Why Do You Need an Index?
An index is a key section of a nonfiction book. An index allows your reader to easily locate the information he is looking for. An index is like a link–it takes the reader directly to something he needs. A good index instantly makes your book more usable, reliable, and informative.
Can’t Anyone Create an Index?
Indexing is a highly specialized skill. A good indexer understands how your readers think and the words they will use to find certain information. A professional indexer also is able to see the big picture organization of your book and chapters and distill the concepts into indexable terms. An index must be organized logically and clearly with directions inside it that help a reader get to the information that is needed. These are skills that require training and experience. Even if your book is an ebook, you still need an index in addition to the search function. A search function allows a reader to locate exact words or phrases, but often readers do not use the same words or phrases you have used in your book.
How Do I Have an Index Made?
To have an indexed prepared for your book, you need final laid out book pages. Manuscript pages will not work. The book must be laid out into its final paged format. The indexer need to know how much space is available for the index in your book. The best way to calculate that is to determine how many lines are available (find out how many pages have been reserved for the index and the number of lines per page in your book). Most books require a general index. Some books require two indexes, often a general index and a name index (common in biographies and historical nonfiction particularly). You also need to know when the index is needed by. Index fees are determined by the number of pages in your book that are indexed.
Brette Sember has been preparing indexes for more than 20 years and has worked with authors, publishers (trade and academic), and pre-press companies. She has indexed more than 300 books about topics such as self-help, history, biography, law, food, cooking, pets, business, parenting, entertaining, finance, occult, religion, pregnancy, health, writing, and many other topics. In addition to non-fiction trade, she also regularly indexes textbooks in the social sciences, law, and humanities areas. Brette is a member of the American Society of Indexers. She is genuinely excited by indexing and loves to delve into a book and understand its order and message and then help convey that to readers.
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