October 11, 2021

Publishing Case Study: How Two Very Different Non-Fiction Authors Got Their Books Published

Today, Stephen Robinson and Karen Fischer are well-known and successful authors in their field. Their knowledge of their subject matter, effective writing style, and partnership with Exisle Publishing are a few things they have in common. But the subject matter of their books could not be more different. Stephen Davis is a historian whose four non-fiction books cover different aspects of military history and strategy. Karen Fischer is a nutritionist, whose beautifully designed titles help hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide overcome skin conditions and live healthier lives.

Looking at the journeys of both Exisle authors can provide insight into the publishing process, and how you can start from scratch and establish yourself as a successful non-fiction author. First, let’s meet the authors.

Stephen Robinson, The Historian

Stephen Robinson is a historian by training who has worked at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia researching British atomic weapons tests and as a policy officer in the Department of Defence. A graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College, he is an officer in the Australian Army Reserve, and has served as an instructor at the Royal Military College. 

His first book, False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II, was submitted to Exisle Publishing, and eventually picked up, leading to three more books so far: Panzer Commander Hermann Balck - Germany’s Master Tactician, The Blind Strategist: John Boyd and the American Art of War, and, coming next year, 800 Heroes.

Stephen’s books have received rave reviews by the preeminent military thinkers of our time, and featured in major international outlets such as Foreign Affairs.

Karen Fischer, The Nutritionist

Karen Fischer is a qualified nutritionist who is the founder of the eczema support network, Eczema Life. Karen has written seven books, including The Healthy Skin Diet which won ‘Best Health, Nutrition or Specific Diet Book’ at the Australian Food Media Awards. For 20 years Karen has worked with people and their skin issues, helping thousands to heal and reclaim their lives. 

Her books with Exisle have also been featured in major global news outlets, such as The Healthy Skin Kitchen in The Daily Mail.

Both Writers Had Not Been Published Before Approaching Exisle

Karen and Stephen found Exisle through very different pathways, both of which provide different examples you could also follow in your writer’s journey. 

Stephen Robinson submitted his manuscript to our Australian office. While publishers do tend to be a bit overwhelmed by unsolicited submissions, they are all read and considered. The manuscript found its way into the hands of Exisle Publishing CEO and Exisle Academy mentor, Gareth St John Thomas. Often, publishers will want to meet or at least speak with authors to understand more about them and get a sense of how they would work out as a potential long-term partner for a publishing house. The meeting was a success, and Stephen was offered a contract for his first book, False Flags. With reviews in major international media, Stephen is now firmly established as a major force in military history writing. 

Karen Fischer took a different approach. A previously self-published author with marketing experience, she approached Exisle with an agent. This approach is only recommended for authors with an existing commercial presence. A contract was offered for Karen’s first book, The Healthy Skin Diet, which was a huge global hit. While working with Exisle’s editors and global team of publicists, Karen learned how to further target her work to a growing audience. An entire business now exists on the back of her brand, with her books performing exceptionally worldwide, attracting multiple reprints and hundreds of 5-star Amazon reviews.

There Are Multiple Pathways to Getting Your Book Published

Exisle has worked with authors who have approached us cold, like Stephen Robinson. We’ve worked with authors who came through agents, like Karen Fischer. We’ve worked with authors who graduated from Exisle Academy, like Isabelle Duff for her book Cookie. We have worked with authors who had previously self-published, and those who are putting their first book out into the world. The right approach will depend on your brand, your experience and your goals.

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