Sunday, June 30, 2013

10 Steps to Indexing Your Book



Many books require an index. If a book is non-fiction; it should have an index. You never know when someone will need to find something in your book. Help make that easier.

Nancy E. Randolph’s low-tech index creation:
1. Start with your final page layouts. What does that mean? You must have finished all editing and have all you pages with text, pictures, illustrations and captions set into pages as they will appear in the book when it is printed.
2. Go through the pages and highlight each word, name or phrase that you want to be listed in the index
3. Open up your word-processing program. Name the file “index to my book.” Type each word, name or phrase with a tab afterwards and the page number where it is located. (People’s names will have to be entered in the form of Randolph, Nancy E.) Each entry will be on its own line.
4. Have someone other than yourself check this typed list against the page layouts.
5. Correct the list.
6. Sort the file alphabetically.
7. Review the list for misspellings, consistency of terms, etc. During this process you find that you have Senator Smith, Mr. Smith and John Smith and John E. Smith and they are the same person. Decide how you want to index Smith and change all the entries to your choice. (Sort again.)
8. When you find words misspelled; go back to your actual set pages and check and see if it was a typo in the page or in the typed index entry.
9. Create the entries by collecting the page numbers after the first appearing entry or the same phrase, name or word. Finish the entire list.
Tilton, Abram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
tower of toilets . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53-54
Town’s End . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26
Twambly, Fred . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60
Twombly, Andrea . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70
Twombly, Charles “Jack” . . . . . . . 60,
61, 66-71, 73
Twombly, Helen Belle Gooch . . . . 51,
53, 60, 61, 65-67
Twombly, Henry B. . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
10. Now you have a great index. (Proofread it one more time.) Flow it into your desktop publishing program or send it to your publisher. I like to set the index into two columns.

I’ve been lucky enough to have reviewers notice the index in several of my books with praise.  Your book can have that going for it also, with this tedious but simple process.

1 comment:

Athana said...

An index has subcategories. In a book about Lincoln, the index would have over 100 page references to Mary Todd. That would be of no use to anyone.