Arcand/Watzke: Magnitude

Magnitude cover

Magnitude cover

Kimberly Arcand and Megan Watzke (NASW member)
Black Dog & Leventhal/Hachette, November 7, 2017, $27.99
ISBN-10: 031650291X; ISBN-13: 978-0316502917

Watzke reports:

Magnitude: The Scale of the Universe takes readers on a journey to explore the lightest and heaviest, fastest and slowest, hottest and coldest, largest and smallest, loudest and quietest phenomena in the Universe. The book is broken into four sections — size and quantity (distance, area, volume, mass, time, and temperature); rates and ratios (speed, acceleration, density, and rotation); phenomena and processes (energy, pressure, and sound); and computation — to bring these difficult concepts within reach. Inspired by the film "Powers of Ten" by Charles and Ray Eames, Magnitude uses everyday experiences as jumping-off points for the extremes we find in nature and through technology.

For Magnitude, we returned to Black Dog & Leventhal, which published our previous book, Light: The Visible Spectrum and Beyond. Having this ongoing relationship with Black Dog made the entire process very smooth. We did write a proposal, but it was more of iterative process with our editor, Becky Koh, who did a wonderful job on Light. Unlike our previous books, this one used an outside illustrator, the amazingly talented Katie Peek. This made the project different enough to be a bit scary — in a good way!

About three months prior to publication of Magnitude, we started trying to complement and amplify the publisher’s publicity plans. We wrote several articles that connected various current events to the book’s themes and ideas in outlets such as The Huffington Post, Medium, and We pushed these out via social media, and did small giveaways and promotions to get early buzz going about the book.

This is the fourth book that my co-author, Kimberly Arcand, and I have written together since 2013. We’ve been with the same agency the entire time. Kim and I have worked in the communications group for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory together for over 17 years. Our books seem to be a natural extension of the mind meld that comes from being colleagues for so many years. We are excited to see where Magnitude goes and where it might take our collaboration next.

Contact info:

Buy this book now in the ScienceWriters bookstore. Your purchase helps support NASW programs and services.

NASW members: will your book be published soon? Take advantage of this opportunity for shameless self-promotion. Submit your report for Advance Copy.

Tell your fellow NASW members how you came up with the idea for your book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. Include what you wish you had known before you began working on your book, or had done differently.


Thinking of writing a book? If you are a NASW member, you may access a list of more than 150 books and online resources to help you craft your book proposal, find an agent and funding sources, negotiate your contract, learn about self-publishing, publicize and market your book, and more at

Send book info and questions about book publishing to Lynne Lamberg, NASW book editor,

Nov. 22, 2017

Drexel University online