Indexing: Who Does it? - article

If you are find a traditional publisher for your book, odds are that doing the indexing will be part of the deal. When deciding whether to index your book yourself or to allow your publisher to do it, remember: A poorly done index is worse than no index at all. You should make sure the publisher’s index will be up to your standards before allowing them to handle this important task. On one hand, if a publisher offers to publish your book, but requires you to include an index, that creates extra work for you. Still, you might want to think twice before telling them to get lost; the publisher has access to the indexing software that fits the types of books they publish, which is great for format and consistency. But, they also use freelancers to do the work, freelancers who may be less than familiar with your book and could miss some key terms. In any event, deciding who will handle your index is a step that should not be taken lightly.

As for eBooks, so many companies offer this format that you should research each company’s individual policies on indexing. In an eBook, the index can be embedded (nested behind hyperlinks), so the issue may be to simply supply the words you want to be indexed. However, if you are technophobic there are a number of freelance eBook formatters out there. If need be, find one who will include the creation of an index for your eBook.

Once you’ve decided who will handle your index, the real issue becomes deciding what said index will contain. Who knows better than the author the words, names and topics that should be indexed? This is a strong reason for the author to do it him/herself, or at least have final say over the completed index. Remember, an index is valuable, and could easily become a deciding criteria of purchase for a reader. A book lacking an index can easily end up back on the shelf in favor of one with a reliable index.

If someone is going to publish your book, they have the option of doing an index themselves or leaving it to you (or even requiring you to do it.) In the eBook format, the industry is evolving so rapidly that anything written here could be obsolete by the time you read it. Translation: Do your research. Whether you go the traditional of the eBook route, you need to find the balance between the amount of work you are willing to do and the value of having a well done index.

See other articles here on the author Learning Center about which books require indexing, some best practices, and how to do it.

Share this story
Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn
No Data
  • I have two published books and the publisher took care of this, however I had created one and they used my copy with  a few alterations. I had no idea I should have checked things out. Thanks for the information.