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All About Indexing

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

You’ve likely seen a book with an index before and thought that it seemed a bit complex, long, or even boring. However, indexes are great tools for readers interested in gleaning specific information from your book. Libraries wanting to shelf your book, will not accept the majority of titles without a proper index. Additionally, there are a few other reasons indexes are still used today:

  • To help potential buyers assess your book’s contents quickly when deciding whether to purchase it or not.

  • To engage readers and researchers in topics related to their interests and what they originally searched for.

  • To facilitate recall for readers who wanted to review a certain aspect of your book for review, academic, or entertainment purposes.

Good indexes are easy to read, navigate, and find and clearly address each topic your book presents. Bad indexes are long, wordy, and unnecessary, such as in the case of a small children’s book. Your project manager will take your book’s genre and topic into consideration before proposing the inclusion of an index.

If your book is right for an index, you must create an index list. This list can be in any format (we’ll adjust it as needed later), but it should include big “keywords” related to your text. While a staff member at Atlantic Publishing can create the index list for you, authors are advised to make the list to ensure it has all the features and subjects they want to have included—and none they do not.

After the list is created, a professional will run the list through our indexing program. This, of course, happens during the layout stage of your book, when your book is put into “book format,” to guarantee that the formatting and pagination will match the final text. However, the index can be easily re-run if necessary prior to printing. The program makes this process fast, but it can still take a while to check for formatting errors and the like.

The finished product will look a bit like this:

Indexes are more than just tradition in the book industry. Contact your project manager today if you think your book could use an index.

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