If you have finished writing your non-fiction book content, you will mainly start finalizing the book by preparing some other important sections. One of those sections that every book should have is the index section.
- You’re probably wondering if you should employ an indexer or do it yourself when creating a book index. For some authors, the cost of indexing a book is the most important element influencing their selection. If the writer’s budget allows, he may opt to employ an indexer; otherwise, he may have to do it himself.
- In most cases, indexers charge around $3.0 and $6.00 per page. The level of complexity of the book subject determines this variation in pricing. It would be far easier to index a book about ‘cooking and recipes’ than it would be to index a book about ‘Data Analysis for Corporate Finance’. One of the primary factors influencing indexing price is this.
- When deciding the book index estimate, some sections in the book shouldn’t be indexed. Blank pages, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, Bibliography are examples of such sections.
- The indexer should grab 3 to 10 index entries per each page of the book.
- Consider the following scenario: If you have a 300-page book with 250 indexable pages (after excluding the Acknowledgements, Bibliography, and other non-indexable sections), indexing such a book may cost between $750 and $1500. The index for this book should have 750 to 2500 index entries.
- We have noticed the wide need for a professional book indexing service with suitable pricing, that’s why we have established a book indexing department, and fortunately we don’t charge per page to index books. We charge per number of words in the book. As an author, that pricing strategy is ideal for you. Consider a 300-page book that costs $300 to index using our ‘charge by amount of words’ strategy, rather than $1000 using the ‘charge by page count’ strategy.
It’s best to insert the Index as the last section in the book, after the Bibliography or the References sections. If the book has no Bibliography or References, then you can put it after the Glossary section. If the book also has no Glossary, then you can put it after the Notes section.
- The Chicago Manual of Style book: This book has the Bibliography section with its contents, then comes the Index after it.
- The Children and Drug Safety book: This book has the “Acknowledgments” section, then the “Notes” section, then comes the “Index” section after the “Notes” section. Because this book has no Bibliography, or References, or even a Glossary section, it has been put after the “Notes” section, and this is a right behavior.
- Finally, i have checked the Guide To Practical Health Promotion book. This book is divided into 2 parts, followed by an “Appendix” section, so the “Index” comes after this “Appendix”, because this book has none of the other sections that we have mentioned in the other books.
- The Chicago Manual of Style is a book created by the University of Chicago Press which was established in 1891. This book is specialized in putting guidelines for how to speak, pronounce & write American English in a right way. It’s the official source for the American language guidelines in the US. They put guidelines for American Grammar & writing any press release.
- For ease you can pronounce it as CMOS instead of the long term chicago manual of style.
- The book homepage is: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org
Every couple of years the University of Chicago Press produces a new edition of its famous book “The Chicago Manual of Style” to add new rules, make modifications, as necessary. In 1906 they released their 1st edition, which you can check for Free from here. In Sep 2017 they released their 17th edition. This book now has more than 100 years of wisdom & experience. It’s journey that started from a 200 pages book for the 1st edition, and reached 1100 pages for its current 17th edition. Imagine that!
- Their book is now considered the reference work for authors, editors, proofreaders, indexers, copywriters, designers, and publishers.
- CMOS has a questions & answers section that you can access for Free from here.
- They also have a nice Free blog with many knowledgeable posts, and a nice forum but the forum is Not Free. It’s available for subscribers only as explained below. They even have created a stylish clothing & accessories store.
Finally, if you’re looking to be a professional book indexer, or if you want to create an index for your book, then i strongly suggest that you have a look at our nice book indexing software that we have invented especially to help making the indexing process for books much easier and organized process. We’re also updating this tool every year to be friendly with CMOS rules & guidelines.
- You can buy a hard copy of the book, or you can access their book content online on their website with an annual fee. CMOS has more than 1.5 million copies sold till today!
- The 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style costs $70 from the official website of the book. It costs $49 on Amazon.
- If the price of the 17th edition is out of your budget, then why not have a look for the used books of the 16th edition of the book? … You can get a copy in a perfect condition from Amazon for as cheap as $12.
- If you prefer to access the book online, then CMOS offers a $39 annual subscription in average to access the 16th edition & the 17th edition on their website. You can of course try it first before subscribing, by joining their 30-day trial period. CMOS also has a nice forum that you can access when you subscribe to their online edition with your account.
As we are specialized in creating indexes for books we should mention that the Indexes chapter from the chicago manual of style book is being sold
individually, so if you are looking to read this chapter only from the book, then it’s a good chance to save money and buy this chapter only instead
of buying the whole book. You can buy it from Amazon for $12 only.
If you have finished writing your book then you should be willing to create an index for it. The back-of-book index is a main component of any successful book. Creating the book index yourself is not hard if you know the rules and steps you should follow to accomplish it in a professional way.
I will mention 10 important tips you should know before starting your index.
The main target of those tips is to know where to start from when creating the book index. They will also help you create a clear index that is not confusing for your book readers, so they can access the information they are looking for easily and in seconds.
- When should i start creating my book index? You should wait till your book typescript and proof stage is done because you need to have your pages numbers ready and final as you do not want to enter wrong pages numbers in the index.
- Check other similar indexes: Check indexes of a number of books similar in topic to your book, and write their positive & negative points before creating your book index to consider them when creating your book index.
- Concentrate on your book main subject: When you start creating your Index it is not a good thing to put all words of your book in that Index. That will make it hard for the book reader to use your Index when it is very long. Think like a reader, make your Index simple and shortened.
Before start creating your Index write 10 to 20 most important subjects your book is talking about, then when you select your Index words check if each word is related to one of those subjects or not. If not then skip it. Mostly the reader will not need to look for that word in the Index.
- The index size: Your Index should not be > 5% of the number of pages of your book. When you collect the entries of your index, you might be confused if what you are collecting is many or low, so do not omit any entry in your initial index. When you finish your initial index you can then start removing the least important ones if you find the index big. That will make your job easier.
- Number of columns per page in the index:Most books write 2 columns per page in the index section. This is the best option for a good readable index, especially if some index entries are long, but if most of your index entries have 2 or 3 words only then you can write 3 columns per page. That will save a lot of space, and you can have more index entries that way because you are having an extra column of index entries per each page. But still; 2 columns is a better option.
- Use ranges of pages instead of individual pages numbers: It is always better to use pages ranges like 23-29 instead of individual pages numbers 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29.
- Use Headers & Sub-Headers in your index: It is a good idea to use indented entries (Headers & Sub-Headers) in the index, as the indented entries are much efficient and useful to readers. They make the index tidy and well arranged. Ex:
Water supply, 35–50
If you do not use indented entries then those entries would appear like this:
Water supply, 35–50: chlorination, 45; emergencies, 47; filtration systems, 36–38; pump use, 35-37; testing quality, 46;
As you can see above; your index will not be read friendly if you did not use headers and sub-headers.
- Use cross-references: Always use cross-references whenever possible. Cross-references are a way of referring the index reader to other index entries he might be interested in. You do this using a prefix like “see” or “see also”, ex:
Internet marketing, 28-47; See also Advertising; Customer service; E-mail; Events and meetings; Fulfillment; Lead generation
So if a reader is looking for “Internet marketing” in the index, he might also be interested in other topics in the index related to it. May be he will find the answer he is looking for in those other topics.
- Do not write many pages numbers for each word:
Try to write only the most important pages numbers for each index entry it is found in inside the book. The reader expects this, and it will save him a lot of time. For example this is a good index entry:
Roman army, 2, 66, 159-160
Roman army, 2, 26, 30-31, 34-36, 39-40, 42-43, 45-46, 49, 51, 53-64, 66, 73, 81, 84-93, 95, 101-102, 106-108, 111, 115-116, 118, 120-121, 128-129, 131-133, 143-146, 149, 152-153, 157, 159-160, 162, 166-167, 169, 173, 175, 177-179, 182, 185, 188-191, 194-195, 198, 200-202, 220-222, 225, 231, 234, 241, 249, 253-255, 257-262
- Write the index entries as hyperlinks: It would be helpful to write the index entries and their pages numbers as links if you are creating a digital copy of your book (PDF or Document file). When a reader clicks on a page number for an index entry it would take him directly to the page number where this entry exists, so he won’t need to scroll all the way up manually.
I hope those 10 tips will give you a good start for your index. In the upcoming posts I will write more detailed points to help you understand indexing rules much better. Good luck with your index 🙂
- The book Index is useful for potential buyers to have a fast look at the book contents and easily check if it covers particular topics they are looking for, to decide if to buy your book or not.
- The index is also useful for book reviewers who had already bought your book and read it, to easily find and review something they have already read before.
- The index is also useful to researchers to easily look for the topics of their interest in addition to giving them suggestions for related topics to what they are looking for(Cross-references).
In general … Do not make the reader’s job hard. You do the hard part for him, by offering him an easy to use book Index, and let the easy work for him to simply find what he is looking for in your book.
- In the simplest terms, a book index is simply a key to locating information contained in a book. It is also known as back-of-the-book index, as it is mostly found at the end of the book. The words of the Index are sorted Alphabetically.
- Here is an Index screenshot below :
- The Index words should be relevant and of interest to a possible reader of the book, so they can easily guide him to what he may be looking for in the book.
- The index terms can be names, places, events, or any other terms related to your book content. They can be single words or multi words.
- A book Index is different from the Table of contents(TOC). A Table of contents is a brief list of the book contents written in the order it appears in the book; e.g. Chapters titles. It appears at the beginning of the book mostly after the copyright page. Here is a TOC screenshot below :
- Some International Organizations are specialized in putting the rules of book Indexes. Some countries have their own indexing rules, but at the end you should select the indexing rules and styling that are best for the book reader. That is your main target.
- Some tools are available to help you write your book index, like PDF Index Generator. Using such a tool will save you a lot of time.
The main idea of the book index is to help the reader find information quickly and easily. so you must make it simple and professional as possible. Do not make things hard for your book reader.