Index your book in 10 minutes

Blog – Indexing all names in a book just in 10 minutes !

Index your book in 10 minutesCongratulations .. !

Finally you have finished writing your book. Now your publisher asks who is doing your book index. Of course you can hire an indexer, or you can create the index yourself. Sometimes creating the back of your book index is much easier than you think … That is my case today.

I have a historic book that has many names, and i want to create the back-of-book index for this book containing only names. You can download the book from this link to check it:

download_pdf

Believe it or not; i have indexed all names in that book just in 10 minutes. The names in my book are all written in bold font, so with the help of the book indexing tool PDF Index Generator; i have commanded it to index any text in the book that has bold font. In short here are the steps that i have followed:

  1. I have run the program, and i have selected the book that i want to index.
  2. I have commanded the program to index all bold entries in my book and ignore any other words found inside it.
  3. The program has started collecting those terms from my book and their corresponding pages numbers. It took less than one minute to do that.
  4. The program has then showed me the results and gave me many editing options to edit those results. I have just asked it to merge all duplicates in order to merge names having the same spelling but different case sensitivity, like “Ibrahim ibn Sinan” and “IBRAHIM IBN SINAN”. This took only a couple of seconds.
  5. Now i am done. I have then asked the program to write the index to a PDF file. You can check the final index from here:

    download_pdf

Marvellous! … If you want to index terms in your book that have a specific font format; like bold entries or italic entries, or entries having a specific font name or size, then i advise following the same procedure. And if you want to index all the names in your book but those names do not appear in bold, you can still index them using PDF Index Generator, as it has two other useful features which can help you do that; the “Include queries” feature and the “Include categories” feature. I will try to explain them in later posts   🙂

To index my book or not to index it

Blog – To index my book or not to index it … That is the question!

To index my book or not to index it

Any author who finishes writing his first book will mostly ask these questions:

  • Do I really have to create an index for my book? Can’t I just skip it?
  • An index is just an old fashion. Does anyone still use that?
  • Isn’t there any program to create that index for me?! … We’re in the 21st century!

Well, let’s answer those questions and try to help you decide whether or not to create an index for your book.

Do I really have to create an index for my book? Can’t I just skip it?

Since you’re the author, it is up to you whether you decide to include an index for your book or not. But the reader might have another opinion. If your book is a non-fiction book then the reader will surely need an index for it, and the index should be well made. To convince you, you should know that a good index will help increase your book sales.

Let me show you a practical example…

David is a guy who wants to buy a non-fiction book that is of the same field of your book. He is not looking for a specific title but the book he wants should cover some information he needs, so he goes to a book store; the librarian directs David to the corner of books he might be interested in; David starts checking the books in that corner. Since David is a smart guy; instead of checking the contents of each book he starts checking the index of each book to save his time. He starts searching for specific terms he needs to be sure this book will answer the problems he is facing. After checking the indexes of a couple of books he finally reaches your book, opens it and he happily finds all the terms he was looking for in your book index. Now he opens the pages of some of those index terms to be certain that the information is covered in full details inside the book. His eye sparkles “That’s exactly the book I want”, said David. David happily orders your book. He is very happy with this successful purchase he made.

In short; a well done index is what sells a book. If your book does not have an Index, your book reader will be totally lost. If your book has a good index, then this increases its chances of being found easily, and orders will increase.

An index is just an old fashion. Does anyone still use that?

The index is not just used to help the reader to decide whether to order your book or not. Here are some other common cases for how the book index is used by readers daily:

  1. David has read your book 2 years ago. Today he wants to look for a topic he remembers that he has read in your book. He can easily find it through the book index if the index was well made by checking one or two terms concerning this topic. That saves him a lot of time.
  1. Janet is a researcher. She is in the library looking for books with specific topics that could help her complete her research. Your book index was so helpful for her. When she opened the book index she found a topic she was looking for, and since you were using cross-references in your book index. The topic she found has referred her to other helpful topics also in the book. She was very happy with that good index.
  1. Ashley is a historian. She was looking for books talking about some famous people in history. She has a list of those names she is looking for, but of course she doesn’t have time to read all historical books from cover to cover to find those names. She starts checking the index of each historical book that she has, trying to find those names out there. Luckily your book index is professionally made, and you have added all the names in your book in its index in a nice reversed way like “Lincoln, Abraham”. Ashley was able to easily look for all her names in your book index in 2 minutes with the help of your well organized index.

Those were 3 random scenarios just to show you how every reader has his own case and reason for using your book index. All your book readers will use your book index, today or tomorrow. Be assured of that.

Isn’t there any program to create that index for me?! … We’re in the 21st century!

You’re right. We’re in the 21st century 🙂  … You wrote your book, you’re the best one who knows its most important terms and topics, and you’re the best one to create its index if you just have the suitable tool to help you do so.

You can use the indexing program PDF Index Generator to help you create your book index. No program will ever replace the human mind and do the entire index without any effort from you, but PDF Index Generator reduces and organizes your book indexing work so you can do it yourself in the shortest time required.

All you have to do is read your book. Consider it as a fast review for your book. While reviewing it collect the most important terms inside your book in a text file, each entry in a separate line. This step will be the most effort you make. After finishing this step you will run the program, copy and paste the collected list to it, and let the program do the magic. It will generate the index, grabbing the pages numbers of each of your collected terms, and then you can write the index to your book. If you need more sophisticated index like defining cross-references, headers& sub-headers, changing the fonts and colors of the index, etc. All this is available through the program advanced options.

And finally you will get a nice stylish index suitable for your book and totally professional for your different book readers. Here are some index samples created using the PDF Index Generator program:

I just hope I have thrown light on the index issue and clarified it for you. Now the decision is yours whether to index your book or not. The decision is now yours  😉

Index tips

Blog – 10 tips you should know before creating your book index

Index tips

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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

  1. 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.
  1. Number of columns per page in the index:2_columns_index3-150x150Most 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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

chlorination, 45

emergencies, 47

filtration systems, 36–38

pump use, 35–37

testing quality, 46

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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
    While this is a bad one:
    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
  1. 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 🙂

If you need a tool to help you creating your book index please check PDF Index Generator.

Index Sample

Blog – Why is a Book Index important ?

Index Sample

The back-of-book-Index is one of the most important and critical parts of your book. Here are some hints you should know about the book Index so you can understand why it is that important :
  1. 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.
  2. The index is also useful for book Find something in bookreviewers who had already bought your book and read it, to easily find and review something they have already read before.
  3. 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).
So as you can see; an index is not something publishers put at the end of the book because of tradition. It is included to help readers locate important information contained in the text.
 
Indexes should support all levels of user subject experience. Some are expert with the book title and can easily understand your index topics and reach what they are looking for, but others are novice readers with the book title and may find difficulties if your index topics are hard to be understood till they reach what they are looking for.
 

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.

If you need a tool to help you creating your book index please check PDF Index Generator.

What is a book index?

Blog – What is a book Index ?

  1. 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.
  2. Here is an Index screenshot below :
    Book index sample
    Book index sample
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 :
    Table of contents sample
    Table of contents sample
  6. 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.
  7. 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.