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Friday, January 18, 2008

Tips from Word_Mage: Indexing and Other Backmatter Components

The folks at an e-group I love asked me to occasionally chime in with tips on editing. The group is Word_Mage. (You can subscribe by sending an e-mail to I like this group because the moderator, Billie Williams, brings in experts to share with the group. Thus is is not only nice networking but a good source for learning, too.

Here's one of the tips I posted.

Tip on Indexing:

Make your nonfiction book a reference to be proud of! Include an index. Librarians prefer to stock nonfiction books that have indexes. If you use an index, learn something about them. Your Word program can do a lot for you. That is, it can make it really easy for you to put together an index. But then you need to go back and polish it to make it a real, professional index, an index that your readers will find as helpful as possible. In other words, like all the other neat tools in Word, you need to rely on your own know-how. Their tools are only aids.

If you don't know anything about indexing, hire an indexer or get an editor who knows indexing well. Read a book on indexing so you can be a full partner in the process. Knowledgeable authors will be able to see if their indexers are making mistakes or if they don't understand the intent of the writer.

By the way, it's important for an author to know enough about editing to be a full partner in the entire editing process, not just indexing.

Find more on indexing and other segments of your book that belong in your backmatter in the Frugal Editor.

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