      Hello. I have been reading this thread with a great deal of interest. I’m a first time novelist and I too have just received a ‘contribution contract’ offer from Austin Macauley. I’ve been trying to research them but not really getting anywhere. I’ve found a lot of online comments about them but they seem to date from around 2010/11. My initial instinct is that if they offered me a fee paying contract then they don’t actually believe in the book and while they may fulfil the letter of the contract it is difficult to sell a product in which you don’t believe. I noticed that you gave your email address earlier on. I was wondering if anyone has been in touch with you to offer any further thoughts about their experiences with them. Thank you.

  11. Gerry's Villa said:

    Anyone who wants to contact me about Austin Macauley are most welcome to do so. I think it is good that genuine people should post here any experiences that they may of had with Austin Macauley.
    My opinions are never fixed in stone, if I find out anything good about (AM) I will share it here with you.
    But for now personally, I feel upset that at the beginning of my personal relationship with (AM) I was never told that they were a fee based publishers or that they offered fee based contracts along side traditional contracts. To me fee based Publishers are the same as Vanity publishers. (You pay to see your book printed). Vanity publishers have to advertise to get new business. Traditional publishers don’t have to advertise they always receive authors manuscripts.
    If a traditional publisher offers you a contract it is an endorsement of your writing skills.
    If a Vanity fee based contract is offered to you, it because they want your money.
    My opinion is for all the tantalizing publicity Austin Macauley generate about wanting to encourage new writers, I think they just want your money, and see new writers, who are vulnerable and have no idea how to get their book published as revenue stream to line the coffers of the Ltd company that is trading as Austin Macauley.
    Austin Macauley use other companies logo’s like W.H.Smith, BBC on their own literature . This would imply to me, that these logo names endorse (AM). However, when I wrote to these companies to ask if they did indorsed (AM) I got no reply from W.H.Smith or the BBC. I would be interested to know if anyone else has done the same as me, and if they got a response from the companies they wrote to?
    Logos are protected by copyright, the use of such material by unauthorized persons in some cases, can be illegal.

    gerryward007@gmail.com

  12. David Ellis said:

    As I mentioned earlier in this thread, Austin Macauley offered me a trad-pub contract for my novel which I’ve signed after having it checked over by a lawyer. I’m absolutely clear that there are no fees to pay and the contract stipulates five free copies of the book and a small advance, which I’ve received. They’ve also requested to see my next book. Thus far, the only thing negative I can say is that the time from signing the contract to actual publication can seem inordinately long (a maximum of 190 days is mentioned in the contract) when one’s had experience of going the self-publishing route. Given all the negativity that exists on the web about AM, it would be good to hear from authors who’ve had a similar experience to mine.

  13. Gerry's Villa said:

    Austin Macauley sent me a letter. It demanded that I must remove all my negative comments about them, or they would take action against me. They said one of their authors had reported me to them. Well, one of their authors above my comment, asks why there is not more positive comments in favour of Austin Macauley? I would think the answer to that is self evident.

  14. Gerry's Villa said:

    If you receive a contributions contract from Austin Macauley, then in my opinion it is the same as baking a cake, then paying people to eat it.
    If you receive a traditional contract from Austin Macauley, How are they going to sell your book for you?

  15. Algarve Cometoportugal said:

    Congrats David Ellis, I also sent off my work to Austin Macauley as well as others, in June I was lucky I was offered 2 contracts by chance I happened to meet the Senior Editor of Austin Macauley a year before when at a fair, I also meet one of their authors who also was signed to them on a traditional non contribute contract, since then, that author and I have become friends. I choose to go with Austin Macauley as I found them very professional my contract was very fair and they even paid me an advance. if you look at some of their authors they include ones like Dave Jones who was the creator of the well known Fireman Sam. so far my MS is with the production team who are very prompt they speak to me on the phone. I see many posts from disgruntled writers who are either turned down or ask to contribute, So whats wrong with that? Amazon’s CreateSpace does not offer you an editing team or proof readers, I have seen so many badly written books on Amazon. we are in 2014 and more and more pop up publishers are offering self publishing I don’t see bad reviews about them because those people want to pay to see their work in print, Have you ever perhaps looked at your Work Gerry’s Villa? why should a publisher take a chance on you after all it is at their expense. am I one of the lucky ones? NO I did my research and told all those whom I submitted too, where my book would stand in the market place and what audience it was aimed at, that why they took me on. my book is due for release next year and I am happy to but my name to this thread. yours.
    Karl Bradshaw-White

  16. Gerry's Villa said:

    Dear Algarve Cometoportugal. I think you will find Amazon offers all the facilities of publishing. Although some may cost a modest fee. As AM publish their tittles on Amazon, it may be naive of you to knock them. If your accusing me of calling AM unprofessional, then you are miss quoting me. If you are accusing me of being a disgruntled rejected writer. You would be wrong. I have a contract and emails from AM. But I decided not to exercise their option. This allow me to provide an unbiased review on AM. As I have said many times, my opinion of AM is not written in stone. If I find out good thing about them I will share it. As to the lady Author you met at the show. Like a lot of authors she sales her own books by public speaking and self promotion. I think she has published 2 books with AM. I like to see every writer doing well, so I will add my congratulations to your success. As I stated on here above, AM send threatening letter to you if you post your own honest opinion about them. That may stop others stating their views publicly on here. gerryward007@gmail.com

  17. Gerry's Villa said:

    If Austin Macauley accept more authors to counter the negative comments they receive, here and on many other websites, then I guess it is a good thing. If you pay AM they will package your book for you. This means Editing, Book cover and maybe other thing I don’t know about. If you want that service then there are lots of Vanity publishers to chose from starting from £500. Austin Macauley also offer traditional contracts, sometimes. Personally I feel AM disproportionately publicise them selves, not giving equal representation to the fact that they may offer you a contribution contract. I think this extinguish the hope out of first time writers, and I consider that a bad thing in any publisher, including AM. My personal view is that AM can’t offer much in the way of sales promotions. But then again when I asked how they would promote my book, I found them non-committal. That said, I believe them to be professional. But then the same could be said about Time-share sales persons

  18. Algarve Cometoportugal said:

    My comments on this post are to help the Editor of this review rethink that it may be time to look further into updating this page.
    Comments from silly disgruntled writers who have been rejected,who then have the Gaul to post on this review,smutty belittling comments in one sentence then retract them for fear of a defamation libel lawsuit.
    Quote:( I believe them to be professional. But then the same could be said about Time-share sales persons) also another quote:
    (But now I feel foolish, in my excitement of getting Austin Macauly’s acceptance letter I told my friends I am going to be a writer. If I now have tell them I am only a writer because I paid for it, their laughter will be greater.)
    I urge the editor of this review to stop allowing anybody to post such negative comments on a review that is way out of date.

  19. Gerry's Villa said:

    Dear Algarve Cometoportugal. If you wish to make comments to the Editor of this blog, then let me help you out. The smart thing to do is mail Mr Mick Rooney direct, and not aim your comments at me.

  20. Algarve Cometoportugal said:

    Did I call you stupid I think not,disgruntled yes.
    Quoting Mick Rooney(The bulk of feedback I get on this publisher is negative, rather than positive, but it should be noted that feedback comes from authors declining the fee-based offers.) so that would be you then Gerry’s Villa.
    my post on here is like David Ellis, Austin Macauley do give genuine traditional contracts with an advance payment, that’s two conformations on this thread alone. I Highly recommended Austin Macauley who have been very professional in all aspects.
    You need to get up from the ground Gerry and dust yourself off and move on. Somewhere out there is a publisher that just might like your work enough to give you a traditional contract, if you have not already got one? buy a copy of the Writers & Artist yearbook. and Good Luck,that’s all I say on the matter.

    • Trisha Hughes said:

      Trisha Hughes
      I have been reading the “thread” . My manuscript is in the queue with AM at the moment who requested that I send them my full manuscript a week ago. I am waiting …….. I guess my comment to all of this is that AM were the only ones who were respectful enough to even acknowledge they had received my manuscript at all. I live in Australia and the policy over here is “If you haven’t heard back in 3 months, we have decided not to go ahead. Don’t call us for feedback. We are too busy” . To have someone come back with “congratulations for finishing your work since we know that is an accomplishment” is amazing. I am crossing all fingers and toes. Thank you for being positive with all your comments Algarve.

  21. Gerry's Villa said:

    Dear Algarve Cometoportugal. Please try and get your fact’s right. As I said before, if you have comment for the editor of this Blog, direct it to him, not to me. I am not a rejected author by Austin Macauley. If you read what I have written more closely, you will see that I declined their offer, for the reasons that I have already given. I don´t really think it is helpful to have the same conversation over and over again with you. This is not Facebook. Your entitled to your opinion, and for now you support Austin Macauley… I do not. My opinion is not written in stone, if AM makes changes, and becomes more transparent. I will update my opinion. But your personal insults against me, will not achieve this. Plus your new paymaster might not be pleased with you for high-lighting, ‘Writers Beware’ and the other websites that carry a warning about Austin Macauley. I wish you success with your book on Portugal. But please leave me alone now, this has become boring.

  22. Mick Rooney said:

    Okay. Some fair points made on all sides. The most important is that this review does need a major update, which I intend to carry out very shortly. Until then, I am closing the comments, and I will reopen when the updated review goes up.

  23. Charlie Barnett said:

    Friday i received a contract from A-M, it was very nice …but asking 2,500 to publish my book. I have 8 books on the web i self published and doing right well. now the question is do you think i would be foolish enough to waste my hard earned money with A-M go to my web site and you will see my work . I am 78 years old and been writing for 45 years…What do you think?

    • Mick Rooney said:

      Charlie,
      That obviously has to be your decision. You’ve already published multiple books by self-publishing and seem happy with what you have achieved. You need to ask yourself what AM will bring to the table if you spend 2500. Will it result in greater exposure and sales for your books? If this was a non-contributory contract, I might say give it a go. What you need to do is examine the actual royalties paid by AM and work out how many books you would need to sell to recoup that 2500. Because until you recoup your contribution, you are the one out of pocket.

  24. Caz said:

    I found Austin Macauley an interesting company. I have considered sending my full M/S to them over the past few months and after looking at all the information online it would appear the obvious answer is to STAY AWAY!

    My experiences have been quite varied, I spoke with several members of staff on the phone in the earlier stages, some helpful, and others concerning. A few members of staff could hardly grasp the concept of spoken English on the telephone, re-enforcing my doubts with this company.

    It is also interesting to see through other threads they haven’t changed contact letters over the years and follow the same for poor soul who gets excited about the praise given from the initial 3 chapters Austin Macauley want to see… Has anyone actually received a rejection letter is probably a better question?

    As I am in my early years of retirement now, I asked my daughter to help with some of the more new found marketing tools like Facebook and Twitter – she found it interesting they have a vast amount of ‘followers/likes'(?) on social accounts and yet retain an engagement less than 1%. She wondered how many of these are actually real? Apparently you can purchase these? If you look at the last week with 11,000 likes on their Facebook page, the most exposure a post has is 10 likes… I may be wrong, it could also be Austin Macauley has no idea how to market which would justify author complaints, as well as the amount they’re charging for contracts.

    Great work, Mick! Thanks for all of your investigation. In my mind they seem to be a sloppy company who thrive on bad morals and ethics with no interest of making back the huge amount they are charging (trying to) authors like myself. I now know not to send them my work, as well as count my experiences with them to date as a warning sign to future submissions with other ‘traditional’ publishers.

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