Cover: Forensic Science

Patricia Barnes-Svarney and Thomas E. Svarney, Forensic Science Answer Book

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW’s endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments, and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

Cover: Forensic Science

Cover: Forensic Science

Patricia Barnes-Svarney (NASW member) and Thomas E. Svarney
Visible Ink Press, September 1, 2018; $21.95
ISBN-10: 1578596218; ISBN-13: 978-1578596218
ASIN: 1578596211

Patricia Barnes-Svarney reports:

The Handy Forensic Science Answer Book is Thomas’ and my 9th book in the Handy Answer series for Visible Ink Press. We wrote it for both the general public and students who may be interested in a career in some facet of forensics.

Because both Thomas and I have a background in science, most of our books for the series deal with various science disciplines. This book is no exception. In this case, we were able to include a plethora of sciences that are represented in forensics, such as chemistry (blood samples, etc.), physics (accident investigations, etc.), anatomy (autopsies), and even some more “indirect” sciences, such as geology and meteorology. There’s also a section on how forensic science has been treated in the media, from CSI-type television programs and movies to non-fiction and fiction.

Patricia Barnes-Svarney & Thomas Svarney

Patricia Barnes-Svarney & Thomas Svarney

Most of the books we’ve written for the Handy Answer series have been suggested by us or the publisher who comes up with great topics; we then send in a detailed outline-proposal. We have had the same editor for most of the books, Kevin Hile. Kevin has a great knowledge of the sciences, which makes all parts of the process, from detailed outline to galleys, that much smoother. Our agent, Agnes Birnbaum, has been invaluable in the numerous negotiations with Visible Ink Press. We do most of our publicity through our website and/or articles. Our publicist sends out information about our books for reviews by various magazines and journals.

We obtained our information by reviewing literature in the field, conducting interviews, and talking with experts in the various forensic disciplines. We also obtained scientific abstracts and papers through organization and government websites. If we had questions, we contacted the authors, most often by e-mail.

We’re often asked how we collaborate to write our books. After over a dozen books together, we’ve learned that Thomas is an exceptional researcher, while I’m good at organizing and writing. Both of us do the editing. That usually means reading the book many times over once it’s “done.”

Contact info:

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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.


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

Dec. 26, 2018

Drexel University online