Why does your non-fiction book need an index? Non-fiction readers expect to find an index in the back of your book. They also expect your information to be completely accurate. You can hire fact checkers and indexers through PPG to help you accomplish this.
So, what exactly is an index? Why would anyone look for one at the back of your book if it already has a table of contents at the beginning? Tia Leschke (2010) explained it perfectly with this comment, “A good index is a roadmap to information. It leads readers to all the information on a particular subject, and it also leads readers to related information that might interest them.”
Why does your non-fiction book need an index?
A non-fiction book’s table of contents can direct readers to whole sections of a book where they might find a particular topic of interest. An alphabetized index takes it a step further. It allows readers to pinpoint the exact pages within the book where specific names or terms can be located. For example, an author might want to refer back to a specific detail in a book that discusses “print-on-demand (POD)” technology, but he or she may not recall exactly which page that detail is on. The quickest way to find it is by referring to the index at the back of the book where all the possible pages are indicated together in one place beside that term.
Indexes in Ebooks?
With ebooks, usually the index isn’t even shown as part of the “Look inside” feature on an online store. So, the lack thereof wouldn’t prevent someone from buying the ebook. That said, readers who read your ebook in the past may want to review it again in the future. Perhaps, there is a certain name, phrase, or event they want to reference again. But they can’t quite recall the word(s) they’re looking for. This is the perfect example of a time when they will refer to the index to trigger their memory.
Case in point, indexes can be as helpful in ebooks as they are in paperbacks and hardcovers. PPG automatically produces an Adobe PDF/DRM ebook along with the POD paperback or hardcover version of each author’s book; therefore, the ebooks are formatted consistently with the index intact.
PPG’s Indexing Process
The indexing portion of PPG’s publishing process is completed after the author has approved the interior design of the book. From there, the approved .PDF is sent to the indexer to complete the index in MS Word format based on this final word placement. That MS Word.doc is then returned to the designer to pop into the back matter of the book. From here, the first physical proof of the book is printed. It’s then sent to a professional proofreader for yet another once over with yet another fresh set of eyes. Attention to detail is critical in the book publishing process, and we make sure every section of every book receives equal attention to detail by our qualified team.
Make no mistake, many non-fiction readers will scan through the index at the back of a book before making a buying decision on that book. If they’re unable to find the specific information they’re looking for, they won’t make the purchase. That’s how important an index is, so be sure you include one in your non-fiction book.